It’s amazing how many companies discontinue products (or entire manufacturers’ lines) and just delete all the relevant pages on their websites. D’oh! No, no, no, no and no. Imagine you had two adjoining exhibition stands, where you’d planned to separately display your traditional red widgets and your newer blue widgets, and you’d put out a lot of publicity in advance to potential customers of both types. The day before the show, at a strategic meeting, it’s decided that the company will no longer be selling the old red widgets. What… Read More »Dead? No, just resting
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I don’t want to seem like some sort of unquestioning fanboy for Seth Godin’s Blog, but the guy hits the nail on the head so squarely sometimes that you can only sit back and admire. In Should small businesses whine?, Godin points out that people are happy to do business with small suppliers – but these have to differentiate themselves from the big ones, and provide tangible benefits. Duh, you may say, of course they have to. But are they making the most of that? If your competitors are bigger… Read More »Taking on the big fish
Most of the articles I read about “how to write press releases” I totally disagree with. And that’s wearing my hat as having been an industrial trade magazine and website editor for over twenty years. I think the articles are written with the best of intentions, but they seem to be imagining you’re aiming your press releases solely at the FT or something. In reality, I suspect the bulk of your press releases are aimed at far more mundane titles. “Keep your press releases down to one side of A4”,… Read More »A new angle on press releases
OK, I know the point of this blog is to seek out articles which are of particular relevance to the UK industrial and scientific marketing community, but I’m going to break the rules slightly today by quoting an article which is about high-volume consumer marketing. What’s more, it’s about how to manage scarcity, which is a problem I doubt many of us will ever have the luxury of having to deal with. However, apart from being a fascinating article, I think Scarcity, from Seth’s Blog, raises many issues which should… Read More »Making scarcity a benefit
MarketingSherpa is a well-known online marketing resource, and for good reason. It recently released its huge 2008 B2B Lead Generation Handbook (link to executive summary) and I’ve been ploughing through it. However, there’s little reason to spend ages writing it up thoroughly when others have already done a good job, so I refer you to What Works Now in B2B Lead Generation, Part 1 at the The WebMarketCentral Blog, where author Tom Pick pores over some of the conclusions. It’s well worth a read of the article, or the summary.… Read More »Heavyweight reading
Here’s one which I think might not be met with universal enthusiasm in the marketing world. But you’ve got to admit, author Mac McIntosh does have a point in the Sales Lead Insights B2B Marketing Blog when he wonders if “marketers should have a significant portion of their compensation tied to meeting their company’s growth and revenue goals”. Sure, growth and revenue are more the realm of sales, but if your salary depended on it, would you not focus more on “moving prospects from awareness to inquiry to consideration and… Read More »Sales commission for marketing?
The author of How to Use Keywords in your Navigation on the Industrial Search Engine Marketing blog and I tread very much on the same path. I can bore for Britain on the need to optimise the navigation on your web sites, and I almost certainly will do when we get our Insider Programme launched in the autumn. But not only should the navigation be focused on the important stuff on your site (we don’t really need links to legal disclaimers on every single page, thanks), the keywords for your… Read More »Keep your navigation to the point
A tremendous article from the US today, from the Modern B2B Marketing blog. You’ll need a long coffee break for this one, but it’s worth it. In 7 Strategies for B2B Marketing during a Recession: The Definitive Guide, author Jon Miller discusses how tougher economic times will inevitably lead to reduced marketing budgets, and how we might be more efficient with what we’re left with. Managing your leads better and converting more enquirers into leads are two obvious areas, but ones in which we all have room for improvement. However,… Read More »Marketing is where profits begin
I’m guessing that readers of this blog split fairly evenly into general managers at smaller companies, marketing managers at medium-sized ones, and marketing communications managers at larger ones. Today’s article is in praise of the marcomms/marcom manager, whose job is expanding continually and steadily. Marketing managers and general managers who have to cover marcomms as just one small part of their remit will say it’s even harder for them. In the B2B MarCom Writer Blog the other day, American author Dianna Huff asked “What Should Be Included in a MarCom… Read More »Hats off to MarComms
We’re often quite blinkered when it comes to devising ways to attract more traffic to our web sites. Sure, you can’t beat being number one on Google for “blue widgets” (especially if that’s all you sell), but there are other ways – and many of them contribute to a better Google ranking. Now, you might think that in industrial marketing, we’re a lot more limited in what we can do, and to some extent that’s true. But don’t use that as an excuse to completely walk away from new ideas.… Read More »This’ll save you a brainstorm
I don’t want this blog to get too technical about online marketing, so I try to draw attention to more conceptual marketing thinkpieces as often as I do to ones which talk about search engine optimisation or pay-per-click advertising. When it comes to making you think, one of my favourite blogs is from the American writer Seth Godin, and in the latest entry on Seth’s Blog he once again gives us a worthwhile coffee-time read. In The statesman, the lawyer and the marketer, Seth asks why as marketers, we act… Read More »Are you really, always, the right choice?
