How to Improve Your B2B Customer Experience In 2019

What happened to the B2B customer experience? An inordinate amount of attention has been paid to the evolution of retail consumer marketing, the adoption of digital advertising, social media marketing, and other new media.

In many cases, B2B businesses have fallen behind in adoption of cutting-edge technologies and techniques. Websites have fallen into disrepair, even neglect. And no one notices, that is, except for the prospects and customers.

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Even if the B2B business has just launched a new website, that site may not be designed with the customer experience in mind, optimized to facilitate discovery, planned to leverage content marketing initiatives, or infused with inbound marketing processes to nurture leads and convert to sales.

Considerations for Improving the Customer Experience

1. A Website is No Longer Just a Website

Congratulations on your shiny new site. But now what? The game has changed. the shift has happened. Today’s consumer arrives at your site already educated through web search and armed with remarkable intelligence. And regardless of your business sector your customer has expectations of how your business enables and responds to your community.

Are you engaging your prospects and customers across all platforms – not just the website? Are you creating valuable content that binds the website and the marketing messages together? Are your customers compelled to share this content in their respective networks?

2. Customer Engagement Begins with a Digital Strategy

A well-conceived and properly developed digital strategy is absolutely critical to most every successful B2B marketing plan. When executed, it will leverage all your internet, social, and content marketing initiatives in a way that will generate leads and result in new revenue incredibly fast.

A digital ecosystem schematic will illustrate how internet traffic (demand) will be generated and how it is commandeered and routed between web site, blog, audio, video, ebooks, eNewsletters, as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social sharing platforms.

3. Inbound Marketing Converts Leads Into Customers

Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found, and drawing customers to your website by producing content that customers value.

This process facilitates and hastens client discovery of your offerings, increases web traffic, generates leads, facilitates sales conversations, and builds loyalty with consumers.

  1. Generate more traffic
  2. Turn visitors into leads
  3. Convert leads to sales
  4. Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
  5. Analyze, refine, and repeat

Inbound marketing is especially effective for those businesses with long research cycles and knowledge-based products. In these areas prospects are more likely to get informed and hire those who demonstrate expertise.

Given that the average B2B purchase is often many multiples of those made by retail customers, the stakes are high. Investment in customer acquisition strategy and tactics are critical to long-term success.

Your digital marketing agency partner will help you create multiple paths to revenue and give you the technology and consultation that will positively impact your bottom line quickly, this quarter.

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Five Keys to Inbound Conversion For B2B Marketing

There are a myriad of reasons why it’s getting harder to sell. It’s not your imagination. Your sales prospect is not interested in taking your call. Culturally they are increasingly incensed by the uninvited approach.

Like a man on a hunt for a tool in Home Depot, your prospect doesn’t want your help. They cannot tolerate interruption. They want to discover you on their own – because your service will seem more credible that way. That is, if, and only if, your business has mastered Inbound Marketing.

The Five Keys to Inbound Conversion

1. Understand that Content Drives Discovery – 82% of prospects begin with a web search. You need to be found. Your company needs to generate and proliferate high quality content regarding your offerings. The more, highly focused, high quality, and user-centric pieces of content you offer the higher your business will rank in search returns. Organic Search results convey legitimacy. The goal is to create the perception (which is true) in the mind of the prospect that your business is driven by industry experts. Therefore your business will immediately occupy a superior position in the mind of the buyer versus your competition. You are now selling on quality not price. And you are receiving the lead, not banging your head against a brick wall trying to create one.

2. Develop a Game Plan and Calls-to-Action – Keep your Content Strategy top-of-mind. Your digital agency will develop a digital ecosystem schematic to visually illustrate for you how all of the paths to discovery will drive traffic to specific calls to action. Every opportunity will be used to convert the contact to prospect, to lead, and then most importantly to customer, with specific calls-to-action.

3. Employ Marketing Automation. In the days of traditional advertising, the key to message penetration lay in frequency of message. In the early days of digital, marketers individually built all of the campaign assets such as webpages, landing pages, and emails and managed them using disparate platforms. Powerful marketing agency software now exists that cuts the production time –and expense- to a fraction of the former cost. This allows your agency to highly format and schedule your inbound marketing efforts, spending more time on messages that create action and assessing results. The software will also track the prospect as they flow through your sales system to close.

