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Why The Most Effective B2B Marketing Tactic May Surprise You

by Jennifer Beever on February 27, 2015

Smoke and MirrorsWith all the news and hype about content marketing these days, you would think it’s one of the most effective marketing tactics for B2B marketing, if not the most effective. But, it’s not.

I spent quite a bit of time going through the results of a recent survey of B2B Marketers by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs sponsored by Brightcove. More than 1800 businesses and organizations were surveyed in the summer of 2014 with what appears to be a pretty even distribution of company size. In reporting the results, the CMI focused on the fact that less than half of the respondents had a written content marketing plan, content marketing is on the rise and most content marketers don’t track its ROI very well, among other factoids.

But wait a minute. When asked what tactics were most effective for B2B marketing, the majority of respondents pointed not to content marketing! They said “In-person Events” were the most effective!

2015 CMI Survey effectiveness of marketing tacticsI think it’s kind of funny that in the summary I read about the survey, this top ranked tactic wasn’t even mentioned. Wait a minute, the summary was written by the Content Marketing Institute! Of course they don’t want to point out that in-person events are still most effective for B2B marketers.

Don’t get me wrong. I really believe in content marketing, and I think it’s here to stay. I’ve been blogging about it since 2010. But it’s just one part of a complete B2B marketing program. I do believe it’s an important part, and I know from experience from my own marketing and from working with my clients that you need a strategy and a written plan for content marketing. Content marketing relies in part on volume and a diverse content platforms. There are a lot of moving parts and it’s more important than ever to plan, document and measure results.

The need to plan strategically and document your plan is nothing new. B2B marketers have always needed a strategy and a plan for all marketing, not just content marketing.

Before you get caught up in the Content Marketing Craze and cancel all your speaking engagements or trade shows, keep in mind the big picture. Decide what marketing tactics you’ll invest in based on the results you measure. If it’s still working, keep executing. Even if you think in-person events are all that matter, try some other tactics in 2015. You may find that something like content marketing can attract prospective customers and the in-person events seal the deal. Or, content marketing can increase engagement and loyalty along with in-person events.

 

Do you need help with strategy, planning or content marketing? Contact Jennifer Beever at New Incite today. She’s worked with hundreds of B2B companies to drive strategic marketing results and increase growth.

Photo from Flickr by Peter Dutton. Some Rights Reserved.

 

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7 Ways to Get Better Results from Your B2B eNewsletter

by Jennifer Beever on February 23, 2015

ROIYou send a regular eNewsletter, but are you getting results? Read this post to find out how to increase the return on your investment in time and money on your newsletter.

1. Set clear objectives for your eLetter

What do you want to accomplish with your eLetter? You can achieve many different objectives with an email newsletter. Provide news about your company and employees? Educate your customers about your products and services? Add value for your readers by providing business how-to’s? Add value with personal how-to’s such as stress management, leadership, time management and/or health tips? Build a relationship with your customers?

2. Know how your audience reads email

More people read their email on smartphones and mobile devices. While eLetters can give you an opportunity to provide snippets of articles with a link to read more on your website, your readers may not want to do the extra work to click through and wait for the article to load. The article abstracts or snippets allow you to keep the email brief and drive traffic to your website (and clearly track what people read and how long they spend on your site), but if they don’t click through you may need to provide entire articles in the email. Getting your audience to read the articles may be more important than driving traffic to your site.

3. Keep it short and “scan-able”

Not everyone has time to read, so if you put full articles in the email, keep them as brief as possible. Use a table of contents so that people can scan easily. Use bullet lists and bold font to highlight key points. Make sure the eLetter provider you use makes email “responsive,” which means the email is adjusted depending on what mobile device is used to view it.

4. Include calls to action

You don’t want your eNewsletter to just be a sales pitch, but if you’re adding value with helpful articles and information, you should still include some calls to action. You can be subtle about these and just invite readers to “learn more,” “get more information,” and link to a nice landing page that asks them to fill out a brief form and clearly states what they will get (a phone call, an email, access to download something, etc.)

