B2B Marketing

The Problem with B2B Blogs

I’ve gotten out of the blogging habit for a few months now. It started out innocently enough. I went on vacation for a couple of weeks. Then when I got back, guess what? I was swamped with client work that had been waiting for me. In a blink, a month had passed. Then two. Then…well…you get the picture.

As I’ve been struggling to get back on track, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I had a great start. Things were going well. Momentum was beginning to build. And then things fell apart. What went wrong? I’ve come to a single conclusion. And it affects not just me, but anyone with a B2B blog.

The problem with B2B blogs is they’re free.

I know what you’re saying. It’s great they’re free. That’s part of the magic. Free can’t be the problem. But I’m here to tell you it is not ...


Five Tips for Great Email Newsletters

The rise of social media has some folks predicting the death of email. Not so fast! According to Forrester Research, email marketing is alive and well. Forrester predicts that by 2014 marketers will spend $2 billion on email marketing.

The rise of social media and mobile technology has actually made email more important. Email can point customers to social sites. And with a smart phone, email can reach customers anytime and anywhere. No longer is email (or the web) tied to a computer.

Enter email newsletters.

Done well, email newsletters still play an important role in any marketing program. Done poorly, newsletters can do more harm than good. But most newsletters fall somewhere in the middle. They don’t do a great job, but they don’t make the company look awful either.

They’re just there. Going out every month, and sitting in the inbox of recipients. Mediocre newsletters are a wasted ...


Your B2B Buyers Think Your Website Is Hard To Use

Yes, I know B2B buyers are savvy. I know most of them use computers and the Internet in their jobs each and every day. And I’m sorry to tell you, they really do think your website is hard to use.

I’ll give you an example from my own experience. My dryer died a few weeks ago and I’ve been doing research before purchasing a new one. Now I’m not the type to actually purchase a dryer online, but I’m happy to do all my research there.

One of the things I wanted to know is how much the dryer was and whether my local store had it in stock. Finding the local store information and getting it to display on the websites was a huge challenge.

First, they all called it something different. Store locator. Store finder. And my personal favorite, directory. In addition to the different terminology, the links ...


Train Prospects with Your B2B Marketing Content

I can hear the excitement now. There's a way to train prospects? Eager B2B marketers have but one question -- can we train them to buy my product? All the time?

Now before you go off with visions of prospects marching like zombies and chanting "buy, buy, buy," I should clarify a couple of things.

First, you can train prospects. Unfortunately for us, we often train prospects in ways we don't realize or anticipate. And second, now that you know, you can use training principles to create great B2B marketing copy.

Principle 1: Stay Focused

Did you ever have a teacher who presented more than one concept at a time? Or who ran through so many ideas you didn't know which one was most important? Or remembered half of what she said? Don't make that mistake with your marketing copy.

The average person can only keep five to seven things ...


Picking the Right B2B Copywriter for Your Next Project

The spiking demand for well-crafted content means many companies will end up working with a freelancer at some point.

If you are the lucky soul in charge of choosing, you have a big task ahead of you. Especially if you don't already know a few people who could do the job well.

Perhaps you begin with one of  the big job boards such as elance.com. Or maybe you just do a quick google search to see who's out there. Either way, you're likely to be overwhelmed with choices and promises.

Here's a few ways to help sort through the noise.

Look for Writing Ability

You are hiring this person to write, so evaluate their writing skills. Is there a website? How well is it written? Blog posts? Samples? Emails? You don't necessarily need to see a sample of the exact type of project you want them to work on for this evaluation.



B2B Buyers Value Content Differently than Marketers

Let's face it. Content is expensive. It takes time to create and you want any content you create to build as much benefit for your marketing program as possible. Do you understand which content your buyers value most?

New research from Marketing Sherpa indicates most marketers value their content very differently than their buyers do. The study specifically looked at which type of content inspires click through from a vendor e-mail. In the study, both marketers and buyers rated which content they felt would drive clickthroughs. And their answers differ remarkably.

The content most highly rated by marketers:

  1. Educational Content (92%)
  2. Free Research Reports (86%)
  3. Peer Best Practices (79%)
  4. Competitive Comparisons and Buying Guides (77%)
  5. Interactive Peer Comparison Tool (74%)

Notice that marketers place a heavy emphasis on educational content and research. Industry information and promotional content appear much lower on their list (not in the top 5). Contrast that with the opinion of ...


Use Your B2B Copywriting to Differentiate

It's a problem most marketers struggle with at one point or another. Just how can you make your company stand out? Especially if the field is crowded, or if you are the little guy going up against the "300 pound gorilla" in that market.

Yes, you must have a clear USP. Unfortunately it's easy to stop there. A USP is only the first step. The next step is using good B2B copywriting techniques so your USP resonates with your ideal buyer, and allows the personality of your company to shine through. This is where many companies fall short. Prospects are stuck in a world of "corporatese" that doesn't talk about what they value and doesn't help your salespeople with the sale.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

"Our integrated suite of on-demand applications is relied upon by thousands of customers worldwide to align their businesses to their strategies, arm ...


Do You Prepare Customers to Buy?

I received an envelope from my alma mater the other day. Unlike most correspondence I receive from them, this one actually got my attention.  This envelope was plain and small. It looked like a note, perhaps something personal. So I opened it.

Inside was a little note card with a beautiful picture of a campus landmark. On the note card was a slogan about spirit and a personalized URL. Nothing else. I'm still intrigued, so I visited the URL.

When I got to the page, voices started talking about their time at the university, beautiful landmarks came onto the screen, and an emotional score played. I don't think the content was customized to me, but it did get me reminiscing about my time on campus. As I did, a message appeared and asked me to consider donating when the university contacted me.  Links along the side pointed to additional information about the university, things ...


Be Successful with White Paper Marketing in 2010

White papers are powerful marketing tools. When I think of white paper marketing, I often think of B2B companies selling complex products. But the truth is white papers help build your business, communicate with your customers, and find new leads regardless of what your specific product or service is. That's why I'm so excited to tell you about Michael Stelzner's White Paper Success Summit.

Having attended his Copywriting Success Summit last summer, I can tell you these events are packed with valuable information. The fact that you can attend from anywhere just makes them all the more convenient and cost-efficient. This year's White Paper Success Summit will cover topics like:

  • Successfully marketing your business with white papers
  • How to create a successful campaign to market your white papers
  • Using white papers to generate more leads and more sales
  • The seven keys to a successful white paper
  • Proven techniques for using white papers for long-term lead generation ...

Are You Feeding the Cell Phone Habit?

It seems everyone has a cell phone these days. And some of us are more attached than others. When I think of cell phones I often picture my two teenage nieces texting non-stop at family functions, lest they miss something while hanging out with us "old" people. And yes, mobile marketing is still often perceived as something that "only" applies to B2C. (Sound familiar? You're right. That's exactly what B2B companies were saying about social media a year or so ago.) But if you aren't feeding the cell phone habit in your e-mail marketing programs you are missing a big opportunity.

According a to Marketing Sherpa survey, 64% of decision-makers said they regularly view e-mails using a cell phone or other mobile device. That seems to resonate with the professionals I know who are permanently attached to their phones. (The old crackberry joke should have told us that.) Are you optimizing your e-mail programs to ...