Our Daily Articles: Complete Index 2008–2021

The Product Launch: skirmish or campaign?

A recent article called Power Past that Press Release on Savvy B2B Marketing got me thinking about product launches, and if they’ve really changed over the years. I don’t think they have really, which might be a waste of new opportunities. What do you do when it comes to a major new product launch? Let the journals know with a press release, maybe a presentation at The First Friday Club? Hold a “launch day” for customers and prospects? All of these things are fine, but they’re trying to make an… Read More »The Product Launch: skirmish or campaign?

Emailing engineers: could do better

UK-based email marketing service provider Sign-Up.to has produced a report based on 216 million emails sent out through its service in the year to July. It allows us to compare the performance of email campaigns in the industrial and manufacturing sector to other areas as diverse as finance and restaurants. The first interesting observation is that from more than 20 categories, the industrial and manufacturing sector produced the highest bounce rate (13%) by far. I assume it means that we have the most out-of-date circulations, but I can’t explain why… Read More »Emailing engineers: could do better

The only bit they’ve got wrong is the title

Nine out of ten pieces of marketing material I see forget at least one of the basics. Ninety-nine out of a hundred websites do. But it’s boring to be reminded of the basics, isn’t it? Well, Copyblogger has been brave enough to go through them again, and we can all do with a refresher. The only bit they’ve got wrong is the title, because however many years you’ve been in the job, you should still read The Complete Newbie’s Guide to Marketing. And yes, looking at some of the recent… Read More »The only bit they’ve got wrong is the title

Are you selling your sales process?

I really like this observation, made on the B2B Conversations Now blog. In many businesses, the marketing process has lost its way and started to focus way too much on selling products. And that’s a job which should be left to the sales process. What marketing should be doing is to sell the sales conversation. Why? Because at the point where you’re selling the product, customers expect to be able to buy. Unless you have an online store, or we’re talking here about a catalogue on the desk at a… Read More »Are you selling your sales process?

Your chance to help Google, and help yourself

If you read the various blogs coming out of Google, as I do, you’ll know that the folks at the world’s biggest search engine are really trying hard to “localise” their results – so if you’re looking at Google from the UK, for example, even if you type in “www.google.com” you should automagically be redirected to the UK version, www.google.co.uk (because they can detect where you are) …and the results in the UK version should be ones which are relevant to us here. To demonstrate where they’ve got it right,… Read More »Your chance to help Google, and help yourself

How to find interesting, relevant search terms cheaply

Google AdWords is rapidly becoming my tool of choice when it comes to researching the important keywords for clients. We run an AdWords campaign using what they call “broad match” (so Google shows the ads on any searches it can find which appear to be right), and then look at the actual searches which triggered the ad and got the clicks. It’s an alternative to using your analytics data from ordinary (“organic”) searches, but it has a number of advantages. Of course, it also costs money, but that money also… Read More »How to find interesting, relevant search terms cheaply

Which important marketing prospects never buy your stuff?

A long article in B2B Marketing recently addressed a subject which is being increasingly discussed – marketing to people who influence buying decisions, rather than the ones who sign the order. You probably have your own idea of who your prospects’ influencers might be, but as The power of influencer marketing points out, there are a lot of potential candidates out there, including “journalists, consultants, academics, authors, sourcing advisors, management gurus, procurement advisors, systems integrators, regulators, government executives, standards setters, industry associations, resellers, lobbyists, events, forums and bloggers”. With people… Read More »Which important marketing prospects never buy your stuff?

How you can write a headline like the professionals

I once worked on a “subs” (subeditors) desk with professionals from the national daily newspapers. It was astonishing how they could skim through an article, dream up a compelling headline, and just by looking at it, specify the type size which would make it fill the available space (this was in the days before computerised typesetting, of course). However, despite the revolution in communications over the past twenty years, so that headlines now need to work on paper, on screen and in email subject lines, I don’t think the principles… Read More »How you can write a headline like the professionals

5 things whoever rebuilds your website needs to understand

I’m detecting a lot of interest at the moment in B2B companies rebuilding their websites. There are many reasons why you might want to tear it all up and start again, but they’ll probably be something to do with the fact that the existing one is fiddly (or expensive) to add to or maintain. Many companies have been soldiering on with old, outdated content management systems which have severely restricted their ability to make the changes required for search engine optimisation, for instance. If you think that your 2010 marketing… Read More »5 things whoever rebuilds your website needs to understand