4. Refine and Repeat. You must measure all your efforts and adjust tactics every 30 days, at minimum. Automation, expertise, and service are a critical combination of services that are most effectively delivered by your agency.

5. Get Started Right Now. The “we’re too busy taking orders” to do new things attitude will bite you in the ass. All businesses have cycles and you will need to be ready for the next lull in production. Because when you go to dust off your phone to make new calls you’ll realize that the old way is gone. And so too is your pipeline.

Creating and improving inbound conversion is a very specific expertise and is predicated on choosing a great agency partner who will take the time to understand your business and customers. They will develop a content strategy and develop engaging content and calls-to-action that are proven to deliver higher quality leads that are much quicker to close than other old school tactics like cold calling and yellow page ads. Let’s get started!

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Fuzzy Brand: Rebuilding Brand Equity

In our work as a digital marketing agency, one of the most common declarations we hear from prospective clients is:

“I’m spending the same marketing dollars yet my brand equity is increasingly diluted.”

Every time we hear this phrase we hurt a little for the client. But we smile on the inside because before us is a client that we can help. We can help them overcome the cumulative effects of changing consumer behavior that are driven by technology, the resulting fracturing of the media marketplace, and the ages old issue of “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

The brand message becomes diluted resulting in reduced brand equity – a widely suffered malady known as Fuzzy Brand.

Here’s why some brands are experiencing diminishing awareness and significance as well as some prescriptions to cure fuzzy brand and rebuild brand equity:

1. Media use has fractured. The same money spent in the same places is most likely producing diminishing results. Television used to be the de facto mass reach medium. First the networks, then cable television and the 1000-channel universe. Terrestrial radio was followed by satellite radio and then internet radio. Add online and mobile smart phones and there are infinite programming possibilities and platforms of distraction for consumers. Brand activity must now happen across the right mix of platforms and aggregate audiences that use each medium in a unique way.

2. Interruptive marketing is not an effective stand-alone strategy. Television is still relevant. But how it is used and extended in order to continue brand engagement off-platform is critical. For instance, a portion of each campaign could include an interruptive message that includes a clear call to action. The same campaign could include video content that the user is invited to view based on his or her preferences. This is usually facilitated through social media and inbound online discovery. A common faux pas would be to use paid interruptive techniques to deliver content marketing initiatives.

3. All media should be measurable. More than just ratings points, creative, where appropriate, should include calls to action that can be validated and lead to solid paths of monetization. Read: Impact the bottom line. Every channel can and should deliver measurable results.

4. Traditional should coordinate with Digital. Multi-platform campaigns should consider in-program and content initiatives that promote interaction of the audience with the brand, offer strong calls-to-action, collect data, and allow conversion to sale, and create traffic to bricks and mortar stores, where applicable.

5. Engagement for engagement sake is B.S. Engagement is a buzzword among coffee shop social media experts. But the truth is that engagement is only worthwhile if it’s leading somewhere. Furthering the brand conversation is nice, but how does this activity convert to a sale? The brand benefits from engagement, with a purpose.

6. The media mix is probably out of alignment. Every marketing strategy is different. However, if you are spending the same proportions of your budgets in the same places as five years ago, your media mix needs immediate assessment.

Avoid the effects of Fuzzy Brand.

If your customers are asking you where your brand went, it’s time to make some changes. Your strategy-driven digital marketing agency will help you understand the environmental changes that have challenged your product or service. They will help you coordinate all of your media activity. And they will work with you to realign your marketing strategy and tactics in a way that will dramatically improve your campaigns and rebuild your brand equity.

