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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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marketing automation

3 Key Factors for a Successful B2B Lead Nurturing Campaign

The onset of marketing automation has truly changed the way we reach out to, build relationships with, and sell to customers. Technology has made it possible for companies to gain traction and scale quickly.

While many companies have moved away from traditional outbound marketing, many companies find the transition overwhelming, leading to inaction and remaining with the status quo.

The problem? Most agencies offer a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing automation, although, in reality, there is a strong need for adaptable, flexible, and measurable approaches to building momentum and getting you results!

Lead nurturing as a concept isn’t new at all. It is the process by which cold visitors are “warmed up” and developed into sales-qualified leads, leading to product or service purchases.

Traditionally, lead nurturing was done over a series of calls or face-to-face interactions. However, the blitzkrieg of information inflow these days has rendered cold calling ineffective. In fact, unsolicited calls might also negatively hamper brand perception.

That is when permission based email marketing comes to the rescue!

As alluded to earlier, due to a large number of moving pieces, marketing automation can either act as the fuel that propels you into deep space or the fuel that causes an explosion right in front of you, if handled incorrectly.

There are certain key factors you’ll need to consider before embarking on a lead nurturing campaign.

Who are you targeting?

The initial response to this question might be that you’re targeting a ‘segment of users’, but in order for the campaign to be more effective, you’ll need to know in precise detail who your ideal customer is.

One of the biggest challenges in B2B marketing and sales today is knowing exactly who your core customers are.

Peak performance coach and thought leader Anthony Robbins speaks of the law of life: 80% of success in life is psychology and 20% is mechanics. So before diving into the software and tools, you’ll need to create a persona for your ideal customer, including her name, age, psychographics, demographics, likes, dislikes, and pain points.

To see an example of a few customer personas click here.

On a side note, when Abraham Lincoln said ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’, he was probably highlighting the importance of Buyer persona research before marketing strategy execution!

Context Beyond Content

Someone once said Content is what you make for them.
Context, on the other hand, is what you mean to them.

While creating content is important, sharing that content with the right person, at the right time, via the right medium is far more important.

If you don’t get the right combination, your audience engagement may suffer because you have not established a strong connection with them.

Ryan Levesque’s book ‘Ask’ features a really amazing case study. One of Ryan’s clients was marketing based on the assumption that the target segment was between the age of 40 and 50. Interestingly, upon conducting a survey, it was discovered that the target segment was actually between the age of 50 and 60. Wow!

Heeding the call, Ryan and his team made a few changes to the website, including the images, the phraseology, and the colors to induce a sense of nostalgia.

The results were phenomenal because both the engagement and the sales conversion increased dramatically. This spike was a result of ensuring that the content was targeted towards the ideal customer.

Ask for the sale – Engaging, connecting and building relationships with your audience are excellent practices, but if you don’t ask for the sale, at some point on the journey, your prospect might become frustrated.

Of course, this works both ways! You may lose the business if you ask for the sale too soon or if you never ask at all.

By strategically segmenting your audience and scoring your leads based on clicks and actions performed, you will not only increase conversions but also increase the average value of each sale.

Even after the initial purchase, when the lead has stopped visiting your website, lead nurturing allows you to rekindle the relationship and continually remind the customer about your business.

If you love extra content, here’s a bonus 4th factor for you to consider!

Test, Test, Test – While this may seem pretty obvious, testing is absolutely critical if you want to improve results. The best campaigns are ones that are considered a ‘work in progress’ because there is always room for higher engagement, higher open rates, and more sales.

Make sure you experiment on a regular basis with CTAs (calls-to-action), subject lines, email length, and content. Proper marketing automation tools have powerful A/B split testing features that allow you to isolate the key factors for sales success.

However, at the end of the day, it’s not about ‘what’ you do, but how you do it. Our most successful clients have seen major results because at one point they made a conscious decision to stop trying to reinvent the wheel, seek help, and dramatically reduce their learning curve.

Momentum B2B Marketing offers comprehensive Inbound Marketing strategy and service coupled with our powerful agency-grade Momentum Marketing Automation software – all for less than a monthly subscription alone for other leading SAAS solutions.

Invest your precious marketing resources into inbound marketing strategy and training that will drive your business and your team forward.
Let the work begin.

