Entries Tagged as 'Online marketing'

Viral videos for marketing: A difficult balance

Many viral ads are fun, funny or clever, but few do a good job of really selling the product.

While taking a break after teaching a webinar from my home office, I was watching the top five viral videos that were mentioned in an e-newsletter I subscribe to from Marketing Vox.

When my wife, Andrea, came into my office to ask how the webinar went. She sat down and watched with me.

After watching the first one, Gorilla Drummer which was interesting and fun, Andrea said, “I don’t get what this has to do with the product.” The product, a chocolate bar, was only shown briefly at the end.

We both agreed that the second one, loosely promoting a alcoholic green tea beverage, was funny, but way too long.

The third one, sponsored by a leading manufacturer of sunglasses according to Marketing Vox, was interesting, but also never mentioned the brand, Ray-Ban™, directly. I’m guessing they thought that we all would recognize the sunglasses in the video as being their brand. The risk is that the audience of this viral video may be too young to recognized the iconic look of Ray-Bans.

I thought the fourth one from a blender manufacturer, Blendtec, was the most effective overall. It not only was provocative, making it a good candidate for going viral, it also clearly demonstrated the product in action and offered up a website to learn (see?) more. My wife commented that she sure hoped our kids didn’t see the video, as she didn’t want them trying it at home. But she also suggested I send it to a friend of ours.

The fifth video, although clearly not aimed at my demographic (old and married), was clearly effective at selling the implied “benefit” of a body spray for young men. I’m guessing any male teenager with horomones raging would understand the message clearly. Even this old guy got the message, as did his wife.

Although these are the top five viral ad videos, I’ll bet these last two translated into far more sales than the first three!

Even though these examples are not business-to-business advertising, I think there are lessons we B2B marketers can learn from them.

The main lesson is that the hard part is making the video interesting, funny or provocative enough to go viral, while selling the product at the same time. Hats off to Blendtec and Lynx and/or their agencies for doing so.

I also wonder, is anyone tracking results such as a lift in sales as a measure of success? Or are they only bragging about how many views the videos got?

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What the B2B Marketer Should Know About Facebook

Facebook: You either use it or you only have a vague idea what I’m talking about. But it’s a growing presence online and B2C marketers are coming up with ways to leverage the social network to grow and audience of customers or potential customers. Is Facebook also for B2B marketing?

Jeremiah Owyang’s recent article “What the Web Marketer Should Know About Facebook” provides a useful summary of Facebook and marketing. Here are a couple of takeaways for business-to-business.

Can you build a community around your product or service?

If you sell highly-specialized equipment or services, the answer might well be no. But in some cases you can get creative. Maybe you have a system that needs extensive customization. Could your end-users benefit by networking with others who are solving the same problems? You could build a presence for your product or company, develop helpful resources, mix in some thought leaders, gregarious evangelists and loyal customers and see what happens.

How networked is your sales force or your marketing team?

For complex sales with an extended consideration and buying process, keeping in touch is important over the long term, and networking offline and online can keep your people top-of-mind with prospects. First seek out those you know in your company to be well-networked, see what tools they’re using and if it’s making a difference. Consider implementing a department-wide or company-wide set of services such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or others, and encouraging those inside your company to link with prospects and current customers. It’s one way to stay in the know about what the market needs and to let them know when you’ve got a new solution to help their business. One issue you might be faced with is maintaining the quality of communication and a consistent public message, but this is also true of phone conversations, sales visits, emails, etc.

Facebook and web services like it may not be a gold mine for business-to-business marketing, but if you research it and get creative, you can expand your online presence into a new frontier and could gain valuable insight into the marketplace.

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Some Really Interesting Information About How Tech Buyers Respond To Online Marketing

Online Marketing TipsAn article by Jack Loechner published on June 5, 2007 in the Center for Media Research’s Research Brief newsletter, entitled Tech Buyers Go Deep For Information and Bite on White Papers, highlights a new research study from KnowledgeStorm, in conjunction with MarketingSherpa which surveyed nearly 3,000 B2B marketers and technology and business professionals in April 2007, included CMO, VP or Directors of Marketing, Marketing or Product Managers, IT professionals, Strategic Planners, and Buyers.

