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Yearly Archives: 2020

Take the 2020 B2B Influencer Marketing Survey

B2B Influencer Marketing Survey

B2B Influencer Marketing Survey

Influencer Marketing is positioned to address some of the key B2B marketing challenges of our time: declining buyer trust, improving content quality, reach and effectiveness.

On top of that, business marketers are now faced with the additional challenge of in-person marketing being taken out of the mix with many shifting to pure digital and and purpose driven programs.

Influencer Marketing presents an even greater opportunity for B2B brands in an all-digital environment to attract and engage customers with authentic content that builds trust.

While there's plenty of momentum and recent attention towards influencer marketing for B2B companies, the majority of research on the topic has been covered broadly or focused on B2C influencer marketing. Many blogs and publications including this one have cited B2C statistics and examples in the hopes of a correlation to B2B. But it's just not the same thing.

Fyre Festival references and comparisons to Kardashians when understanding the possibilities with B2B influencer marketing isn't helping anyone.

To give the B2B world some clarity, TopRank Marketing has launched the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Study. Our goal is to help demystify the top challenges, best practices of top performers, operations, software and future directions of influence for business to business marketers.

Survey respondents can get early access to the report PLUS they can also enter to win a $500 Amazon gift card.

We've been capturing responses for several weeks and despite all that is going on right now, the survey has been well received. Marketers from B2B companies of all sizes including many of the top B2B brands in the world have taken the survey and the insights so far are compelling to say the least.

If you work in B2B marketing and have tested influencer projects, implemented campaigns or are currently running ongoing influencer marketing programs, I invite you to take the survey today.

With the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Study, we'll finally have valid statistics based on actual B2B practitioners sharing their successes, challenges, strategies, tactics, measurement, operations, software and trends insights. Now, more than ever, we need clarity on what influencer marketing means for the B2B world as we navigate these challenging times and beyond.

Big thanks to MarketingProfs, Content Marketing Institute and B2B Ignite USA for their media partnerships to get the word out on the survey. We'll be sharing multiple additional media sponsors soon. I would also like to thank Mantis Research for their research services.

 

The post Take the 2020 B2B Influencer Marketing Survey appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use a Pop-Up Facebook Group for Business

Want an effective way to promote limited-time offers or events? Have you considered a temporary Facebook group? In this article, you’ll discover how to run a pop-up Facebook group for business. When to Use a Pop-Up Facebook Group Unlike regular groups, a pop-up Facebook group is a limited-time experience. Members have the opportunity to learn […]

The post How to Use a Pop-Up Facebook Group for Business appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Facebook Launches Ad Testing Tools and New Features for Video

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Facebook’s new tool for testing ad campaigns and the latest updates to video and live-streaming features with […]

The post Facebook Launches Ad Testing Tools and New Features for Video appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Keep company and customer data safe with social media security best practices

From social engineering to sophisticated profile hijacking, social media accounts face many potential attack vectors. This year alone, hacker groups have compromised the social Read more...

This post Keep company and customer data safe with social media security best practices originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Digital Marketing News: Influencers See Surging Engagement, COVID-19’s Impact on B2B Marketers, & New Opportunities For Building Brand Trust

2020 April 3 Social Bakers Chart

2020 April 3 Social Bakers Chart

Influencers see surge in engagement, want to help SMBs
While other forms of marketing have generally seen decreased effectiveness figures during the coronavirus pandemic, influencer marketing has seen surging social media engagements and impressions, with some 70 percent of influencers seeing audiences seeking guidance from them during the crisis, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. Influence Central

Forrester: Brands must build trust as coronavirus saps consumer sentiment
Although brands have been facing decreased consumer confidence due to the coronavirus pandemic, some are also achieving new levels of trust by helping consumers regain a sense of control, a shift examined in newly-released consumer energy index survey data from Forrester. Marketing Dive

Forrester Chart

Facebook Added a New 'Experiments' Element to Ad Manager to Help Optimize Ad Performance
Facebook has released new online video watching features to meet growing usage demands due to the coronavirus pandemic, including audience targeting campaign test results that are easier to track, and other additions that had previously been available only to partners, the social media giant announced recently. Social Media Today