Oh dear. While it’s good news that search engines are going to be able to cope with files and sites built in Adobe’s “Flash” format, I fear that people in B2B will use this news as an excuse to hang on to their ill-advised Flash sites, and even increase their use of the technology after impassioned pleas from designers. Flash is the technology behind all those sites with spinning images and beautiful typography. It’s also the villain in those “splash” pages which have made searching for the “skip” button so… Read More »Saviour of the Universe. Not.
There are a few people in the world who love link building, but I suspect that for most of us it’s one of those tasks which seems daunting, as well as potentially boring. So if ever there was a job which is likely to remain at number two on our “to-do” lists, this could be it. Excuses to avoid getting links are easy: after all, in trade and tech marketing, who’s going to want to link to B2B sites? But I have to keep banging on about how important it… Read More »First keywords …but then get those links
Is one “good” link from an important site worth ten links from lesser sites? Ah, if it were only that quantifiable. In Garbage SEO. Just What the Doctor Ordered!, a short tale from the E-Marketing Performance blog, the author reports some unexpected benefits from seemingly lower quality links. Which just goes to show the danger of trusting in perceived wisdom.
Link building is the single most important activity you should be undertaking to promote your web site. Sure, you can sort out the “on page” search engine optimisation, and you should be ensuring your site has a good structure, and you should be looking at external advertising. But link building should be your first priority. The trouble is, link building is difficult. What’s more, there’s no obvious technique to learn. The most thought-provoking posts on the subject are like this one from the SEO Theory and Analysis blog: Why your… Read More »Nobody said link building is easy
It’s easy to snipe at what Google is doing to the advertising industry, but the more time goes on, the more that sniping sounds like you’ve been beaten. Soundly. In All Your Ads Belong To The Goog from the Bruceclay.com blog, Lisa Barone summarises it beuatifully: “It’s scary to see Google take complete control over the advertising world like this. Now, not only are they selling you ads, giving you tools to see how those ads convert and make them better, now they’re telling you where to put them. I… Read More »Google: All Your Ads Are Belong To Us
Well, Google’s decision to release Alexa-like traffic data for (almost) every web site in the universe has caused a lot of people to choke on their bacon sarnies over the past few days. It’s all explained in A New Layer To Google Trends on the Google Webmaster Central blog and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun playing with it. But as Graywolf’s SEO Blog headlines a post, Google’s Two Tiered Internet World Sinks to a New Low. Not everyone is completely happy. Expect to hear more about this… Read More »Google lays your site traffic bare
As I mentioned yesterday, offering free stuff on your web site drags people in (and, if it’s the right free stuff, drags the right people in). But it shouldn’t end there. Once they’ve signed up for your teaser, reel them in! As the post Dont Give Up Without A Fight in the B2B Marketing ROI blog comments, “there is no reason to have your ‘thank you message’ consist of nothing but a thank you. Encourage your prospects to continue the interaction by offering up additional opportunities for them to explore… Read More »Don’t let your guests go without a party bag
Create a useful tool or resource on your website and watch the world sign up to get it – and join your promotional list at the same time. It’s an increasingly common technique, because it’s a very good one. So thanks to the B2Bad Marketing blog amongst others for pointing out HubSpot Internet Marketing’s Press Release Grader in its Cool PR Tool post. Have fun playing with that one. And join their mailing list!
