Our Daily Articles: Complete Index 2008–2020

Getting more from your next exhibition

Yes, most are obvious, most just equate to “spend more money”. But all the same, I enjoyed 100 Trade Show Lead Generation Ideas and at least a couple made me think: “Worth remembering”.

Start with the call to action at the end

We all know that the difference between a good marketing campaign and a great one is the “call to action”, although few of us can say we don’t have room for improvement there. Decent offers are the first step, or at least explaining to the prospect what will happen if they respond to the call to action. At the simplest level, don’t just say “call us” when you can say “call us and we’ll explain how our widgets can save you money”, or “call us and we’ll send you our… Read More »Start with the call to action at the end

How Google brings you a whole new set of competitors

When it comes to improving your search engine presence, you need to know what your competitors are doing. But who are your competitors? “That’s easy”, you may say, “Here at the Blue Widget Co we have 40% of the market, and the Red Widget Co has about 30%, with the rest being made up of loads of tiny distributors not worth worrying about. So we only really have one competitor, the one the sales director obsesses about.” But you’d probably be wrong. Because we’re not talking about competitors in product… Read More »How Google brings you a whole new set of competitors

Advertising in your competitors’ emails

Yesterday I mentioned using Google AdWords to put your message on hundreds of thousands of different sites around the web, including some which you might consider doing separate (e.g banner) advertising on. Another place where your AdWords ads can appear is alongside Google Mail (GMail) messages, and this is a really intriguing concept. Just as on those “Content Network” sites, Google shows the ads which are most relevant to the content of the web page, in this case the content of the email. So, for example, I’m a GMail user,… Read More »Advertising in your competitors’ emails

How Google AdWords puts your adverts all over the web

Most people, understandably, associate Google AdWords with the little ads which appear down the right-hand side of a Google results page (and sometimes across the top in a yellow panel too). But AdWords can also put your message on thousands of relevant websites all over the web, including some popular ones where you may already be advertising separately. As an advertising medium, AdWords gets more successful every year. In the industrial and scientific sectors, its understated nature seems to appeal beautifully to the target market, which is just “blind” to… Read More »How Google AdWords puts your adverts all over the web

Why LinkedIn profiles are important

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? I’m finding what was initially a bit of vanity publishing is becoming increasingly important in business. Most of us are quite used to looking up people on LinkedIn before we have a business meeting with them, out of curiosity. But I’ve found that potential clients are often asking mutual acquaintances about me, and it’s quite obvious that the way they’ve done this is by browsing through my LinkedIn profile and discovering people we know in common. For every time we find out this has… Read More »Why LinkedIn profiles are important

Who’s missed you off their listings?

Here’s another linkbuilding tip from the recent presentation by SEO expert Eric Enge on link-building which I mentioned yesterday. Having recently asked if anyone uses directories nowadays, I should say that although I don’t believe that printed ones are worth the paper they’re printed on, online directories have an unarguable benefit, and that’s the value of the links they give to you*. So the big question is: are there any directories out there which link to your competitors but not to you? Here’s one way of finding them. Yahoo! has… Read More »Who’s missed you off their listings?

Some quick links through some quick admin

I was looking at the slides from a recent presentation by SEO expert Eric Enge on link-building and it mentioned a type of link-building which is often overlooked: “Link Reclamation”. This is rather clever in its simplicity: it involves tracing any links to your website which point to pages that do not exist, and getting those links fixed. Bingo, a whole new link. So, how do we find those broken links? This is one of the many useful things which our old friend Google Webmaster Tools can do for us.… Read More »Some quick links through some quick admin

Wake up and smell the Caffeine

A nice article on Search Engine Guide looks at the effects which the long-anticipated forthcoming Google update – called “Caffeine” – might have. Nobody really knows what Google will be looking for once this revised index is fully rolled out, but it’s a very good bet that “freshness” and “uniqueness” will help your site rank highly more than they ever have. That means getting new content onto your site and ensuring that what you add is original copy, not copied from elsewhere or prematurely distributed elsewhere. All the old rules… Read More »Wake up and smell the Caffeine

Simple, elegant and effective

Thanks to the Noupe website for a great quote which illustrates something I hold dear to my heart when rebuilding company websites. They say: “Coco Chanel recommended that when a woman got dressed in the morning that she remove one accessory before leaving the house. The idea behind this is that we often tend of overdo things and by removing something we give more importance to the things that remain.” How this translates to a website is quite straightforward. Make a list of the things you need to offer visitors,… Read More »Simple, elegant and effective

Directories: Just Say, er …Why?