An Age Gap Emerges in the Streaming Video Ad vs. Costs Debate
52 percent of the 25-34 age group demographic are open to seeing more online advertisements in exchange for lower streaming video service fees, while just 28 percent older than 55 take the same view, two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in new survey data. MarketingCharts

The new contextual ad targeting works, study says
With browser cookie-based tracking on the wane, contextual advertising has been getting a second look from marketers seeking alternative tracking, and recently-released test results found that contextually relevant ads generated some 43 percent greater neural engagement along with 2.2 times better ad recall, among other findings of interest to marketers. Search Engine Land

Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic [Edelman]
Brands can meet the challenges surfaced by COVID-19 by offering solutions and setting aside passion, according to newly-released consumer trust report data from Edelman, which revealed that some 57 percent of consumers want brands to stop all humorous or light-hearted marketing and advertising during the pandemic. Edelman

2020 April 3 Statistic Image

Remote working: B2B brands feeling more resilient than B2C
B2B marketers have a greater sense of resiliency than their B2C counterparts, especially when it comes to remote collaboration, with 51 percent of B2B marketers viewing their organizations as very proficient at conducting remote work, while just 34 percent of B2C marketers took the same view — two of several findings of interest to online marketers contained in new Marketing Week and Econsultancy survey data. Marketing Week

UK B2B marketers split on whether they can overcome coronavirus pandemic
While some 45 percent of B2B marketers in the U.K. said that they were either extremely or fairly confident about finding success during the coronavirus pandemic, just 40 percent felt confident in achieving any return on investment (ROI) from current campaigns, according to recently-released survey data from CogniClick. The Drum

Three Points B2B Sellers Should Consider to Improve Buyers’ Experiences
86 percent of B2B technology buyers have an expectation that they will receive personalized sales material — a rate that is likely responsible for 71 percent of B2B buyers saying that their salesperson relationship directly influenced a recent purchase. These purchasing experience results are along several of interest to digital marketers in newly-released report data. MarketingCharts

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Social Media Ad Rates and Engagement
The coronavirus pandemic has brought lower cost per click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), and ad spending figures for brands, including social media ad engagement that was down 17.2 percent during the middle of March, according to newly-released report data from Social Bakers of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 April 3 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at decision paralysis by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

MySpace Tells Employee to Stay Home During Pandemic — The Hard Times

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Marketing in Troubled Times — LinkedIn (client)
  • Lee Odden — Creando estrategias de contenido B2B - Webinar con Lee Odden (Inglés) [Video - In Spanish] — B2B Marketers
  • Lane R. Ellis — Want to Increase Your Small Business Knowledge? Here are 10 Expert Tips — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — 10 Takeaways from HubSpot's State of Marketing 2020 Report — Weidert

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you will return again next Friday for a new array of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Influencers See Surging Engagement, COVID-19’s Impact on B2B Marketers, & New Opportunities For Building Brand Trust appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Social Marketing Trends: Wisdom From Gary Vaynerchuk

Do you want to create a lasting following online? Wondering which social media platforms you should be using right now? To explore the latest trends in social media marketing, I interview Gary Vaynerchuk on the Social Media Marketing Podcast. Gary is the CEO of Vayner Media, a full-service digital agency. He’s also the host of […]

The post Social Marketing Trends: Wisdom From Gary Vaynerchuk appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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A step-by-step guide on how to use Facebook Business Manager

Still managing your Facebook Pages and ad accounts through your personal account? While that’s perfectly fine if you’re single-handedly managing your own small business, Read more...

This post A step-by-step guide on how to use Facebook Business Manager originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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What is Freelance Writing? (+ Answers to All Your Questions)

What is freelance writing? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? You’ve heard all the sexy stories about the glamorous life of a freelance writer. Working from a beach on …

What is Freelance Writing? (+ Answers to All Your Questions) Read More »

The post What is Freelance Writing? (+ Answers to All Your Questions) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

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5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content

Hidden Content Image

Hidden Content Image

“Look, marketers. Everywhere the light touches is content beloved by customers.”

“But what about that shadowy place over there?”

“That’s our unseen content. We worked hard to create it, but nobody ever visits it.”

“That’s really depressing.”

