BRINGING SEXY BACK to B2B MARKETING

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If you can get through this next sentence without falling asleep, congratulations. B2B marketing has traditionally consisted of facts, figures, testimonials and whitepapers. Still with us? Good. As boring as that all seems, we can assure you, it doesn’t have to be this way. And if you’re a B2B business out there, we just want you to know – it’s not you, it’s us – the agencies that owe it to you to help bring your brand out of its cocoon, releasing its true colours and allowing it to soar high above the mediocrity. After all, there’s no such thing as a boring product, just boring packaging.

Hit ‘em right in the ‘feels’
With a huge amount of advertising noise coming from every direction, particularly the digital space, it’s important that B2B businesses really put themselves out there. Marketing efforts need to be tailored for the common human, not robots. Tuning in to those things called feelings will encourage people to really engage with your brand and talk about it. Remember the customer comes first so ask yourself:

– What are they interested in?
– What’s the best way to reach them and when?
– How are you going to solve their problem?
– How are you going to make them look like a god to their peers?

Try to avoid hitting them with the hard stuff too early. Yes, they may need some solid facts at some stage but first, think about how you’re going to lure (ahem) lead them in. Although B2B products may not be bought for emotional gratification, it doesn’t mean the marketing behind it can’t include plenty of warm fuzzies. Make them feel safe, show them how cost-effective it is and let them know your company cares about them as an individual.

Get your flirt on
Let’s face it, you’re trying to make an unsexy product desirable so just like a finely-tuned Tinder profile, show a shit tonne of charisma and put your best profile pic forward. Social media is the forum to do this; it gives you a chance to present a familiar, less formal side to your business through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Instead of your customers feeling like outsiders learning about your business, here’s their chance to get in on the action by joining conversations and sharing with their friends. Showing pictures of your staff is also a great way to ‘humanise’ your brand – “oooh, they look like a warm, down-to-earth company – in fact, they’re the kind of company I can see myself starting a relationship with” (sigh).

Stick to the game plan
Right, so now you’ve got an idea on how to make your company relatable and look super snazzy (side note: don’t go too far and use words like ‘snazzy’) so what now? Avoid going in hot without a strategy. You’ve got fun stuff and you’ve got boring stuff, now how are you going to roll it all out? Do continue things that have served you well in the past (we never said get rid of those white papers all together). Do target more than just the top dogs – an idea can come from any person in the company. Do aim to reach people outside of work hours too because, well, people are addicted to their phones and tablets. Don’t lose yourself – brand identity still needs to be evident in everything you do. If all else fails? Offer free stuff! Everyone loves a little win, even if it’s as simple as a free e-book.

Last but not least, don’t forget the plug. Whenever you get the chance, talk up your company and offer the easy click. For example, BallantyneTaylor would say something along the lines of “we know you’ve enjoyed this article, so don’t play hard to get – if you want to get a little stalky and see what other great things we’ve done (and could do for you) check us out riiiiight: here.

Watch your AdWords campaign bloom with the help of these three tips.

In the world of organic search results, it’s anything but lonely at the top. Websites that rank first in an organic search earn almost double the amount of traffic as the site ranking second, and the traffic percentages only degenerate from there.

It’s a bleak existence for sites positioned after the third or fourth rank in a search, so if you are serious about keeping your brand’s name out of the Google result wasteland, you’ve probably enlisted the help of Google AdWords. It’s quick, targeted and has a wide reach, not to mention it can be completely cost-effective — if you are doing it correctly.

That’s right; AdWords can’t be your omnipotent saviour all on its own, you’ll need to develop a strategy. Here are a few overlooked AdWords truths that can help you cultivate your campaign this summer. Once you’ve sewn a few of these tactical seeds you’ll be able to kick back, relax and watch the results bloom.

 

1. There are three types of keywords

It’s important for businesses to keep in mind that there are three types of keywords that consumers use when searching online. First, they do their research, then they compare products and lastly, they search with the intent to buy.

Research stage: During this phase, the consumer doesn’t know exactly what he or she wants, so the search typically has generic, simple terms. Let’s say the consumer is looking for a tent. During the research process he learns there are all different types of tents: dome, geodesic, ridge, tunnel, etc. Keep in mind the consumer has not decided on a brand yet.