I see that some directory scammers have been criminally charged in Canada, the sort of news which always lifts my spirits. Why – or perhaps how – companies continue to sign up for directories, diaries, wallcharts and the like (online and offline), has always mystified me. But they do. And don’t get me started on the magazines which don’t exist. If you’re paying money to appear in something, of course you check to see if it exists, don’t you? Judging by the number of these things about, it would appear… Read More »Directories: Just Say, er …Why?

There’s a whole new world out there

Until the last few years, the only real outlets for all those lovely articles and announcements you crank out have been the trade magazines and perhaps your company newsletter or magazine if you did one. Nowadays there are far more opportunities to get your content published, and you’re far less likely to be able to maintain a list of them. I suspect, however, that you’re not making the most of what’s out there, because – as with so much online publicity – it’s all a bit new and a bit… Read More »There’s a whole new world out there

Want to join in an interesting experiment?

Someone asked me the other day what percentage of their customers were likely to be able to watch online video, and of course I replied that I had no idea; I don’t know who their customers are. I do know that it’s estimated some 70% of web users watch online video, but maybe B2B web users represent the entire 30% who don’t watch it. I have no idea. Of course, it would be great to survey our customers about their habits which might affect our online marketing. However, I suspect… Read More »Want to join in an interesting experiment?

I hope you can see the difference

It’s a bank holiday today, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, so I’m sitting writing this from the deck of my yacht in the Caribbean, naturally. And as I’m too busy ordering cocktails to think up any words of wisdom, go and see what your website might have looked like if the last ten years of web development had never happened. I’ll be right back.

Using Webmaster Tools to find what’s not indexed

Do you have Google Webmaster Tools installed, and an XML sitemap? If you don’t, you should probably join our Insider Programme and we can get that sorted out for you. But assuming you’ve got all that in place, you should be able to see how many pages, from the complete list on your site, that you have in the Google index. If it’s a very large site, there’s a strong possibility that quite a few will be missing. Every site has an “indexation cap” based on factors such as PageRank,… Read More »Using Webmaster Tools to find what’s not indexed

Does your writing get people excited?

The Junta42 Content Marketing blog demonstrates vividly where most companies go wrong with their content marketing in Your Customers Don’t Care About You – Take the Content Marketing Test. The article develops the well-known criticism that too much marketing is about “we” when it should be about “you”. We can all learn from social media, which is all about people passing on messages. If your message is self-centred, nobody’s going to be interested in telling other people about it. In other words, if you want what you write to be… Read More »Does your writing get people excited?

3 tips for producing great case studies

Case studies (or “application stories” as we always tended to refer to them on magazines) are often conveniently relegated down the list of marketing priorities. The effort/reward ratio can be very high. If your own sales or applications engineer doesn’t have the full facts on the installation, the article can be arduous to write, as it might require re-contacting – and possibly inconveniencing – an existing customer. Whether or not this proves necessary, there are those dreaded two words: ‘customer approval’. I’m sure many of you will have had bad… Read More »3 tips for producing great case studies

The elements of a successful blog launch

I’ve been considering for some time writing an article taking you through all the things you need to do as you set up a blog for your business. However, procrastination has proved to be a benefit in this case, because Problogger has done it for me in 9 Critical Tasks Before Launching Your Small Business Blog. Writing the first few posts at the same time as creating the blog, and scheduling them for regular release over the first few weeks, is essential in my opinion. Alternatively, find a tame technical… Read More »The elements of a successful blog launch

More trade magazines become history

Last week Reed Business Information in the USA announced that it is to close all the controlled circulation magazines which it hasn’t managed to sell off in the past six months. These are Building Design+Construction, Chain Leader, Construction Bulletin, Construction Equipment, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, Control Engineering, Converting, Foodservice Equipment & Supplies, Graphic Arts Blue Book, Graphic Arts Monthly, HOTELS, Logistics Management, Material Handling Product News, Modern Materials Handling, Plant Engineering, Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Purchasing, Restaurants & Institutions, Semiconductor International, Spec Check, Supply Chain Management Review and Tradeshow Week. This awful… Read More »More trade magazines become history

