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December 28, 2007

Grade Your Website's Marketing Muscle

I recently ran across an interesting tool that grades Websites according to their online marketing effectiveness. Website Grader by HubSpot is a free tool that allows you to enter your Website URL, keywords associated with your site, and competitor Website URLs, than generates a report that ranks how well your site performs when searched.

According to HubSpot, Website Grader "provides a score that incorporates things like Website traffic, SEO, social popularity and other technical factors. It also provides some basic advice on how the Website can be improved from a marketing perspective."

If you are considering optimizing your site for Search, or are curious as to how well your site is searched, check out this free tool. I plugged in the Web Buyer's Guide information, and found that we have a score of 99 out of 100. This means that out of all of the sites that have been analyzed by Website Grader, the WBG scores higher than 99% of them for its marketing effectiveness.

The personalized report I got after submitting the WBG information also gave me detailed analysis of how our site ranks on Google, Technorati, and on social networking sites such as Digg and del.icio.us.

-BH

December 21, 2007

Improve Branding with Keyword Consistency

If you want to create consistent branding on your Website, throughout your marketing materials and as your organization appears to search engines, try using consistent keywords in all aspects of your marketing efforts. While much of branding is visual (think logos, home pages and eNewsletter designs), word choice, tone and keyword selection also play a role in creating a consistent brand.

One way to accomplish this kind of organization-wide consistency is to encourage collaboration between your editors and copywriters, your Search specialists and your Lead Generation team. Develop a process by which the keywords used by your Search specialists make their way to your Editorial and Lead Generation teams. When creating titles, descriptions and summaries for marketing materials, make sure that keywords are included in high-traffic spots (which can be determined using Eye Tracking studies) and are consistent across all of your marketing materials.

By repeating key words and phrases on your home page and Website, in your metadata, in eNewsletters and email marketing messages, and within your content, you will subtly build and enforce your company's brand. And while your site visitors and subscribers might not consciously notice the consistency, chances are good that search engines will.

-BH

December 17, 2007

Go Further With Your Content

As technology buyers are taking more and more control over the IT buying process, IT marketers need to develop new options that let their users have more choice in how they consume marketing materials. By designing campaigns to appeal to users' preferences in the kind of content they want to consume (white papers, case studies, articles, interviews), the type of media they want to use to consume it (PDFs. videos, webinars, podcasts), and the method by which the content is delivered (eNewsletters/Email, RSS Feeds, Text Messages), you can appeal to a broader range of users and build brand loyalty.

In running campaigns, many companies select one asset - such as a webcast - and use that as the only content for their entire campaigns. By limiting a user's choice like this, companies lose out on generating leads that might otherwise be interested in their message. While webcasts (or videos, or podcasts, etc) appeal to some technology buyers, some people will never watch a webcast, even if they might be interested in the message it delivers.

Rather than risk losing potential buyers before they even see your message, why not deliver your message using a variety of media? Using the same content, you can craft marketing materials that appeal to the ardent podcast listener, the PDF-only user, and the video maven. To take your message a step further, you can deliver your content in emails/eNewsletters, to mobile devices, via RSS Feeds, and on blogs set-up to deliver daily marketing content.

As technology evolves, the ways in which we deliver technology marketing messages to our users must change too. Keep the user experience in mind when you're crafting content, and realize that the more choices you give the user as to HOW they receive your messages, the more likely you will be in reaching the greatest number of users possible.

-BH

December 13, 2007

Do You Web 2.0?

For the B2B technology sector, the implementation of Web 2.0 tools and features on your websites seems ideal. With a long buying cycle, multiple parties involved in making purchasing decisions, and the need to do enough research on purchases to understand the technical aspects and be able to justify the expense, any tools that allow the users to take control over their process should be welcomed with open arms.

By opening up your website and allowing users to interact with your offerings, you essentially allow your users to nurture themselves through their own buying process. Tools and site features that let users tag and bookmark content, create profiles and personalized pages (think MySpace for technology buyers), and build their own research libraries are all excellent ways to entice users to return to your site without being promoted via eNewsletters or other marketing materials.

Once you give users a reason to organically return to your site, you can track their behaviors over the course of their buying cycle and use that information to qualify their lead status. When users take control over their buying process, their interactions with your content become more meaningful - when the user reaches for an asset saved to their "favorites," they have made an independent decision to view that material. So even if it's been several weeks since you originally promoted that content and captured the user's lead data, the fact that the user has returned to your site and re-engaged with the asset on their own schedule makes them a more valuable lead.

While landing pages allow IT marketers to capture similar information, most traffic to such pages tends to be driven by the marketing department - through eNewsletter or email promotions - through lead nurturing efforts, or through organic searches. Convincing users to "hang out" on an enterprise technology website is tricky - but adding Web 2.0 tools might just be a good way to keeping coming back to your site.

-BH

December 11, 2007

Organization is the Key to Campaign Success

As more and more lead practices are automated on the back-end, implementing these new practices into your campaign management can be tricky. With the advent of complex lead scoring systems, email nurturing programs, and long-term lead management, keeping all of the details straight is both difficult and essential to the smooth operation of your campaigns.

With so many details for each campaign, the lead generation team at Web Buyer's Guide determined that the best system for our needs would have to contain information for each campaign (assets used, custom questions and filters, etc), allow us to store, scrub and score all leads, and serve as an archive for past campaigns that could be used to analyze the success of each program.

After reviewing the available lead management tools on the market, we realized that the best way to implement such a system was to build it ourselves. Our outstanding in-house developers and client services team created a robust lead management tool that allows us to manage campaigns from initiation to completion, generate leads according to our client's scoring needs, and analyze the success of campaigns once they've been completed.

By combining campaign specifications, promotional information, reports and lead scoring details in one central place, we can spend more time generating and nurturing leads and less time juggling details and hand-scrubbing reports. At the same time, we have control over our system, and can change it as our needs change.

Juggling campaign details and managing leads can take up all of your time when done manually. By implementing an automated lead management and cultivation system to help you organize your programs, you regain control over the process and free up time to help your clients achieve a maximum return on their investments.

-BH

December 03, 2007

Building Trust with Drip Marketing

dripmarketingsmall.jpg Drip Marketing is defined as: a direct marketing strategy that involves sending out a number of promotional pieces over a period of time to a subset of sales leads (from wordspy.com).

One way to cultivate and nurture leads as they move through their buying process is to employ a 'drip marketing' strategy whereby you reach out to prospects with various marketing and promotional materials over a period of time. Each time you engage your leads with new content or offers, you reintroduce your prospects to your offerings, reinforce your brand, and gain credibility as a reliable source of information.

One key way to gain the trust of your prospects is by providing educational information without pitching your offerings outright or pressing your prospects to buy. According to Brian Carroll in Lead Nurturing - Ripening the Right Bananas, multi-touch lead nurturing strategies inspire trust in your prospects and helps build a relationships, and building trusted relationships is one of the most effective ways to turn prospects into buyers.

By setting up a drip marketing strategy where, over a period of time, you send emails that contain increasingly more specialized content (such as webcasts, research reports or podcasts), special offers (such as invitations to events), and links to Landing Pages and Microsites, you continuously (yet gently) nudge your leads until they trust your brand, engage with your content, and eventually respond to your offers.

-BH