An increasing number of companies like Intuit, Sysco, Cisco, GE Healthcare and AT&T are using social media for effective business lead generation.
A recent study from Sagefrog Marketing Group shows how companies have learned to leverage social media. Leveraging social media for branding and building awareness helps B2B companies.
4 Ways how companies can leverage social media:
• Increase brand awareness
• Humanize B2B companies
• Establish as thought leader
• Connecting with customers and prospects
What sites, tactics and strategies are B2B marketers including in their social media outreach?
To do their social media outreach B2B marketers include professional networking sites like LinkedIn which have proven to be an effective way to generate business leads. Furthermore they utilize social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube also which are helping them to reach customers in new ways.
“67% of B2C and 47% of B2B companies report to have acquired new customers through Facebook.” “47% of companies who use Twitter report to have acquired new customer through it.”
Online Marketing strategies like banner ads have been replaced through proven buyer persona oriented content creation which also brings better ROI than pay per click marketing (PPC).
In this report, Technorati shows that 8% of the corporate bloggers which responded to blog full-time as part of their job or are contracted to blog full-time for a company and that 13% of entrepreneurs responded to blog for a company or organization they own.
Studies show that companies who operate and update a corporate blog frequently have 55% more website visitors. From those companies 57% which operate a corporate blog report to have acquired new customers through their blog.
There is no question content marketing, corporate blogging, is definitely a revenue driver for B2B companies.
Every business wants to succeed. But not every business is doing what it needs to succeed. As for the past years corporate blogging and social media has increasingly earned popularity because auf its successful use, there are still a majority of businesses which still do not engage in these said marketing opportunities.
During the past years inbound marketing, which consists of strategic and buyer persona oriented content creation and content distribution like corporate blogging, engagement in social media, lead generation and lead conversion through lead nurturing and measurement through closed-loop analysis has grown in popularity.
The increase of inbound marketing popularity is no fad but the outcome of measurable and proven results which studies like the MIT study certifies.
Some examples why inbound marketing is so successful:
Companies who operate a corporate blog and update it frequently have 55% more website visitors. 57% of companies which operate a corporate blog report to have acquired new customers through their blog.
67% of B2C and 47% of B2B companies report to have acquired new customers through Facebook. 47% of companies who use Twitter report to have acquired new customer through it.
Inbound marketing has a 62% lower cost per lead than traditional marketing strategies. Inbound marketing way generated leads have an 55% higher lead conversion rate than lead generated through traditional marketing strategies.
As inbound marketing strategy consists of buyer persona oriented content creation, social media engagement, lead generation, lead nurturing and closed-loop analysis; it covers the necessary areas for a successfully operable strategy.
Some suggestions to jumpstart your inbound marketing:
Content Marketing has become a significant part of online marketing strategy. Content Marketing has proven to be the best and most cost effective way to drive traffic to a company website and convert this traffic to leads and customers.
The most popular ways of Content Marketing are blogging, social media and video. Studies show that 57% of companies which operate a corporate blog get customers through their blogging effort!
4 Reasons to start a corporate blog:
1. Blogging companies get up to 55% more Traffic
2. Blogging companies get up to 97% more Inbound Links
3. Blogging companies get up to 434% more indexed pages in search engines
4. Blogging companies get up to 25x times more business leads
Social Media Marketing has become a powerful tool to spread remarkable content to reach a wide audience.
For companies who engage in social media and show presence in these channels can open wide opportunities to get in touch with their audience. This leads to an increase of credibility and unfiltered feedback of the target audience and can lead to an improvement of products and services.
New studies show that up to 65 percent of today’s consumers expect a brand to listen and to respond on questions, comments and complaints in social media. Studies also show that companies which use social media actively to communicate with their audience are more successful than companies who do not.
7 Reasons to start your social media marketing:
1. Increase customer perception in the marketplace
2. Build long term relationship with customers and partners
3. Can respond to customers in real-time
4. Taylor products and marketing campaigns based on customer preferences
5. React and resolve on negative buzz in real-time
6. Decrease costs of marketing
7. Improved time to market for products and services
Most people think they need to be Steven Spielberg to make a video to put it online to get a positive impact for their business. But this is not true.
