Right, here’s an article which you can read and then think about over the weekend (if I sound pushy, it’s because I feel strongly about this one!). The article is even worth reading a couple of times to make sure you’ve got the message. And the message to take away is: “Forget demand generation. That is so 1995. Instead, focus your efforts on demand facilitation.” The article, Focus on facilitating demand, not generating it, from BtoB magazine, points out that buying behaviour has been transformed in the past few years,… Read More »Something for the weekend
Our Daily Articles: Complete Index 2008–2020
What do you send your customers when they buy a product? What about potential customers who’ve just requested a datasheet? Or people you’re thanking for having entertained a sales call? In 10 crucial elements for great transactional emails on iMedia Connection, author Wendy Roth says: “If I sent you a present, you’d send me a thank-you note, right? Not just to say thanks (even if you hated it), but also to let me know it got to you safely and because we’re friends. So, when people buy from your online… Read More »Don’t respond like a robot
Guy Kawasaki on How To Change The World is usually worth listening to, and last week on the AmEx OPEN forum he posted a nice piece called The Art of Customer Surveys. Now, we all know we have to listen to our customers (and equally importantly, potential customers), and we all know surveys are a good way of sounding them out, especially as they’re so easy to do. But Kawasaki points out there are many dangers in surveys, not least their self-selecting nature. I don’t think these are reasons to… Read More »Can you cope with the criticism?
As if there wasn’t enough to be thinking about anyway when it comes to tuning up your website, many of you probably have to think about non-English speakers. One company I’ve been talking to about our Insider Programme tells me it’s in the process of developing its website into twenty-six languages! And guess what? There are different considerations in different countries when it comes to search engines. The top five mistakes in foreign language website optimisation are outlined in Multilingual SEO best practice on Dave Chaffey Internet Marketing. I can’t… Read More »What’s the Chinese for “SEO”?
You’re not one of those people who fills their press releases with marketing-speak, are you? No, of course not. You’ve read Dilbert for years, and you laugh in the face of people who talk about leading-edge, state-of-the-art solutions. Except that …well… if you do, you’re in a tiny minority. I know from an exercise in analysing the first 200,000 press releases which came into the Pro-Talk network, when I worked there, that words like “solutions” occur in the majority of press releases. Have you ever heard a customer ask for… Read More »You don’t stand out by being bland
I regularly look through the trade mags which have made it well past the date by which they were supposed to have been blown away by the internet. About half of those which I worked on in the decade or more I was a print magazine editor have now disappeared, but others seem quite healthy (and I’m glad, because a lot of old friends work for them). However, when I study the advertisements which keep them going, I do get the impression that the majority are placed by people who… Read More »Advertising: powered by inertia
Lots of people have said to me over the summer, “Chris, I love the idea of learning how to make my website work harder on your Insider Programme, but my company website is run by our American/German/Japanese (delete as applicable) parent, and all we do is to upload product information and news relating to the UK. So there’s not much we can do to improve the website, is there?” If that rings a bell with you, it’s time to think again. Firstly, I’d say the design of a website (the… Read More »Start with the little things
I mentioned not neglecting “snail mail” the other day, and in Direct Mail Versus E-mail: You Decide on the BeRelevant! blog, the strengths and weaknesses of the two methods are discussed. Of course, in the end, it all comes down to return on investment. You do know the return on investment figures for recent mailing campaigns in your business, don’t you? Of course you do.
