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Saturday, June 13, 2015

How To Reach B2B Customers Through Internet Based Marketing

No business today can survive totally without an online presence. Internet ... or online marketing ... MUST be part of the arsenal of every business's efforts to attract and retain buying customers.

Ok ... duh. But HOW do you accomplish this from a B2B perspective?

The most successful online tool can differ based on the point in the sales process the client is in. Here are a few winners for each phase. Keep in mind that these change as the tools do.

1) Awareness - SEO .... optimize, optimize, optimize. Most people start at least part of their product or service search on Google. Make sure you show up in both the natural results and paid results (better CTRs in natural though and the price is right ; )

2) Research - Sounds cheesy, but PDFs have worked well. Bring that up a level higher and you're talking about content. Rich content that you can share easily on specific topics. These can be blog posts, whitepapers, etc.

3) Negotiation - Accurate pricing available online and the ability to request and convert quotes online. Most businesses need to request a few competitive bids. Make yours easy to share with the person's boss, purchasing dept., etc.

4) Purchase - a simple shopping cart (if e-commerce) or online approval of quotes.

But probably the best tool (which probably fits into the research phase) is a webex/live meeting demo tailored to the client. Combined with a conference call, you can reach decision-makers across a company in a very customized way. Make them more than just a powerpoint though. Share demos, audio, video to make it engaging. This is something that can really help close a deal.

Remember ..... success is a relative term based upon your business (and subsequent marketing) objective.

In terms of reach .... your web site should grow as your most prolific media channel. You have the privilege of engaging potentially millions of visitors a year in what hopefully is a rich and valuable experience. One that gets the right information to the right people within the customer's decision-making sphere of influence to accelerate the purchase cycle.

In terms of efficiency .... search engine optimization is a very successful marketing tool. It enables you to cost-effectively lead customers and prospects through a maze of information and resources to what they need at that moment to move forward in their decision making.

In terms of engagement ..... targeted and personalized electronic direct mail is very successful in terms of open and click through. Especially when combined with offers such as downloadable white papers (highest download rates) and video case studies (very high on-line engagement duration).

Intuitively ..... social media is playing a role. Content distribution sites such as YouTube have demonstrated high engagement (hopefully, with relevant audiences). Tools which connect your customer brand advocates to broad audiences such as communities also appear to have positive impact. The jury's still out though on how successful these, and other, social media tactics will be in accomplishing your business goals in the long term. Fads are fads remember. Social media like FaceBook and MySpace are still perceived as being intrusive, but can be a way to simply create awareness of the products you offer.

Despite the hype around using social media to connect with businesses, the most effective tool you can use for your customers is an eNewsletter followed by a blog invitation for the targeted group.

You can also create a micro-site that is completely different from your company's web-site. The micro-site showcases the various products you offer other businesses. Your eNewsletter along with various blogging tactics is the driver to send people to your micro-site. Your micro-site should be filled with web copy that contains key words and phrases used for SEO and future CPC campaigns.

The eNewsletter must also be filled with great content and sent out very strategically. Does your in-box fill up with a lot of newsletters that you currently subscribe to, but you only read one or two? Why don't you read the others? Your eNewsletter should contain the same engaging content that causes you to read the newsletters you read.

You can boil it all down to the Top 3 tactics & tools:

1. House e-mail .... targeted e-mails to existing customer base- great for up/cross sell & loyalty. Try Salesforce and StrongMail. My personal recommendation is the VERY cost effective and feature rich email marketing suite from AWeber. They also offer the best customer support ... including ongoing education and marketing tips/insights.

You can learn more about Aweber here: Aweber Email Marketing

2. SEM (paid & organic) .... Targeted paid ads drive lead conversion, optimized site drives volume & top of mind. Use Google.

3. Affiliates .... Drive new leads & penetrate new markets with a low cost 'virtual sales channel'. Try Commission Junction.

Also, don't forget that you need a business website that "delivers". I don't mean just throwing up something with your company name and some fancy catch words. Your website must attract customers, hold their attention, and influence them to take a desired action (buy). Hands down I always recommend thwe services from SBI to give you the best possible custom made "high performance" business website.

You can learn more about SBI here:

Custom Business Website


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