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.

4 Advanced SEO Techniques That Will Increase Your Traffic

The more you can increase traffic to your site, the more sales you will make. The sales should lead to higher revenue streams, which will lead to more profit. Finally, you should be well on the road to running a successful business. As you can see, traffic is essential for any and every business. But, it isn’t possible with SEO. Sure, you will see some traffic even if you don’t bother with links or keywords. Yet, it will be minimal. To get big amounts of people visiting your site, you need to use advanced techniques. Here are a few that work very nicely.

 

#1:  The Wisdom Of Crowds

The wisdom of crowds is a theory that states the best place to find information is from a large group of people. That is because a large group has a diversified range of thoughts and opinions. In your case, that group of people is your customer base. And, what they say is what should drive your site. They are the people that you want to impress and accommodate as they are the ones that spend money. So, it is vital that you give them what they desire. To do that, mine the information they give you from sources such as social media posts and surveys. Everything they say on these platforms is a piece of constructive criticism that you can use to your advantage.

 

 

#2: White Label SEO

There are many forms of search engine optimization, but white label SEO is one of the most effective. In basic terms, it is where two companies come together for the good of the cause. In more basic terms, it is where two companies piggyback off each other’s success. Both provide a part of SEO, and then both reap the rewards of the partnership. The trick is to find a business that targets the same market, but that isn’t a direct competitor. Or, you can use agencies that specialize in white label services.

 

#3: Optimize Landing Pages

Sure, your homepage is an important part of luring people to your site. But, a landing page is a more effective tool. That is because landing pages are normally the pages that the customer wants to look at first. So, instead of going through your site, you want them to land on the right page at the first time of asking. To do that, you need as many landing pages as possible. For every marketing campaign that you set up, you want a specialized page with a strong value proposition. Why? It is because it makes your site more ‘clickable’ to browsers.

 

 

#4: Target Mobile Users

The internet isn’t about desktop users anymore. Mobile users are taking over, and you need to adapt to the change. Tablet and smartphone users are a huge percentage of your base, and you can’t afford to dismiss them. With that in mind, create mobile sites that are easy to navigate. Your customers will notice the change, and they will thank you with their time. An app is also a great idea if you can create one for a reasonable price.

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The Connection Between SEO And Social Media: Using Social Media To Boost Your Web Presence

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Believe it or not, but your social media presence has a direct impact on your search engine rankings. Whether you’re a small business, a blog or a giant corporation, the same is true. The world wide web is essentially a giant game, and it can be mastered. As long as you have an understanding of how all the pieces work, you’ll be sure to dominate.

How are SEO and social media connected?

For years and years, a company website was really the only way to find that company online. Twitter wasn’t even launched until 2006, and Facebook was two years earlier.

As such, these social media platforms are still… well, new, for lack of a better word. They’re very early on in their life cycles and have a long way to go.

In short, we use social media to follow those businesses and personalities we care about, but we rarely find them through social media. Have a quick Google of ‘Coca-Cola’ or ‘AMC’ and the first result will always be their site.

Their social media will be a bit further down the page, and that’s how we should think of the two. The website is the tree, and social media is the branches.

Those websites aren’t the top result by accident, either. They’ve been optimized to within an inch of their lives! In terms of SEO, there are a ton of basic tips that can go a long way. Jeff Millett at TheSEOWhiz.com has some great general SEO advice that can help you boost your web presence.

And, what’s more, a lot of these link right back into your social media pages. It’s important to think of your Twitter and Facebook as little side projects, and start prioritizing them. Use them in conjunction with effective website practices to get the best results.

There are several key ways that social media can give a boost to your SEO, and several key ways that it will define your SEO. Social media is changing our world, so don’t get left behind.

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Social media shares count as link building

When you post something to Instagram or Twitter, there’s a chance it will be shared. Link building is a way for companies to place links back to their website all over the web, creating a widespread presence.

When somebody shares a post you created, this is effectively another ‘link’ back to you and your page. Social media sites are arguably the most credible in existence as they rely on user satisfaction. So, a ton of shares will be looked upon favourably by search engines.

Gives a boost to relevant keywords

There are only so many places you can place keywords on your website, but social media gives you another place to do so. Most companies will have a short description of themselves in their bio, with relevant terms embedded in it. In addition, all the tweets and posts they write are another way to embed search terms, meaning your power is relatively unlimited.