We all know that getting good content on your website is a massive help in drawing people towards it. But what is “good content”? It’s easy to say, but harder to define. As ever, we give you a lot of help in this direction on our Insider Programme. However, there are some super tips in a fine article called Marketing Content Salespeople Actually Use on the Marketing Interactions site. This piece is primarily aimed at making you think about how to write content which helps your sales team, rather than… Read More »Some ideas for “good content”
Designing Better Landing Pages is an interesting article from the Accelerating IT Sales blog. Few industrial companies get “landing pages” right. Many don’t have specially-designed “landing pages” at all: the web page which site visitors “land” on as a response to advertising or Google searches is just the page which most closely relates to the product concerned. Lots of companies just send everyone to their front page. What a wasted opportunity! For example, if you were sending out invitations to customers to an event, would you tell them to RSVP… Read More »Tricky landing ahead
Someone asked me recently what position in the Google results I would classify as “good”. Sadly, it’s very high. As you go down the page, clickthroughs drop dramatically (and sorry – if you’re not in the top ten, i.e on page 1, you’re toast). An article on Conversion Rate Experts called Why Rank #1 in Google shows quite graphically where people look on the Google results page, and shows how important a no.1 spot is. The number of people bypassing the AdWords ads at the top of the page has… Read More »Keep on keeping on with Google
The time was when making a video for your business was a special event, and probably involved bringing in an expensive professional production company. For that reason alone, many marketing professionals have never been involved in making a corporate video at all. Now things are very different. If your company isn’t already churning out videos, I predict you will be, in the next couple of years. Videos work, the quality expectation of viewers is now much less exacting, and the equipment needed is available to everyone. You may be doing… Read More »There Will Be Video
This is quite an advanced article today, but it’s the sort of thing you’ll be taking in your stride after you’ve been on our Insider Programme for a while (and please think about joining, it’s a genuinely great investment). In Six Mistakes B2B Marketers Continue To Make With Organic Search, Search Engine Land takes you past elementary “optimisation” of a website for search engines, and looks at the things many people continue to get wrong even after they think they’ve got their site all sorted. Likely errors include not having… Read More »Happy with your site? Think again.
No, seriously, bear with me. In Fast fixes for B2B marketing in a sour economy on the B2B Web Strategy Blog, author Bill Gadless says that in a downturn, leads are harder to come by and taking noticeably longer to close. So it’s time to take a critical look at your marketing and fix some of those deficiencies that could safely be ignored in the good times. Five specific ideas are highlighted (including why you might think about trying snail mail again), and there’s a link to a much more… Read More »Try using snail mail again
You probably don’t have a company blog. Whilst the number of companies producing them is expanding massively, they’re still rare in industrial circles. And that’s a real missed opportunity. Blogs provide some wonderful opportunities to publish content which would never sit comfortably on your main website – and they also get a surprisingly large following amongst your customers and (more importantly) potential custoners. Why do I go to the effort of writing this one every day? Because it keeps the name of my business in front of you, and from… Read More »What to put in your company blog
I recently pointed you towards some good email newsletter production advice – now here are some good ideas about content. In 12 Content Ideas for Your Email Campaigns on the BeRelevant! blog, there are some nice suggestions which I might not have thought of – but which might just work well.
Lots of people monitor their position in the Google results for various search terms which they’ve identified as being important. But whilst you want to be as high as possible, is there a position below which it doesn’t matter where you are? Yes, and for most of us it’s number 10, because the vast majority of Google searchers never click to the next page. In Why I Think SERPs Should Go Beyond 10 Results on Search Engine Guide, the author argues that the search engine results pages (the “SERPs”) need… Read More »Search engines: page 1 or bust
One of my favourite articles of the month coming up. It’s possible that your website is for customer support alone, and it’s possible that you have an online store, but my guess is that the primary objective of your website (you do have an objective, don’t you?) is lead generation. So let’s look at improving a lead generation website. In 5 Simple Tips for Lead-Generation Sites on FutureNow’s Marketing Optimization Blog, author Bryan Eisenberg gives you some food for thought, with one tip standing out for me: use a two-part… Read More »Why you should use a two-part lead form
The article I’m linking to today was written at the start of the year, but the trends it observes will probably be even stronger now. But first let’s keep to basics. Are you using Google AdWords? They’re the small ads which appear at the top and on the right on Google results pages, and on many third-party sites like the site I used to edit, Engineeringtalk, and thousands of others. Let’s just say now, unequivocally, that if you’re in UK B2B marketing, you should be using AdWords. If you’re not,… Read More »Is the Google AdWords “Content Network” any good?
Do you still write your company’s press releases the same way as you did ten years ago? Or if they’re written for you by a PR consultancy, have your writers changed their approach over the past ten years? If not, it might be time to change your writers. The fact of the matter is that before the web became the main target for press releases, you had to write them to appeal to journalists and editors. Now you have to write them to appeal just as much (if not more)… Read More »Press releases: things have moved on
Seth’s Blog is always good for articles which make you go away and reassess your outlook to marketing and customer relations. In Old marketing with new tools he says we use technology to do less for our customers, when we should be using it to do more. It’s a good point, and something all of us (including me) are probably guilty of. It’s amazing how little individualised care we give to high-value customers because we’ve become so used to mass-communication tools. But if this is a general problem (and it… Read More »Is technology putting your customers off?
