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?
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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?
A couple of days ago I drew your attention to Google’s Knol website, and the opportunities which it might give us as B2B marketers. In Google Knol – Google’s Latest Attack on Copyright, respected search engine optimisation specialist Aaron Wall is getting rather worried about the whole venture, as are many other people. However, his criticisms, especially that “house content is favoured by the Google algorithm” are also a reason to investigate Knol. It makes sense to cover all the bases.
Today’s article won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, because I know many marketing managers in industry don’t like “big picture” marketing, and indeed can’t really get their head round it. But for those of you who think it’s important to ask yourselves the fundamental questions, have a read of Questions Every Manufacturer Should Ask about Their Marketing on the Branding & Marketing blog. If nothing else, it’s always worth reassessing how customers view your company.
Whether or not Google’s Knol will be the new Wikipedia is anyone’s guess, but regardless, it’s something you should consider in your marketing plans. Using Google Knol as a B2B Marketing Tool from the WebMarketCentral Blog explains why and how, and gives you some links to examine Knol further. As the article says, “now, the SME can write a Knol page – with full authorship credit for the writer and company – and publish it for the world, with no pressure to write on a regular basis.” You really should… Read More »Knol: get writing
There are regular independent updates on each search engine’s share of use, such as June 2008 Search Engine Market Share | Nielsen // NetRatings in E-Marketing Performance, but you need to be careful with these statistics and read the small print. Firstly, they’re usually from the US, and things are different here in Europe. Secondly, they cover all web users, and search engine use may be (and indeed, is) different amongst professional users. In fact, Google is even more prevalent than its competitors in Europe, and the lead is extended… Read More »What’s the most important search engine?
You’ve got to hand it to lab equipment specialist Eppendorf, the It’s Called epMotion campaign is a triumph. (You’ll need your speakers on). I really couldn’t guess what it cost them, but as B2Blog points out, it might only be the equivalent of a page ad in a lab equipment magazine for a few months. And in return, Eppendorf will be getting massive numbers of links from around the internet (like this), as well as loads of “viral” traffic as customers in that market pass the link around amongst themselves.… Read More »The Best Trade Ad. Ever.
Here’s something you might like to know more about. Sitelinks in Google results are those entries (normally just the first one) which have a series of smaller links underneath them. For example, you’ll probably see them for the first result if you type “Microsoft” into Google. (You might also see a separate “search Microsoft” box, but we won’t discuss that here). So what are these “sitelinks”? They make your result look much more substantial, so it’d be nice to have them. But how do you qualify to get them? Search… Read More »A more impressive Google result
There are so many aspects of internet marketing where we business-to-business marketers say: “Well, that’s straightforward enough for consumer marketing, but…” and we’re right to say that. But there are also aspects where we have advantages too, and one of those is in generating content for our websites. Getting more content on a site is a huge draw for traffic, both via search engines and external links. And I suspect that your company has a lot of useful expert information it can impart as great content. Seven Types of Expert… Read More »Unleash your expert content
I like analogies, and I especially like them when the analogy is something closely related. In Web Site as Trade Show? on the B2B Insights Blog, author Russ Green looks at the extent to which most of us will go to make an exhibition stand work, and then asks if we “put the same amount of effort and investment into creating a great web site experience for customers and prospects”. Best of all, however, he touches on all the elements of a successful exhibition stand, and discusses how each of… Read More »The 24/7 Trade Show
If you do “pay-per-click” advertising on the web (like the ads on the right hand side on Google results pages), then you’ll find loads of good advice online about making these really effective. However, as Online advertising creative tips on Dave Chaffey Internet Marketing points out, there’s far less advice available on more conventional display (banner) ads. This is a shame, because “pay-per-click” advertising is probably more easily optimised (by changing the ad and testing the results), whereas banner advertising is used as much for branding, making the peformance less… Read More »Designing a better banner ad
There’s a whole consultancy industry called “search engine optimisation”, or SEO, which has built up around the understandable desire of companies to “get us to number one on Google” (to which I say: “number one for what, precisely?”). And the most frustrating thing for most of these consultancies appears to be the inclination of clients to just ask them to do all the “technical stuff with the code”. That’s a relatively easy piece in the jigsaw, but it’s not going to get significant results on its own, and so often,… Read More »It’s not all about rewriting the code
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
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