Business Marketing Online

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.

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?

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?

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?

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 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

People really are writing about your technology

Blog directory and search engine Technorati has indexed well over a hundred million blogs worldwide, up from a hundred thousand in 2002. With more blogs coming online every day, the chances of there being a new blog related to your area of activity are better than ever. And if someone’s writing about your market sector, whether they’re an end-user, a researcher or a supplier, there’s potential for you to get publicity and those all-important links from them. If you doubt that anyone would write a blog which even touched on… Read More »People really are writing about your technology

I’ve got a website. Gosh, really?

Back in the mid-1990s, many companies didn’t have websites (my son, est.2001, doesn’t believe this). Those which did have one wanted to shout about it. Sensing an opportunity, many magazines (including the one I edited) introduced a section where advertisers could show pictures of their websites and – with any luck – attract a few readers to type the URL into their copy of Netscape Navigator. Well, there weren’t really any search engines then, so telling people about your website was the only way to get visitors. I think this… Read More »I’ve got a website. Gosh, really?

One-day Workshops this autumn

Jackie West writes: One of the attractions of Business Marketing Online is that it’s aimed specifically at helping business-to-business marketing, and in particular, the manufacturing, scientific and building sectors. So we thought it might be useful to look at the training side of things, and see if our approach proves as attractive to you there too. We’re arranging a couple of workshops (in September and November) which will be hosted and presented by Chris Rand, together with an expert guest speaker. The cost for the day will be £400, and… Read More »One-day Workshops this autumn

A new friendly face on the team

I’m delighted to be able to tell you that Jackie West has joined us on the Business Marketing Online team. If you haven’t met Jackie before, she was most recently the marketing manager for Pro-Talk, and before that was, for many years, the Marketing Communications Manager for SMC Pneumatics in Milton Keynes – so she will certainly understand the opportunities and problems you’re facing at the moment. A number of you have started to ask us for additional services, such as AdWords campaign management, and Jackie will be ensuring that… Read More »A new friendly face on the team

A long drawn out engagement

Today, like yesterday, I’ve been inspired by Mark Simms, Editor of Industrial Technology magazine. I was his predecessor there, and I think he’s just passed my ten years in the hot seat, so we’ve seen a lot of changes between us. Mark reckons that the immediacy and effectiveness of modern product advertising, coupled with a decline in brand advertising, could be detrimental to the quality of product design. If a component which will just “do the job” can be sourced quickly and cheaply, without any real advice from a knowledgeable… Read More »A long drawn out engagement

Gloomy times for your favourite trade magazine

Late on Thursday evening, the most famous pop star in the world died. I wouldn’t have liked to have been working on a daily newspaper that night (talk about “clear the front page!” chaos) but the timing was extraordinarily fortuitous for the UK papers: a massive story which broke after most people had gone to bed, but just in time for it to be splashed on their front pages. There’s about a one-hour slot each day when that can happen. But it doesn’t happen often enough, which is one reason… Read More »Gloomy times for your favourite trade magazine

Onwards and upwards

I’ve let the first anniversary of this blog slip past without any acknowledgement, so belated happy birthday, blog. I’ll download you a new plug-in or something. Anyway, although I’m delighted to have over 500 of you getting this by email every day, as well as a decent number of RSS readers and of course all the casual web traffic, we need to push on. So I’m just wondering, if I ask very nicely, if you’d do me a favour and recommend this to a colleague or two. Or perhaps you’re… Read More »Onwards and upwards

Naming names

Naming product ranges, or even individual products, is more important than ever. While consumer electronics companies still think it makes sense to present the public with full engineering part numbers (despite nobody ever saying “Have you seen the new KDL46W4000U at Currys?”), they are at least investing in the ranges’ brand names nowadays. In the technical sector, however, some manufacturers still seem to think it’s almost an admission of weakness to give products a brand, or an image of any sort. And this despite the fact that both sales teams… Read More »Naming names

Think about AdWords like eBay

Google’s AdWords system works brilliantly for certain products – ones which people need, and are looking for. Conversely, if your product is something people didn’t know they wanted, it’s useless; although as an advertiser, it won’t cost you anything if your ad never shows or gets clicked on. The real waste in AdWords spending turns out not to be in advertising products which nobody’s looking for. It’s in spending too much and not looking at the return. Think about AdWords like you would eBay. The highest bidder wins the day,… Read More »Think about AdWords like eBay