Here’s a nice little article on the Industrial Search Engine Marketing blog which is worth going through. Quick Site Audit! Is Your Site Search Engine Friendly? gives a small selection of elementary things which your website should and shouldn’t have if it’s to be “search engine friendly”. If you think you might not be conforming to the article’s suggestions, get the problem fixed and you’ll undoubtedly see more traffic from Google. Some of the points may seem quite technical, but throw this at your website designers if you’re unsure and… Read More »Keeping your website “search engine friendly”
Does your company run an email newsletter for your customers? I’m sure you do – it’s just about the most cost-effective sales and marketing exercise available to you, and has been for many years. But if you don’t, or if you produce one only half-heartedly, have a read of 3 Steps to Regular Email Newsletters on the BeRelevant! blog. In this article, the author suggests that a successful newsletter needs a timetable, an owner and an easy method of contributing at a time of the contributor’s choice. What you simply… Read More »How to get a successful newsletter produced
It’s a big day for us, because today Business Marketing Online unveils its flagship product, the Insider Programme. This is a combined educational and consultancy service for industrial and technical companies in the UK, where we’ll show you how to increase your website traffic as well as convert a higher proportion of visitors into name-and-address sales leads. I won’t describe it in depth here, I’ll just direct you to our Insider Programme information page and our Insider Programme explanatory video which do a pretty good job of explaining it all.… Read More »The Insider Programme launches today
Here’s something where we in industry might learn from consumer websites. Many of these found long ago that “reviews” (or at least more descriptive pieces) worked far better than dry spec sheets in selling products, or at least getting response. Yet your average industrial website continues to reproduce data sheets, and that’s it. Now, of course you need to have data sheets on a website. Customers need them. But they’re not enough. You need to sell the products too. I suspect the real reason that products often get no more… Read More »Data sheets: not good enough, I’m afraid
One or two people commented on the post about GoogleTrends for Websites to say that they didn’t realise such useful tools were available, so presumably many of you may not have come across Google Insights For Search either. This is introduced comprehensively in the article Competitive Intelligence Analysis: Google Insights for Search on Occam’s Razor so make yourself a mug of coffee and have a read. This tool is a fascinating insight (of course) into what people are searching for, and where.
You thought Apple’s PR was good, but when Google launches a product – today it was a new browser – it can pick up equally massive coverage (the front page of the BBC website, to name but one example). So why is a new browser (the application you use to look at the web with, like Internet Explorer, or Firefox) of any real importance? Here’s why, and here’s how it affects you. If you have a decent web stats/analytics program running, you’ll probably be able to see that 80% of… Read More »Another day, another browser
Google Trends for Websites is a relatively new – free – offering from Google which allows you to track the clickthroughs from Google to any site on the web. This means you can compare how you’re doing against your competitors, which is always fun. Unfortunately, you have to get a certain amount of clickthroughs to register on the graphs, which might not make it very useful for lower-traffic sites, such as many industrial companies. However, a really good, in-depth introduction to Google Trends for Websites appeared on the Occam’s Razor… Read More »How do you compare to your competitors?
