With 78.8% of marketers considering YouTube as the most effective platform for video marketing, there’s no doubt that it should be a part of Read more...Read More »
Why do B2B marketers need SEO?
For B2B marketers coping with the global health crisis, search engine optimization (SEO) is showing its strength, stability, and resiliency in many forms.
SEO has seen better performance and consistency than other marketing tactics during the pandemic, as we’ll explore with data from recent surveys and reports, and with more consumers than ever conducting business online and searching for best-answer solutions, many B2B marketers may find that the time is right to increase focus on SEO.
Here are five reasons why SEO is more important than ever for B2B marketers.
1 — SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis
63 percent of marketers believe SEO is more important during the pandemic, according to newly-released survey data.
Combined with the fact that during 2019 paid and organic search were the top performing online channels, as shown below, the increasing focus on SEO this year during the pandemic is understandable, as marketers turn towards the strongest and most stable tactics.
SEO can also represent a lower-cost channel, which has led some 34 percent of marketers to say that they plan to invest more in less costly marketing channels such as SEO, according to the same survey.
Data from another recent survey found that 65 percent of advertisers believe the health crisis will result in more spending on media that is able to show direct sales outcomes, making SEO a natural choice for many marketers in both B2B and B2C industries.
Among U.S. marketers paid search garnered both the greatest rate of budget retention and the smallest expected spending decrease in a recent eMarketer survey, faring significantly better than display advertisements, paid social media, and digital video. While what will play out in the long term remains to be seen, initial survey results such as these point to continued opportunities in SEO-centric marketing efforts.
This may be why Google has rolled out new SEO-related features to its Ads Editor that include a real-time optimization score, as the search giant seeks to improve one of the most-used ad tools, and why it has released a series of guides touting the benefits of SEO during the health crisis.
2 — SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online
Both B2B and brick-and-mortar brands with shuttered physical locations during stay-at-home orders can benefit immensely from the benefits of SEO, as more business is moved online and more people are searching not only for goods and services, but for answers to new sets of questions brought about by the health crisis — questions your brand should be ready to answer in properly optimized content.
Marketer looking to create this type of optimized content can learn from our CEO Lee Odden, who asked 16 B2B experts for their top tips to optimize marketing performance in an article examining B2B marketing fitness.
As early reports have come in, both B2B and B2C brands have seen increased website traffic figures during the pandemic, up 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data.
With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions. Providing best-answer content is a key part of SEO best-practices, as we’ve written about in the following articles:
- How B2B Marketers Can Win at Search with Best Answer Content
- The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
- How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results
- Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form?
[bctt tweet="“With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]
3 — SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies
There are perhaps more SEO platforms available now than ever, built to help businesses achieve successful ongoing search campaigns. During the best of times, using some of the top platform tools adds efficiency to teams tasked with SEO implementation. During the remote work boom caused by the health crisis, using such tools can provide even more efficiency to B2B firms that are increasingly turning to SEO.
Finding the right SEO platforms has been an ongoing challenge for B2B firms, which is why we recently researched nine of the top platforms, including how leaders at each is handling the pandemic both in their professional and personal lives, in “Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms.”
Even before the coronavirus hit, longtime SEO industry consultant Aleyda Solis predicted that SEO would play a major role in 2020 for B2B marketers, as she outlined in our annual “10 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2020” roundup.
[bctt tweet="In 2020, I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda" username="toprank"]
Recently Aleyda took to her video channel to discuss how SEO’s role will change during the health crisis, in “Coronavirus & SEO: Its Impact in traffic and business, and the actions to Take as an SEO Specialist.”
We've also explored how B2B marketers are successfully adapting to remote work, including the following recent articles:
- 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely
- Remote Communication Opportunities For B2B Marketers
- How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times
4 — Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts
As Patrick Reinhart, vice president of digital strategies at Conductor recently told Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “What a lot of businesses are doing right now is only talking about the virus and not talking about other ways to help their customers," Patrick said. "Right now is a great time to plant trees for SEO if you haven’t already. The trees you plant now will provide shade on sunny days in the future and there is nothing wrong with creating it along with content that addresses the current state of things,” he added.
While the pandemic has affected how SEO specialists both in-house and at agencies implement search strategies — as the following chart shows — businesses are continuing forward with SEO fundamentals that will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.
[bctt tweet="“B2B marketers who continue forward now with SEO fundamentals will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]
5 — SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands
With 47 percent of B2B customers using search to find information, suppliers, and solutions, SEO has always been important for B2B brands, and now its stability in times of flux adds to its marketing strength.
The pandemic has brought fluctuations to all areas of marketing, just as it’s affected many parts of our lives, and while search results haven’t been entirely immune — as shown in the following Google desktop result chart from an interesting look at “16-straight days of rankings volatility: SEOs dig into the COVID-19 effects on search” — the strength and endurance of SEO has brought it into more focus than ever.
Best-Answer B2B Marketing Solutions Increasingly Feature SEO
As we've examined, the time may be right for many B2B marketers to increase focus on SEO, because it has seen better performance and stability during the health crisis as more consumers than ever are conducting business online.
