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Archive for the ‘B2B / Technology’ Category

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Tune In or Drop Out: The Benefits of Social Listening for B2B Companies

By | June 16, 2014

Many B2B companies leave social listening out of their marketing strategies because people aren’t talking about their company online. That’s a major mistake. Whether people are talking about your particular brand or not, keeping abreast of the conversations surrounding your industry provides a B2B company with incredibly valuable opportunities to expand your client base, lessen the impact of any criticisms, and foster greater brand loyalty.

Since many B2B companies don’t get a whole lot of mentions online, they see no benefit in social listening. However, listening to the audience you’re trying to attract—the kinds of people looking for the service or product you offer—yields the same benefits as listening in on conversations specifically about you. First, you will be able to compile a new pool of prospects you can contact. And since you’ve been listening to their conversations about what they want out of the kind of product/service you offer, as well as what they’ve found unsatisfactory in competitors’ offerings, you’ll be poised to demonstrate how your company can meet their needs in a much more prospect-specific way than ever before.

If people are talking about your particular business, social listening can become a research and development tool, giving you free insight into what customers like about your offerings, what they don’t like, and what they’d like to see you add. You can then join in the conversation yourself, letting customers know how you’re incorporating their feedback into future offerings. This, of course, will go a long way to keeping current customers loyal. Social listening can also be a tool for crisis management. When you use social listening to keep abreast of any criticism leveled at your company, you’ll be able to quickly and personally address your customers’ concerns and resolve their issues.

Finally, social listening allows you to identify the thought leaders in your industry, the people who are driving the conversations and/or whose opinions hold the most weight. Posting relevantly in the same circles as these leaders will not only help you forge a beneficial relationship with them, but will get your posts seen and shared by a larger pool of people.

The benefits of social listening for B2B companies can’t be ignored. Just because people aren’t always talking about you, that doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t worth getting in on.

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Manufacturers: Are You Attracting the Right Employees with Your Careers Pages?

By | June 6, 2014

Articles abound on the Internet raising discussions on how to attract qualified employees to the Manufacturing fields. Trade schools, four-year colleges and even high schools are offering skilled training programs for individuals interested in working in manufacturing.

Competition for those skilled workers is high among companies looking to bring the best to their business. And with today’s generation searching online for available options, it’s more important than ever that your business’ Careers pages are up to snuff. Following is a checklist of items you should have to compete with the best:

1. Company Background – Lay out the history of your company, letting prospective candidates know how long you’ve been in business and how your company has changed over the years.
2. Who’s Who – Connect your careers page to an Employees page, letting interested candidates see the faces, job descriptions, and backgrounds of those who they would be working with. Consider posting a video to that page of employees talking about why they love working at your company.
3. Culture – If your business has a unique culture, showcase that on a separate Company Culture page. Post pictures of fun events, company parties, dress-down/up days, etc. Everyone wants to know more about your environment.
4. Be Descriptive – Make sure the job descriptions clearly state the qualifications needed, with a layout of what the job entails.
5. Benefits – Go into detail about all health benefits, paid time off, 401k options, exercise rooms, health club discounts, etc., that your company offers to employees.
6. Trainings/Education Opportunities – Explain details of onsite or offsite educational training, talk about various certifications, advancement opportunities, and more.
7. Awards – Brag about your business. Whether it’s industry awards for excellence or “best place to work” accolades, list them here.
8. Community Involvement – Whether employees help charities or are heavily involved in the community, let prospective candidates get a glimpse into how they can be part of the greater good.
9. Customers – This is a great time to talk about customers who interested candidates might be interested in working with, especially if you work with well-known brands.
10. Top 10s – Give interested candidates a Top 10 Reasons to Work Here page. Get creative, be fun. Get your employees involved to help create this page. Perhaps even have them sign their names to the reason that they give.

Take a stab at letting interested candidates get a peek inside your company. Use your job ads as marketing opportunities. Showcase your company’s brand. Don’t worry about your Careers section matching the tone of the rest of your website. Let your personalities shine!

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Maximize your event marketing investments with 21 Tradeshow Tips for Manufacturers:

21 Tradeshow Tips for Manufacturers

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B2B Marketers: Would You Exhibit?

By | May 28, 2014

Question:  If you knew that 100,000 potential customers were attending an industry trade show, would you exhibit?

Of course you would!  And I bet you would wonder how to draw those 100,000 attendees into your booth (see Fathom’s guide to maximizing trade show ROI).

Another leading question:  If you knew that 100,000 potential customers were actively searching (e.g. , on Google) for your specific products/services, would you invest in digital marketing?

For the sake of your organization’s sustainability (let alone growth), I earnestly hope that you said “YES.”

The buying process has changed … let’s look at some startling statistics:

  • 93% of B2B buyers use search to begin the buying process
  • The average B2B buyer is 57% through the purchase decision before contacting a supplier
  • 100% of B2B buyers have read company web content in the past six months to evaluate a purchase

So, where do you begin?

  • Keyword Research – Validate market opportunity by identifying strategic keywords and determining volume of searches being performed.  Suggested tool:  Google Keyword Planner (free)
  • Ranking Report – Determine your organization’s current market share and that of your competitors.  Suggested tool:  Web Position (paid license).
  • Digital Assessment – Identify potential revenue opportunities and pin-point what’s getting in the way.
  • Strategy and Investment – A clear road map to your digital success.  Given the revenue opportunities gleaned from the assessment and investment required for success, you are able to project ROI on digital.
  • Allocating Budget – You are now armed with data to justify an investment in digital!

To help your company sustain itself and grow, it’s imperative that you pay attention to how the B2B buying process has changed. And investing in digital marketing is how you can position your company so that buyers find you early in the buying process.