Comparison stage: As the consumer continues to peruse the search results for the generic term, things will start to get more specific. He can read reviews and pit two products against each other. If he is in the comparison stage, he might use phrases like:

Kathmandu v. Robens
Kathmandu tent reviews
Kathmandu prices
Kathmandu warranty

We don’t particularly recommend bidding on phrases like this. They can end up being a waste of money as they are simply being used by those searching for an answer while investigating a future purchase.

Buying stage: By this point, the consumer has his credit card beside him, ready to make a purchase. This is the point where coming up with the right keywords is essential. It’s likely the consumer knows exactly what he wants, just not where to find it. A “buyer keyword” will have the following:

Colour
Make
Model
Brand

So let’s assume the consumer that was searching for a tent has made a decision. He wants to go with Kathmandu and the tent model he wants is the Retreat 270 Tent v2 in “sage green,” so his search phrase may be “Kathmandu Retreat 270.” Buyer keyword phrases are specific. Bid on these specific-to-your-brand words as they usually lead to sales.

2. Try dynamic keyword insertion

This is a big time saver. Instead of writing a new ad for each keyword, Google will update your text with the keyword that is used to target your ad. It makes your brand more relevant to potential customers while making it easier for you to create unique advertisements for a large number of keywords.

3. Ad position has less effect on CTR

This may seem a little disjointed to what was said in the opening paragraph, but hear us out. If you are using AdWords to advertise your brand, Google will highlight the keyword that is being searched for by a user. That way, even if your site isn’t the first result, they keyword that is relevant to the user will show up bold in your ad. It allows the user to see that your ad is still relevant to them, when it would otherwise be overlooked.

If you’re having trouble piecing together the right AdWords campaign for your company, don’t worry — we can help. Get in touch with our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs. She will happily provide you with a free, no obligation account audit. veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Digital scientist the new cool cats of marketing

The traditional marketing and advertising techniques we once knew have drastically transformed in the digital age. Smooth-talking, martini-swilling Mad Men have been unceremoniously uprooted from their bar stools to make way for new cool cats in advertising — digital scientists and engineers who are developing new technologies to perfect our digitally driven ads.

While we haven’t completely forgone measures to emotionally connect consumers to a brand, it is no longer our driving force. Today’s strategies are about Big Data and innovation. Through accurate collection and proper analysis, this information enables us to pinpoint our audience demographics and deliver highly targeted ads which directly speak to individual wants and needs. While it may sound a bit hard-nosed, the truth of the matter is this: campaigns today must now be completely immersed in digital strategy or run the high risk of being overlooked.

It is probably unnecessary to say, then, that evolving your brand with the latest online marketing trends is vital to your business. Let’s explore some predictions for what the top digital stratagems will be in 2014.

1. Content Marketing — It’s More Important Than Ever

You may be thinking that content has always been an important part of marketing strategies, and you’d be right if you are. But the ‘what and how’ we are presenting our content is changing and will be more crucial than ever in the next year(s). As inbound marketing strategies are steadily overtaking more antiquated outbound forms, it is important to focus on producing valuable, engaging content designed for specific, target audiences. After all, one of the main ways a brand is able to establish authority and trustworthiness with consumers is by regularly producing valuable content through a variety of different outlets. Some of the most effective channels for B2B companies are: social media, company blog posts/articles, case studies and eNewsletters.

And lest we forget, always make your website accessible from mobile devices. Whether you create an alternate mobile-friendly version or utilise responsive web design, it has to be done. There are seven billion people in this world and six billion of them have smart phones — that’s a pretty big audience that you won’t be reaching.

2. Social Media Marketing Will Require More Diversity

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are still the head honchos of social media, but sites like Pintrest, Google+ and Instagram (to name a few) are surging in popularity, thus providing businesses with a wider array of options to produce unique and engaging content. By branching out and experimenting with multiple networks, businesses will be able to build their audiences across more channels and acquire higher recognition rates, building brand equity.

3. Ad Remarketing Will Grow in Efficiency

To sum up remarketing, it is a strategy that works by utilising browser cookies to track the websites consumers visit. If a viewer leaves your site without converting (only 2% of web traffic convert within the first visit), the product or service will be shown to them again in advertisements across other websites they subsequently visit. It is basically a friendly reminder to the non-converted, keeping the brand front of mind and increasing overall conversion rate.

