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Digital Spring Clean - 3 Quick Tips

Spruce up your digital marketing and stay top of mind with your customers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2021

This past weekend marked the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, so we thought we’d give you a few quick tips for your digital spring clean.

1. Tidy up your SERP (search engine results page)

Sharp Ahead Google Search Results

This is a key part of the experience for your prospects, customers and other important stakeholders interacting with your business and if you haven’t Googled your brand name in a while, now is as good a time as any.

Here’s how to check your SERP the right way. 

First, use an incognito window so you’re not biasing what you see based on previous search behaviour. Then check for these signals:

  • Are you in the top position (P1)?
  • Is anyone running an ad on your brand name?
  • Is your Google My Business / Knowledge Panel listing up to date with accurate contact details (phone, website, opening hours etc.)?
  • How are your reviews looking? Are there any that you could respond to? These are people in close contact with your business and they deserve your attention.

What if things are looking a bit dusty?

This is your shop window – if it looks unloved, you’ll be losing out to other businesses. Run a brand ad. It might seem wasteful to bid on your own brand names, but for most B2B companies, those searches are relatively low volume but very high value. Plus, those ads will keep the competitors out of your P1 spot, enable you to curate and quickly update your SERP and align it with your current campaigns and brand messaging.

Pro tip: for most B2B companies, applying a few negative keywords, for example around jobs and careers, can keep costs down and focus the campaigns on your key prospects.

2. Refresh your website (inside and out)

Sharp Ahead Header Contact Info

44% of B2B marketers say the main reason they abandon websites is that there’s no contact info immediately visible*. Unless you are selling something that can be purchased on your website, your prospects will need to speak to someone in your sales team at some point.

Make it easy for visitors to choose you with a quick look at the following:

  • Make your phone number clearly visible – Make it easy for visitors by clearly displaying your phone number or at least an email address in the header of your site. Or go one better and enable live chat on your site like 11 out of the 50 fastest growing B2B companies**!
  • Does your copyright notice still say 2020?? It’s March already and I’m still finding websites without an updated copyright notice footer. With the upheaval of the last year, if your website doesn’t have signs of recent activity, prospects could be forgiven for thinking you might not be around anymore. Update that copyright, refresh your COVID-19 message, and make sure you have a recent blog or news story prominently displayed. These are all important signals to your customers that you’re open for business and ready to help them.
  • Get the LinkedIn insight tag, the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) tag and Google Tag Manager (GTM) in place – These tags each have a role to play in best practice digital marketing and if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on key insights, future analytics and easy tag management. These are all ways to learn more about your customers and how to delight them on your next interaction.

3. Welcome new visitors (and then look after them)

We're Open Sign

You’ve done the hard work by getting someone who doesn’t know you to choose your website. Whether the onsite experience is perfect or not, you now have a chance to be remembered and convince your prospects that your business is the right choice for them.

One of the easiest ways to be remembered is with remarketing campaigns: even if you’re not using paid search or social for lead generation, you should run remarketing ads. 

Consideration cycles for high end B2B products and services usually take months, or longer, and remarketing is the most efficient way to keep in touch with those decision makers during that time. Remind them of your brand, tell them something they might not know about your business and show them why you’re the right choice. 

Pro tip: Don’t wait a year to refresh the creative and mix it up with different ad formats.

What next? - The BIG clean!

If you're looking to go a bit deeper, here are three things that are vital to digital marketing success in the coming year.

Say goodbye to Broad Match Modifier

We discussed this in a blog article back in February but if you haven’t had time to sort out your match types, you could be wasting valuable media spend. In short, Google is combining two existing match types, phrase match and broad match modifier. This means that with nuanced search terms that are standard fare for B2B search marketers, it would be very easy to bring in a lot of irrelevant clicks and quickly reduce the ROI on your campaigns. Read our top tips for sorting this out as soon as possible!

Core Web Vitals

This was another new development from Google that we flagged back in 2020 but the deadline is approaching faster than most digital marketers would like. If your site doesn’t meet Google’s criteria, or you don’t have a plan in place to make sure it will, you’ll need to think now about making a reasonable investment in speeding up your site—or risk losing valuable search rankings to better prepared competitors. If this is the first you’ve heard of CWV, read our previous blog article and then get yourself over to Google Tools for measure them!

Mystery Shopping

And last on our list of big cleans, a plea to B2B marketers everywhere. Check that your customer and prospect contact channels work. Does someone answer your phone during business hours? How quickly do you respond to lead enquiries? Is your online chat staffed consistently? I know what you’re thinking, this is ridiculous of course the answer is yes. But when was the last time you checked? Do some mystery shopping and find out for yourself. In the high end B2B market, one missed phone call or a few days’ delay on replying to a form fill, could be the difference between a successful or failed campaign.

We work with intelligent marketing managers to make budgets go further and cut your cost per lead. 

If you have any questions on your own digital spring clean, get in touch for a free 30-minute B2B consult. 