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The Naked Truth About Shiny Object Syndrome

How the ‘Latest and Greatest’ Can Leave Marketers Exposed

With the pace of change in the world of marketing and advertising, it’s very easy to get blown off course by a mass email solicitation or sales person flogging the latest and greatest marketing solution. You’ve seen the random pitches:

  • We can deliver Likes! (even if the user has no affinity for your brand)
  • QR codes are the future (even though you’ve never seen anybody use them)
  • Your website is not optimized properly for your industry (even though it is)
  • You need an on-site video (even if you are in waste disposal)

We can debate the merits of any particular tactic. And the prospect of impressing the C-Suite with the latest cutting edge marketing widget may seem intoxicating.

However, unless a particular tactic is central to supporting your marketing strategy, it is utterly useless and not worth a minute of consideration. Furthermore, if the shiny object presents itself mid-way through a campaign or budget cycle, the odds are even greater that it will detract from the overall marketing efforts.

The marketing strategy is the roadmap for success. It must be carefully constructed in order to address organizational goals and revenue objectives. And every tactic employed – from traditional media to leading inbound marketing techniques – must be deliberately on-strategy and be directly tied to revenue production… and ultimately measurable.

Let’s face it. If the ‘latest and greatest’ would help achieve the marketing goals, it would already be a part of the plan. If someone on the team darkens your doorway flogging the latest and greatest, perhaps the underlying reason is because the marketing strategy is not as strong as it should be. Send them back to plan.

Great tactics ought to be preconceived – not knee jerked into the marketing plan. Proactive rather than reactive always wins the day.

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How Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Impacts Your Social Media

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will come into effect on July 1st. It prohibits sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) to electronic addresses unless those message follow three simple rules:

  1. Identify the sender
  2. Obtain consent
  3. Provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

If you are doing business in Canada or if your customers are accessing their emails in Canada, CASL applies to you. But it applies not just to email but to social media as well!

In other words, CASL’s effect on your communications is likely broader than you may think. The Government of Canada’s website for CASL states that “Canada’s anti-spam law takes a technology-neutral approach, so that all forms of CEM sent by any means of telecommunications are captured under the new law.” Furthermore when listing the list of potential violations, “social networking” is mentioned.

To add to the confusion, the CRTC previously stated that, “Whether communication using social media fits the definition of ‘electronic address’ must be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending upon, for example, how the specific social media platform in question functions and is used. For example, a Facebook wall post would not be captured. However, messages sent to other users using a social media messaging system (e.g., Facebook messaging and LinkedIn messaging), would qualify as sending messages to “electronic addresses.” Of course, you didn’t expect the government to make anything easy did you?

To make sure your interactions with potential customers on social networks comply with CASL, one solution would be to include the following in the communication: “Could we send you a DM so we can discuss this with you in more detail,” as it is asking for consumer’s consent prior to encouraging them to engage or participate in a commercial activity.

If in doubt, and to make sure you don’t run afoul of the regulations, reach out to the marketing and media pros at Momentum Marketing for advice on your campaigns.

Happy CASL-Compliant Messaging to You!

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LinkedIn – The Business Social Network to Watch

When asked which social network will be tops as it pertains to building business, especially among B2B companies, the easy answer is LinkedIn.

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better

LinkedIn is the social network for business. And although it doesn’t boast 1 billion served, LinkedIn does offer some impressive stats:

  • 300 million users (May 1, 2014)
  • 187 million daily unique users (Feb 6, 2014)
  • 40% of users check it daily (July 2, 2013)
  • 2.1 Million LinkedIn Groups
  • 41% of daily visits are mobile
  • 44,000 jobs accessed via mobile every day

What makes LinkedIn so powerful is that it is fast replacing Address Book (which replaced Rolodex – look it up kids!) as the place to store and access contacts. The beauty of course is that you stay in touch with your connections as they move from job to job.

It’s a Matter of Intelligence

Most business and sales people miss the vast intelligence that LI affords. By watching moves your contacts make, you can identify an opening for a conversation about your product or service. With just five minutes of research, smart users can identify and qualify prospective buyers or business partners. The act of this pre-qualification can mean the difference between having your advance welcomed or rebuffed.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other network, LinkedIn is simply the most effective way to pre-qualify leads.

