B2B Digital Marketing Priorities 2013 – my webinar and slides!

This past Friday (11 January) I joined Dave Chaffey for the Smart Insights Marketing Priorities conference on Bright Talk – where we and seven other leading digital illuminaries  offered our assessments on important digital elements marketers should consider for the coming year.

I encouraged B2B marketers to master the basics using a seven step approach to effective and meaningful B2B digital marketing – acting as a teaser for my new ebook “Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing” published exclusively on Amazon in December.

I used the analogy of being more owl like and less magpie like in terms of being seduced by shiny new digital things – instead following a robust goal based digital strategy.

The presentation focused on the importance of getting websites and SEO right before investing in any form of online promotion.

The webinar is embedded below. Or feel free to use this link to launch it at Bright Talk (you may well have to log in). The slides are also available separately on Slideshare here – and have been updated to reflect the feedback from the three votes as well as increasing the size and resolution of all the case studies.
A BrightTALK Channel
This was my first webinar so you can see we lost some time towards the end because of the questions and polls.  Do leave feedback and any questions below and I’ll be happy to moderate.

What are your B2B digital marketing priorities in 2013? Share below.

Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing – ebook B2B case studies

The interest in my new 440 page ebook Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing (co-authored with Dave Chaffey) and now available from Amazon for Kindle and Kindle apps, has been overwhelming and I’m thrilled to be able to answer questions.

One of the recurring questions is around the companies and case studies profiled in the book. As Amazon’s Look Inside feature doesn’t really help here (and because B2B covers a very broad spectrum of companies), I figured I’d pull together a quick list of the companies included so you can make your own decision to purchase.

(in rough chapter order – websites, search engine optimisation, content, social, CRM and email and integrated campaigns, evaluation)

The Engineer, Blackberry, BOC, UPS, Oliver Valves, Acer, Dell, Barclaycard, Skanska, Mint, Github, Ocean Spray ITG, RS Components, Salesforce, Atlas Copco, Mettler Toledo, BASF, Smart Insights, Nokia Siemens Networks, Espresso, BrightTalk, William Reed, Tata Steel, GE, Eloqua, HML, Packworld, Corning, Knauf, 3M, BDB, o2, PWC, Ingersoll Rand, Cisco, Saint Gobain, tna, The Construction Network, Gorvins Solicitors, Meltwater, Tyco, Claremont Interiors Group, Anglian, Google, Egan Reid, Hubspot, Experian, Active Profile, Perkin Elmer, Adobe, MarketBright, Marketo, Yahoo!, ThreeUK, Klout, Litmus.

I hope this convinces you this really is a true B2B digital marketing publication and not one looking at the B2B arm of predominantly consumer brands and businesses.

Get your copy of the book now by clicking here.

Things that happen every 60 seconds online

Business Insider published this fantastic infographic detailing some of the amazing things that happen every 60 seconds online. I can’t vouch for the statistics but if you haven’t yet realised that your business can benefit from embracing the web, hopefully this does the trick.


6 creative ways to use Twitter for business

Twitter is like Marmite. People love it or hate it. And even within the pro-Twitter group, there is a significant number that fail to maximise the exposure the platform provides. Which does little to convince businesses and brand owners to give it a go.

To avoid the humdrum of updating people on where you are having your lunch, or indeed what you having, consider using Twitter in the following six ways.

1. Run a poll. Snapshot market research. Done. Provides great content for a blog or press release, creating something newsworthy.

2. Run a time sensitive promotion. Arguably easier for retail based or hyper local businesses , but professsional services companies shouldn’t rule out the value of providing limited time access to ‘valuable’ information and insight packaged into white papers and pdf downloads. A great lead generator too.

3. Support events. More and more seminars and conferences create a #hashtag pror to an event to link all tweets related to that event. It’s simple, searchable and incredibly effective. Maintaining the community after an event by sharing content and continuing discussions maximises this further.

4. Share relevant industry news. Raise your profile by associated yourself with the latest news and views in your industry. Using services like Twitterfeed and Google Reader you can quickly and easily keep on top of the latest news without having to visit dozens of websites every day.

5. Look for new recruits. Write a catchy tweet with a link to further content on your website or blog to encourage the best talent on the Internet to make themselves known.

6. Take advantage of location. One of the biggest advances in technology and marketing as smart mobile phones develop. It is estimated that there will be more smart phones than computers accessing the Internet by 2013. Thats two years away. Twitter synchs seamlessly with other location based services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places.

