B2B Content Marketing Trends to Shape Your Strategy in 2018 and Beyond by Kimmy Maclang

The content marketing landscape is like a runaway train. It’s tough to keep up because everything moves so fast—thanks to search algorithms and the emergence of new technologies like marketing automation and big data. There are now more platforms than ever where consumers and audiences can be reached.

As a result of these emerging technologies and consumption behaviors, our attention spans have shortened significantly and the way we create, search, consume, and share content is changing. The lines between the various digital marketing disciplines are now becoming increasingly blurred, with each discipline overlapping another as campaigns become highly-integrated.

 

Adapting to Change

Consumers nowadays are smarter and more powerful than ever. All the information they need is just a tap or click away. They can research about the products and services they need before they decide to purchase. They can see other users’ reviews and experiences about a brand, and likewise, write reviews for brands they’ve interacted with.

As consumers become more powerful at influencing the success of companies, competition becomes tighter and fiercer. Brands need to fight for their own share of the market and clamor to get their audience’s attention. There’s too much going on. As such, marketers need to constantly determine what consumers want and need, and how to best deliver it to them. When consumer behavior changes, so does the marketing landscape.

Brands need the right marketing foresight that will enable them to develop and plan their strategies according to accurate predictions of future market developments. In short, you need to future-proof your content marketing strategy by staying abreast of the trends.

 

Noticeable Trends

What may help a brand succeed today may not be what’s relevant tomorrow. That’s why it’s important for marketers to remain vigilant in keeping up with the trends.

2017 is almost over, and 2018 is just around the corner. While there have been many changes in the content marketing landscape, there is one thing we know for certain—content marketing will become even more relevant in the coming year.

Yes, there will be changes in content marketing, but these changes will help B2B marketers reap tangible growth and deal with marketing ROI pressures. Here’s a comprehensive list of content marketing trends that will help shape your strategy for next year:

Content Marketing Adoption

Content marketing is no longer the new marketing trend. Brands and marketers are no longer questioning whether it’s worth investing in. It has already proven to increase brand awareness, engage prospective customers, improve brand loyalty, generate leads, and increase overall profit and revenue.

Companies are now asking “how” instead of “why.” The relevance and importance of digital content to the success of any brand or organization is obvious, so much so that in the survey produced by MarketingProfs and CMI, it was discovered that 91% of B2B businesses are currently using content marketing to fuel their success. Furthermore, the number of brands and marketers who focus on content marketing to build their audience grows by 18% every year.

The same survey also revealed that 77% of marketers claim to be successful in their content marketing efforts now compared to last year. This means that content marketing is maturing, and more businesses are adopting the right strategies to achieve their content marketing goals.

Another statistic that backs up the value of content is how content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more unique website traffic than non-leaders or followers. If that’s not proof enough to get serious with content marketing, nothing will be.

 

B2B Buyer Insight

For B2B content marketing to be effective, marketers need to consider what buyers need and want above all. It’s no secret to marketers that a brand needs to establish itself as a thought leader to be considered credible and authoritative by consumers.

In the 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report by DemandGen, it was confirmed that 87% of B2B buyers give more credence to content from industry leaders.

The report further revealed that 47% of B2B buyers rely more on content for research and making purchase decisions, and that they consume at least three to five pieces of relevant content before initiating contact with a sales person.

 

Content Creation

According to a recent study, 78% of B2B marketers claim that higher quality of content and efficient content creation contributed to the increase in overall success of their content marketing campaign.

Case studies and white papers are still the top content format according to 78% of B2B buyers. Buyers also reported that they give more credence to peer reviews, user feedback, and third-party publications.

To increase the quality of content, B2B buyers recommend that content creators provide more benchmarking data and use research to support the information they provide while lessening any attempts at direct promotion.

 

Content Distribution and Promotion

When it comes to content distribution, it’s important for B2B marketers to be consistent in publishing content. A study reveals that 91% of the top business blogs today publish content at least once a week, while another recent survey shows that 58% of B2B marketers deliver content consistently.

Despite the fact that gated content such as case studies and e-books remain the top content formats for B2B marketers, 71% of B2B buyers want content that’s easier to access according to the DemandGen 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.