Keywords: the answer may be in the question

Keyword research is so important. What are your prospects typing into search engines? You need to know before you can start optimising your website to rank higher in Google, and you need to know if you want to set up an Adwords campaign. I suggest to our Insider Programme members right at the start that they try to compile a list of 20 to 50 priority search terms from the outset, because these can affect so many areas of website development. There are plenty of tools to help, and plenty… Read More »Keywords: the answer may be in the question

Google Analytics Event Tracking – an introduction

If you thought Google Analytics just analysed page views, it’s time to think again. A feature called “Event Tracking” has been slowly introduced (it was first announced nearly two years ago) and it’s now available on all accounts. What Event Tracking does is to allow you to record actions which aren’t page views on your site, such as downloading a PDF, clicking an outbound link, watching a video or even those smart interactions with your website which don’t involve a new page being called (usually done with what’s known as… Read More »Google Analytics Event Tracking – an introduction

Do you have a backup of your website?

Online surveys are great. I’ve been told of someone sitting in a marketing meeting, opening up their laptop, creating a one-question survey, firing it off to 1000 customers, and getting 100 responses back within the hour, while the meeting was still in progress. Now that’s the way to make decisions. Anyway, last week I was going to write about website hosting, and I thought: “I wonder what the readers pay?” Within five minutes I’d written a question, and five minutes later I’d emailed it to all of you. It hardly… Read More »Do you have a backup of your website?

Don’t throw your leads away at the last moment

Another success story for you today, again from an Insider Programme member. This company’s very mature website was producing plenty of name-and-address sales enquiries, thanks to good design which led visitors slickly through the product descriptions and onto an enquiry form. But although most visitors moving on to the form were completing it, some weren’t, and the company wondered if the design of the form might be putting people off. Nearly all enquiry forms on business-to-business websites ask for far too much information, usually because the Sales Director has insisted… Read More »Don’t throw your leads away at the last moment

Show that you’re the authority on the subject

I’d like to share one or two success stories with you this week, as well as report back on our recent survey. To kick off, a tale of how a company (a member of our Insider Programme Pro, as it happens) sailed straight into the top ten Google results for one of its major generic product terms, when it previously hadn’t even been able to get on the first few pages. What was making it hard for the company to get on to the first page of Google was the… Read More »Show that you’re the authority on the subject

Live chat on your website for free

Just a quickie, as it’s a bank holiday – something you might like to consider for your website. You know those “Live Instant Message Chat” buttons you see on some websites? People really like those. Even if they don’t use them, it gives off a nice warm feeling that your company cares. Well, it’s quite possible to put one of those on for free, using Google Talk. If you have a Google account, and your prospect does (and an increasing number of people do), then here’s what you need. You… Read More »Live chat on your website for free

The only way to attract Google’s interest

When you put something new on your website, you want Google to find it quickly. Not just because you want interest from day one (although that would be nice), but because you want your page to be accredited by Google as the primary one about that product, not the page on What’s New in Widgets Online which ran your press release a few days later. Here’s how it works. Google comes to your site. It looks exactly the same as last time. A week later, Google comes to your site… Read More »The only way to attract Google’s interest

Creative thinking required

Today I’d like some ideas from you. A company I know is moving premises (halfway across the country) and is preparing a not insubstantial mailshot (postal and email) to its customers to let them know of the change. The change of premises won’t really affect customers. Here’s the question though: is it appropriate to sneak in any marketing messages with this important update? Could the news be used as a hook to offer something? What do you think? Let us know below.

When will you get your last ever magazine ad rep calling?

A contributor to a chat group for PR consultants which I run recently posted a communication from a well-known industrial magazine, which said that from now on the publication “will give editorial preference to those companies who are supporting us whether this is through display advertising or colour separation revenue”. As someone who edited industrial magazines, in print and online, for nearly twenty years, I’m not sure how to take this. If, as an editor, the companies whose news you’re allowed to cover is restricted, your magazine will be significantly… Read More »When will you get your last ever magazine ad rep calling?

The geeks will inherit the web

Woah, web search just got a whole lot more complicated. For website owners, that is. Google has wheeled out a whole new bunch of features in its search results, and I’m sure some of them will prove useful enough to eventually become mainstream. If you do a Google search such as this then click the “show options” link and you’ll see a number of new ways of exploring the data. A few have been knocking around for a while, but the new link should make them get a lot more… Read More »The geeks will inherit the web

“Better than chocolate” (it says here)

It’s a bank holiday, we shouldn’t be fretting about our websites, we should be having fun. So go and have a play with – just type in your company name, products, services or whatever. It’s quite addictive.

Everything I know, and more, for just £100.