I found some of the findings to be very interesting. For example:

  • Sixty-six percent of marketers said they have a strategy for achieving a high organic (natural) placement for their content on major search engines. Yet, only fifty-six percent thought that their content was consistently indexed and usually accessible within the major search engines.

    That means that the webpages of more than a third of the technology marketers are NOT being found in the search engine results pages! That is a huge problem for those marketers.

  • Eighty percent of technology buyers say that offline marketing materials such as magazine advertisements or direct mail “sometimes” or “frequently” create sufficient interest for them to seek more information online.

    I think that eight out of ten is pretty significant. This reinforces the need for both online and traditional marketing communications tactics.

  • More than 50% of technology buyers say they give a valid name, email address, industry, job title and company name when they register for technology content online. And less than 40% provide accurate phone numbers.

    That means that nearly half DON’T give valid contact information and the majority DON’T want to be called by phone. Why? I think it is because they would rather be in control of their consideration and buying process but are often forced to “register” to get the information they want.

    So you have to find other ways to continue to reach out and touch these prospects as they move through their consideration process.

    Also, if your information helps sell your company, products or services, don’t you want to get it into your prospective customers’ hands? My approach is to let my prospects download the information they want without having to register first, then ask them if they want to sign up for some addition information that may be useful to them, such as a newsletter on the same topics or updates on future events.

  • Nearly 80% of technology buyers will register for a white paper, which is also the top content type marketers deem as worth requiring registration. By contrast, only 38% of buyers will register for a demo and 31% for a Webcast.

    Requesting and reading a whitepaper takes less of a commitment than attending a Webcast or sitting through a demo, which may be more appropriate for the middle and later stages of your prospects’ buying process.

    I recommend that B2B marketers, including tech marketers, who are looking to generate sales leads, include multiple offers or calls-to-action in all their marketing communications; each designed to appeal to prospective customers at different stages of their buying cycle. By offering three choices, you’ve effectively tripled the chance that one of your offers is appropriate to the reader or visitor and will generate a response.

  • When technology buyers are asked to register for content 74% want to see at least a one-paragraph overview. However, only 48% of marketers provide this desired level of detail.

    Wow.This is a huge disconnect. How can your prospects determine if they want it, if you don’t tell them what it is and why they would want it?

Request your free copy of the report here. Unfortunately, you’ll have to register first.

 

Up-to-date Research Results on B2B Search (Finally!)

The results of a new study of business-to-business search and its role in purchase decisions were just released by Enquiro Search Solutions. This is an update of Enquiro’s 2004 study of B2B search. Here are some key findings:

  • Vendor websites, along with word of mouth from a colleague or peer, are the top influencers in B2B buying decisions.
  • General search engines follow closely behind, with Google being the first choice for 77.7% of business-to-business searchers.
  • Of the B2B searchers surveyed, 74.4% clicked on an organic link, and the top four organic listings captured 52.6% of all clicks.
  • Only 18.7% chose to click on a sponsored link.
  • While12.2% clicked on the ads at the top of the search engine results rages (SERPs), only 6.5% clicked on those down the right side of the SERPs.

Some background

Back in the fall of 2004, Enquiro teamed up with MarketingSherpa to conduct what I believe was the first real research study of B2B search behavior. I can’t tell you how happy I was at the time to finally have some real data!

I’d been making recommendations to my marketing consulting clients and seminar attendees about the importance of being found at the top of the SERPs by prospective customers searching for companies, products or services. I was making these recommendations based on having witnessed the success of other B2B marketers in using search engine marketing (SEM) tactics to drive leads and sales. However, because my clients wanted to keep their results confidential, I wasn’t able to share the hard data (other than results from my own SEM efforts) that supported my recommendations.