So, hopefully, this article has cleared the subject up for you. If you’re new to social media and SEO, they can both be daunting tasks to take on. In reality, they’re simple and effective tools on your web utility belt. So get out there and get building!

5 Ways To Build Brand Recognition. Quickly

When you think about the biggest companies in the game, you instantly think of their branding. Imagine Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple for a second. You immediately picture the red branding of Coca-Cola. You picture Nike’s adrenaline-pumping, adventure branding and iconic tick. You imagine Apple’s apple, and its link to beautiful, creative products.

This is an exercise in great brand awareness and recognition. Unfortunately, it’s why many startups fail to make an impression. Establishing your brand and building recognition is one of the hardest mountains for new startups to climb. Why? Because there are simply so many others out there. How do you get people to become familiar with your branding?

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  1. Media coverage

Step one, secure as much media coverage as possible. Seeing your startup’s name in national newspapers and high profile websites has a subconscious effect on people. They instantly begin to see your brand as established, and respected. Customers respond to brands that are supported by media outlets. So, once you’ve honed your branding, start a PR campaign to tell your story or launch a product. Use a press release distribution service to get your message under the nose of key journalists. With your name in lights, you’ll start to build that brand recognition.

 

  1. Partnering with another brand

We’re big fans of startup partnerships here. So long as you pick a company that doesn’t compete directly with yours, you’ll gain a lot. Consider partnering with a related company to host an event or sponsor a new initiative. This cross-promotion allows you to tap into their customer base, and get your name in front of new people. Think carefully about the right company to approach. Don’t choose a rival, but do chose a business that has a similar target audience.

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  1. Let the product promote itself

The smartest new companies let their product do all the heavy lifting. Media outreach and marketing is expensive, not to mention exhausting. That’s why organic ‘word-of-mouth’ promotion is so fantastic. It teaches customers to buy from you, without you imposing on them. But, how do you start the ball rolling? Consider Uber’s marketing model. It used the simple process of referrals to grow. They offered their users a free $20 taxi ride when they referred a friend (who also then got a free $20). It was a domino process, and these referrals drove brand recognition (and sales) through the roof.

 

  1. Content

Establishing a name for yourself online is rarely easy, due to the sheer competition. However, phenomenal content might just set you apart. Start by creating great content (articles, videos, infographics), and brand it heavily with your imaging. The best content is shared far and wide across the internet, taking your brand name and imaging with it! Simple.

 

  1. Advertising

So far, we’ve covered the organic methods of building brand recognition. If you’re looking for a quicker method, tap into the incredible reach of advertising. By using online ads or real-world advertising, you can get your brand and image in front of thousands.

 

Remember, people need to see your branding roughly seven times before they’ll trust your startup. Where would you start?

Are You Smarketing or Smelling? Guest post by Gerry Moran

Great organizations’ sales and marketing teams converge to create a strategy, an approach, a culture called smarketing. The ones who do not do it so well are, well, are smelling.

And your Modern-Marketer customers don’t like smelling, This convergence is a natural evolution led by a better-informed and more-empowered customer.
Smarketing

Smarketing by Kenny Madden

Johann Wrede, a customer engagement specialist for SAP states, “Customers have less tolerance than ever for content-free interactions, and sellers are struggling to connect early enough in the buying journey to exert influence on the decision. To adapt, marketers and sellers need to assess and remix their skills, regardless of the organizational silo they happen to be in, rather than wait for organizational boundaries to change.” So, the customer and content is king.

Are you a smarketer or a smeller?
Why Smarketing Makes Sense

While there is no specific scorecard to discern the smarketers from the smellers, there is solid research to support the integration of sales and marketing strategy, content and activation makes sense.

Smarketing Drives Growth. Aberdeen research indicates companies who ‘get’ sales and marketing integration grow 20% faster than those who don’t. Smart marketers, right? No, smarketers!

Content Smarketing Generates Leads. HubSpot research suggests blogging companies generate 55% more leads than non-blogging companies.

Smarketing Gets Sales Reps Involved With The Buying Cycle Earlier. SiriusDecicions findings show 70% of the buying journey is completed before the buyer is recognized as a prospect and in the CRM ‘books’ by the selling organization.The key inference is that there is less chance to frame the sales opportunities and more chance to complete an RFP.