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Maximize your event marketing investments with 21 Tradeshow Tips for Manufacturers:

21 Tradeshow Tips for Manufacturers

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Know Thy Market: The Secret to B2B Lead Generation

By | May 23, 2014

Before you can say, “If you build it, they will come,” you actually need to know a lot about ‘they’ before you can expect results. That is the ONLY way you should begin building something with an expectation of success, you better know what ‘they’ want!

This is a common mistake that web marketers sometimes gloss over. Yes, the web has tremendous flexibility and can be updated at the drop of a hat. But there is value in creating a solid marketing message and strategy before you initiate your campaigns and testing. This is extremely important in B2B lead generation efforts.

Unlike the instant gratification that often correlates to consumer e-commerce transactions, B2B buyers have a more methodical evaluation and buying process. This is common, even if they know your brand and products. Staying true to developing solid marketing messaging that appeals to these online researchers/buyers is going to help you generate more leads and demos.

Knowing your target digital audience means you should be able to articulate:

  • What are their search habits?
  • Where do they hang out online?
  • What motivates them?
  • How do they make decisions
  • What are their pain points?
  • What kind of information do they crave?
  • How do they like receiving that information – data sheets, videos, whitepapers, case studies, etc.?

Once you have all this information in tow, you can develop marketing messaging that speaks to them and collateral that captivates them! You need to figure out how to draw them in, especially if your company is unknown to them. How does your offering make their life easier/better and how do you differentiate from the competition? You need to be able to hit home with your value proposition so that it aligns with results that matter for them.

Just getting them to your site is only a portion of the battle. Now you are in the Consideration & Evaluation phase. After the prospect feels a connection because you are speaking their language, you need to deliver the right information for them to process and review that will help them move along your sales funnel. Other good companies have mirrored your approach by having good targeted marketing messaging. This is when your offering needs to blow them away during comparisons against the competition.

Having the right collateral will make it easier to convert them into a serious sales prospect from a lead.

One side note, the consumers you target are bright people and know what they want. They can smell companies who are making things up or trying to take short cuts. The prospects can be cynical if they feel you truly do not understand them or never took the time to in the first place. This could be very bad as now you have a negative impression of your brand that you have to overcome in the future.

As long as you remember to put the effort in to your market research before you launch, you can expect to reap the benefits of successful digital marketing initiatives.

Happy selling!

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How Do You Measure the Success of Digital Marketing?

By | May 16, 2014

Digital marketing certainly has changed from the early days of link building for organic SEO rankings and PPC strategies that ultimately depended on spend to get to 1st position.  Every action taken online has the potential to be tracked and measured, and the sophistication of search- engine ranking algorithms has risen to the task of using that information to improve the results you see when you look for something online. They are measuring their success and optimizing based on the ever increasing volume of digital information available.  And in digital marketing, we are asking the same questions—how are the current digital strategies performing, and how can they be improved?

Step 1: Capture the Right Digital Data

The question is simple, but with the quagmire of metrics available in any analytics tool, it’s difficult to determine which metrics are going to supply that answer.  Even more confusing is the fact that having a website doesn’t mean that data is going to be automatically captured for later analysis.  Capturing digital data around each action being taken online—whether it’s a click through to a page, a button-click on your site, or a purchase made through a shopping cart—has to be deliberately tracked and cataloged to be useful for digital marketing analytics.  Just think of a filing cabinet.  If one-third of the folders are marked by last name, another third are by company name, and the last third are by the year the folder was created … how would you ever find anything?

Step 2: Determine the Marketing KPIs to Monitor

So if the first step is making sure to capture the information to measure, the second step is picking some KPIs to monitor, right?  Well, sort of.

Choosing the right KPIs actually happens long before a campaign ever launches.  What to measure is directly related to the purpose and scope of the business objective that is identified during planning.  These need to be carefully crafted, or measuring the success of the campaign is impossible.  Success cannot be measured if there was never a declaration of intent for the project.   How do you know if you’ve crafted it correctly?  Here are some tips to be sure to answer before starting any digital marketing effort:

  1. Are we trying to attract new customers or improve retention/brand evangelism/repeat orders with current customers?
  2. What is the desired outcome of the visitors interaction?  Website visit? Lead? Review? Survey? Purchase?
  3. Why do we think our message with resonate with the target audience?

Ironing out these details is the key to measuring the success of the campaign.  For specific optimization efforts, such as testing one landing page version against another in order to improve the conversion rate, metrics such as time on page, bounce rate, and conversion rate will be the most important. 

For more general visibility into measuring the performance of a brand’s digital footprint, the following aggregate buckets can provide regular insights into the overall trending of a digital presence effort:

  1. Reach – Measures the expanse of the brand’s digital footprint.  KPI’s include metrics around how often the brand is seen, such as impressions and views of ads, visibility in social news feeds, and the volume of non-bounce email receipts.
  2. Engagement – This measures people interacting with your brand.  KPI’s include metrics around people taking an action to know more about your product or brand, such as traffic to your site, interactions with content on the site like PDF downloads or video views, subscriptions to the newsletter and more.
  3. Conversions – This tracks the volume of conversions.  Some examples of tracked conversions include e-commerce transactions, lead form completions, newsletter signups, and more.   Typically, a dollar value can be associated with conversion action.
  4. ROI – This metric shows how the effort was worth the return.  Here, the value of the conversion will be weighed against the cost of maintaining the program infrastructure, and will provide insight into opportunities for optimization or expansion.

So now it’s time to take a look at your strategies.  Review your campaigns and determine what each one is intended to achieve.  Make sure the traffic sources, page elements, and goal completions are being tracked properly in your analytics tools and begin building the dashboards that will show how your campaign is performing.

But you probably won’t be able to stop yourself at just measuring your success – there’s a trove of insights contained in the data, and you just drew the treasure map.

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