Groups of people dotted across a map representing demographics

Introducing LinkedIn Website Demographics

By John Woods  |  July 28, 2017

The meme “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” dates back almost 25 years.

The anonymous nature of most internet use is great for dogs, and for others who want to keep a low profile, but it’s frustrating for marketers who want to understand their audience. And it is particularly frustrating for B2B marketers, who often need to reach very specialist audiences.

Why B2B marketers need to profile website audiences

It’s impossible to judge the success of a niche B2B campaign by just counting anonymous page views. My blog post might reach ten thousand readers, but unless some of those readers are in my target demographic, it could still be a failure as a piece of B2B content marketing.

Conversely if my paid media campaign reaches just a hundred people, but half of those are prospective buyers of my high-end B2B service, then it could be a huge success.

So it is really valuable for B2B marketers to have a way of profiling website visitors, to learn about the characteristics of their audience.

Existing audience profiling tools are limited

There are already a few ways of building website audience profiles. For example Google Analytics provides geographic (country/city) and technographic (device type/browser version) information. And if you enable the Display Advertising features in Google Analytics you will also get information about Google’s affinity categories and in-market segments, some of which are relevant for B2B.

There are also many paid subscription tools that use reverse IP lookups to determine organisation names of anonymous visitors. They provide a few useful hints about your audience, but they are only a few pieces of a complex jigsaw.

New profiling capabilities from LinkedIn

LinkedIn has unique access to professional information about its 500 million users. Now it is promising to share some of that information to shine more light on the characteristics of website audiences that matter most for B2B marketers.

LinkedIn Website Demographics is a free tool that promises to profile your website audience based on information that LinkedIn knows about your visitors. The dimensions include:

• Job title

• Industry

• Job seniority

• Job function

• Company

• Company size

• Location

• Country

Some of these overlap with existing profiling tools – in particular, location and country are already quite well covered by Google Analytics.

But dimensions like “industry” and “seniority” will add valuable detail that is difficult or impossible to obtain from other sources.

Get ready to use LinkedIn Website Demographics

LinkedIn Website Demographics has not yet been released so we don’t have final details on how to use it.

But first impressions are that it will be driven by the existing LinkedIn Insight Tag and by the LinkedIn remarketing audiences which are controlled using that tag.

Like most remarketing-type technologies it will not be retrospective – it will take time for the audiences to build up – and it’s likely to be subject to a minimum audience size (for privacy reasons).

So if you want to be ready for LinkedIn Website Demographics, there is some “plumbing” you should put in place now so that your audiences have time to build up to a workable size:

1. Sign up for a LinkedIn Ads account, if you don’t already have one, and grab the customized LinkedIn Insight Tag code from the Tools/Conversion Tracking menu.

2. Make sure your LinkedIn Insight Tag code is deployed across your website and anywhere else that you want to track (such as campaign landing pages). Google Tag Manager will simplify this job.

3. Set up some audiences in the “Matched Audiences” part of LinkedIn Ads. At a minimum, you’ll want an audience for “all visitors”. You will probably want to create some more specialised audiences as well, for example to cover specific campaign landing pages or particular areas of your site that are intended for different marketing purposes.

And then…wait for LinkedIn to enable this exciting new feature!

More details when we have them…

Dart hitting a bullseye

New Advertising Features for LinkedIn – Matched Audiences

By John Woods  |  May 3, 2017

LinkedIn has just announced general availability of “Matched Audiences”, a set of new features for the LinkedIn Ads platform. This is a game-changer for LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn ads – love them or hate them

As a B2B digital marketer I have a classic love-hate relationship with the LinkedIn Ads platform. We use it as part of the marketing mix for most of our B2B clients and the ads can give good results, but there are some real frustrations that constrain our use of the platform.

Why I love LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn is one of the most natural places to reach business people in their professional lives, so B2B campaigns on LinkedIn are brand-appropriate for most advertisers and can be very effective. The ability to target ads to custom-designed segments based on seniority, company size, job title, and so on is very powerful in cases where this aligns well with the target audience for a particular campaign. We’ve had great success with well-designed LinkedIn campaigns.

Why I hate LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn ads can only be targeted using combinations of certain fixed segments that LinkedIn provides. When you first see these segmentation options they seem very powerful, but as you start to work with them in anger they can be really frustrating.

For example the industry categories are very coarse-grained and may not align well with campaign goals – a niche category like “Fishery” or “Forestry” might be workable, but a category like “Information Technology and Services” is too broad to be much help. And geographic options are limited – for instance in the UK I can target Reading or Swindon, but not a broad region like the Thames Valley.

A further limitation is that these targeting options don’t align at all with buyer intent or with a person’s degree of engagement with my brand: I can’t target a tailored message based on a prospect’s funnel stage.