Paired with it's ability to increase remote work efficiency when the right SEO platforms are used, and considering SEO's overall effectiveness as a long-term strategy, B2B brands can benefit from turning to SEO for providing best-answer solutions, even during the pandemic.
The post SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
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The post How to Use the LinkedIn Featured Section on Your Profile appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.Read More »
When people think of account-based marketing (ABM), they tend to think of it as a smaller-scale practice. Since ABM is fundamentally built around focus in the aligned pursuit of high-value accounts, it’s often associated with a significant reduction in target market scope (i.e., “Let’s narrow down to our 20-30 most promising accounts).
This itself is a constraint from which B2B marketers need to break free, which is why Gary Gerber stood out as a fitting guest for the first interview in our second season of Break Free B2B. At B2B Marketing Exchange in February, he sat with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis to unpack what’s needed to bring ABM to the next level.
How can other B2B marketers achieve this level of scalability in their ABM efforts, overcoming one of the biggest remaining hurdles holding back this fast-growing approach? In large part it’s about rethinking our tools, Gary suggests, while leaning on a rather literal metaphor.
“You have to focus away from blunt instrument tools,” he says. “I’m not bashing blunt instruments, by the way, because a hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch. So you need to migrate to tools that let you [achieve] that kind of precision, because that’s the only way you’re going to build trust with your customers.”
[bctt tweet="“A hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch.” @Gary_Gerber of @Folloze on the need for more precision in #ABM. #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]
Solutions like Folloze’s platform, which enables the delivery of personalized experiences at scale, are helping pave the way. But it’s not just about technology. Reaching a state of advanced ABM also requires shifts in organizational mindset, philosophy, and operation.
Gary and Susan cover the gamut in their 18-minute conversation. You can watch, listen, or find key excerpts and takeaways below.
Break Free B2B Interview with Gary Gerber
If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.
- 1:30 - Recognizing that change is inevitable
- 2:30 - Where is ABM in terms of market maturity?
- 4:45 - Helping clients recognize shortcomings and make incremental progress
- 6:30 - Approaching the marketing funnel from an ABM standpoint
- 9:30 - Re-centering on the fundamentals of ABM targeting
- 11:15 - Where are you seeing successes in ABM?
- 13:15 - Optimizing for the future by taking the right steps right now
- 16:00 - Gary's personal hobbies and philosophies
- 17:15 - How can modern digital marketers break free?
Susan: What's your consulting approach? As marketers, we can't just tell our clients, "You're wrong, do it my way." How do you inch them toward making incremental progress?
Gary: It's an interesting question because when we talk to people, the tools that people are using are the same ones that worked well 10 or 15 years ago. People built their careers on tools like marketing automation and things like that. So it is challenging to tell them, "Those tools are blunt instruments by today's standards."
You have to focus the other way, on what's not working, on the pain. Because there is pain there, especially if they're under the gun for an account-based program, and for pushing things through the funnel, right? We like to talk about the three symptoms that marketers today are subject to: funnel starvation, pipeline constipation, and sales frustration. They can't get stuff into the top of the funnel anymore, whatever they get in the funnel doesn't come out, and they're under the gun there because sales and the entire organization is looking to them to move opportunities and it's not happening. So if you can put it in terms along those lines most marketers will eventually have to concede. 'Cause everyone's feeling that pain in B2B.
[bctt tweet="“We like to talk about the three symptoms that marketers today are subject to: funnel starvation, pipeline constipation, and sales frustration.” @Gary_Gerber @Folloze #BreakFreeB2B #ABM" username="toprank"]
Susan: Do you counsel equal focus on the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel to try to get things moving? Or is the first thing, you gotta fix the top of the funnel? What's your methodology?
Gary: Well, if you think about what ABM is, especially if you're doing it right, it's almost not a funnel mentality at all anymore, right? We refer to it as full cycle personalization, or some people are saying bow tie. If you're approaching it with that funnel mentality, you've almost doomed yourself to failure right from the start in 2020.
[bctt tweet="“If you're approaching #ABM with that funnel mentality, you've almost doomed yourself to failure right from the start in 2020.” @Gary_Gerber @Folloze #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]
There’s an analogy others are using and I agree with it: it’s like a football team or a soccer team running down the field together. So the focus isn't on top of funnel or middle of funnel, it's on -- by definition -- the accounts themselves. And as sales and marketing are running down the field, they're bringing the account and the individuals together along with them. It's a journey.
And so how do you do that? You can't do that by sending them mass emails because everybody's getting that. Ultimately what it's about, and I've said this to other people, it's about building that relationship with them. More importantly, it's about building a relationship that's built on trust, not on hype. Because if you've built that trust and you're adding that value to them that they trust you're interested in their success, and you're providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful. They'll happily march down the field with you because you're adding to their success.
Susan: So let's talk about what's working in ABM these days. Where are smart modern marketers really experiencing some great progress from your perspective?
Gary: Most people think of ABM, as you mentioned before, as, "Well, I'm going to pick my top 20 accounts and I'm going to focus everything I got on them, and the rest of the 88,000 or whatever, oh well too bad, them we'll just spray and pray with a nurture campaign or something like that." And it's interesting because when you stop and think about it logically, limiting it to your 20 or 25 or whatever, that's a technical limitation, right? It's because I can't do what I want to do -- create a deeply personalized, individualized, valuable, trust building experience -- with more than those 20 people because there's me and this person, that's all that we can do.