“Companies which blog” …now 55% better

Wow. A little study reported on the Inbound Internet Marketing blog shows that companies which blog get 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages. Now, these measurements feed off each other: more links means better Google positions means more visitors. And “companies which blog” are also likely to be the companies which are putting more effort into their internet marketing, so they’re likely to do better. Even so, these are impressive statistics which can surely be attributed at least in part to the existence… Read More »“Companies which blog” …now 55% better

Frequently Unanswered Questions

Have you ever thought about the whole concept of a “Frequently Asked Questions” page? The Marketing Optimization Blog has, and it makes the great observation in FAQ Page = A Sign Warning Drivers of Potholes that if those questions really are FREQUENTLY ASKED, why the heck isn’t your regular copy answering your visitors’ questions? Great point. I’d guess that most of us don’t actually have a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on our websites; it’s certainly a less commonplace sight in B2B marketing than it is in consumer sectors. But it… Read More »Frequently Unanswered Questions

2 Ways Not To Do Keyword Research

Sorting out the “keywords”, or search terms, which you need to focus your efforts on, is a fundamental part of web marketing. As I’ve written often enough, you don’t necessarily want to concentrate on “blue widgets”, even if that’s what you sell, because the competition might be too great, or there might be alternative meanings for “blue widgets”. So where do marketing managers turn to for inspiration? Here are two common destinations which need great care. Firstly, looking at the search terms which people used to get to your website.… Read More »2 Ways Not To Do Keyword Research

Getting past the Junk Mail folder

My previous article on getting broadcast emails through to recipients’ inboxes proved popular, so here’s some more on the same subject, because I’ve just stumbled across something I didn’t know. Many of your customers and other email recipients will be using Microsoft Outlook (that’s not the bit I didn’t know) and Microsoft Outlook has its own inbuilt junk mail filter. It’s very crude, but it’s there. And surprisingly, the rules which govern that filter are actually not a secret, so it’s pretty easy to ensure that your emails at least… Read More »Getting past the Junk Mail folder

Faster! Faster! You need to be faster!

I manage a few Google AdWords campaigns for businesses, and we charge on the basis of a fixed-rate per visitor that we generate. The final arbiter of how many visitors we’ve generated is the company’s own traffic analytics report, which, curiously, always shows slightly fewer clickthroughs than Google AdWords actually charged us for. So why are 1000 people clicking on the company’s Google AdWords ads, and only 995 being registered on the site itself as having arrived from those ads? I wonder if it’s because the person clicking through never… Read More »Faster! Faster! You need to be faster!

Put your own site first and avoid duplicate content

“Duplicate Content” is a web problem frequently associated with tales of websites being banned from Google. In reality, such occurrences are rare, and the more everyday manifestations aren’t nearly as disastrous, but it’s still something which can hurt your web traffic. The simplest way in which “duplicate content” can affect you adversely is this: Google will attempt to show any given piece of web copy just once in its results. So if one of your product descriptions, for example, appears several times on the web, it might not be the… Read More »Put your own site first and avoid duplicate content

Don’t just settle for keeping up with your competitors

When doing website redesign and relaunch – which I’m being increasingly asked to do – I often ask the client to show me some websites which they’d like to emulate. The response is often a little disappointing, because the sites offered are usually just the pick of immediate competitors. There’s much more to be gained, however, by setting your sights high and looking at the websites of much bigger operations, with much bigger budgets. Of course there’s no chance you could build a site requiring those sorts or resources, but… Read More »Don’t just settle for keeping up with your competitors

Best of “An Article A Day”, August 2009

Most people I speak to who tell me they enjoy these emails add, almost apologetically, “although I can’t say I have time to read every one”, as if it was a requirement. It’s OK, you are allowed to have more pressing matters to attend to. However, in case you ever wonder if the ones you miss happen to be the ones which contain the best advice ever, I thought that, as another month ends, I’d bring you the five articles which inspired the most people to open the emails this… Read More »Best of “An Article A Day”, August 2009

Tough love

Hats off to the B2B Web Strategy Blog for some tough love: it’s no longer good enough to say you can’t find the time to update your website because there’s so much else going on. As How to keep your website’s content fresh points out: “If it’s hard for you to find time to generate fresh, relevant content for your site, then I’d respectfully suggest that your priorities are out of line with the fact that today’s website is central to every B2B’s marketing strategy, not some hobby off to… Read More »Tough love

How genuine is that email address?

It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for a useful web tool. Today’s, however, has a few implications which you might like to consider. Mailinator is one of many online services which gives you a “disposable e-mail address” – useful if somebody requests your email address in order to get something, but you don’t want to give them your real one. Expect to see a lot more people in the future entering disposable addresses into your web forms unless you give them a really good reason to give you their… Read More »How genuine is that email address?

