Marketing Optimization Blog

You can’t stop customers comparing, you know!

Comparing yourself to your competitors as part of your marketing content is a path which few B2B companies seem to be brave enough to go down. There are good reasons for this, although the traditional one from the sales director is a bad one: “We don’t want to alert our customers to the competition’s existence”. Oh puh-lease. Go and Google the types of products you sell, which is exactly what your website visitors have done. The competitors are all there. Your prospects aren’t daft. They know who’s competing for their… Read More »

Frequently Unanswered Questions

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

Faster! Faster! You need to be faster!

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

We-We-ing on your prospects

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

People should buy from you. But why?

A short post – Conversion Rate Exercise: Why Should I Do Business With You? – on the Marketing Optimization Blog puts forward a couple of good ideas inspired by social media which might help you clarify what your company’s unique selling propositions are. The majority of businesses we come across in any walk of life seem to find it hard to focus on what they’re offering that others aren’t – and consequently give you the impression that they have no better reason why you should buy from them other than,… Read More »

Search Engine Optimisation: risky business?

The Marketing Optimization Blog is amongst a number of blogs in the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which has been making uneasy noises about the subject recently. In Will Google Judge You Guilty of SEO? it hints that a dramatic Google update might be coming (there’s no real evidence for this) and that sites which have been manipulating Google results might be caught out. Now, I’ve been to some search engine optimisation conferences, and although many of the people working in the area are very smart indeed, I’ve never… Read More »

Does your website reflect your customers’ buying process?

The vast majority of business-to-business (“B2B”) websites fail to acknowledge what makes many B2B sales different from High Street sales: the long buying cycle, often involving different people. While you know how your customers’ buying process works, does your website reflect that? Does it provide something for every stage of the buying cycle? I bet it doesn’t. A good illustration of this is given in Can your Website Handle the Complexity of your Sale? on FutureNow’s Marketing Optimization Blog. It suggests, rightly, that the minimum your website should offer is… Read More »

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 »

Google Analytics: an iceberg of tips

Google Analytics has quickly become the website traffic analysis application of choice for small and medium sized businesses, because it does just about everything you could want, and it’s priced really attractively (that’ll be free then). But although it’s fairly easy to set up, there’s a steep learning curve if you’re really going to get anything useful out of it. Books have been written, and training courses are available, but one of the best resources I’ve seen has been produced by the Marketing Optimization Blog. Sure, it’s just a list… Read More »

Branding? What is it good for?

Sometimes you might get the chance to sit down an mull over a thought-provoking article for ten minutes or so, and if you’re interested in some of the more conceptual aspects of advertising, I’d recommend reading Let’s Get Rid of Performance Based Marketing, Huh? on Future Now’s GrokDotCom/Marketing Optimization Blog. It will give you an insight into the discussion which a lot of people in advertising are having at the moment concerning the role of “branding” advertising, and whether the internet can deliver the goods on this front. The “IAB”… Read More »

Why you should use a two-part lead form

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 »

Data sheets: not good enough, I’m afraid

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 »

Ever filled in your own forms?

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 »

Outside in

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.

Using video in the corporate environment

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 »

Copywriting: up, up and away

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 »