You do not need fancy equipment. The only thing you need is a video camera and for the beginning it can be the one from your smart phone.
The most successful video examples come from ordinary people who could not even be considered amateurs. To become successful with your video marketing, with video content, there is only one secret: Just go and do it, do as many video as you can. Publish it and let your audience judge.
6 Reasons to start your video marketing:
1. 200% to 300% more monthly unique visitors
2. 100% longer average time-on-site per visitor
3. 3-minute average time spent on pages with videos
4. 157% increase in search engine traffic
5. 100% increase in unique visitors
6. 63% increase in page views
Infographic: Content Marketing
—What do you think about content marketing? Are you doing one or all three or other content marketing strategies?
The study shows that businesses with up to 100 employees are more willing and more active in the use of the new technology opportunities. They actively embrace marketing ways like website optimization, email marketing, paid search – PPC marketing, social media, search engine optimization SEO, marketing automation and virtual events – webinars.
The study also shows that businesses with more than 1000 employees are relying more on trade shows and print advertising. But compared to businesses with up to 100 employees they use less website optimization, email marketing, paid search – PPC marketing, social media and search engine optimization SEO.
There is nothing wrong to use tactics that work. But it is a failure to not develop those tactics to improve them to be more productive in the today’s technology opportunities.
To reach the today’s B2B buyer you need to be there where they are. It is a proven fact that B2B business can be initiated through personal meetings on a trade shows. Also it is a proven fact that B2B business can be initiated through connections in social media. Now calculate which way is more cost effective!?
The graphic above shows a big difference between the up to hundred employees firms compared to the more than thousand employees firms. This could be that the smaller firms need to be more cost effective with their marketing than the larger ones. And therefore they use any creative way to get in touch with their target audience.
Here is the competitive advantage where small businesses can get market shares from the big ones but for the fraction of their costs.
Smaller businesses can increase their online activities through inbound marketing. An MIT Sloan Study found out that inbound marketing has a proven 62% less cost per lead and up to 55% higher lead conversion rates.
Inbound marketing is the marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by customers when they research online for products and services your business also has to offer.
With inbound marketing businesses earn their way to the customer, by publishing helpful information on a blog, in social media and forums.
Inbound marketing includes Blogging, Social Media, Lead Conversion, Lead Nurturing and Closed-Loop Analysis.
Inbound marketing increases brand reach and recognition, makes a business stand out of their competition and increase your customers and sales.
Marketing tip: Small businesses should focus on lead generation online. The best way to attract target buyer persona is to produce, publish, distribute and market content on the web. This can be done through a corporate blog, eBooks, whitepapers, pictures, video, social media conversations, blog commenting, press releases and by building further digital content epitomized outposts like Squidoo.
—What do you think about B2B online lead generation?
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Free report: Get found and get leads the smart way.
BuySellAds reports that 82% of businesses are unsatisfied with Daily Deal Sites. They specially indicate that they are not stratified with the amount of repeat business they generate after running a daily deal.
For me this is no surprise. As the most businesses I have talked to have no idea how to do a daily deal marketing campaign the right way to get the most out of it in the long term. Yes right, to do a daily deal on sites like Groupon is a marketing move. And like all marketing activities your business is doing you need to do it the smart way to profit from it!
MISTAKE 1: The most common mistakes made from businesses when they running a daily deal campaign are to offer deals which their current customers and future prospects can compare with their current available offers.
SOLUTION 1: When you step into a daily deal campaign, than you should put together a package which is only valid and available for this special daily deal and when the deal is over the package also vanish.
Also you should reward your recent customers more than your new ones. You can do this by offer an additional discount for this special daily deal to all of your loyal customers.
MISTAKE 2: Another gladly made mistake when doing a daily deal campaign is to not collect the contact details of your new customers.
SOLUTION 2: You should prepare to collect information like mobile phone number, email address, Twitter ID, Facebook ID and LinkedIn ID of your new customers. This will help you to get and to stay in touch with them later and keep them updated about specials for loyal customers only.
By the end of the day your “daily deal campaign” is a “lead generation campaign” and you should make the most out of it.