Help your prospects remember you – by email

I was doing some online research earlier this month (for a new camera, as it happens), and I realised that I was in a class of people which websites don’t seem to be very helpful towards. Maybe it’s because I’m just odd, but we might be a growing group who you might want to take into account on your site. We’re the people who organise our lives around email. What does that mean? Well, I use email as a to-do list. I use email as a bookmarking service. If I… Read More »Help your prospects remember you – by email

Ask and ye shall receive. Or chase them away.

If there’s one thing which is guaranteed to generate disagreeement here at BMON Towers, it’s the question of “should I demand a website visitor says who they are before giving them any worthwhile information?” Ladies and gentlemen, in the red corner, I give you the business owner who says: “I don’t care if it puts 90% of them off, at least I get contact details from 10% of my visitors”. And in the blue corner (this is me), I give you the argument that if you’re welcoming to 100% of… Read More »Ask and ye shall receive. Or chase them away.

Hands up who has to write marketing copy for engineers?

Hands up who has to write marketing copy for engineers. Hmm, that’s most of you. Who thinks that engineers are a breed apart? Almost everyone. So why do we not have special rules and considerations when writing for this very specific market? Why do we not shout down the folks who say “it doesn’t matter who you’re writing for, it’s all about pushing the right emotional buttons”? Not with engineers, it isn’t. The best discussion I’ve ever read on this subject is on copywriter Bob Bly’s website. In Six Things… Read More »Hands up who has to write marketing copy for engineers?

1 thing you need to know about SEO

When people say: “I want to get my site to number one in Google for red widgets”, I don’t tell them they’ve just made a fundamental error in terminology, because it doesn’t really matter, I know what they mean. Except it does matter. It’s only just dawned on me that they’re not being sloppy with their language, they’re betraying a misapprehension which needs to be corrected, because once it is, the path to getting to number one in Google becomes a lot clearer. Sites don’t get to number one in… Read More »1 thing you need to know about SEO

Video: easier and more effective than you may think

It’s possible to make a video for your company which will “go viral” and be viewed far more widely than you’d ever imagined, but you don’t have to do an Eppendorf to make a video worthwhile. In fact, as Six Reasons Videos That Aren’t Viral Are Valuable on the Inbound Internet Marketing blog explains, even one with a limited appeal can be very worthwhile. Videos are amazingly cheap to shoot and distribute nowadays. You don’t need (or want) to hire a serious production studio and a £20,000 budget just to… Read More »Video: easier and more effective than you may think

How to design an email newsletter

If your company’s email newsletters are sent out in text-only format, you’ve probably made a conscious decision to sacrifice image for readability, and I wouldn’t argue with anyone who chooses to go down that route. At the other extreme, colourful multi-column emails do give off a professional image – at least to the recipients whose email clients show them the way they were designed. Sadly, unless you’ve tested the email in enormous detail, there’ll be a number of recipients who see an unprofessional mess, or nothing at all. Somewhere in… Read More »How to design an email newsletter

Number one on Google doesn’t just happen

Right, I’ve told you how the way to get to the top of the Google results is to get lots of inbound links. And I’ve told you that having lots of content on your site is the way to, er, get to the top of the Google results. So which one is it, Chris? Oh, you know the answer …it’s both. Do I have to get off the fence? OK, I’ll go for content, but only because the more content you have, the more material you’ve got which might attract… Read More »Number one on Google doesn’t just happen

A chill wind blows through trade shows

Here’s a survey which probably just tells us something we already knew, but it’s always good to have your assumptions backed up by some numbers. US website Marketing Sherpa has published the results of a survey of nearly 1,500 “buyers and influencers” in Information Sources for Large Purchase Decisions Changing which shows a thumping drop this year in the number of people using “face to face” events or tradeshows. We’re looking at trends here, not absolute numbers, but it’s interesting to see what’s rising and falling, even if we don’t… Read More »A chill wind blows through trade shows

The internet is social

Once upon a time, a good argument could be made for a business presenting itself as aloof and “corporate” as possible. For many customers, it gave off a reassuring degree of professionalism. Today, especially online, pompousness is a bad thing. In a nice article called 10 Things a B2B Company Can Do to be Social Now on Social Media B2B, there are some compelling points to do with making your “About Us” page more human. See what you think.

Does your website move with the times?

I’m not talking so much about having up-to-date content here, but about moving the furniture to reflect the changing requirements of customers. In Is Your Static Content Driving Your Website to Extinction? on the Inbound Internet Marketing blog, the case is made for changing offers frequently and constantly highlighting different items on the site. So many of us keep the content of our home page and sidebars unchanged from year to year. It’s a bit lazy.