But there is no procedural reason for that. If you could do [personalization] for everybody, then you would, but you can't. And so, Cisco is a really awesome example. What they've been able to do is actually automate a lot of what's manual to create these very individualized experiences where they’re getting content, and imagery, and messaging, and information, and everything that is very salient to them, that they used to have to build by hand, so it took hours for each … it’s automated, so they kind of wind it up once and this goes out. So Cisco is actually doing one of the largest ABM programs in the country.
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:
- Break Free B2B Series: Jon Miller on How ABM Can Help Marketers Keep Their ‘Ship’ Together
- Break Free B2B Series: Hal Werner on the Intersection of Marketing Creativity and Analytics
- Break Free B2B Series: Adi Bachar-Reske on Taking the Lead in the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing
The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.Read More »
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My marketing journey was born out of SEO roots, where the priority of content promotion has always been high in order to create the kind of accountable marketing performance that matters. In contrast, I see a lot of brands putting the majority or all of their investment towards content creation without qualitative or quantitative effort towards the promotion of that content.
An imbalance of content creation and promotion is not only frustrating potential marketing performance, but it's wasting the investment made in creating great content. What good is that great content if no one sees it?
Below are 10 content promotion tactics that have stood the test of time and go beyond email blasts, social ads and simple social sharing on brand channels. When promotion is included in the content planning and creation process, it becomes part of a content marketing system that drives the kind of relevant, useful and engaging content customers are looking for.
1. Make Content Worth Sharing - While this seems obvious, in practice, many marketers are creating content to satisfy an editorial plan assignment like X content assets about topic Y per month vs. tapping data sources that can reveal what will actually resonate. Those data sources can be front line staff like Customer Service or Sales as well as social, web analytics and industry news. Insights about frequently asked questions, trending topics and provocative ideas can go a long ways towards creating content people actually want to consume and share with others.
2. Master the Headline - Without question we live in a fast moving world of short attention spans, Many people will only skim headlines so it is essential to make the most out of content titles. Email marketers already know this with subject lines and content marketings publishing blogs, ebooks, articles, microsites, campaign assets and social content should ensure headlines are relevant, succinct, imply urgency, are meaningful and show action. There's a world of difference between "10 Essential Promotion Tactics" and "10 Essential Promotion Tactics That Drive Results".
3. Optimize for Share - For those that do click through to view content, make sure what they find is easily shareable. Blogs do this with social share icons and easy to share click to tweet messages. Reports, ebooks and any other digital content can be formatted for easy sharing as well.
4. Co-Create to Activate Influencers - What better way to reach relevant audiences that are ignoring ads than through relevant industry experts? Collaborating on brand content with the right influencers can inspire creative promotion to audiences that trust individuals more than brands. With more people turning to online sources of information, influencers can add credibility and reach to digital brand content.
5. Repurpose for Exposure on New Channels - Modular content uses templates to make republishing parts of your content on different channels or in different formats much easier and effective. Doing so deconstructs more robust content to specific elements that can be published for exposure. For example, we've been experimenting with having blog posts converted to infographics and then posting them to industry websites.
6. Create Distribution Channels - Email subscribers, social network connections, groups, and communities are all opportunities to attract and engage an audience around your shared interests. Each becomes a distribution channel for your content where you can share useful information and also do the kind of community content crowdsourcing that inspires active sharing.
7. Optimize for Attraction - There is no substitute for being the best answer for your customers at the moment they need the information and solutions your brand offers. Search Engine Optimization is not always a robust part of the content marketing process beyond keyword research informing content topics. An ongoing effort to optimize new content and optimize existing content for better performance on search engines can provide highly productive exposure at the very moment of need.
8. Publicize - Whether you contribute editorial to various publications opportunistically or secure recurring contributions to one publication, earned media can be a great way to connect your content with audiences that are interested. PR and media relations come in many forms ranging from someone actively pitching for interviews or story ideas about your brand to creating newsworthy experiences and content that is most likely to be covered by industry publications.
9. Syndicate - Something as simple as cross posting blog posts to author LinkedIn profiles, to a Medium account or to industry association websites can help your brand's content reach new audiences. Just be sure to link back to the source to help Google understand which to rank.
10. Create Conversations - Whether on LinkedIn or Facebook, video livestreaming is a great way to tap an existing social audience and instigate conversation around topics connected to your content. Recorded video is another option to create conversations and cross publish as Josh Nite and Tiffanie Allen have done for several years with our news posts and video on YouTube.
It should go without saying that content should be promoted, but after so many years of observing what brands are doing with content marketing, the imbalance between creation and promotion continues, especially when you consider stats like blog posts get an average of 8 social shares (BuzzSumo).
The key is to make content promotion a priority by including it in the planning process, setting content promotion goals and identifying the corresponding KPIs and by getting help with creating and implementing balanced content creation and promotion that actually works.
Outside of online advertising, what content promotion tactics have you found to be most effective?
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