MISTAKE 3: Do you know bonus programs? Buy seven Coffee and get the eight one for free? Do you know such programs, yes? Do you use them for your business also when you do a daily deal campaign? The most do not!
SOLUTION 3: Prepare bonus cards with different IDs (can be a QR codes) for each of your daily deal campaigns. This will help you to measure how many of your “deal customers” are coming back to your business and how much they spend. When you add a QR code to every deal and associate it to each new customer whom you issue a bonus card, you will get an effective way to measure your daily deal campaign success and more important to motivate your “deal customers” to come back to your business and become loyal customers too.
Infographic: The Daily Deal Divide
—What do you think about Daily Deal Sites? Did I miss anything?
The use of mobile devices is increasingly growing. Tablets and smart phones have become state of the art technology around the globe. People are consuming video, audio, social media, games, news, books and periodicals on the run.
By the growing use and demand of mobile apps people become more dependent of them. Popular services like Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Groupon and other are using apps to stay in touch with their audience.
As their audience is actively using their apps when they are on the road the chance decrease that they separately open their browser to research on Google for products or serivces. They will use their location based services and the recently activated apps to discover, products, services, locations, deals and things they are interested in.
People are about three hours online on their mobile devices compared with one hour from their pc.
The more people research this way, the more the search engine research will decrease.
This trend is creating a growing demand for businesses to be visible in these services and their apps as well. Also to think about to produce own mobile apps to be and to stay connected to their audience.
What can a business do to participate from I call it “Mobile SEO”?
1st Register with all important location based services like Yelp, Foursquare, Neer, Loopt and SCVNGR. Engage here with your audience, build and customize these digital outposts.
2nd Be active in social media sites like Facebook, Linked, Twitter and others important to your audience.
3rd Jump start your mobile marketing the smart way. Collect the mobile phone numbers from your customers. Establish a database where you store all important information about them to later have the ability to custom tailor personalized messages to reach them the right and human way. Look out for a two SMS marketing software which enables you to do and to control your messages.
4th Get even smarter and develop your own mobile app for your audience. To get ideas look through the industries and get inspired how others have done it.
Today it is crucial to be active in social media to make your business more visible and this is no secret.
As major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are indexing social media content the chances increase for businesses to get found online when they publish remarkable content and distribute this content to social media where it can be shared and commented.
With the last step to start +1 button and Google profiles and pages for companies Google has opened a other opportunity for businesses to get their content indexed and improve their SEO the social media way.
When visitors of your content click the +1 button than anybody in their network can see what they like including their profile picture next to the +1 vote. Also its the same way with published content on Google profile and business pages.
When you have already shared your published content like blog articles, pictures, video, etc. on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others then you get a further powerful opportunity with the +1 button which you should use to become more visible.
How can you start to use Google + profile and page for your business?
A. If you have a Gmail account than go and register your Google+ profile and complete it. Insert all necessary information and customize your profile. Take care to use long tail keywords in your description.
B. When you are done with your personal Google plus profile than establish a Google business page. Insert all necessary information about your business. Take care to use long tail keywords in your description her as well.
C. Now let your friends know about your Google+ presence and invite them to your circles.
D. To step into conversation publish your content, information in your updates and ask for opinion. Comment on others updates and share them through the +1 button.
Your action and activities will drive awareness of you and your business and hopefully lead interested people to your blog, website and your offers.
Furthermore you got an additional chance to improve your visibility in the search engines through social SEO.
To be visible on Facebook and LinkedIn increases your chances massively to get a steady stream of high quality business leads and revenue.
As this information is a fact, still not the most companies do embrace social media and the wide opportunities it offers to step into real-time two way communication.
Still there are companies which do not act in this medium.
Research data below shows this:
• On Facebook alone, 69% of small businesses reported receiving customer recommendations through the site (University of Maryland School of Business)
• 41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business from it (Hubspot)
• According to CreditDonkey, just 35% of small business owners have a Facebook page (CreditDonkey)
• 18% of small businesses are using LinkedIn (Crowdspring)
What does it mean for your business?
When you are active now:
— Increase your activity and do more. Optimize what you are doing right now and measure to learn more about the things who work and the one who does not.