Keywords: they’re that important

Keyword research. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, keyword research is one of the most important things to do in your online marketing. If you know what you want to be found for, you can create web pages, emails, PPC ad campaigns and more with those searched-for words or phrases (“keywords”) in mind. If you haven’t formulated a list, you haven’t got a focus, and you won’t be using the keywords at every opportunity like you should. And it matters, because the chances are at least one… Read More »Keywords: they’re that important

How much do you care about your words?

Does the writing which goes on your website get as much scrutiny or proofreading as the writing which goes into your company’s printed brochures? I bet it doesn’t. Somehow there’s a “permanence” about print which makes it held in some sort of awe, whereas online copy is normally just one person’s unedited, unplanned thoughts. Strange, because in many cases, not only will web copy be read by more people than print copy nowadays, but I believe the difference in response between good and ordinary copy is greater on a web… Read More »How much do you care about your words?

Put some content generation at the heart of your marketing

Yesterday I discussed “content marketing“, which is the opposite of traditional interruption marketing in that you provide the material which people want to be engaged with, rather than hanging around someone else’s work. So how do we go about setting up a content marketing campaign? There are loads of possibilities, and they’re not just writing articles. Remember, this is all about showing you’re an industry authority (and you are!), so you can tell the story through videos, presentations, whatever you like. However, let’s start at the most obvious place: written… Read More »Put some content generation at the heart of your marketing

Your competitive advantage is you

I wrote the other day about the reluctance of many companies to reveal the prices of their products. One of the daftest reasons often admitted to (which I didn’t get around to mentioning) is that “it gives away commercial information to our competitors”. I don’t know where to start with that one, so I won’t. But it did remind me to talk about “content marketing”, an idea whose time has definitely come, but which suffers from the same problem. Content Marketing is all about publishing information to drive sales. In… Read More »Your competitive advantage is you

Google Analytics on your desktop

Are you one of those people who occasionally studies their website traffic quite seriously but doesn’t keep a more general eye on things on a more frequent basis? Take a look at Polaris, which is a really great little application which sits on your desktop and shows you all the headline traffic statistics from Google Analytics, with some of the most beautiful graphs ever. It’s free too.

It makes sense to have URLs which make sense

For those of you labouring with an old and/or badly written content management system, today’s article won’t be that encouraging. It emphasises the need to have nice clear web page addresses, or “URLs”, which in themselves describe what the page is about. In many systems, the URL imposed on each page won’t be something useful like “www.redwidgetcompany.co.uk/widgets/pricelist.html” but will more likely be something horrible like “www.redwidgetcompany.co.uk/dfgy/content.aspx?prod=aXT45&num=34771”. There are two things bad about this. One is that it tells the search engines nothing, and puts your SEO on the back foot… Read More »It makes sense to have URLs which make sense

LinkedIn continues to get stronger

I haven’t mentioned LinkedIn for several months, and in the meantime it’s quietly been getting stronger, from what I can see. There are a whole load of suggestions as to how you might make more of this business-oriented social networking site in 33 Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business on Web Worker Daily. If you’re on LinkedIn, go to the group I’ve set up for readers of this blog and join us. Then visit my profile, and “add Chris to your network“. If we haven’t “done business together”, as they… Read More »LinkedIn continues to get stronger

Give your emails a fighting chance

It’s amazing how many people assume that marketing emails which don’t bounce back have been read by their recipients. In fact, the response rate of your emails may be much better than you think. But only because far fewer of them get read than you imagine. After your email has disappeared into the void (and not been returned), it has to negotiate a long list of tricky hurdles: spam filters at the Internet Service Provider level; firewalls at the recipient organisation; personal spam filters; recipients not liking the subject or… Read More »Give your emails a fighting chance

How Google keeps us on our toes

It’s almost certainly not your job to know this, but Google makes changes which might affect the way you present your website almost every month. Just to give you an idea of how much goes on, and how much search engine optimisation consultants have to keep up with, have a read of Google updates – SEO implications of significant first half 2009 changes on Dave Chaffey Internet Marketing. It’s mind-boggling at times. Any questions?

We-We-ing on your prospects

I like to bring you some fun stuff on Fridays, if I have any, and today it’s FutureNow’s Customer Focus Calculator, or “WeWe Monitor”. As usual with these things, there’s a serious message behind it. If you really think that you’re offering what your customers want, you need to be concentrating on their big “What’s in it for me?” question. Come on, you don’t need me to tell you this. So if you’re concentrating on what’s in it for them, you shouldn’t be wasting space on yourself. Customers don’t want… Read More »We-We-ing on your prospects

Your website is supposed to be selling. Is it?