You can’t talk about it if you can’t say it

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giving your products proper names, rather than marketing them by their part numbers, is an underused opportunity in the technical B2B sector. It’s so much easier for your salesmen and your customers alike to be selling and buying the “Big Blue Widget” rather than the “XCV-T45/43000b”. It’s something they can actually refer to by name when they’re talking about it! Samsung’s SGH-D500 is a fine mobile phone, but however interesting it is, nobody’s going to drop a name like that into… Read More »You can’t talk about it if you can’t say it

Answering a question with a question

It’s surprising how many people don’t really know how to use Google properly. I don’t mean people like my Mum, who’s got better things to do with her life (like make great Yorkshire Pudding). I mean people whose jobs are affected by Google, which (if you’re in marketing) means you. To understand how to “do better” in Google, it’s important to thoroughly understand how the search engine works. There are plenty of books on the subject, but you don’t need them. Just have a read through some of Google’s own… Read More »Answering a question with a question

How the B2B buying cycle has changed

I’m increasingly interested in the idea of targeting the message to the buyer in B2B marketing, and another good article which you might like to read is Inside the Mind of the B2B Buyer – New Paths to Purchase on Fearless Competitor. Inspired by a webinar on the subject, the article says that “so many things we did in the past – that worked well – no longer work”, but the author isn’t talking about things as specific as promotional channels. Instead, he points out some much wider changes, such… Read More »How the B2B buying cycle has changed

What do you stand for?

An interesting article I was reading the other day on Branding Strategy Insider may not be directly relevant to us in our fairly niche industrial and scientific markets, but I think there might be something we can learn from the issues being discussed. The Danger of You Centered Branding warns of the dangers of no longer standing for something, and instead telling your market “we can be whatever you want us to be”. It’s a fair warning. I suspect most customers don’t care enough about a brand to want it… Read More »What do you stand for?

The importance of complex search terms

A little bit of original research for you today. How important are the “most important” search terms in driving traffic to your website? I’ve been doing some analysis on a website whose visitors are primarily from the engineering and scientific sectors, and which gets tens of thousands of visitors a month from Google. I exported the search terms which visitors from Google had entered in February 2010, and the number of times each one cropped up. Here’s what I found. The number of different search terms was about 40% of… Read More »The importance of complex search terms

Creating the content to satisfy your prospects

Yesterday I asked if your website is doing as good a job of selling as an experienced salesman would. A really good three-part article on The Connected Marketer talks about how to specify and create the content which actually meets the needs of your prospects. Content Mapping 101 helps you define the different people who you might be wanting to interest, and the buying stages they might be at. From here you can ensure you develop the material to answer the questions they’re going to have. Yes, it’s a big… Read More »Creating the content to satisfy your prospects

Is your website stuck on the sales starting grid?

I’m the world’s worst salesman. I know that, and every salesman I’ve ever worked with knows that. But that’s a personality disorder – knowing the basics of how to sell successfully is not that hard, it’s the doing it which is beyond me. So I can still see quite clearly (as I’m sure you can) where so many business websites go wrong in terms of selling their products. What’s the first thing which successful salesmen learn? To answer the customer’s question “what’s in it for me?” of course. Do most… Read More »Is your website stuck on the sales starting grid?

Sometimes you need to push your message out

A lot of the stuff you read about online marketing nowadays suggests that “outbound marketing” is dying, and it’s all about “inbound marketing”. Stop trying to broadcast your message to the world, and instead, encourage the world to come to you. That’s how the market is working now, isn’t it? Buyers want to do their own research, they don’t want to listen to your interruptions. Well, possibly. But here’s the thing. When I’m working on managing AdWords campaigns for clients, there are two situations where we have a problem. One… Read More »Sometimes you need to push your message out

How branding can be achieved online

Branding is important, whatever size company you are, but with the huge swing to online marketing over the past few years, many B2B companies have struggled with the implications for the branding side of their promotional activities. For many, the easy answer has been to use email and the web for response marketing, and traditional media for the branding side of things. But it’s not really a satisfactory approach, because the reasons which have made magazines, exhibitions and direct mail less effective for response do rather apply to branding too.… Read More »How branding can be achieved online

Here’s the data sheet you wanted last week

It’s funny when you discover things you’ve taken for granted turn out to be viewed as quite innovative by other people. Something along these lines came my way the other day when I was discussing setting up a Google AdWords advertising campaign for a client, for the start of this month. The client was a little worried that for one particular product, the information on their website wasn’t specific enough, and didn’t make it clear enough that there was a nice ‘deliverable’, in this case a 16-page brochure. As there… Read More »Here’s the data sheet you wanted last week