5. Know what your audience needs and wants

The more you understand your customers and prospective customers, the better you’ll be able to fit newsletter content to what they need. Write to your readers as well as to your objectives. Watch what your readers read and click through to take action. Creative and entertaining writing helps with engagement.

6. Use creative and compelling subject line, visuals, and headlines

Grab your readers attention with a creative subject line. Then include great images and interesting headlines to help them navigate to what they want to read.

7. Find out the best time to send your eNewsletter

You may know or you can analyze over time the best day and time to send your eNewsletter. Try some different options and watch the open and click-through rate. It used to be that Tuesday – Wednesday – Thursday were best days because Monday email was overwhelming and people didn’t have long attention spans on Fridays. At one time Sundays became a key day for people to check email and inboxes weren’t full since not many business sent Sunday emails. Now with many people reading emails on weekends and at night, there are more opportunities for timing your email right.

It’s a good idea to survey your email audience to find out what will work best for them. Short of that, make sure you use your email analytics to gain intelligence on popular subjects, best days and times to send email, click through rates and more.

I hope this post helps you increase the results you get from your email newsletter, whether the results you want are website traffic, reader engagement, lead generation or even sales. You might also want to read my recent post, 5 Ways to Systematize Your eNewsletter Production Process.

 

Do you need help getting a email newsletter or other marketing started the right way? Contact New Incite today. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses improve marketing through strategic planning and creative execution.

Photo from Flickr by Simon Cunningham of lendingmemo.com. Some Rights Reserved.

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6 Ways to Get Strategic for Twitter Chat Success

Hosting a Twitter chat can offer a great marketing benefits or turn into a total failure. Here are some of the things to consider when designing your new Twitter chat. My niece is a music therapist and the founder of Maine Music & Health. She does her own marketing, and recently mentioned that students from […]

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12 Steps and the Skills You Need for Your WordPress Website Update

Is it time to update your website in WordPress? Here are twelve steps and the corresponding skill sets that you need to make your project a success. WordPress website updates are easy, right? You just choose a template, install it, and tweak your existing content to make sure all is working, right? Wait, hold on […]

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Should You Trust LinkedIn with Your CRM Data?

In the last two years, LinkedIn has quietly added fields and features that can help you manage your contact relationships on LinkedIn. This blog post shows you how that works and what pros and cons of you should consider in trusting your valuable data to LinkedIn. In a recent LinkedIn workshop the participants asked me […]

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How to Blog Workshop February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles

A blog is an important marketing tactic for businesses and professionals who want to get found online for their products, services and expertise. In this workshop, you will learn how to blog, what makes a successful blog, and how to get results from your blog. On Friday, February 20, 2015, New Incite is offering its […]

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5 Ways to Systematize your eNewsletter Production Process

Your newsletter sent by email is still an important marketing tool for staying in front of customers and prospects. But how can you produce an interesting eLetter with fresh and compelling content with minimum time and effort? I sent an email complimenting my colleague, Management Consultant Terry Schmidt, on his recent eNewsletter. I know Terry […]

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Mastering LinkedIn Workshop in Los Angeles January 23, 2015

Do you want to learn how to get found on LinkedIn, stay connected in a credible way and even generate qualified leads on LinkedIn (without spamming people)? New Incite presents a new workshop, Mastering LinkedIn: A Practical Approach on Friday January 23, 2015, in Los Angeles. At the two-hour workshop, you will learn how to […]

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Content Marketing Predictions from the Experts [Infographic]

Are you planning to up your content marketing game in the new year? Here are some of the major issues to consider in your content marketing plan. Brand.com published this post, “Industry Influencers’ Content Marketing Predictions for 2015,” with several predictions from content marketing experts. [Disclaimer – I am one of the experts quoted! See […]

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Another Big Reason B2B Marketing Fails: Failure to Engage

You have a business that sells to other businesses, so you plan to keep your marketing business-like. You don’t want to annoy your target audience of business people with fluffy marketing, right? You have a great product or service. You actually have a marketing budget. You’ve redone your website and analysis shows your brand is […]

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