4. SEO & Social Signals Will Become More Intertwined

Since the aim of Google and search engines like it is to provide users with the highest quality and most relevant content possible, it is no surprise that social shares (likes, shares, tweets, etc) will start playing a bigger factor in SEO. They theory is that the more social shares a blog post or article has, the higher quality it is likely to be. Social shares also serve as a kind of trust signal for visitors to a landing page. If viewers see that a page has a high number or shares, they can only assume that there is something of value there. Many businesses are harnessing this power of social influence by installing social share plugins and encouraging viewers to share content with their social media circles.

5. Websites to Take a Turn Towards Minimalism

In 2014 we will see marketers answer a shift in customer preference by offering content that is quick and easy to digest as opposed to text-laden, in-depth messages. Brands will not only begin to tone down their messages so as not to overwhelm customers, but begin featuring content with well-placed images, infographics, etc to break up content and help emphasise key points.

 

While it may seem like consumers could not possibly be more connected than they already are, the truth is, we are becoming increasingly more conscious, hip, knowledgeable, by the second and it’s not waning any time in the foreseeable future.

If you are looking to fine-tune your website and want some expert advice, contact our Digital Manager, Veronica Nobbs:veronica@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

Why video content is the future of marketing

While it may be overused, the old adage, “content is king,” still rings true — perhaps more so than ever. According to eMarketer, a total of $118.4 billion has been spent on content marketing in 2013 alone and, as we allocate more and more of our budget towards content, we must contemplate new ways to keep the information we produce fresh and engaging.

Many marketers are seeing video as a prominent player in the future of content marketing — it’s a quick, consumable and provides a creative way to tell a story or communicate ideas without exhausting an audience. It can offer a refreshing, laid-back alternative to the large quantities of text we consume on a daily basis, not to mention it’s likely your competitors have not implemented video into their marketing strategy yet, giving you an advantageous leg up.

Traditionally, video content has been very difficult to measure and analyse, making it impossible to justify via ROI. But with new advancements in video content analytics, you can see who is watching your video, for how long, what parts are being skipped and what parts are being re-watched.

Once you decide that video content marketing is the right move for your company, how do you implement it successfully? Here are a few tips to make video as engaging, compelling and cost-effective as possible.

1. Don’t Break the Bank

You don’t need to throw your entire budget into one, high-production video to bait followers. Make your video part of a wider content marketing campaign that aims to generate ongoing, sustainable outcomes. Over time, when/if your goal changes, you will have the funds to be able to produce additional videos to meet your evolving needs. It is also important to note that it is unlikely at best that your video will be completely optimal your first attempt. If you make a pig’s ear of the first one, your economical approach will allow for changes and improvements to be made withinyour remaining budget.

2. Make Use of What You Have

Have any of your company members spoken at an industry event? Been on TV? Maybe you’ve filmed some product testing or development in the past? If so, there is a good possibility you’ve got some compelling footage already on hand. And if there is still not enough to put together an engaging video package, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to generate content that will give your customers an inside look into your business (think staff interviews and office tours). A tight budget doesn’t have to stop you from putting together a great video that connects with your audience.

3. Leverage Events

Holding events provides you with an abundance of subject matter for video footage. The key is to be resourceful and creative; use these opportunities to collect a wealth of content in one go. Interviews with international staff who would otherwise be unavailable, visiting speakers at the event as well as your own company speakers can all be accessed in one location! Now would also be a prime opportunity to gather some time-lapse footage depicting the buzz generated from your product or service at the event in question.

4. Assure Your Video Works Across Mobile Platforms

As more and more people access content on the move via iPads, tablets, and smartphones, it’s important to be sure your videos are optimally displayed when viewed from mobile devices. When choosing your distribution channels, make sure that at least one is properly formatted for responsive design and will support video playback on a variety of devices (remember: Flash is not accessible from iPhones/iPad).

5. Make it Interactive

There are tools that are now allowing for more consumer interaction within video. Dynamic content and maps as well as an ability to ask for responses within a video’s frame are just a few of the new capabilities available. Mozilla’s Popcorn is a good tool to look into to and find out more about video interaction.