The Cost Efficiency is Compelling

If you are selling a product or service, LinkedIn advertising (at least for now) remains one of the best and least expensive advertising opportunities when it comes to cost per lead. It amazes our clients when they realize that we are able to target their message right down to the ZIP code and connect with the precise target within corporate hierarchy. And because users tend to be connected with like professionals, there is huge value in reaching those people as well.

LinkedIn Groups and Spotlight pages also create an amazing opportunity to share critical and timely content with connections.

As with all things, the manner in which you use LinkedIn will define the quality and quantity of the results you get.

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Understanding the Difference between Google Local and Google Places

Currently Google Local and Google Places are two different Google products each with different data sets. They compete against each other and, in some cases, display duplicate results when those sets are not perfect matches.

Google is in the process of merging Google Places with Google Local. But until then, you need to make sure that your business is up-to-date for both. In the meantime, information submitted on Google Local overrules information listed on Google Places IF the location has been verified.

How will you know if the data for your business has been merged already? The only way to know for sure is observing carefully to see which dashboard appears when logging into Google Places. If the latest dashboard is displayed, then the Google account is already a merged data set. If the older dashboard is displayed, you must still update both listings.

Old Dashboard
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New Dashboard
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Being moved to the newest dashboard is a computerized, automated, process that no one, not even Google employees, can speed up.

The most important thing to remember is that without going through the verification process, it is impossible to change or edit any information on Google Local as well as Google Places.

Localization is as easy as #1, #2, #3

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The Impact Of Google Places / Local On Localized Searches



There is no more important consideration for a bricks and mortar retailer than discovery. In the past, this type of discovery relied heavily on the local Yellow Pages. The big yellow book was the means by which many people found the services they required.

With the advent of Google Places in 2009, the importance of proper listing within this platform has become more and more important for local small businesses. In fact, the importance of a properly optimized and validated Google Places / Local listing for a small business in many cases outweighs their need for a full-scale web presence.

What drives such a bold statement you may ask? Relevance.

Momentum client Budget Brake & Muffler Auto Centres engages our services to optimize their current web property for placement in organic searches. We have taken on the challenge to create high rank for blanket search terms such as “auto repair” and “car repair.” We are optimizing the web property for localized searches that depend on the physical location that the search is taking place from. The results are dramatic. We concentrate a considerable amount of effort in this optimization campaign on mobile searches – as we can see through proper tracking that a large amount of searches occur from mobile devices. This comes as no surprise considering that a large portion of individuals requiring car repair are searching on a mobile device from the vehicle that requires repairs.

With this focus on mobile platforms we have discovered something about the traffic this type of search creates. A large portion of the traffic that searches for and discovers the location of a Budget Brake and Muffler Auto Centre never end up clicking through to the company website. Why? Properly optimized, up to date Google Places / Local listings for each Budget location provide a direct connection to the local Budget franchisee right in the Google search results. The relevance of the result provides a direct path to the franchisee – discovery equates to a customer at the push of a button. Pushing Budget’s Google Places / Local listings to the forefront requires a consistent effort and a cohesive strategy involving the participation of each franchisee within the organization. Each Places listing requires up to date location information and validation of the business owner through Google’s own phone validation process.

Beyond the administrative tasks of ensuring each listing has the correct contact details and hours of operation, one key factor came to the surface. Reviews in these listings have a direct effect on placement both in search results and map placement. Franchisee’s who have positive reviews within their Google Places / Local listing consistently rank higher than those with poor or no ratings. Google views these reviews as a crucial key to providing their users with relevant results that create a positive outcome for the searcher.

Every small business owner now needs to understand that the relevance of their online listing is not based solely on their hours of operation but on the service they provide to new and returning customers. The Internet and Google itself is in a perpetual state of evolution.

It’s critical to reach out to your digital team to stay in-synch with these changes in order to maximize discovery for your business and real-time conversion of search traffic into real traffic, real satisfied customers, and real revenue.

Reach out now, and let the work begin!

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Conversion Paths – Putting the cart before the horse: Why it’s never a good idea to put design before strategy

For most clients, design is the fun part of a web development project. It’s exciting to choose colors and pontificate palette decisions. And it’s tempting to start there.

My counsel is always to take a step back and consider critical business issues. Ask key questions. Then let the answers inform the design choices.