“That’s life.”

Okay, sorry to bring the room down. And I’m also sorry to say that it gets worse. A recent study found that 69% of all web content is not seen by consumers.

Hidden Content Image
The remaining 31% is our kingdom.

Fortunately, there are many ways to create content that beats the odds. For example, you can co-create with influencers, or experiment with interactive content that inspires social media sharing. But what about the content you have already created? The really good stuff that never caught on with an audience?

With the right search engine optimization, you can shine a light on that content and help it earn organic traffic. Here’s how we do it.

Ungate the Good Stuff

Five years ago, the best practice for marketers was to gate your most valuable content. It makes sense: You’re offering something great, so people should be willing to offer their contact info in return for it. It’s a simple value exchange.

The flip side, though, is that your most impressive and useful content is now being seen by a smaller audience. You’re intentionally introducing a barrier between your target audience and your most persuasive content. 

I’ll grant that the debate of “to gate or not to gate” is ongoing, and marketers are seeing results with either tactic. But especially for SEO purposes, we recommend trying an ungated approach. 

For example, this asset from client SAP has it all: influencer participation, stats, eye-popping interactive visuals. It’s ungated, and the container page is optimized for search. Keeping this substantial piece of content ungated makes it more crawlable, findable and sharable. As people discover and share it, it gets even more SEO juice. And as an added bonus, the included influencers are far more likely to share an ungated asset.

SAP Image

Ditch the PDFs

Everybody loves PDFs, but… okay, so nobody really loves PDFs. Their popularity is really a holdover from the old days of the web. You didn’t want to take a beautifully-designed piece of content and try to recreate it in clunky HTML. So the PDF made sure people would see the content exactly as it was designed.

Now, however, you don’t have to be a web designer to create something beautiful on a regular web page. And since plain text is crawlable and PDFs are not, turning that PDF into a web page is a solid SEO move.

Our client Prophix just published original research in their CFO Benchmarks Report. Instead of making a landing page with an ungated PDF embedded, we turned the report into a long-scrawl web page, then offered a PDF download at the bottom. That way, the content is crawlable by search engines and more easily accessible to potential readers. What’s more, the content is now optimized for visually impaired users as well.

Prophix Image

Consolidate Posts by Topic Clusters

It’s standard SEO practice to combine thin content that addresses the same keyword into one comprehensive post. If you’re not doing that type of repurposing yet, that’s a good place to start. 

To take it to the next level, think beyond individual keywords and consolidate posts around topic clusters. For example, your outdoor gear company might have a post for the best hiking shoes, one on how to pick the right backpack, one on the best shirts to wick away sweat, and so on. 

Even though these posts have different keywords they’re aiming for, they all fall under a cluster: Best hiking gear. Combining all the posts into a mega post with navigation elements gives you a more valuable asset for search engines and humans. People will likely spend more time on the page, and be more likely to share and link to your comprehensive resource.

Build a Web of Internal Links

Another common cause of hidden content is that it’s minimally accessible through your site’s navigation. This is especially true if you’ve changed your site architecture over time — and who hasn’t? Content can end up with only a couple links to it, or even none at all.

Content architecture is one way that search engines can better understand your site and which content to recommend to searchers. An orphaned page with few or no links is unlikely to pass muster. 

This guide from Search Engine Journal can help you find your orphaned pages. Once you identify them, add links to and from relevant pages throughout your site. The goal is to build a logical link structure that helps users and bots understand which content is the most important.

You may also find that these orphaned pages are ripe for consolidation and optimization into more substantial content pieces, too.

Build External Links 

The end goal of our first four points is creating assets that are substantial, valuable, easy to find and share, and optimized for SEO and humans. This type of content is perfect for ethical link building. 

Backlinko has an excellent, comprehensive linkbuilding guide (ungated!) that’s well worth your time. But here are a few quick strategies to get started:

  1. Write guest posts for relevant industry publications and include links back to your content.
  2. Identify posts that are linking to similar, but outdated content and suggest updating with a link to your piece.
  3. Promote your content with paid and unpaid social media posts — those shares will indirectly influence your ranking, and can lead to more backlinks as well.