In marketing, not being able to see the wood for the trees is our worst enemy. Today’s article is no quick fix to this – in fact, it’s quite a challenging read. But do find the time to think about See Like An Outsider In 3 Not-So-Easy (But Worth It) Steps from Future Now’s Marketing Optimization Blog because it really could get you thinking in the right direction.
Here’s a reference to something every site should have: a custom error page. If someone mistypes a URL on your domain, what do they see? That little bit of standard “page not found” text? They wanted to be on your site, so you should be giving them more than that. In An Absolute Pointless Custom 404-Error Page, the E-Marketing Performance blog shows how someone has gone to the effort of creating their own error page, then wasted that effort. Don’t do the same. If your site doesn’t have a custom… Read More »It was only a simple mistake!
The SEO Theory and Analysis blog today looks at Trends in SEO link building since 2004 and points you in the direction of Google Trends, an increasingly important tool in keyword research. Apart from directing you towards a better choice of keyword priorities for your site, it can also be used to back up your choice of terminology internally. For example, in my editorial capacity I was long ago required to standardise on “sensor” or “transducer” (yes, I appreciate there’s a difference, but this was in general terms). It’s the… Read More »The Word on the Street
Many companies are wondering if they should have corporate blogs at the moment – the pressure to present a more human face to customers is spreading from the business-to-consumer sector to our own. In The Opportunities and Challenges of Corporate, Team, and Personal Blogs on Web Strategy by Jeremiah, Jeremiah Owyang discusses the implications. Many companies, such as Autodesk, have let many staff members blog to great effect, building enthusiastic communities amongst customers and hugely increasing the company’s perceived authority. But even relatively small industrial suppliers can take advantage of… Read More »Corporate blogging for authority
“In study after study, respondents rate themselves as less racist than average, smarter than average, more generous than average”, says an amusing short posting in Seth’s Blog called All customers are smarter than average. The lesson is not so much “the customer is always right”, more “don’t try to reason with them”. Industrial marketing folks should take this one to heart.
I know that more than a few readers will be thinking of experimenting with online video to promote products and services, so it’s worth considering the particular requirements of the business market. Naturally, video isn’t as obvious a tool for us as it would be in the consumer space, but have a read of iPhone 3G Shows How to Use Online Video to Sell Products on Future Now’s Marketing Optimization Blog. Apple is, unsurprisingly, good at most aspects of marketing, and we can often learn a lot from watching what… Read More »Using video in the corporate environment
Today’s recommended reading is a relatively short article which appears to be the introduction to a series, but which is worth thinking about in isolation, especially for marketers like us who probably don’t have enough time to read really in-depth analyses. Superhero Copywriting Tips: ‘Holy Persuasion, Batman!’ from Future Now’s Marketing Optimization Blog looks at superheroes’ distinguishing traits (bear with me on this) and suggests how they could be applied to writing marketing copy. Yes, it sounds silly. But sometimes it’s trivial-sounding stuff like this which actually sticks. Sometimes it’s… Read More »Copywriting: up, up and away
Do you have a “sitemap” (an index to all the pages on your site) which is visible to the public? I’m not talking here about what’s known as an “XML sitemap”, which is a specialist file aimed at search engine robots. I’m talking about a set of conventional web pages which list all of the real pages on your site. On the SEO Theory and Analysis blog, Michael Martinez has produced an excellent guide to why and how you should do this. HTML Sitemap Design and Theory – Fundamental Basic… Read More »Why you need a conventional contents page
Today we’ll touch on a subject close to my heart, mainly because I devoted the best part of a year of my life to understanding and overcoming the problems it causes. The subject is duplicate content. A new post at Google’s own official Webmaster Central blog makes a good attempt at introducing the topic, and pointing you in the direction of further reading. As the title suggests, Duplicate Content Due To Scrapers is primarily concerned with other sites which steal your content and republish it (“scrapers”), rather than the type… Read More »The bottom of the barrel