Add to this that LinkedIn ads are quite expensive – CPCs can easily be double those of an equivalent paid search campaign – and you have a difficult choice: either “spray and pray” by targeting your LinkedIn campaign very coarsely to a broad audience that may not align well with your campaign goals (and risk wasting a large part of your budget), or target very narrowly (and risk missing a large fraction of your potential audience and have your campaign achieve little or nothing).

It’s possible to work around these limitations with skill and creativity, but they still form a barrier to effective use of LinkedIn Ads.

Why Matched Audiences makes all the difference

LinkedIn’s new Matched Audiences features provide three new ways to improve targeting of LinkedIn ads:

  1. Account Targeting: upload a list of company names to define a new audience
  2. Contact Targeting: upload a list of individual email addresses, or link to a CRM system with an equivalent list of contacts, to define a new audience
  3. Website Remarketing: create an audience from some or all of your previous website visitors.

By themselves these options are already pretty useful, but the best news is that they COMBINE with the old-style segmentation choices.

So I can now run a LinkedIn campaign that targets, for example:

People in the “Information Technology and Services” industry…

  • …of at least “director” level seniority…
  • …who work for companies with at least 5,000 employees…
  • …and who have visited my product’s main landing page within the past 14 days.

Now THAT’S an interesting target audience!

This makes it feasible to use LinkedIn campaigns which use the old-style segmentation options to define a broad audience and the new Matched Audiences to focus on people who are already engaged with my brand in some way.

What to do next

If you already use LinkedIn Ads, you should definitely look into Matched Audiences right away. They will almost certainly provide ways to make your campaigns more effective.

If you have previously used LinkedIn Ads and given up because of poor results or poor ROI, Matched Audiences might allow you to revisit LinkedIn as a viable part of your marketing mix.

In either case there are some steps you should take as soon as you can:

  1. Read the details about the new options.
  2. Evaluate the new options in the context of your marketing goals. For instance, if you have a large database of leads that would benefit from a lead nurturing campaign, Contact Targeting could be ideal. If you are building an Account Based Marketing strategy you should look at Account Targeting.
  3. If you find a fit between the new options and your marketing goals, adjust your plans accordingly. In particular, to make best use of the new options you are likely to need to develop new creative for different funnel stages.
  4. If you plan to use Website Remarketing in the future, make sure you have the LinkedIn conversion tag deployed on your website and set up some remarketing lists in LinkedIn. As with most remarketing technologies, the lists take a while to build up and are not retrospective, so set them up early so they are in place when you are ready to launch a campaign. (LinkedIn uses its own tagging technology for its remarketing features, so you need a new tag. You are using Google Tag Manager aren’t you?)
  5. If you are planning to use any of the new options, make sure you are aware of the privacy and data protection implications.

It’s gonna cost you

I’m very excited about these new options and I’m sure we will be increasing our clients’ use of LinkedIn Ads as a result. I expect the same to happen across the industry. But there’s no new inventory available as a result of these changes – they purely allow existing inventory to be bought more effectively.

So I expect CPCs and CPMs to rise across the LinkedIn network. LinkedIn ads are already relatively expensive compared to other forms of display advertising, so this will make it even more important to have efficiently designed and well-managed campaigns.

Want help making the best of LinkedIn Ads for your business?

Talk to us.

Santa using a computer

Get Ready for Christmas: 7 Quick Tips

By Jennifer Esty  |  December 2, 2016

Christmas is nearly here, and you’re probably  looking forward to a week of food, family and presents, but who is looking after your digital 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.

1. Google My Business

There’s every chance prospects will see your business on the Google SERP (search engine results page) before they even get to your website.

Update your opening hours to let prospects and customers know when and if you’ll be open over the holidays.

2. 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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 turkey (incidentally, the BBC do a nice list of recipes).

6. 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 Merry Christmas message on your website until the 3rd of January.

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 evergreen 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 Rudolph) during your break.

7. Check with your Sales team

Finally, just before you leave, make sure there is a plan in place to deal with inbound leads.

Although volumes are likely to be low, anyone who does call is probably very motivated and therefore it will be worth ensuring they have a positive experience.

If you have a small sales team who are also on holiday, make sure someone will be monitoring the group email address, or has turned on an up to date autoresponder that sets expectations about when they will receive a response.

If you rely heavily on inbound sales calls, make sure calls are being forwarded or put an answer service in place so the phone doesn’t go unanswered.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Making the Business Case for B2B Digital Transformation

Making the business case for digital transformation

By Jennifer Esty  |  May 11, 2016

Are you a B2B marketer trying to make the business case for digital transformation or investment?

My colleague Rob Stevens, has some great- and by great I mean practical and effective- advice on how to get buy-in from key budget holders.

His short white paper focuses on a few key areas of digital marketing that can offer solid return on investment for B2B companies. It offers some practical tips and useful statistics for getting the budget you need to execute them.

The paper also covers strategies for marketers in B2B companies who have previously engaged in similar activities and found they did not yield results that justified their costs.

Download the paper here or get in touch with us directly.

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