If you missed our earlier announcement, we have a new low-cost version of our Insider Programme available, and as most people like to join at the start of the month, today would be a good day for you to give us a call and get on board. We’re offering a package of three genuinely great things to UK industrial businesses, for the incredibly low cost of £100 a month. There’s no commitment, so you really must be able to find £100 to give it a go for the first month.… Read More »Everything I know, and more, for just £100.

Why you should get us to manage Google AdWords for you

Those of you who have looked at our new home page will be aware of the range of contract and advisory services which we’re now able to offer here at Business Marketing Online. Google AdWords Management is attracting the most interest at the moment, from all of these types of clients: Companies who have looked at AdWords, but aren’t using it because it seemed like hard work (it is!) and they know they won’t have the time; Companies who are using AdWords but who know they’re not spending enough time… Read More »Why you should get us to manage Google AdWords for you

A leading-edge marketing communications solution

OK, here’s one of those things you can have a bit of fun with, although you might be peering through your fingers in embarassment at the results if you use it on your own material. Gobbledygook Grader analyses text you paste in (like your latest press release) and grades it for corporate jargon. It’s fun, and I’d recommend you read the author’s The Gobbledygook Manifesto while you’re at it. My only criticism is that it appears not to highlight use of the word “solution”, my own bete noire for many… Read More »A leading-edge marketing communications solution

Our new website launches a range of marketing services

When you spend a lot of your time advising people how to do something, it’s only natural that they’ll look at your activities with a critical eye. So as I (proudly!) announce a new home page on the Business Marketing Online website, I have a slight degree of trepidation as to what you all might think. Did I remember my title and meta description tags? Does the site fall to pieces in Internet Explorer 8, or look strange on enormous monitors? I’m sure you’re going to take great delight in… Read More »Our new website launches a range of marketing services

Finding those hidden gems on your website

I’ve been playing with a tool called Linkscape a lot recently; although it costs money, it provides some fascinating insights into your website, and it’s the sort of tool which is essential if you’re undertaking any “search engine optimisation” (aka “get my site ranking better in Google!”) programme. One of my favourite reports from this tool is a list of the Top Pages on a Domain, i.e the ones which probably carry the most clout with the search engines. Why do you need to know this? Because these are the… Read More »Finding those hidden gems on your website

Better related searches: another step towards SkyNet

Yesterday I discussed at the first of two changes from Google, the increased length of the “snippets” in the results. Today I’ll look at the other development, which is a little more vague at the moment. It’s the introduction of “a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search” – in other words, although you might have typed in one word, Google will understand that you might just as easily have typed in another related one, and so it should show you results mixing both.… Read More »Better related searches: another step towards SkyNet

Google’s snippet scissors get a little larger

Google rolled out a couple of updates last week, and here’s my take on the first of them, and how it affects you. If you’re using a search engine optimisation consultancy, make sure you ask them how their advice to you is changing as a result. The more instantly obvious of the changes concerns the description or “snippet” part of the results. Traditionally Google has served up the title of your page and then two secondary lines of text, which would be your meta description tag if that contained the… Read More »Google’s snippet scissors get a little larger

Announcement: The £100 Insider Programme is launched

I’ve got a really exciting announcement to make today. You’d be excited too, if you were relaunching your company’s main product with some great extras …and an 80% price reduction compared to its predecessor. Because that’s exactly what we’re doing today here at Business Marketing Online, with our Insider Programme. We know there are a lot of you who love the idea of being taken through every aspect of your website, email marketing and online advertising, but need it to be at a really low cost. We’re responding. The new… Read More »Announcement: The £100 Insider Programme is launched

I think that every business should have a blog

In the late nineties, as an engineering magazine editor, I would often talk to industrial companies who still didn’t have a website, and were realising that they couldn’t get away with not having one much longer. What’s more, with their competitors having had one for some time, they were already at a disadvantage which it would be hard to overcome. It had been a bad decision not to go along with this new idea, as many were having to admit. Ten years later, I’m getting the same feeling about business… Read More »I think that every business should have a blog

Why the response to most B2B advertising is so poor

Is your advertising really aimed at enticing potential customers to do something you want? It should be. Unfortunately, if you browse through any trade magazine or website, you’ll see adverts which don’t seem to have any justification for having been placed at all, unless they were just to get rid of an ad sales rep who wouldn’t go away. Those small ads, sometimes as many as 12 on a page, at the back of magazines, telling you a company’s website address – what on earth are they all about? What… Read More »Why the response to most B2B advertising is so poor