The objective of this blog is to seek out online articles which should be of interest to marketing managers in UK industrial and scientific businesses. Whilst many of the articles chosen will discuss developments in online marketing, and some intriguing techniques, I’ll also be selecting good background articles on various aspects of online marketing. Today’s choice is one of those. Bad SEO Techniques That Will Hurt Your Google Rankings from Search Engine Journal discusses how “search engine optimization”, or as it is commonly called, SEO, can actually hurt your site if done badly. The conclusion we should all draw from this is that if you’re allowing someone to play with your company’s web site, in order to improve its position in the Google results, make sure that person knows what they’re doing. You’re playing with fire here.Read More »Why optimising your site is not risk-free
We all know that testing pages is important, but few of us do it nearly enough. We all think we know best, and anyway, as testing takes so much time (and forces you to set up alternatives to what you feel is the right approach), we usually just think “it’s not worth it”. But it is. In We’re all guinea pigs in Google’s search experiment at CNET, the results of some of Google’s own testing experiments are revealed. Who would think the copyright notice at the foot of the page was so important? It needed testing to prove it.Read More »The importance of testing
There’s a nice post in the E-Marketing Performance blog today, called Three Easy Ways to Fix Broken Links and Stop Unneccessary Visitor Loss. It shows you how to look for broken links on your web site, and how to fix them – something which is easy to overlook, but easy to do if you know how. Every site owner should do this regularly.Read More »How broken is your site?
A nice introduction from Search Engine Journal today to Google Site Search. Google Site Search Gives Site Owners More Control explains how outsourcing your own site search to Google’s paid-for, but excellent application could be a smart move. If you don’t have a search facility on your site, or the one you have is a bit clunky or hard to maintain, take a look at this alternative.Read More »A look at Google’s Site Search offering
A post at Future Now’s Marketing Optimization Blog put me on to an excellent article at Omniture: Industry Insights called How to Make Testing Successful. In it, author Lily Chiu answers the question “How can I bring testing and optimization into my company successfully?” It’s a big leap both in effort and conceptual terms to go from marketing through gut instinct to marketing through data alone, but it’s a direction we should all be taking.Read More »Letting hard facts drive your marketing
I like this article from the SEO Theory and Analysis blog: In SEO, you can always say it again. In it, author Michael Martinez contends that you can do as much keyword research as you like, but you’ll still see queries you’d never remotely considered if you look at your logs. It’s a mindset we should all get into.Read More »The importance of 1-hit referrals
A good article on Search Engine Land, called Why You Need To Know SEO Basics, Even If You Outsource, is something you should read if you’re planning to improve your company’s web site performance but know you’ll be subcontracting the task. SEO is the specific science of “search engine optimisation”, but the principles in the article apply to other aspects of web site and online marketing development. You can only give a task to someone else if you actually understand what the task involves – we all know that – so education should be your priority at the moment.Read More »Understand what you subcontract
OK, so Does Your Website Have a Squeezy Top isn’t one of the most in-depth posts ever on Graywolf’s SEO Blog, but it contains a fundamental question which you should all think about: is your web site designed and laid out with the ruthless goal of facilitating conversions, or is it series of compromises that barely accomplishes its true goal?Read More »Save costs where it matters least
Today I’d like to highlight a post from Search Engine Journal: Google, Yahoo and Microsoft: SEO Influence of Keywords in Domain Names asks “Are keywords in URL and domain name important? And how does it differ across various search engines?” For most of your companies, you have a set web site name (yourcompany.co.uk, probably), so you may be thinking “does this rather arcane discussion matter?” Well yes, it might well do, because you don’t have to put everything on your own company web site. Creating specific domains for specific campaigns is an option which most companies explore from time to time, and it’s a technique which can prove very effective. And if you try it, you’ll need to consider if it’s worth putting your keywords in your new domain name…Read More »Strangemadeupdomainname.co.uk …or not?