At Momentum, we put your financial and organizational success at the center of everything we do. Congratulations on your commitment to this process and on your continued path for growth, success, and measurable results.

Your Inbound Marketing program from Momentum begins with a simple conversation.

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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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What Is Inbound Marketing?

For more than a century, marketing and advertising have been defined by interruptive marketing techniques such as print, radio, and television commercials, cold-calling, sales flyers, and telemarketing.

However, a new era is upon us where the populace is consuming media on their own terms, eschewing commercials, initiating their own search, and embracing social discovery of the products and services they need and want.

It’s no surprise then that marketers are left wondering why it’s getting harder to sell!

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 customers value. These blogs, audio, video, eBooks, eNewsletters, white papers, SEO articles, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing are considered inbound marketing.

Therefore, the process of Inbound Marketing 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.

In the words of an accomplished marketing professional and new client who found Momentum as a result of our own inbound marketing techniques…
“I need to know enough to know who to hire to get the job done.”

Inbound Marketing will allow you to out maneuver your competition, and be regarded as the expert in your field at the moment of interest.

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What is a Digital Strategy?

A well-conceived and properly developed digital strategy is absolutely critical to most every successful 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.

Every business is different. The only common denominator is that all business –regardless of industry – is evolving at an exponential rate. For this reason, it is critical that marketers access the best expertise available to design and create an effective ecosystem that is optimized to deliver the desired results.

The 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.

All internet marketing, social media, and content initiatives must facilitate discovery and inspire social sharing across all appropriate platforms. All content should be shaped specifically for the venue in which it is deployed. And above all, clear rules of engagement must be implemented to avoid public relations disasters.

When working with a good digital agency, it’s not necessary that you have all the answers. Your digital experts will guide you through the process and begin delivering results your business needs and deserves.

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How Associations Can Harness The Power Of Social

Associations, whether national, regional, or local, are essentially communities. They are comprised of groups of tribes or individuals who are united by shared goals, interests, or preferences. Associations are, by their very nature, social.

This presents a unique and especially prescient opportunity for associations to leverage the power of new social communication, marketing, and media techniques to achieve their goals like never before. Whether they are professional, charitable, trade, political, cultural, or otherwise, associations may need to fulfill multiple mandates: advocacy, awareness, fund raising, education, communicating, lobbying, among others.

Chances are your association’s key initiatives include:

• Communicating with members
• Demonstrating value to the membership
• Advocating on behalf of consumers at large

What Social Can Do

Utilizing social marketing can open a community of engaged advocates, both members and non-members, who are willing to share your message across their respective social networks, generate awareness, and solidify your associations mandate with the public at large. However your association will have to engage with those advocates and leverage the power of social channels effectively. Here’s how.

Three Key Factors In Harnessing Social Channels

1. Be In The Community

Your association needs to be an active participant on all of the obvious networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. This means you need to go where your members are, and they are everywhere.

2. You Need A Plan

Simply signing up for an account on any given social platform does not mean your association has fulfilled its obligation. Social connections via your chosen networks are not obligations but opportunities to engage directly with your members. This direct connection requires a clear plan with regard to infrastructure, integration, and most importantly a set rules of engagement policy. There is nothing more important than a planned and coordinated process for responding to negative comments.

3. Content

Well-crafted and professionally produced text, audio, and video that clearly communicate your organization’s message are core to a great content marketing strategy. Content is the essential asset that will drive readers to your association via online and mobile. Since many associations are in the enviable position of having a business model based on providing information to their members, the raw materials for stellar content is often at their fingertips. Niche by definition, associations that create well crafted, shareable, and SEO friendly content can effectively push their message online.

Harness The Power Of Social Channels

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How to Develop a B2B Content Strategy

Today’s consumers are like proverbial husbands who refuse to pull over and ask for directions. Folks simply want the instant satisfaction of finding their own way to their destination. Your business is the destination. But can you be found?

This phenomenon has put huge marketing emphasis on the notion of discovery. It’s all the more important because consumers are also increasingly eschewing interruption marketing. No wonder 40% of marketing dollars have been shifted to inbound marketing techniques.

It’s critical that marketers embrace content initiatives and blend them with traditional methods. It’s not a question of whether to move in this direction. It’s a matter of survival.