When you are still not active:
— When you start now you can position yourself the smart way and secure your share.
— Come from the sideline and take action before you get left behind and have to start an expensive uphill battle.
Companies which engage in social media show presence and get tremendous opportunities to get in touch with their audience. This also leads to an increase of credibility and unfiltered feedback of the audience and this can lead to an improvement of products and services.
The value of effective social media engagement in a context of a well executes inbound marketing strategy can be measured and results in an increase of brand value and growing revenue.
“According to research from global consulting firm Accenture, almost two-thirds of B2B marketing executives view social media as an extremely important or a very important channel to interact with customers, partners and stakeholders. However, only 7% of the survey group felt that their organization was leveraging social media very heavily.”
Due to lack of resources, skills and measurement B2B firms hesitate to step into the opportunity social media offers to their business.
An important evidence for the lack of skills in this area is the wrong thinking that more tools are needed to measure and improve B2B social media practices. Therefore only few B2B companies link social to overall strategy.
But most B2B marketers are very interested to use social media to improve their business.
“B2B marketers told Accenture that technology, tools, metrics and collaboration could be useful to strengthen their social media programs.”
As the biggest barriers for B2B companies is not to know where to start when they want to developed a social media strategy.
As thousands other B2C and B2B businesses globally, B2B companies should utilize “Inbound Marketing”.
Inbound marketing is the marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by customers (B2C / B2B) when they research online for products and services your company also has to offer.
With inbound marketing companies earn their way to the customer (B2C / B2B), by publishing helpful information on a blog, in social media and forums.
Inbound marketing includes Blogging, Social Media, Lead Conversion, Lead Nurturing and Closed-Loop Analysis.
Coffee shops or coffee bars are not only places where you can buy a cup of fresh brew coffee but more some kind of social places to meet friends to sit together and chat.
More over coffee bars have become place where business people do meetings and also sit there with their notebook and do their work.
Coffee bars are also a great business and the only sector of gastronomy worldwide which is increasingly growing year over year.
Entrepreneurs can make good money when they operate a coffee shop or build a coffee chain like Starbucks and others worldwide have done. Here is a list of coffeehouse chains.
All successful businesses have one thing in common, they have great marketing and they care about their customers and coffee shops are no exemption.
As the coffee shop business offer great opportunities to make big money it also deserves special attention in different areas.
I do not now go to explain the different coffee beans now. I am talking about the opportunity which inbound marketing offer to a coffee shop.
Inbound marketing includes Blogging, Social Media, Lead Conversion, Lead Nurturing and Closed-Loop Analysis.
To get customers your audience need to know that you exist and what you have to offer. So you need to get found!
When you start a new coffee bar it can make sense to use Groupon for the first six months to helps boost your revenue. But when the first six month are over you need to have a creative mindset to attract new customers and keep the actual coming back to you.
You should make your coffee shop visible on Google Places so people can find you and the best thing is, they can rate you and leave a comment. You also can encourage them to do this by rewarding them for comments and ratings.
You should also register in your local web based yellow pages. As search engines index content of yellow pages your information gets indexed as well.
Companies engage increasingly in social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other forums and platforms. They go to step into conversation with their audience to offer better service and support and to strengthen the band between actual and future customers.
Social media is a great way to grow brand awareness for the business and to expand the reach to get more customers. But social media can also be a trap for those who are not familiar with managing their reputation online.
Everything a company is communicating on the web and in social media can travel a far way and have an impact on the reputation of the brand.
On social media people are talking about your last blog article, your service, products, about you and your brand. With or without your involvement.
As content which is published on social media also can be indexed by the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing the chances are great that also the content you have distributed will appear in the search engines search results too.
For you it is important to know where you or your brand name has been mentioned so you can respond. Therefore your best strategy to keep a good reputation is also to be active where your target audience is talking about you. So you can respond professionally and show your opinion.
You should care about your online reputation as the web has a wider reach than small town gossip. Future business and future contacts will be influenced by what the people find about you on the web.
Your behavior on the web and what other say about you will affect your future for sure.
To keep a good reputation you need to take care of the WHAT, WHERE and the HOW.
WHAT do you publish on the web and in social media?