Suddenly, with the release of the 2004 study, I had proof of my claims about how B2B searchers were actually behaving—and proof of the importance of organic or natural search engine optimization (SEO) in driving leads and sales. I must have referenced findings from the 2004 B2B search study a thousand times when consulting with clients and in my seminars and articles when discussing SEM and SEO.

Then, a year later, when the 2004 study data was starting to feel like old news (doesn’t a year sometimes feel like eons when it comes to the Internet?), I ran into Gord Hotchkiss, president and CEO of Enquiro, when we were both speaking at MarketingSherpa’s B-to-B Lead Generation Summit (later renamed MarketingSherpa’s B-to-B Demand Generation Summit) in San Francisco. I remember begging Gord at the time, “PLEASE repeat the B2B search research study!” I told him how important I thought the research was, and how I believed it would help position his company as a leader in search marketing. Now, two years later, my wish has come true!

Some of my thoughts about the new B2B search study results

Surprisingly, the current results are not that different from the original 2004 study results. For example, Google is still leading the search engine pack and B2B searchers are still much more likely to click on organic links on the SERPs.

However, the new study sliced the data according to the four stages of a prospect’s buying process: awareness, research, negotiation and purchase. It clearly shows the role that search plays in each of these stages in the B2B buying process.

The new study also sliced the data according to the respondent’s role in the purchase decision. These were identified as Economic Buyer, User Buyer, Technical Buyer and Coach Buyer. Enquiro plans to report further on these cuts of the data in a series of three white papers to be released later.

My initial conclusions and recommendations

Organic SEO continues to be a marketing best practice. And Google is still the search engine on which to concentrate your SEO efforts.

But if your website fails from the perspective of your human visitors, SEM won’t do you any good either. (Please help yourself to my Website design checklists for B2B marketers. It addresses optimizing your website for both the search engines and your human visitors.)

And while the report clearly shows that search marketing plays a very big role in the B2B buying process, it also confirms that more traditional off-line marketing communications continue to have a significant impact on buyers as well. So be sure to keep some of your marketing eggs in those off-line baskets too.

Get your copy of this new B2B search study, compliments of Enquiro and its research sponsors, Zoom Information, MarketingSherpa and Survey Sampling International.

Then subscribe to Enquiro’s newsletter so you’ll hear about the study’s additional white papers when they become available.

 

B2b Online Marketing Tip: Does Your Website Make it Immediately Clear What Your Company Does and Who it Serves?

B2B online marketingTake a fresh look at your company’s website. Does your Web site make it immediately clear what your company does and who it serves?

Does it clearly spell out:

* The products or services your company sells?
* The most common applications for your products or services?
* The types of businesses or institutions you serve? business? education? government?
* The size of organizations your company serves? large? medium? small?
* The geographies you serve? local areas? states? countries? regions of the world?

And don’t fall into this trap: No matter how hard you try, you can’t have the perspective of an outsider. Come up with a few objectives for your ideal website visitor, have some real outsiders try to accomplish them, and listen to what they are going through. It can be quite revealing and the insight can be helpful to getting the results you want.

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug provides a useful, real-world approach to getting those outside opinions–and turning it into action items.

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Online marketing

Here’s a summary of the checklist I use when I evaluate a client’s website. Use it to see if your Web site converts visitors to sales. That’s what it’s for, right? You might be surprised by the answers.

See the full checklist at: B2B website checklist.

– Does your Web site make it immediately clear what your company does and who it serves?
– Is it easy for your prospects and customers to find their way around your Web site?
– Does your Web site quickly communicate your company’s unique selling proposition?
– Does your Web site back up those claims?
– Does your Web site explain the additional resources you can bring to bear for your customers?
– Does your Web site contain lots of offers designed to engage prospects and start sales-winning relationships?
– Does your Web site make it easy for your prospects and customers to take the next steps in their consideration or buying process?
– Does your Web site make it easy to place an order?
– Are there multiple ways for prospective customers to request assistance or additional information about your company and its products or services?

 
Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com