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6 simple things B2B digital marketing gets wrong

By Jennifer Esty  |  May 18, 2018

At Sharp Ahead we often get asked to do audits of our clients’ (and prospects’) digital footprints, which is a great way to start to understand how to make immediate improvements to your digital marketing.

Here are six things that come up time and time again.

1. Phone numbers: most B2B products and services are relatively complex and will ultimately require person-to-person selling. The best outcome of your digital marketing campaign is almost always inspiring a prospect enough to call you. So make phone numbers prominent on your website, ideally in the header of your landing pages and website.

A few other phone number rules:
– don’t make your prospects choose from multiple phone numbers, more often than not they’ll just choose to phone someone else. And when they do call, don’t give them 6 different options to choose from.
– don’t charge your B2B prospects for phoning you
– and most importantly, during business hours, make sure the phone is answered by a trained member of staff. Every. Single. Time.

2. Don’t hide your best content. Content marketing is not a treasure hunt. If you hide your best content, no one is going to come looking for it. Social proof like case studies, testimonials, and client logos needs to be featured prominently on key entrance and landing pages.

3. The Ronseal Principle: tell visitors to your site exactly what you do in plain language. Taglines, mission statements, and post-branding workshop catch phrases are all well and good, but don’t assume your prospects know you already or that you naturally have enough credibility to be on their short list.

4. Most prospects don’t even want to visit your website. Google has taught us to expect its search engine results pages (SERPs) to answer our questions without visiting actual websites. Make sure the SERPs for key terms, like your brand and contact information, are as carefully curated as your homepage. Google gives you lots of good tools for doing this, including free ones like Google My Business.

5. Prices: do not be afraid of talking about price. At some point, the cost of your products or services is going to be very, very relevant to your prospects. You can save a lot of everyone’s time by giving at least an indication of price during the lead generation process. The hard work of establishing your price points and your place in the market should have been done already; be confident in your decision making and honest with your prospects.

6. Landing pages. Use landing pages for your lead generation campaigns. Make sure they are optimised for conversion, which includes paying attention to every detail from page load speeds to the wording and colour of your CTA to which fields you put on the form. Do not send your hard won and paid for traffic to a page on your website.

And last but not least, if you have any questions or need help with any of the above, please get in touch.

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B2B Marketer’s Networking Event – Thames Valley

By Jennifer Esty  |  May 16, 2018

A free networking event for B2B marketers in the Thames Valley. Meet up with your peers, make new connections and share best practice. Plus guest speakers and refreshments!

Where and When

When: Tuesday 12th June, 18:00
Venue: Work.Life, 33 Kings Road, Reading RG1 3AR

Why

A marketer’s life can be a lonely one in a B2B organisation. So we are creating an opportunity for B2B marketers to meet their peers, share best practices and make new networking connections.

This free event features a talk from channel swimmer and expert marketer Conor Gunn. Conor has held senior marketing roles in both B2B and B2C organisations including Microsoft and BT. He’ll be sharing how his channel swimming experiences have inspired him to be a better marketer.

Places are limited so sign up today to ensure your slot! Please note: this event is intended for practicing B2B marketers. To ensure a constructive networking environment we reserve the right to limit ticket allocations.

Our Speakers

Guest Speaker: Conor Gunn

Conor Gunn is a Chief Digital Officer and Customer Experience Director who partners with large companies, executives and agencies to drive business and digital transformation. He has delivering award winning digital solutions across multiple channels, devices and geographies.

In recent years he has been a Director at British Gas and Barclays. Previously he held senior roles at TK Maxx, BT and X-Box and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

After spending over 20 years working in this space he knows what truly drives successful businesses and customer engagement, and it’s not mastering the marketing flavour of the week or the latest digital buzzwords.

It’s about truly understanding your customers and finding the profitable solutions that make their lives easier.

Conor is also the fastest Irish person to swim the English Channel. He will be talking to us about how that experiences have helped informed his success, how he approaches Delivering World Class Marketing that grows your business and telling us the Ten Things he has learnt from swimming the channel.

Dr John Woods MBA

John is an experienced technology CEO, CTO, data scientist and serial technology entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience consulting for and supplying to B2B companies. His entrepreneurial projects have spanned market research, web analytics and energy storage, as well as providing consultancy services to a range of B2B businesses. John holds a Doctorate in Astrophysics from Oxford University.

Agenda

18:00 Arrival & Networking
18:30 Introductions
18:35 Conor Gunn “How swimming the Channel made me a better marketer”
19:00 Dr John Woods MBA  “Making better B2B landing pages:  what we’ve learned from 250+ campaigns”
19:15 Panel Discussion
19:30 Drinks, Nibbles & Networking
20:00 Close

easter
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Preparing for the Easter holiday: quick tips for B2B marketers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2016

Easter weekend is nearly here, and you’re probably  looking forward to a few days of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, but who is looking after your marketing while you’re away?

If you have an agency helping you out, you might not be too worried. However if you’re looking after it on your own or with a small team, some of whom are also on holiday, there are a few things you can do to make sure all the hard work of the past few months isn’t compromised by a week away.

Using AdWords?

If you have Google AdWords campaigns running, download the Google AdWords app (not AdWords Express).

This handy app gives you top line campaign information including:

  • Stats
  • Bids and budgets
  • Real-time alerts and notifications
  • Call a Google expert
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns

Schedule content

Not all of your potential customers will be on holiday, so don’t let your content go stale while you are away. You can schedule content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. There are loads of tools you can use, including HootSuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck. Check out this article by Capterra, complete with a handy comparison chart for more information.

Using Facebook?

With Facebook Pages Manager you can view and respond to comments and private messages from your phone (as well as see Page Insights) and the Facebook Adverts Manager allows you to edit your ads and budgets, get notifications of when ads are finishing and keep an eye on your spending.

Still send emails

Most email platforms will allow you to send emails scheduled for a specific time. Marketing automation platforms also allow you set up automatic email sends based on user behaviour. So you don’t need to stop your lead nurturing over the holidays or let potential leads go cold while you figure out what to do with all that leftover lamb (incidentally, the BBC do a nice list of recipes).

Think about your website

As with email most content management systems have an option to schedule content, so you don’t have to leave your Happy Easter message on your website until the 11th of April. Nothing screams ‘I’ve gone on holiday and don’t care about you right now’ like outdated seasonal content. If your website CMS doesn’t have a schedule function, consider putting your best performing content on the homepage while you’re away, or at least don’t leave up information about an out of date event (or a picture of an Easter egg) during your break.

Check with your Sales team

Finally, just before you leave, make sure there is a plan in place to deal with inbound leads. If you have a small sales team who are also on holiday, make sure someone will be monitoring the group email address and you have an answer service in place so the phone doesn’t go unanswered.

Happy Easter!