For example, in the case of a retail business that sells online as well as in brick and mortar stores:

1. Conversion Paths – The objective for the web presence should be to drive customers to the point of purchasing product, filling the cart, or driving them to physical locations. These conversion paths can be plotted and mapped from existing metrics and taken into account when building out the wireframes. The objective is to get traffic to convert. Understanding and monopolizing the path will ultimately deliver a design that provides conversion. Not the other way around.

2. Wire Framing – Before fixating on stylized elements there needs to be some importance weighed against the architecture, how you are drawing the customer in, and the paths you are pushing them through, etc.

This pushes usability to the forefront and provides clarity to the objectives of the website beyond its aesthetic value. Ultimately, proper wire framing will draw out the inherent flaws in architecture, providing insight into conversion paths, as well as where the roadblocks are from a user standpoint. 
It is important to draw the functionality out of the core branding and creative work. Otherwise the core functions of the website (selling the product) will be lost in the back and forth over colour, style, etc. A contractor wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint.

3. Brand & Creative – There is an established brand that already exists. Once the architecture, wire framing, and mapping is established then it is time to apply the brand elements. This will make the design process iterative in its nature, in turn providing a well thought out, properly executed design that serves the user base and draws them in to convert to a paying customer. I often sound like a broken record (remember those?) but not unlike the in-store experience, where stock is carefully placed according to consumer behaviour, one needs to need to understand the customer before choosing the website aesthetic. By evaluating metrics via Google Analytics, we can develop an experience that better suits the ultimate goal – conversion.

Assess. Wire-frame. Map. Then design it! Approaching it any other way is just plain “bass ackwards.”

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The Website: Shift is Happening

Over the past 10 years business has been forced to move because an educated consumer has shown up on their doorstep armed with remarkable intelligence. Access to on-demand information has been a game changer in every business sector and with it comes an expectation of how your business enables and responds to its community.

A shift is occurring and we are seeing it with all of our clients – a changing dynamic in the function of their websites. Those metrics, which we track ferociously, now see brand engagement occurring on all platforms equally – or in some cases traffic and engagement of the brand outside of the website well exceeding the traffic to the organization’s URL.

Your website creates one destination for the information customers seek. A cohesive jumping off point for the brand. However, this is only the beginning of an overall strategy that needs to take into consideration all of the platforms currently available to support and enhance your brand.

The creation and dissemination of content may be what binds your website marketing messages together, however, that content now needs to be offered within the right context. Contextual content that your customers are compelled to share to their respective networks is the key to a successful strategy and a high traffic website.

The key motivator for this shift in contextual search results is, without a doubt, the deep market penetration of mobile devices. Predictive in its results, this type of search technology is pushing information to your customers based on what information the device already knows about their likes, habits, and social connections.

Effective marketing campaigns now have to adopt an active listening approach to fully incorporate customers in the feedback loop. The consumer voice has never been so strong and those businesses that pay attention to active consumer voices will see the rewards. Your company’s reputation online has never been as important as is it now.

In addition to active listening, inbound marketing becomes an important factor in an effective marketing strategy. Focusing on being found by your customers by providing high value content that is relevant to their wants and draws them into contacting you is now the strongest tool in attracting potential clients.

As your content takes shape and becomes distributed across networks your offering obtains authenticity. For many, this is a drastic shift from the traditional outbound model, however, brands that do not shift a portion of their marketing budget to an inbound marketing model will have more and more difficulty conveying their message.

We have said it before and we’ll say it again – online strategies aren’t just about setting up accounts on the right platforms – your strategy needs to involve true engagement. Engaging and driving online communities requires planning, risk management, and a cohesive objective.

Your company needs to measure the impact of each platform; your website, landing pages, request for information forms, YouTube channel traffic, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn traffic – all measured.

Consumers are educating themselves on your brand, where they what, when they want. The shift is happening. Business must meet the consumer with content and information that engages, informs, and a path to purchase.

Your inbound marketing agency can help you get your strategy right and show you how to implement and track it for optimum results.

Go ahead and Shift!

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