However, 95% of buyers claim that they’re willing to provide their name, company, and email address in exchange for valuable content, while only a fourth of buyers indicated that they’re willing to provide their phone number. So, it’s better for marketers to stick to the basic information requirements when gating their content.

In terms of engagement and encouraging content sharing, the top channels to use would be LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. For best results, ensure that your content is sharable on those top channels, no matter what other platforms you may choose for content distribution and promotion.

 

What This Means for B2B Businesses

Content marketing isn’t going anywhere in the near future. Yes, content and social media marketingmay be converging, but as far as content is concerned, social media is just another platform where content can be distributed, promoted, and shared.

Whether your marketing team is big or small, what’s important is to develop a content strategy that enables your brand to consistently create and publish valuable content that attracts your target audience. This involves knowing who they are, what they’re interested in, and how they consume content.

Long-form content that’s backed by data is most relevant information for modern B2B buyers, and will remain so. That includes white papers, case studies, and e-books. To further compel your audience, make sure that your content is presented creatively so that it’s visually appealing to readers. Share and promote your content on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to generate as much leads as you can.

Bottom line, the content marketing landscape is rapidly evolving, so brands need to stress the importance of being flexible. When change is the only constant, being able to adapt quickly to serve the changing needs of your audience will do wonders for making your brand stand out from the crowd.

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Smarter Ways to Spend Your Marketing Budget

Being in charge of a marketing budget can be tough, whether you’re a one-person operation or you’re part of a larger marketing department. You’re responsible for making the best decisions on how to spend the money you have available to help maximize profits for the business. There’s so much advice about how you should spend your budget that you can feel like you’re doing it all wrong. Maybe you’re wasting the money on things that aren’t working or completely missing out on a proven new technique. If you’re trying to reconfigure your marketing budget, take these ideas into account.

 

Creating a Marketing Strategy

A surprising amount of people, even those who are supposedly marketing experts, often forge ahead with their marketing activities without coming up with a plan. A marketing strategy is essential for any business so that you know the goals you have, how to reach them, and how to measure any successes or failures. And yet many people forget this stage or skill it completely. It’s worth spending time and money on developing a strategy before going ahead and doing anything else. If you don’t already have an effective marketing strategy in place, you need to invest some of your budget into establishing one.

Focusing on Retaining Customers

Acquiring new customers is more expensive than keeping your existing ones. So it makes sense that, in addition to attracting new customers, you should try to make sure the ones you already have want to stick around. You need to delight your customers and offer them experiences and products they will love. Some of them might eventually start to become promoters of your brand, helping you to bring in new customers. There are lots of ways to please your existing customers, from sending them free content to giving them special offers only available to them. Try marketingwizdom.com for some tips.

 

Make Your Money Work Smarter

Sometimes, it’s not about changing what you’re spending your marketing budget on but about ensuring that your money as working as hard as it can. Being smart about how the money is spent will help you make the most of every penny. For example, some people start using PPC marketing but take something of an aimless approach. With management from PPCpro.com.au or a similar service, you can make sure you’re getting the results you want. It’s important to invest in analyzing and changing your marketing efforts instead of just letting them progress with no development.

Combine Paid and Organic Marketing Methods

Organic methods of promoting your brand are useful for your market budget because they’re free. However, they often need a little help from paid methods of marketing to help them go further. Mixing both paid adverts and organic web traffic is important so you can make the most of both of them. For example, on social media, you can use a combination of paid and organic posts to bring traffic to your site.

Plan your marketing budget by thinking about the value you get from different methods and techniques. It’s worth thinking about how much it costs to secure a lead using your various methods.

Tactics That Will Help You Dominate Google

For years, Google has dominated the online marketing industry without as much as a backward glance. Even in 2017, the search engine giant is making changes to its functions to monopolise more power. Although this fact might make you think Google is going to have more power over you, that isn’t the case. Indeed, you can use the new modifications to dominate Google and become a marketing master. It isn’t easy, but it is possible thanks to the following tips. Implement these into your strategy, and you’ll be all over the electronic front pages.

Play The Long Game

The irony of becoming a Google master in the here and now is that it takes decades. There isn’t a quick fix, and the reason is simple: Google ranks age over beauty. Sure, you can tweak your site so that it is aesthetically astounding, but the G-dawg doesn’t care. What it does care about is the quality of your links, content, and the indexed age. Without these three components, your strategy won’t gather any traction whatsoever. The bad news is that it takes years to come to fruition, but if you start now you will get there quicker.