Long boozy nights in the Metropole

A discussion at HubSpot’s Inbound Internet Marketing Blog from the USA wonders if the trade show is in permanent decline. Are Marketing Dollars Shifting? Exhibit Industry Down 12.5% says “Trade shows work for some companies. The bigger question is, do they work more effectively than other marketing tactics?” There’s only so much trimming and efficiency-increasing you can do on each part of the marketing mix. Eventually, in a downturn, individual components have to go, and an entire trade show is likely to be the biggest single item in a company’s… Read More »Long boozy nights in the Metropole

Use your colleagues to take link-building to the next level

We all know how important link-building is, but have you thought about how other people in the company might be able to help on this front? In 10 Ways All Employees Can Contribute to Link Building on Search Engine Journal there are quite a few interesting ideas. I think you’d have to be careful not to just ask everyone to go and get lots of links to your website, because others might not be as aware as you are that poor-quality links can even be counterproductive. But with most great… Read More »Use your colleagues to take link-building to the next level

10 reasons why blogs are taking off in industrial and scientific companies

Last week I mentioned that the subject which generated the most discussion at our recent seminars was one that wasn’t even a particular focus of the day’s events. Setting up a company blog is, it would seem, something which a lot of you appear to have decided to do. With some companies having run a blog for a few years, I’m not sure why there’s a rush on now, but I think for it’s a mixture of reasons. 1. Think of it as a more dynamic replacement for your website’s… Read More »10 reasons why blogs are taking off in industrial and scientific companies

I can see where you live

Thanks to reader Andrew Reynolds of powder processing equipment specialist Orthos (Engineering) for this excellent find, which I imagine a number of you might be able to put to good use. Andrew needed a swift way of displaying a group of customers on a map for a colleague and found BatchGeo, which you feed with your address list pasted straight from a spreadsheet. In seconds, as Andrew says, “it churns out a Google map, e-mails you the web link and even gives you the chance to embed the map in… Read More »I can see where you live

And another thing…

Here’s something which I know works well, and I consistently manage to forget to include, especially in my own marketing material. In The Sales Boosting Logic of the P.S. on Copyblogger, we’re reminded that something added to the end of a message often gets more attention than almost anything else. It works in postal mail, in emails, and even on web pages. PS: Bet you read this bit.

Here’s my card. Sorry you can’t read it.

A short diversion away from online marketing today, because I found a lovely article about Beautiful Business Card Designs. It seems to me to be so important to have memorable (not to mention legible) business cards, as they’re often the only thing you leave important business contacts with. I’ve had my current business cards for nearly 18 months now and have been very pleased with the impact they’ve made. Now, clearly a jazzy card like this isn’t right for every business, but I do feel sorry for those of you… Read More »Here’s my card. Sorry you can’t read it.

How to set up our Google Search Phrase Position Reports

Today’s post will be immediately useful for our Insider Programme members, but those of you who aren’t in our little group yet might also like to know more about one of the most useful tools we offer: our Google Search Phrase Position Reports. If you haven’t joined the Insider Programme yet, please think about it – at just £100 a month, I honestly think it’s a fantastic community for all industrial and scientific sector marketing managers, which will pay for itself from week 1. So, what I’m going to run… Read More »How to set up our Google Search Phrase Position Reports

Getting more comprehensive coverage on Google

Eric Enge, one of the world’s most respected search engine optimisation experts, recently got to interview Matt Cutts of Google, the public face of the team who ultimately decide if our websites get to the top of the world’s dominant search engine. I’ve had the opportunity to chat to Matt myself on a couple of occasions, and he’s a really personable guy, but trust me, if you think he’s ever going to “fix” your site’s ranking in Google, you’re wasting your time! The queue for his attention would stretch across… Read More »Getting more comprehensive coverage on Google

Twitter steadily gets more interesting

Our recent seminars allowed me to discuss online marketing developments with a lot of marketing managers from the industrial and scientific sector, and the subject which came most often was setting up company blogs. Closely following that, however, was social media (in particular, Twitter), which everyone seems fascinated by. Now, as long-time readers know, I’m a complete Twitter addict, but I’ve been far from convinced about its effectiveness as a business marketing tool, especially in technical B2B. That said, a couple of our clients here – both fairly traditional industrial… Read More »Twitter steadily gets more interesting

Aren’t these the goals of marketing?