And indeed, linking ‘location’ with any of the points above provides for a smart, engaging and potentially lead generating return from Twitter.

And hey, not an overtly self promotional ‘broadcast’ tweet in sight.  Thats the way to do it in style. It rarely pays to be the loudest guy in the room.


Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection

Why I love Google tools, RSS and Google Reader

Waiting for a daily email newsletter to arrive or remembering to check any number of websites for updates can leave you ‘behind the curve’ on client and market developments. It can also be time consuming and things can disrupt the regular supply of emails.

You might use some Google tools but here are some quick ways to help cut through your information overload.

1. Setting up a Google account

Dead easy. If you haven’t got one head to www.google.co.uk and select Sign in top right. Create an account, verify it from your email, sign in, and you’ll be able to access a range of Google services for free.

2. Google Alerts

Activating a Google Alerts account means you can get information related to keywords, clients and brands you are interested in, delivered to your inbox as frequently as you want them. Google Alerts scour the internet taking in news, blogs, video, image, YouTube, books and lots more. You can set them to occur more or less frequently than I have below and can check in and run an update at any time.

3. RSS Feeds When you see this icon on a web page, it means you can be updated every time something new appears on that page. There are two ways to take regular, ‘live’ feeds from a webpage into Google, using the personalised home page or Google Reader, more below.

(You can, if you prefer, bypass all this and set up RSS feeds into Microsoft Outlook too but that restricts use to your work computer whereas with Google, you can access services anywhere and on any computer in the world).


Click ‘Subscribe now’ and you should see this screen, which gives you two options, outlined below.

4. iGoogle Home Page

Using the iGoogle setting rather than Classic (see the top right corner in the screen grab below) means you can personalise your internet browsing desktop and have your most important news feeds available at a touch of a button. The advantage of using this is that every time you refresh, each feed refreshes so you get the very latest published content from that site on your Internet home page.

And you don’t need to set up another email account as had previously been the case. (All my Google activity runs through my Yahoo! Ymail account).


5. Google Reader

There are several options on ‘readers’ but I personally prefer the Google Reader service which lists all ‘feeds’ in one place. Here you can group all your favourite sites, blogs and RSS feeds and flick through them easily. The latest content published on a site you take a feed from is always displayed at the top in bold.

The whole thing is designed to save time and effort but keep you up to date with the information and the sites you need to stay updated about. It isn’t necessarily a substitute for those daily/weekly emails which have a value and contain additional content, but for news that could provide an opportunity to respond on if done quickly, it is extremely useful.

The screen grabs below show various list views and expanded views. Depending on the feed, some articles can be read in their entirety in Reader, whilst others will give an introduction to the article but still require you to click through.


Different story displays:


I open up Google Reader first thing in the morning and check in a few times a day. Helps me keep up with the game, if not ahead of it.

MMC Learning digital marketing courses testimonial

Imran, Helen, Danielle and the guys at MMC Learning are doing a great job of bringing high-quality digital marketing training to the masses. Since spinning out as a university funded business a few years ago, MMC Learning is now self-sufficient and is leading the way in Internet-hosted, distance self learning.

The courses are filled with the latest content, engaging video and audio and a range of case studies and use a blended mix of online presentations, supplementary reading and application based assignments to challenge students.

I recently filmed a short testimonial for them. Whether you are new to marketing, new to digital or have a team to train, it might be worth you checking MMC Learning out.


Incidentally, this is my first ‘video’ post. I’ll be talking about the importance of video as one of the best social media tools for b2b marketers this week.

Why writing a blog is no longer enough when it comes to blogging

I’ve known for a while that writing a blog and not promoting it effectively makes all the effort pretty much redundant. It’s like locking a work of art in a dark room.

Consequently, and deliberately, I’ve used Twitter, Linkedin status and group discussions, Ecademy and other publication sites like Yahoo!’s Contributer Network (formerly Associated Content) to publish links and teasers to drive traffic and interest.

It has worked well, but seems to have levelled with around 200-300 visits to the site a day, another 200 or so on other sites, 100 or so email registrants and an indefinable number of readers using RSS / reader feeds.

To supplement this, and to raise profile, I periodically posted relevant responses on blogs of interest (I follow lots through Google Reader) and sometimes strategically on blogs with significantly more traffic than mine. This seems to be paying dividends as when I happened to look at the statistics on one of my better performing blog posts this week, I found the following:

There seems to be three distinct factors at play here.