Here’s a nice “back to basics” article about the elementary functions of your website, which might make you sit up and think. Don’t Promote Your Website, Use Your Website to Promote You! on Search Engine Guide makes the very good point that the web is a little different from traditional media, in that you’re the publisher, and therefore you have to do an extra job – publicising the medium itself. If you take out an advert in Widget Monthly, you can safely assume that you don’t need to alert the… Read More »Your website is supposed to be selling. Is it?

If you hide your prices, I think you have something to hide

This is a fantastic idea which anyone can do without too much effort. It concerns putting prices on your website, and specifically generating the evidence that it would be a Good Thing to do so. I have never been able to understand why any manufacturer or supplier doesn’t put a full price list of standard products on its website. I once had a discussion with an MD who said “I can give you five good reasons why we don’t”, and who promptly gave me five dreadful reasons why he didn’t.… Read More »If you hide your prices, I think you have something to hide

Should you “swap links” with other sites?

Here’s a question I get asked quite frequently: “Should I respond to that emailed request from some website owner to put a link to his site on mine, in exchange for a link back?” The answer is “almost certainly not”. But that doesn’t mean that “reciprocal” links are a bad thing. Let me explain. There are two reasons to get links: the traffic they generate directly, and the incremental boost they give you in the search engine rankings. Now, the amount of boost each one gives you in the search… Read More »Should you “swap links” with other sites?

Taking the plunge

13 Steps That Transformed One Company From Invisible King to Sought Leader is a recent post on the Inbound Internet Marketing blog which looks at the success in the search engine results being achieved by the Swedish medical systems company Elekta. As with any corporate website, there are plenty of things we can spot which might be improved, but it’s a pretty good effort, I’m sure you’ll agree. However, the real story here – as the article describes – is in the things going on behind the scenes which you… Read More »Taking the plunge

How much should great online marketing cost you?

I know a lot of companies will soon start making their marketing plans for 2010. At most companies, an arbitrary “marketing budget” is allocated, and different marketing activities then get allocated proportions of that, depending on what appears to be working, or what the MD favours doing, or what the parent company dictates. Within each of these activities, further sub-allocations get made, which finally leads to PR agencies, magazine ad reps or exhibition organisers being asked: “What can you do for £xxx?” I’ve discussed before how the whole idea of… Read More »How much should great online marketing cost you?

Top tips for business to business AdWords campaigns

I hate consultancy which does the job but doesn’t educate at the same time. We always try to explain everything we’re doing for our clients (or at least we answer any questions they have), but I can never find enough time to do that job quite as well as I’d like. That’s why I make a point of writing this blog, which I hope provides a little education, albeit in a random stream of subjects! Not all consultants are keen to explain the tricks of their trade, but occasionally you… Read More »Top tips for business to business AdWords campaigns

Ideas to expand your website

Stop Press: Great to announce that this blog was the “marketing category” winner in the Summer 2009 Blog Competition at MurrayNewlands.com – I’m deeply humbled! And now here’s today’s article… It doesn’t really matter if your website has a blog or not, one way or another you should be adding new content to it every week. Visitors like new information, search engines love new information, and more words on your website means more chance of hitting the bullseye with those millions of obscure “long tail” searches being made on search… Read More »Ideas to expand your website

Does your website do what your visitors need it to do?

I’ve just had one of my worst web experiences for a long time. In fact, one of the worst customer relations experiences, because I gave up on the offender’s website in the end, and went for the telephone option, only to be given three levels of “options to help us serve you better”, none of which were relevant. The website concerned was The National Lottery, which you might think looks pretty clear at first glance. What I wanted to do was to buy a 52-week subscription for someone as a… Read More »Does your website do what your visitors need it to do?

How not to go about getting links

Here’s one of my regular articles imploring you to set someone the task of getting links to your website. Honestly, there is no better way of improving your search engine traffic, yet because it all sounds a bit woolly and seems a bit hard, I bet you haven’t got a link-building project under way. I know, I know… you don’t have the time to do it in-house, and you haven’t subbed it out either, because you don’t fancy the idea of some consultant contacting loads of websites on your behalf.… Read More »How not to go about getting links

To see ourselves as others see us

A bit of fun for a Friday morning, but with some serious undercurrent. Take a screenshot of your website* and upload it to www.feng-gui.com. The site will, apparently, use artificial intelligence to simulate human vision during the first five seconds of viewing your page. Whether it’s accurate or not, it does give you an idea of what people probably do, and it’s almost certain that they don’t just look down the page in the linear order you expect them to. Do the places they see first actually tell them the… Read More »To see ourselves as others see us