Let Your Little Light Shine

It can be demoralizing to think that 69% of your content is stuck in the dark. But think of it this way: You have a massive resource of already-written content that can find an audience with just a little SEO illumination. Make your content more accessible, easier to find, and more substantial for your audience, and you can bring that forgotten content into the light.

We can help bring your content out of the dark. Request an SEO audit to get started.

The post 5 Ways SEO Can Shine a Light on Your Unseen B2B Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

What’s in a review?

With the right client testimonials and customer reviews, B2B brands can increase trust and loyalty in uncertain times while strengthening existing connections and fostering new ones. Your brand may even be sitting on a goldmine of evergreen trust-building user-generated content.

Let’s take a look at 20+ tips to invigorate and expand your B2B marketing toolkit with a smart customer review and testimonial strategy.

Making The Statistical Case For Testimonials & Reviews

With some surveys showing that  90 percent of adult Internet users rely on reviews before making purchases, and others placing the figure even higher at nearly 99 percent, it’s important for B2B brands to make sure they feature the reviews and testimonials their customers have taken the time to write and share online.

Despite their unique power to build brand trust, just 43 percent of B2B businesses use reviews in their marketing toolkit.

Conversion rates can skyrocket by as much as 270 percent when online reviews are smartly incorporated, however, as shown in the Website Builder Expert data below.

Website Builder Expert Image

Some 30 percent of businesses said that customer reviews had a major impact on their overall success, and just over 26 percent said reviews also had a major impact on profitability, as shown in the following chart from a recent ZenBusiness survey.

ZenBusiness Chart

The same survey revealed that 52.2 percent of older businesses monitor online reviews weekly and 18.5 percent do so daily, while 47 percent of newer firms monitor weekly, and 39.3 percent monitor daily, suggesting that more established brands have settled into a weekly cadence, while younger firms tend to keep a more frequent watch over reviews.

Businesses tend to monitor a multitude of online review platforms for reviews, with 67.6 percent using Google, 55.1 percent Facebook, and 46.3 percent Yelp, followed by others as shown below.

ZenBusiness Chart

Only 11.9 percent of businesses said that they respond to every review left for them, while 60 percent said that they interact with either some or most reviews they receive, the same survey noted.

Younger B2B buyers are increasingly looking for reviews and testimonials to be delivered to them in methods that differ from those of older buyers, creating an opportunity for some brands looking to connect with younger audiences.

“Sixty-one percent of Millennial buyer decisions are influenced by user reviews that they trust,” Brian Fanzo recently noted in “Meet The Millennials: How Marketers Can Effectively Connect With The New B2B Buyer,” urging smart B2B marketers to not rely solely on traditional websites, and to instead “bring the testimonials — the trusted user reviews — to the buyer.”

Brian was one of the 13 B2B social media marketing leaders offering trends and predictions in our "13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020."

His sentiments are largely echoed in report data recently examined by Social Media Today.

[bctt tweet="“In 2020 social media marketing will shift from vanity metrics to transparent and authentic channels to focus on real-time customer engagement.” @iSocialFanz" username="toprank"]

You May Already Have a Goldmine of Testimonials

Many established B2B brands may already have a fantastic cache of glowing testimonials from clients, however because some firms don't have any established practice for gathering, collecting, and most importantly utilizing them in marketing efforts, they remain mostly hidden.

Gathering existing reviews and testimonials can be a great way to get new insight into your most loyal customers, unearth any points of customer dissatisfaction, and to build new mechanisms for improving communication with your customers.

“Your offerings should be so attractive to your loyalists that they have no reason to look elsewhere for additional products or services,” Rob Markey wrote in an insightful Harvard Business Review look at how to “Make It Easier for Happy Customers to Buy More.”

Client and customer kudos today comes from more channels than ever, which can make it challenging to gather and compile into a dedicated testimonials file. A list of only a few of the digital channels to search for possible existing testimonials includes:

  • Email Correspondence
  • Online Collaboration Tool Chat History
  • Private Social Media Posts
  • Public Social Media Posts
  • Mobile Device Text Message History
  • Voicemail Transcripts

Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.

Tactfully encouraging clients to consider leaving a review or testimonial is a nuanced process best customized on a per-client basis, however there are also some universal methods to help guide a good strategy, such as those outlined in “14 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews.”