Content Is King

Scratch that because it should read ‘content is and always will be king.’ Some things evolve over time, as you would expect, and content is no different. However, what won’t change for a very long time is its importance in SERP. Simply put, Google trusts content more than anything else, and trust is a major player in its current algorithm. Now, the written word might not have the same impact as it once did, but they are other forms of content. Online video is the current king and one you should use to your advantage with short vines and social media links.

Experts Over Beginners

When all’s said and done, the algorithm that searches ranks sites wants quality over quantity. Obviously, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise because quality has always been the main man. However, some people don’t do the right things when it comes to producing quality throughout their site. What does this mean? It means you opt for beginners over professionals. Whether you need search engine optimisation experts or web design experts, you shouldn’t compromise. Okay, they are more expensive, but they the tricks of the trade. You, on the other hand, are only guessing and hoping you get it right.

Keywords, But Not Too Many

To rank highly, you will find it tempting to stuff your content with keywords. Although this seems like a valid option, it isn’t because of Penguin. Penguin is Google’s spam filter that finds sites with too many keywords and phrases and penalises SERP. Instead, you want to use them sparingly along with LSIs. That stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, and it ranks content which uses words and phrases that have close matches.

In layman’s terms, it’s a loophole in the system. But, it is something that Google doesn’t punish, so it’s fair game.

 

The Top 8 B2B Customer Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic)

In a survey of 202 respondents, primarily composing of B2B and hybrid B2B companies, Influtive and Konye Marketing discovered that customer marketing has become an integral marketing strategy and that it is on the rise. Businesses are no longer solely focused on bringing new customers – they are trying to retain existing consumers of their business.

Their research report “The State of Customer Marketing 2017” states that 93% of these organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in the area for 2017. With only 61% of them satisfied with the results of their current customer marketing efforts, there is a great chance of growth in the customer marketing arena.

Here are 8 customer marketing trends that are likely to transpire in 2017, and in the coming years.

Download this infographic.

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Are You An SEO Schmo?

Search engine optimization is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of even the toughest entrepreneurs. It’s difficult to get right, and even if you do get it right, it can take a heck of a long time to see any results.

Many people new to the art tend to get frustrated. It just takes so long for anything to happen, it feels as if search engines are just punishing you. That leads people to make mistakes that can hamper their success in the long run. Here are some SEO mistakes that you must avoid.

Mistake #1: Stuffing Keywords

Some businesses who are desperate to rank better will start keyword stuffing in an attempt to convince search engine algorithms that they are the most relevant page for a particular search term. While this might sound like a good idea, in theory, it’s actually a bad idea in practice. The reason for this is that search engines are very sophisticated these days. Not only do they take into account myriad other consideration when ranking a page, besides the keywords, they can also penalize websites that they suspect of keyword stuffing.

 

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In any article you post to your site, the first mention of the keyword matters the most, and then any subsequent keywords count for less and less towards your ranking. The drop off in the importance of following keywords is steep, so there really is no reason to keyword stuff for the purposes of SEO anymore.

Mistake #2: Having A Bunch Of Broken Links

Let’s suppose that you’ve written a beautiful, well-researched article with a bunch of links to your sources for the benefit of your readers. They’re merrily reading through your article when they stumble across a link reading “click here to look ten years younger.” Of course, half of the people reading the post will click to find out more.

The problem, however, is when that link is broken and the page on the other end fails to load. It’s annoying for your readers, and Google doesn’t like it either. In fact, Google will punish websites with lots of broken links to it’s a good idea to make sure that they are all in working order.

Mistake #3: Cut And Paste Jobs

At school and university, plagiarism is a “crime.” Copying the work of another (or even yourself) was bad.

On the internet, Google takes a similar view. It doesn’t like copied content and will punish websites that it thinks are just reproducing content from authority sources. Needless to say, cut and paste jobs don’t work.

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A much better strategy is to create your own compelling content. This will make you stand out, give you a monopoly on a particular subject area or angle, and help keep people coming back to your site – which, after all, is what you want.