7 Guiding Principles For Smarketing Success

1. Move from silos to outcome-based activity. Day-to-day reality in many organizations manifests in managing daily call reports, creating marketing content for social media channels and communities, and closing sales for the quarter. Quarter after quarter this set of sales and marketing activities is a ‘wash, rinse, repeat’ cycle.” Rhonda Holloway, Founder and Senior Partner of Six20 Partners has a holistic solution to this chasm. Holloway states, “Sales and Marketing should be SMARKETING for the greater good, but the two roles are vastly different. Perhaps B2B companies should institute 3 month job rotations between Sales & Marketing. After the rotation, the salesperson should have a better understanding of how to partner with Marketing and better use the great content and Marketing should have a better understanding of the material that really makes a difference in the field. Both jobs are hard and I think the problem is we both think the other is easy – hence the chasm.”

2. Manage The Sales and Marketing Convergence. Corporate silos and fiefdoms (remember, the customers are in charge of the kingdom) need a strategic group or individual to bridge the gap and broker the convergence. This person is a Smarketing Director. Although I’ve not seen this official ‘Smarketing Director’ moniker, it is present in evolving smarketing organizations. They are the ones taking the leadership role by laying the foundation. They are bridging the gap between sales and marketing. Most start with a single project, like social selling awareness program or provide structured LinkedIn tune-ups to the sales and marketing departments.

3. A Sales, Marketing or Smarketing Playbook Drives Quicker Adoption. Sometimes the quickest way to drive adoption is to bake the ingredients into an established recipe, to make it new and improved! The fastest way to drive smarketing adoption is to co-opt native behavior and not to ask someone to do something completely different. Just integrate it into a smarketing play.

Smarketing 1 by Kenny Madden Are You Smarketing or Smelling?

4. Measure Smarketing Success To Monetize It. It is likely no smarketing KPIs exist for any organization. However, revenue, quota and efficiency are common KPIs. Getting out of bed isn’t a KPI either. However, you need to get out of bed and you need to use smarketing to reach revenue, quota and efficiency goals. Ultimately, success is measured and monetized by accelerated sales pipeline and fewer resources required to do the job. Heidi Schwande, Chief Digital Office For WSI World adds “Getting sales and marketing to see themselves as allies instead of rivals improves the company’s bottom line.”

5. Let Customers Guide You. Martin Weinberg, a Philadelphia-based digital leader states, “From the buyer’s perspective, it truly is one continuous journey, so this type of thinking is long overdue. Separately, it’s too easy for each department to generate activity instead of accomplishment by focusing on short-term metrics. One of the top benefits (of smarketing) would be an opportunity for more effective messaging by pre-handling real objections salespeople encounter within marketing communications. Now that most communication is digital, it’s more cost-effective than ever to take this approach, though the opportunity is often overlooked.” Kenny Madden, a Market Developer for Spiceworks, underlines the need for smarketing with the buyer, “You have to get through the 1st 50% of the sales cycle to get to the last 50%.” I’d call that “percentage smarketing!”

6. Content Marketing Strategy Is Key To Being A Smarketer. Marcy Hoffman, a Miam-based Independent Consultant who helps start-ups and small businesses who people start the process by looking for information often because they know their problem, but haven’t defined the solution; adding Knowledge/content at the beginning of the process helps identify the content creator as a leader in their industry which serves to reinforce the next stage.

7. Adapt and Adopt or Be Overlooked. Victor Clarke, principle for Clarke, Inc, a marketing services firm, states, “I have sold everything from Xerox copiers in the 80s to the first computers to be installed in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate in the 90s to marketing services currently. Sales has been turned upside down in the last 5 years with smarketing. SPIN selling is dead and sales folks either adapt or they are gone.” Mike Ausloos, Head of Business Development for Northern Concrete Construction stated “I don’t know how any system can be effective without operating with SMARKETING. Both are gathering market info & there needs to be collaboration to form the correct content, selling points, etc. seems to be missing a determiner before it.”Barbara Giamonco states in her book, The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, “In the midst of this communication revolution sales must adopt a new approach that incorporates social media. When we overturn the old business practices, what emerges is something called “smarketing.” Sales and Marketing need to work in tandem, as Giamonco notes. However, some forced ‘hard wiring’ likely needs to happen for evolution to effectively occur.

Do you have a smarketing guiding principle or point to share? If so, please comment below. Or reach out to me directly at MarketingThink.com, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+.

Combining sales and marketing to achieve company goals is key. If you do it right, then you are a smarketer. If you don’t do it right then you are a smeller. Which one are you? A smarketer, or a smeller?