10 reasons to do AdWords for your own company name

Unless you’ve been saddled with a really unlucky company name, you’ll be top in Google for that search. This is very important, because a large proportion of the people who want to find your company website nowadays just type your company name into Google, rather than type in your website URL in the address bar at the top of their browser. That’s why, if you look at your website stats, the top “search term” for traffic coming from Google is probably your company name. So if you’re “top in Google”… Read More »10 reasons to do AdWords for your own company name

SEO straight from the horse’s mouth

I’m back on the subject of search engine optimisation consultants again today, because for many of you, it would seem they’re becoming as irritating as magazine ad space salesmen calling about their latest “colour separations” con (sorry, I mean “opportunity”). Now, I’m not against the search engine optimisation “industry”, although I do believe you can do this whole thing much better yourself, which is why we have our Insider Programme. I’ve met some people who do search engine optimisation consultancy for a living and who really know their stuff. I’ve… Read More »SEO straight from the horse’s mouth

Do the maths on your cost per enquiry. Please.

Yesterday I looked at some of the reasons why your company may not be using Google AdWords. None of these were good reasons – they were either excuses, or bad advice. But let’s say you’ve got over these. You don’t mind a bit of hard work setting up and managing an AdWords campaign; you don’t care about your advertising agency’s vested interests in dissuading you from doing so; and you don’t mind your contemporaries not being able to see where all the money’s going, if it means an increase in… Read More »Do the maths on your cost per enquiry. Please.

3 (bad) reasons why your company may not be using AdWords

Google’s AdWords system (and its far lesser used equivalents at other search engines) will rightly one day be considered the greatest development in advertising of all time. What other advertising medium has ever been able simply to present your message to people who are actively searching for your product, in a specified geographical area, with no wastage? It’s hardly surprising, then, that many companies are quietly spending huge sums on AdWords, including companies in your market sector. You would, I suspect, be amazed to find out what’s going on. Yet… Read More »3 (bad) reasons why your company may not be using AdWords

Building your own response forms

I hope you were able to read my articles on the challenge of getting name-and-address sales leads online, why you need to do so and how to convert traffic from Google and from your advertisements. The key is in having a great call to action, and getting it in front of the prospect as soon as possible. The page where people arrive on your website is called the “landing page”. For Google traffic, that’s going to be the product page, so it might be difficult to extract names-and-addresses from visitors… Read More »Building your own response forms

Making those adverts work properly

This week I’ve spent a couple of articles discussing why you need to convert your web traffic into name-and-address sales leads because your website can’t sell on its own. And yesterday I looked at converting traffic from Google into prospects. Today I’d like to cover a source of web traffic which you have a little more control over – your own advertising and promotions. With these, you can tightly control what responders do, such as “phone us for details” or “fill in the coupon”. However, we all know that most… Read More »Making those adverts work properly

Converting Google traffic into names-and-addresses

Right, in the previous two articles I’ve made the fairly obvious point that in industry, we need to capture the name-and-address details of people visiting our websites who are after a specific product or service. If we don’t, it’s exactly the same as having an exhibition stand, and just sitting there in a chair smiling politely at everyone who browses our display. Some potential customers may choose to introduce themselves and talk about their requirements, but the majority won’t. And if you don’t get talking to them, you’ll never be… Read More »Converting Google traffic into names-and-addresses

Perhaps you don’t even need salesmen any more

Yesterday I said that the biggest challenge in industrial marketing has become simply getting the name-and-address sales lead. Prospects see your magazine ad, read your direct mail or browse your exhibition stand, like they always have. But do they then contact you for further information or a sales call, like before? No. They go to your website to find out what they need to know. In theory, that’s fine. You’ve got a great website, haven’t you? All your products and services are laid out clearly, and it couldn’t be easier… Read More »Perhaps you don’t even need salesmen any more

Let’s resolve to get more sales leads in 2009

There are many differences between industrial marketing and consumer marketing, but the main one is the action we want our prospects to take. In consumer marketing, they want them to just buy stuff. In industrial marketing, the buying decision is usually further down the road; what we want the prospects to do is simply to reveal themselves. It’s all about getting the name-and-address sales lead. Unfortunately, while online marketing has made it easier than ever to get direct sales, it’s made it harder than ever to get name-and-address sales leads.… Read More »Let’s resolve to get more sales leads in 2009

Step by step in the new year

Happy New Year to all readers of Business Marketing Online’s An Article A Day. We’ve gone from 0 to 250 readers in our first few months, so who knows where we’ll be this time next year? Remember, this is a completely free blog, so if you’d like to recommend it to your colleagues, please do. The link to send them is I have loads of online marketing issues I’m planning to discuss in the next few weeks, and I hope you find them useful. Of course, if you really… Read More »Step by step in the new year