The opportunity for your brand to creatively engage with its audience is constantly progressing and expanding. Video has undoubtedly shown a vast upward trend in the past two years alone and the best part is there is no one way to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Whether you are a multi-million dollar brand or a mom and pop shop, video can be business and budget friendly.

If you think your business is ready to introduce video into your marketing strategy, contact our Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne. p: 09 950 2140

Stalk your customers online with Google Remarketing

Like a jilted lover, eCommerce merchants have long waited, helplessly, with the hope that their fickle consumers, who abandoned their site without completing an action, see the err of their ways and return to them, faithful and true. Well proprietors, behold! Step out of the shadows of blind faith for a new day has dawned! An era in which you can safely stalk your capricious deserter by subtly reminding them that only you possess the good or service they truly cannot live without. Welcome to the Age of Remarketing.

Remarketing (sometimes referred to as “retargeting”) is a form of pay per click advertising which allows eCommerce entrepreneurs to show banner advertisements to users who previously visited their site as they browse the rest of the web.

Here’s how it works:

1. A prospect user enters your site

2. A tracking cookie is dropped on their browser

3. Prospect user leaves your site without converting or taking the desired action

4. You display banner ads to that user as they continue to browse other websites

5. Ads entice the user to come back to your website and complete desired action

Basically, a persistent little voice saying, “Hey. Hey, you. Remember me? Don’t waste your time endlessly searching for other products– I’m right here!”

Getting previous visitors to return to your site is an obvious perk of using remarketing, however, that isn’t the only benefit.

Improve ROI on marketing budgets

For businesses that are already spending money on driving traffic to a website, remarketing can extend the conversion funnel to your most qualified visitors.

Increase Brand Awareness

Re-displaying ads to new prospects increases the likelihood of brand retention and awareness.

Granular retargeting capabilities

Which means, advertisers can use tailored messaging and incentives based on a user’s browsing behaviour. For instance, if you have just purchased a tent for an upcoming camping trip, you might be a good target to promote sleeping bags.

 

If you decide to go the route of Google Dynamic Remarketing, you have further options to target visitor groups and choose which ones you want your ads to show up for.

All visitors:  Everyone who views your site

General visitors:  Those who visited your site but did not view any specific product. The dynamic ad will include the most popular products from your website

Product views:  People who viewed specific product pages but did not add them to a shopping cart. Here, the dynamic ad will show the viewed products alongside some recommended products

Shopping cart abandoners:  People who viewed specific items, added them to their shopping cart, but did not complete the purchase. Items will prioritise items added to the cart and will mix in other viewed products as well as recommended ones

Past buyers:  The dynamic ad will show related products to those previously purchased and items that were often bought together

So after reading this, you are probably thinking, “I need to incorporate remarketing into my digital strategy so I don’t turn out to be the sad, lonely peddler in the introductory analogy…” Great! Here are a few recommended practices to help get you from zero to hero in a flash.

Establish granular marketing lists

The more targeted the original traffic, the better the remarketing response

Avoid overexposure

Use frequency capping and ad scheduling to avoid harassing your audience, not to mention cut down on ad spend

Test, Analyse, Optimise

Overtime, begin to strike out the negatively performing placements and reward the positives

 

Whether you are an online retailer, a goods or service provider or a B2B marketer looking to improve your ROI, we can help introduce remarketing into your digital strategy alongside a wealth of tools to cultivate your brand.

 

Talk to Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne. e:  steve@ballantynetaylor.co.nz

 

 

Mobile ads: A little less conversation, a little more action

Mobile devices have undeniably become an intrinsic part of our daily life and routine. They are so indispensable, in fact, that we are starting to associate them with our innermost circle of vital personal belongings — right up there with our keys, wallets, and watches.

And why wouldn’t it be? Calls, texts, email, online banking and social media is in the palm of our hand and instantly accessible. It’s a wonder then, that mobile isn’t hailed as the quarterback of the advertising platform team. In fact, it’s not even close. Mobile is like the third-string kicker. Who is only on the team because he’s the coach’s nephew…once removed. And if you aren’t following my American-sport analogy, mobile advertising’s performance is so underwhelming it is getting relatively no action whatsoever.