1/ The author’s seeding strategy is key, and forms the basis of successful content marketing. Placing content in selected places where you know your targets ‘graze’ encourages take up and sharing.

2/ I didn’t place most of the links showing above, which suggests someone else did.

3/ Reading, commenting on, reaching out to and sharing other blogs has a positive effect on delivering traffic back to your own blog. Why? Because when you log in to add your comment you can insert your blog URL which when the comment goes live sits as a hyperlink on your name.

Therefore, posting insightful comments intrigues readers who then might click through to see what else you are saying.

I then looked at what was being read.

The fascinating thing is it isn’t always the blog post of the day. I put this down to the ‘recently posted’ and ‘most read’ lists on the home page. If you haven’t activated these tabs, add them today!

So, even once you’ve selected a topic, got going and kept it regular, is not enough. You should promote and link to previous posts, seed and interact with better visited sites to drive real take up and traffic.

A take away action: Pick the ten most important news, portal and blog sites related to your business and start reading, tweeting and most importantly commenting and see where it takes you.

Image: Revegetation Services

Marketing Metrics 10: Linkedin

[Image http://www.iconarchive.com/icons]

Linkedin is THE platform for business professionals looking to develop themselves, their contact pool and their business. What began several years ago as a professional networking forum quickly evolved into a powerful tool to raise profile and showcase expertise.

As Facebook rose to prominence in the consumer space, Linkedin has been quick to deploy the latest techniques to ensure it stays ahead of competitors like Ning and Plaxo.

Whilst social media (annoying term!) continues its progression into business, and published luminaries’ pontificate on how to monetize it, we the practitioners are left to try and find a way to make it work.

In my  view, Linkedin supports two specific objectives: profile and reputation raising AND lead generation. But in this era of soft marketing, you should categorically focus on the former before crashing ahead with the later. The loud, spamming bores are given short thrift on Linkedin.

And, if you follow my non-nonsense ten-step approach to making Linkedin work for you, you’ll be well on your way personally and professionally to achieving both objectives.

If you’re viewed as someone people value through your contributions on Linkedin, you will be sought out. This means posting answers, offering solutions and sharing interesting content. Group members will want to connect with you, your contacts will want to recommend you to their contacts and over time be recommended by you. All these numbers are pretty tangible.

[Image from http://sterlingadvisorsllc.com]

So too, are the tangible numbers related to lead generation. This starts with group and answer discussions, click-throughs to [or downloads of] associated content like slides, blog posts, web visits, Twitter, views/follows on company profile, provision of Answers etc, all leading to connection requests and enquiries.

Everything you do on Linkedin gets you closer to the people you want to get close to. Applying Frignes Karinthy’s six degrees of separation strategy means that technically there is little stopping you accessing the FTSE 100 CEO you seek an audience with; you just have to do it in the right way as you get one shot.


Few account holders stray beyond the free platform such is the integration with other tools including email, Twitter, Slideshare, WordPress and Amazon. But upgrading to one of the business plans affords the opportunity not only to use InMail to communicate with anyone, run detailed 3rd level searches and see expanded profiles but also to see who has been looking at your profile.

Professionals and companies – such as recruitment – are generating real revenue through platforms like Linkedin. Given you can take a step-by-step approach to building your expert profile, contact pool and leads, can you really afford not to?

Clicks that convert

Fast access to relevant to information is critical if you want to entice visitors when they visit your site and encourage them to engage. Think about your own online habits and preferences. Visitors to your site haven’t got time to sit and wait for the site to load, work out where to go or schedule time for an unstructured browse.

Your site needs to follow the mythical but effective three click rule. Ensure nothing is more than three clicks away (forwards to new content or back previous pages) by developing a site built on a four tier navigation structure as a maximum. In-built signposting to get people back to a category, specific page, search or back to the home page are now the norm rather than a nice to have.

Visitors browse in different ways. Some like menus and drop downs, other like action buttons. Cater for both by positioning all your  ‘call to action’ buttons (such as LiveTalk, Register, Contact, Sign up, Download, Buy now) prominently in left hand or right hand navigation bars and ensure they remain on every page. Duplication of content is an issue, but duplication in navigation is not.

Websites cost money to design, build and maintain. Looking nice is one part of it. Providing a useful experience is another. Ensuring it can be found on the search engines is another. Above all, your website needs to sweat 24:7 for your business. The Internet is always on – give your site the best to make clicks convert.

So road test your website today. Parking the need to redesign, what you could streamline now, quickly and inexpensively, to make it easier for visitors to access important information?

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