It’s also a good idea to prevent duplicate content from cropping up on your own site too. Often duplicate content affects ecommerce sites that have multiple pages for the same product. Remove these duplicates to avoid being down ranked.

 

Three Things Your Web Presence Needs To Have Supporting It

Your web presence is one of the best ways to help your business grow to new heights. It can show you new ways to reach customers. To offer them better services than ever. To learn more about the business that you would without the reach of the internet. But you need to make sure that you’re prioritizing three aspects of it. Below, we’re going to look at the three things that need to back up the online presence of any business.

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Visibility

Perhaps the best thing that the internet has to offer to the business owner is the sheer potential of reach that it can offer. You can have your business suddenly by thousands, even millions of people it you do it right. Of course, you shouldn’t look for a lucky break. You should be working to make it easier to see at every opportunity. You should be finding the right communities and social media channels to spread your message. You should be developing the content that gives people more reasons to come visit your web page. You should be using companies like RelativitySEO.com to make it easier for your site to pop up for people browsing the internet. Always think about new ways you can make your business more visible on the internet.

 

Service

It’s not just about being able to reach more people, either. It’s about how you make your business a more pleasant one to interact with for each individual customer. It’s about toning the design of your site so that it’s simple and intuitive. It’s about finding better ways to offer customer service. Whether it’s live on social media, through organized email or using online chat. You want to make your customer’s experience with your company as simple for them as it can be. This is one of the most effective ways to increase the sales in online business. If you’re not doing the best to offer customer service, they’ll move to those who give them a better experience.

 

Learning

If they are moving to your competitors, why exactly are they doing that? You shouldn’t be content to keep doing things the way you are. You need to learn better methods. One of the ways you can do that is by better watching your competitors. Seeing what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. Adapting your approach so they don’t offer anything you don’t. Similarly, you should be looking at the data behind every online interaction you have. Whether it’s how successful your social media posts are or how many people visit your site. Marketingland.com makes it clear that the data driven approach to social media can be the most successful. Learn from your failures and your successes to continuously reiterate and improve.

 

Having a website and a social media presence isn’t enough. You need to work to make it reach more people than before. You need to use it to make it easier for your customers to choose you. Most importantly, you need to learn. You need to collect data and use it to constantly improve.

 

How You Can Persuade New People To Visit Your Website

Persuading new people to come to your website could be the difference between success and failure. Your website has to have the ability to appeal to people outside your core group of fans and followers. Here are some tips to help you with that.

Guest Blog

Guest blogging is something that is still very valuable, no matter what other people tell you. If you can secure a guest blogging spot on a good site, your own website will receive a massive boost. As long as you make sure that it’s easy for people to follow a link back to your website, it’s definitely worth it. Creating spam content is not going to go down well though, so make sure that you’re creating good content. It should encourage people to read more of your writing. And you should also be sure to ask other reputable bloggers to write guest blog posts for your own website.

 

Get Advice and Help from the Best

You can’t do it all by yourself when it comes to directing more people towards your website. You really need to get the right support from everyone around you if you can. What you really need is help and advice from the best professionals. So, talk to people who know about improving traffic and conversion rates. If you don’t already know anyone with those kinds of skills, you should hire a company to do the work for you. There are many companies out there that focus on things like conversion rate optimisation. They can be the ones to increase the number of people who visit your website and become customers.

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Post Content to LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the very best platforms for businesses these days. It’s a site that you should definitely be taking advantage of. It’s like the social media platform for business leaders and professionals. And these are people with influence. If they like the kind of thing that you post on your website, they could share it on other platforms too. This can massively boost the amount of traffic coming towards your site. Of course, the content will need to be good in the first place if you are going to make this happen. So, the quality should come first. But once that’s covered, share it on LinkedIn and see what happens.

 

Make the Site Fast

People won’t give your site a chance if it’s not fast. They will leave and head to a competitor before the page has even had the chance to load properly. If speed is an issue for you, you should think about what is making your site so slow. It might be the case that your web host is letting you down. If that’s true, then you should find an alternative as quickly as possible. There’s nothing worse than having to put up with a host that doesn’t do what you’re paying for. Third-party plug-ins and things like that can also have an impact on the speed of your website. Whatever it takes, make your website faster.