“Content Marketing” is something which is proving to be more and more effective, perhaps as a result of the way in which people find and consume information. It’s very relevant to us in the technical marketing sphere, and a very good introductory article worth a read is What Does Science Teach Us About Content Marketing? on the Junta42 Content Marketing blog. It compares what we know as content marketing with the process of peer-reviewed publishing in the scientific world. As it says: “The benefits of peer-review publishing and content marketing… Read More »Aren’t these the goals of marketing?

To see oursels as ithers see us!

A lot of people think they’re doing a lot better in the Google results than they really are. This is because Google uses something called ‘personalized search‘, whereby the results are customised to what it thinks would be more helpful to you. Now, we all know that someone in Japan is going to see different results from someone in the UK, but ‘personalized search’ means that someone at the next desk may see different results from you. Google is trying to take into account geography, topicality, preferences, patterns and even… Read More »To see oursels as ithers see us!

Encore?

Phew – after four successive Fridays talking to a room full of people, I’ll be glad to have a break this week. Our seminars on “How to make your website punch above your weight” and “How to get customer enquiries back to 1990 levels” were real successes, if the generous feedback was anything to go by. Thank you! If you were one of the 60 or 70 marketing managers who attended, I hope you found the day genuinely useful. However, I may not escape so easily. A number of people… Read More »Encore?

I really don’t care about your company’s worldwide sales structure

Someone showed me their shiny new corporate website the other day. “Have a look at this”, they said, proudly. They typed in the URL, clicked on the world map to tell the website where we were, and …hang on a minute; they did what? Yes, as a visitor, the first thing they had to do was to click on a world map to let the site know their location. Talk about putting up barriers. You read that right: the first thing the website shows, on the home page, is a… Read More »I really don’t care about your company’s worldwide sales structure

How do we make our readers think we’re smart?

Having a company blog isn’t some new fad. In fact, it’s taken a long time for many companies to see the benefit. Forget about the silly name for a moment, and just consider a blog to replace the “news” part of your website (which you never update frequently enough, do you?) with something that’s far more dynamic, readable and effective. Instead of a stuffy “news” section which makes a company look over-formal and undynamic (because it hasn’t had anything added for months), a blog makes you look like you’re genuinely… Read More »How do we make our readers think we’re smart?

You want to sell it to me? Well, what does it cost?

Surveys have shown that B2B buyers go online for product information and comparisons, as you’d expect, but equally they go online for price information. This is remarkable given how rare it is for business websites to talk numbers, but is there an opportunity for us here? I understand that it’s inappropriate to quote fixed prices for certain products, which might always be supplied customised in some way. But I also know of several companies who have taken a step back from their usual policy of keeping their price list more… Read More »You want to sell it to me? Well, what does it cost?

Now it’s time to write how you talk

Be “Real” With Your Customers, says an article on Search Engine Journal which really gets to the heart of why sales copywriting in 2010 is a lot different from 1960. The web has fundamentally changed the way people choose products and suppliers, and although we all know this, we’re not all modifying our sales pitches accordingly. The crash-bang techniques developed fifty years ago, and taught ever since, now sit very uneasily in a world where researching the alternative is just a few clicks away. Nowadays empathy is everything. It’s all… Read More »Now it’s time to write how you talk

Filenames aren’t just for computers

Did you know that one of the ways in which Google decides how relevant a web page is to a search term is by looking at the page filename? So guess what? A page called “widgets.html” has already got a head start over a page called “23frY67775.aspx” or something equally random assigned by a bad content management system. This article, on our website, is a page called https://www.bmon.co.uk/2010/03/filenames-arent-just-for-computers/ and all the websites we rebuild for companies put the keywords in the page URL in this way. But a web page… Read More »Filenames aren’t just for computers

Will you read this if I make the title a question?

What are the challenges in writing good copy that not only educates prospects and customers but also draws them in as leads for your business? asks ClickInsights in Mistakes to avoid in copy used for lead generation. This is a great survey of some smart people, and there are some really good tips in there. I picked up quite a few, including being reminded how powerful it is to “Write a headline or subject line in the form of a question requiring a Yes or No answer”.

Tracking your promotions properly

If you use Google Analytics, one of the best tools you have at your disposal is the rather low-profile URL Builder (so obscure it doesn’t even appear to have a nice URL to call its own). What this tool does is to enable you to create URLs for all your promotional campaigns, such as advertising, emails, etc, which then allows you to track the visitors they create to a fine degree. This is the sort of thing I regularly find myself helping out our Insider Programme members with, but once… Read More »Tracking your promotions properly