Social media and search engine firms have also done their part to try boosting the visibility of customer reviews, such as Google adding highlighted business reviews in Google Posts.

[bctt tweet="“Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

Testimonials & Reviews Increase Trust & Loyalty

Trust is paramount as B2B marketers seek to attract, engage, and convert new clients, and testimonials and reviews from satisfied existing customers are among the most powerful forms of messaging when it comes to earning the business of potential new clients.

It's no secret that for many years study after study has shown that testimonials and reviews hold the power to build trust, and ultimately help persuade people to engage your company's services.

Some 90 percent of B2B buyers said that they are more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a positive review.

[bctt tweet="“High rates of loyalty are a huge asset in business. They provide a necessary foundation for profitable growth.” — Rob Markey @rgmarkey" username="toprank"]

The earned power of trust becomes even more apparent when paired with survey data showing that globally 54 percent of consumers would still buy from a brand even after a negative product experience if they felt that a firm hadn’t broken trust.

When trust has been lost, however, some 82 percent said that they would not purchase again from the brand, highlighting the importance of building brand trust — something reviews and testimonials excel at.

Testimonials & Reviews Strengthen Existing Connections & Foster New Ones

Testimonials and reviews showcase the ability of your business to provide best-answer solutions so well that people take the time to personally write appreciative messages sharing their gratitude.

Testimonials and reviews also take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.

62 percent of consumers leave positive reviews in order to help others in making buying decisions, while 52 percent say they leave negative reviews to warn others, as shown below.

Website Builder Expert Image

The connections forged through testimonials and reviews makes the relationship between your business and your clients stronger, and also serve as an important and visible example for potential new clients who are looking for information about your company.

More firms are also making it easy for customers to leave video feedback, such as a method Airbnb has implemented that mimics the ease of use users have come to expect for sharing videos on YouTube or Instagram.

The video review format has led some customers to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn allows businesses greater insight into their customers.

“Videos can be richly emotional — offering the real voice and face of the customer. That emotion, transmitted directly to front-line employees and leaders, often generates the sort of empathy that inspires and motivates thoughtful action,” Rob Markey has noted.

By making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys, brands can have the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews.

“If they say yes, then we've incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

B2B firms can also utilize more formal video testimonials into their feedback efforts, as Business 2 Community explored in a helpful how-to guide, “How to Shoot the Perfect Video Testimonial.

[bctt tweet="“Testimonials and reviews take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

The Challenge of Combating Inauthentic Reviews

While no firm wants poor reviews, they are nonetheless important in their own way to consumers. 62 percent of U.S. consumers found that negative reviews were just as important as positive ones when it came time to make purchasing decisions.

Customers have grown to be suspicious of businesses that have conspicuously uniform five-star reviews, however, and more now say that they look to utilize multiple sources of reviews when researching a firm.

Despite this, 65 percent of U.S. adult consumers believe the reviews they read are generally accurate, however.

Recent survey data has also shown that 55 percent of consumers see the biggest red flag with reviews that use the same wording, while 35 percent view an overwhelming number of positive reviews to be indicative of inauthentic reviews, as shown below.

Bazaarvoice Chart

Testimonials & Reviews Are Evergreen

Most testimonials focus on the things that a client or customer loved about working with your team, and these are also largely the type of praise that isn't particularly directed at a specific time, which makes testimonials excellent sources of evergreen content that can often remain relevant and convincing for years.

HubSpot has compiled an extensive list of good examples of testimonial pages that can serve as inspiration, in Lindsay Kolowich’s “14 Testimonial Page Examples You'll Want to Copy,” showing how to implement quotes, video, audio, case study, customer interview and other types of testimonials.

To help you along your path to building more powerful testimonials and reviews into your current strategy, or to begin implementing your first such plan, here are several additional recent resources that have been published:

Reinvigorate Your B2B Marketing Testimonial Strategy

We hope this introductory look at the power of client testimonials and customer reviews to help B2B brands boost trust and loyalty and strengthen connections has been helpful, and that the tips and statistics we’ve shared will help make your marketing testimonial strategy more robust and successful.

The post 5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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