Getting Started With Creative Content Marketing

1. Get Clear About Your Goals

What do you want to happen as a result of mobilizing a content initiative? Do you need to build awareness for your organization? Are you educating consumers? Or do you want to sell a product or service? If the latter, do you want to incorporate a lead generation component that will deliver prospects into your deal funnel? Setting crystal clear goals will best inform your content strategy.

2. Assess Internal Sources for Content

Most businesses don’t think like media companies unless there is a printing press in the basement or an antenna on the roof. Oftentimes, marketers are surprised to find great raw material sources within the organization. Take inventory. Do you produce or commission proprietary research or industry data? Who within your company has specific expertise, industry cache, or public speaking ability and can they serve as a thought leader for your efforts? These assets are often found right under your nose.

3. Identify External Content Sources

Feeding the content machine requires ready access to external raw material. Assess what is already available from industry associations, co-owned companies, partner organizations, even trade media or publications.

4. Get Help From Content Creation Experts

A medical professional would not all of a sudden feel the need to fix their own car. Likewise a licensed mechanic would never offer a triple bypass with an oil change. Executing a creative content strategy depends on your ability to create engaging, compelling, SEO-optimized… even entertaining content on a regular basis. It’s essential to call on experienced media people who are also marketers in order to deploy content that delivers on all of the above.

5. Develop a Plan and Execute

More than article marketing, web content, or public relations, your content marketing strategy will need to be a highly integrated series of blog posts, audio podcasts, video, white papers, and ebooks – the ultimate mix, of course, will depend on the particular goals of your organization.

Get Started With Content Marketing

A stellar content strategy will flow directly from your goals and will take into consideration all the obstacles that face your business as well as capitalize on specific opportunities in your sector. An optimized approach will facilitate discovery on the part of consumers and imbue your business with credibility as a thought leader in your field.

Businesses that employ inbound marketing and content creation initiatives find it much easier to attract pre-qualified prospects that are predisposed to buy. Finally, as any sales professional will tell you, once value has been established price becomes a secondary or even a non-issue.

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Creating Direct Communication With Potential Investors

The New Rules For Reaching Retail And Institutional Investors

The key factor behind the bottom-line of any investor relations professional is valuation. The art of effective communication to achieve the highest possible valuation for your company or client is the driving force behind successful, profitable investor relations campaigns.

The internet has fundamentally changed the way in which investor communication is disseminated to investors and potential investors. Early on, the IR section of your company website was a “nice to have” but not a necessary feature. However, in today’s market not only is it expected that your organization maintain an in-depth IR section on your website, governing regulatory bodies now provide guidelines on requirements for those web pages. Communication with investors via your website and the industry standard email subscription newsletter may feel like an effective means for getting out your message but are you effectively harnessing all available channels?

The exponential growth and relatively fast adoption of various social platforms on today’s internet provides IR professionals with an even deeper set of tools to tell their story. You only need to take a look at IR Web Report’s current social media section (click here >) to understand the importance these tools now play in the marketplace. Publicly traded companies are harnessing social channels to communicate with potential investors and shape their brand message. The key to utilizing these essential social channels is a cohesive brand message across all platforms with the understanding that this is a direct connection to your audience; a connection that well exceeds the usual email newsletter approach.

With this direct connection comes a new set of considerations:

1. Cohesion Across Platforms

Across all social platforms, your investors, both retail and institutional need to be viewed as one audience. Retail or institutional, both require the same information. Just as social cannot be the only means for disseminating timely investor information no longer can your website and newsletter be relied upon as the sole means of communication.

2. The Benefits Of Immediacy

Social content pushed through the appropriate channels now places higher than the most meticulously crafted SEO optimized content when searching on Google. Why? Many searches are now based on relevancy and how timely the indexed information is that is being searched for.

3. Shaping Your Message

Monitoring and tracking what is being said about your brand online provides your organization with the ability to engage in conversations that previously occurred beyond your reach. The effective shaping of your corporate message and the governance of a cohesive rules of engagement plan assists in mitigating the inherent risks.

Social media, on all platforms, is no longer a tool solely intended for consumer communication. B2B, HR and now some of the most innovative IR professionals are beginning to appreciate the value in social. We are seeing the emergence of fully socialized businesses in all sectors including those that are publicly traded.

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