A lot of your marketing emails never get to the recipient. Fact. There’s no point in bemoaning the crudity of some of the “email filters” which people have in place; they exist, they work badly, and we just have to get on with it. However, we can at least do as much as possible to reduce the number which get swallowed up into black holes set up by some work-experience kid in your customer’s IT Department. As Editor of Engineeringtalk for over eight years, I probably sent out 15 million… Read More »Give that email every chance of survival
I’m going to bang on until I’m blue in the face about this subject, because I will never, ever understand why so few companies survey their customers before making decisions which will affect them. Surveys are fast, and if you already have your customers’ email addresses – free. Yes, of course there are caveats about the responses (you only get them from people who like filling in surveys, and these might not be representative of your customer base as a whole) but the results are infinitely better than just going… Read More »Using Surveys to Make Decisions
The first thing to do when trying to improve your site’s performance in the search engine results is to work out what words and phrases you’re trying to improve it for. These search terms are called the “keywords”. Determining what these should be is not as obvious as you think, and we’ll be covering that right at the start in our Business Marketing Online Insider Programme. Once you’ve done this, you need to work on making those keywords prominent on your pages. Three Ways to Give Your Keywords Prominence on… Read More »How to focus on those keywords
Increasingly, experts are suggesting that you focus on getting your website visitors to do the one thing you want them to do, rather than impress them with the breadth of options you offer. Having built up a successful online publishing venture myself on precisely this principle, I find that most gratifying. Analysts amongst you will be interested in a recent study which compared the ability to “find a camera which you like” on the Argos, Comet, eBuyer and Currys websites, discussed in Argos beats competition with user-friendly web design on… Read More »Focus on what you want the visitor to do
Ever wondered if maybe you can’t see the wood for the trees on your website? You should have done. Looking into the subject, I found this great post from earlier in the year on the Search Engine Marketing Exposed blog. Why would someone come to your site, how will they find you, why would they stay, and why would they come back? Simple questions to ask, hard ones to answer. But you should. Read Four questions every web site owner needs to answer for more.
Creating an email marketing campaign? Components of a Successful Marketing Email from the B2B Marketing ROI blog gives you a nice checklist of things to consider. According to the article, subject lines, email content, formatting and timing are the key factors contributing to open and conversion rates. You’ll have to do some Googling to get some in-depth advice on each subject, but it’s a good place to start.
How to use Google Alerts to find out if your site gets hacked on Blogstorm is a few weeks old now, but it’s a great idea which will only take you a few moments to set up. Now. The theory is this: if someone hacks into your website (and don’t think it can’t happen), it’s quite likely they’ll put all sorts of spammy stuff on it like ads for certain pharmaceuticals. Naturally, your site won’t have those words on it. So set up a “Google Alert” (you do use Google… Read More »Let Google keep an eye on hackers
So you’ve got this blank piece of paper in front of you, and probably some dry technical data to incorporate into a really stunning piece of marketing copy. Where do you go from here? In The Secret To Writing Really Great Content from ClickNewz, Lynn Terry lists a few ideas. Nothing radically new here of course, but nicely – er – written, and we can all do with being reminded of some of these things from time to time. Personally, I always find one good way to get things written… Read More »Written inspiration
I used to be one of those kids who spent all his exam revision time drawing out revision timetables, and then running out of any time to do revision. Now I read books about online marketing all the time, and subsequently have no time to put the ideas into practice on my own websites. Well, it seems like it. Anyway, I was wondering which books I’d class as the best I’d ever read, so I did the usual thing (this is a good technique, by the way) and entered the… Read More »Great books about online marketing
I’ve gone back to an article which is a few months old today, because it might give you some inspiration if you’re wondering whether to invest in your website in the current economic climate (or it might give you some ammunition if you’re trying to persuade someone to let you). In How a Website Makeover Can Help “Recession-Proof” Your Company on the B2B Web Strategy blog, the author argues that in a downturn, “even if you don’t aim for market share growth, you’re likely to find that you need more… Read More »You need leads more than ever
Today’s linked-to article is a fairly throwaway piece, but it allows me to bring up an important subject. In Keyword density: How many keywords are too much? on the Industrial Search Engine Marketing blog, the author ponders whether there’s a magic number for keyword density. Hang on a moment, if you’re thinking “keyword what?”, this is for you too. Keyword density is the percentage of the copy on the page taken up by “keywords”, or your targeted search terms (the ones you want to be found on Google for). To… Read More »How dense are your keywords?
Typical – you spend ages creating a nice original product and then find someone’s already done virtually the same thing. Anyway, despite having spent ages putting together a good “Practical Steps” sheet on copywriting for our Insider Programme, and then having come across 20 SEO Copywriting hints on the SeoUnique blog, I shall give you the link anyway. It should be added that there are no end of good articles around about online copywriting, but this was particularly close to the one I’d just about finished. Oh well.