You should avoid do praise your products too much. Do not make the mistake to use social media as a distribution channel and overload your audience with dump sales pitches.
WHERE do you publish your content?
Publish content topics where they belong and where they are appreciated. Therefore you need to listen carefully to your audience and give them the information they demand.
HOW do you communicate?
Always communicate in a professional and friendly way. Try to be helpful and show expertise and avoid sounding like schoolmasterly.
How you present yourself on the web can win you business and respect. To achieve this you should take the time to establish a good digital branding and biography.
Infographic: Reputation Management
–How do you protect your reputation on the web? Let me know what you think. I am looking forward to your comment.
A recent IBM study shows that 82% of CMOs worldwide are planning increase their technology investment in social media within the next three to five years.
These are interesting data. As social media evolves and more businesses jumping o this bandwagon it looks for me that three to five years are not an appropriate time frame to step into conversation with existing and future customers.
The more companies engage in social media two way communications the thinner the air becomes for those who start later. Those who come late will experience a massive uphill battle to gain positions which their competitors already have secured.
Companies which like to position their business to gain a competitive advantage need to act now, and not to wait three to five years.
Moreover companies who decide to take action within the next five years will be under risk to vanish from the customer radar and sink.
As social media is evolving at a very quick pace businesses also need to evolve to stay on track.
Content creation is the key to get found on the web. Your audience is researching o the web fist. If your audience can’t find you when they research for products or services which you also have to offer than you will lose potential business.
The three big search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing are indexing content form social media. So if you are in social media your chances increase to get found on the web.
What can you do to position your business today?
If you want to do business in the next five years and beyond you should take the opportunity to jump into social media as a valuable communication channel.
A. Register the most important social media networks for your brand as they are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare and any other sites or forums where your target audience is around.
B. Complete and customize your profiles there to have a social media branding to get recognized by your audience.
C. Listen to the social media conversation and contribute if you feel you have something valuable and helpful to say.
D. Start a corporate blog where you write about topics which your audience is interested in. Share your articles in your social media channels and ask your audience about their opinion.
E. Train you staff to become your brand ambassadors on the web and I social media and give them the freedom to decide how to communicate by establishing clear social media policy.
F. Measure your doings and check out what is working and what is not working. The things which work for your business you should intensify and the thing which do not work the way you have expected you should cut back.
G. Set realistic goals! Be realistic with your social media engagement. Rome wasn’t built in a day as well. Be patient as any strategy needs time to breathe to show up results and social media marketing a blogging are no exceptions.
Infographic: The ROI of Social Media
–How about you? What are your experiences with sociel media? I am looking forward to your comment below.
Traditional media budget are increasingly shifted to Internet/ Digital marketing! It is more than possible that also your competition is increasing their internet marketing and digital budgets. How about you?
Do you have an Internet/ Digital marketing strategy yet? Are you active in social media and do you actually have strong relations to your target audience?
According to Q3 2011 research from media buying solutions provider STRATA, companies are becoming just as focused on digital media as they are on spot TV.
If you take a closer look to these numbers below, than you can see that the trend is changing! The old school media like spot TV has lost 10% within nine months while the Internet/ Digital gain 11% of budget in the same time.
What does it mean to you? Yes, they shifted their budgets to Internet/ Digital and put a little bit more on top!
Spot TV Q1 2011 45% – Q2 2011 41% – Q3 2011 35%. This is a decrease of 10% within nine months.
Internet/ Digital Q1 2011 23% – Q2 2011 24% – Q3 2011 34%. This is an increase of 11% within nine months.
More and more companies shift their budgets to Internet/ Digital to increase reach and decrease marketing costs.
While Internet/ Digital marketing can be measured more reliable, the companies get the opportunity to exactly learn about the road their marketing dollars travel and to improve their marketing to get the best possible results.
As the competition increases the efforts to get seen from the target audience also increase. Companies who want to gain the competitive edge need to build strong relationships with their audience and show them they care.
As increasingly companies discover the power of internet and digital marketing, the air for errors, bad customer service or bad products becomes thinner.
Businesses who want to stay on the top of the game need to listen and to react in real-time. They need to be, thoughtful and accessible 24/7.