So what is holding mobile advertising back?

First and foremost, our preservative attitude about our mobile devices — they contain personal matters, i.e. contacts, pictures, messages, that we deem private. Unwarranted advertisements that appear on screen are generally felt to be intrusive and unacceptable.

Aside from being a general annoyance (fun fact: an individual is more likely to survive a plane crash than click a banner ad), mobile ads are difficult to read, unattractive and cumbersome. It is estimated that around 50 percent of mobile ads are clicked unintentionally due to awkward placement and tiny screens, making it impossible to gauge an ad’s effectiveness or collect an accurate reading.

Mobile campaigns are certainly facing some unavoidable hurdles, but who doesn’t love a good underdog story? Getting advertisements seen via mobile is possible, we just have to shift our focus.

Too often marketers exhaust their efforts by measuring the direct response success of a campaign when the most effective methods are those that are cross-platform and branding conscious. For the past few years, Starbucks has led the mobile marketing push with a carefully integrated, cross-channel programme. They operate with a high level of consciousness about their clients; by tracking mobile payments, rewarding customer loyalty and cleverly presenting ads across countless platforms, Starbucks’ success becomes measurable and their actions become branding experiences.

Mobile marketing, when delivered in an intelligent way, can certainly be advantageous to a brand. The challenge now for marketers and advertisers is to be open and experimental to find new and innovative ways to breed better ads that are delivered as a part of a larger, cross-platform campaign.

Curious with how mobile marketing could work for you?

Have a chat with Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne about how effective it can be on +64 9 950 2140

If Adwords is failing you, it’s because you’ve failed Adwords

Is your company using AdWords? If not, you’re failing already. But it’s not too late! It’s quick, targeted, has a vast reach, and, if you are doing it right, is completely cost-effective. Whether you are an internet entrepreneur or a large corporation, Google AdWords can be one of the best or worst advertising investments your business makes — it’s all about your strategy. In short, you want to turn searches into sales and unfortunately, companies often make the same mistakes over and over again keeping them from achieving the return on investment they deserve.

If you or your ad manager are making one or more of the following three mistakes, you are going to Google’s allegorical house, using your hard-earned dollar bills as kindling for a metaphorical bonfire and watching it burn. And the worst part — your very real money is only keeping Google warm at night.

 

1. You are not tracking conversions

Clicks are good, but you aren’t advertising on AdWords for the clicks. You want action, sales, sign-ups. In order to gauge whether or not your site is procuring the desired action step, you need to measure conversions. Did the visitor go forward with the desired action or did they hit the back button? This helps you structure your site to turn views into leads and sales; without this information you are flying blind in a situation when you don’t need to be.

 

2. You are sending people to your home page

And for shame on you if you do! I, the viewer, have already done my initial search, found what I was looking for, and your ad directs me to your home page to start my search all over again? You’ve lost my money and your other viewers’ too. There needs to be a dedicated landing page; the best ones focus on a single call to action. They don’t have any distracting links or navigation and they sell the one thing that made viewers click on your ad in the first place.

 

3. You have overloaded Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Many AdWords strategies seem to pick every possible word under the sun and run them on Dynamic Keyword Insertion. When DKI is used correctly it can be a highly effective ad writing technique, but when it’s not, it’s just a money pit.

 

Has your ad manager avoided these three cardinal sins of AdWords? I doubt it. And if he/she hasn’t and you are serious about your investment, give us a call. Seriously. I’ll even give you a taster.

 

1. Be more discerning with your keywords. Instead of bidding on hopelessly unspecific words like “grass”, choose more definitive terms that show at least a small amount of devotion such as, “wheat grass” or “grass roots”.

 

2. Use negative keywords to prevent your ads from showing up in irrelevant searches. This can significantly reduce your cost-per-conversion.

 

3.Use remarketing to retarget browsers.It’s an extremely effective way to draw viewers back into your site and stay top-of-mind.

 

If your ad manager isn’t cutting the mustard, kick him to the curb. We are champing at the bit to pick up the slack and optimise your money. Get in touch and we’ll happily provide you with a free no obligation account audit.

 

Contact Managing Director, Steve Ballantyne. p: 09 950 2140