OK, sometimes on this blog we go a little, well, perhaps not “off-topic”, but lighter in tone than usual. Today is such a day, because I’d like you to read Charlie Brooker’s article called Online POKER marketing could spell the NAKED end of VIAGRA journalism as we LOHAN know it from The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website. It’s – er – forthright, as is Mr Brooker’s way. But it’s worth bearing in mind when you’re next crafting that tortuous prose for your company website.
Here’s a tip you can have for free. Does your website have a robots.txt file? It really should do. Check by typing in /robots.txt after your sitename – for example, our file would be https://www.bmon.co.uk/robots.txt (and yes, we do have one). If you want to know what one of these is, and how to create one, let me push you in the direction of the robots.txt Tutorial on SEObook, which should tell you far more thanyou ever need to know. If you don’t have a robots.txt file, it’s time to… Read More »Keep the robots happy
I’m assuming your website has one or more forms on it (if you’re not trying to capture visitors’ details you may as well pack up and go home now) …but have you tried to break those forms? You know the sort of thing – leaving vital information out, entering impossible email addresses, etc. Having a form which doesn’t ensure the right information is entered is like taking someone’s business card and not glancing down to check they haven’t given you their rail ticket instead. The thought just occurred to me… Read More »Ever filled in your own forms?
I like this. In Seven Building Blocks of a Destination Website: #2 Usability on the Search Engine Guide blog, the author says that in projects aimed at improving your website’s performance in search engines, if you don’t address usability problems on your site as part of the exercise, it’s “like running radio and TV promos to drive people to a store that is unfinished. The traffic being driven may not be a total loss, but you certainly aren’t getting the full value out of each customer. Many won’t find what… Read More »Are the signs up in your shop?
Bob Bly is a widely-respected marketing copywriting expert, who happens to come from an engineering industry background. He refers to this in an amusing but insightful post – Does Sex Sell? – on his bly.com blog. Of course sex doesn’t sell, although it does get attention – and in marketing, we have the job of explaining the difference to sales. He alludes to other “sexy” marketing options too, such as video. Whether or not video is just attention-grabbing sexiness or a serious lead generator, you’ll have to decide.
What happens when you type your company’s name into Google (like many people will, every day) and beneath the first result (which is your website, isn’t it?) is a result with a title like “[Your Company] is rubbish – don’t deal with them”. This is something any company can face, and it’s worth knowing what do do about it. How to Combat Complaints Sites in Google on Search Engine Journal discusses this issue. I was approached recently by a friend whose TV rentals company had exactly this problem. The first… Read More »Overcoming uncomplimentary comments
Here’s one for those of you who are already well into keyword optimizing: identifying the search terms you want to be found for, and getting them on your pages in the right places and quantities. Optimizing for Multiple Word Order Search Phrases on the terrific SEOmoz blog discusses whether you should optimise for “red widgets UK” or “UK red widgets” or any other combination of those words (assuming you sell red widgets in the UK!). If all this sounds a bit like hard work, we’ll be covering these sorts of… Read More »Getting your words in the order right
I love testimonials on websites. They seem to look good in that context even if they don’t quite seem to fit on a company’s printed promotional material. But getting them can often be a chore. A nice article called 5 Tips for Getting Testimonials to Build Referrals on the Branding & Marketing blog will give you an idea or two about how to go about it. Actually, the simplest of all is probably the most effective: call a customer with a short customer service questionnaire, and then ask them at… Read More »Don’t take our word for it…
Here’s a technical item which I hope to be able to talk you through more thoroughly in our Insider Programme if you join it. Your web pages (indeed all web pages) are made up of “source code” which instructs visitors’ web browsers how to display things as the designer intended. You can see the source code of any page (including this one) by clicking “View Source” under “Page” (if you’re using Internet Explorer; if you’re using Firefox, click “Page Source” under “View”). It’s quite complex stuff, but it’s what the… Read More »Get things in order behind the scenes
The Eppendorf video which I mentioned last week is not the only piece of video around in industrial marketing, just a particularly adventurous one. But should you be increasing your use of video? In What you need to know about using video online on the Marketing Experiments blog it’s suggested that you’ll have to test to see what your market responds to, but before you start testing, there are other questions to be answered about the context of your videos, as well as “friction” and “usability”. Read the article for… Read More »Have we got a video?