What can you do to stay on top of the game?
Do not look around what your competition is doing! Play your own game and walk your own way. Watch out to other industries to get ideas and inspiration o how to step into conversation with your audience.
Use your creativity to attract the attention of you audience. For example, you can do instructional video and post it on Youtube and your website and then share it in social media and ask for the opinion of your network. You can do a blog and you should be actively listening in social media.
Do not try to sell! Just be there, be helpful and show expertise. Then you will attract the right people to your offers automatically.
Measure what you do! If you have no numbers than you dependent on luck and guessing and this you should avoid. To make strong decisions you need strong data.
New studies show that up to 65 percent of today’s consumers expect a brand to listen and to respond on questions, comments and complaints in social media.
With the massive increase of social media brands have also discovered these communication channels to get in touch with their audience. They communicate with existing and future customers, respond to questions and complaints and solve support requests in social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites.
Studies show that companies can increase brand value and customer satisfaction by up to 35% when they are actively engage and communicate with their audience on social media.
Sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn cumulate a total of more than one billion users! It seems that any person on the globe is active in one or more social networks. As the numbers of internet usage increase the numbers of social media use increase as well.
Customers appreciate when brands take time to listen and to respond to them in social media.
Seven business advantages of social media engagement:
1. Increase customer perception in the marketplace.
2. Build long term relationship with customers and partners.
3. Can respond to customers in real-time.
4. Taylor products and marketing campaigns based on customer preferences.
5. React and resolve on negative buzz in real-time.
6. Decreasing costs of marketing.
7. Improved time to market for products and services.
By being active in social media company’s show that they care about their customers and that they are interested in their opinion. By taking this opportunity of interaction companies can be a massive step ahead of their competition.
Companies who hesitate or simply do not care to step into social media conversation simply show one thing, that they do not care about their customers.
As we are in times where information is under your fingertips any business can use social media to get in touch with their audience. And if companies hesitate to start alone and by them self there is a ton of skilled help out there to help them to get their social media marketing up and running, training their staff and implement working process to profit from social media marketing.
Companies which use social media actively to communicate with their audience are more successful than companies who do not.
David Meerman Scott made an analysis for his new book “Real-Time Marketing & PR” and discovered that companies which utilize social media actively in their business have on average 5% higher share prices on the stock exchange. Companies who do not use social media for business have on average 3% lower share prices.
It pays out to be active in social media!
Start today to make social media marketing your catalyst for growth.
–How are your experiences with social media marketing for your business?
Adjust your mindset to realtime to reach your buyer personas today and in REAL TIME.
The budget sizes are no indicator of marketing success anymore. But speed and agility are competitive advantages which bring you step ahead of your competition but only if you react when the market is ready for you and not the opposite.
Anybody who can react in real-time and has the right data and information by their hand has a competitive advantage. Businesses which change their mindset from old campaign planning to the new realtime marketing and pr opportunities will be a step ahead of their competition.
How to utilize HOT global news for your business and go piggyback to achieve real-time marketing and pr success?
To have a plan for the future is great, but you need to be active today, now and in real-time. This opens you wide opportunities to jump on the bandwagon which also can transport your message piggyback to your audience.
Watch this video with author David Meerman Scott speaks at DMA2011 about the importance of real-time marketing, based on his best-selling book realtime Marketing & PR.
Some simple but effective tips to bring you up into real-time marketing
Look out for news which relates to your business and think abouts how to contribute a beneficial way to that news which actually appears.
A great way to be and stay updated is to have some kind of information hub, some kind of dashboard.
You can do this very simple by research for related news sites, social media sites and blogs and to subscribe to their RSS feeds which you bundle in your Google RSS reader. So you get all the necessary and most recent news at one place. From there you have an almost 360 view of topics which could be interesting for you and which you could utilize for your marketing.
Another great tool to monitor social media is TweetDeck.
TweetDeck is an Adobe AIR desktop application for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn , Foursquare, and MySpace. Like other Twitter applications it interfaces with the Twitter API to allow users to send and receive tweets and view profiles.
Infographic Small Business and Social Media use
-How do you take advantage of news for your business? I am looking forward to read your comment below.
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