Code to Create Custom Share Buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Delicious


Interested in sharing your B2B content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or delicious? Do multi-option social media sharing tools such as ShareThis seem like overkill?

That was our conclusion after researching the social media sites on which readers are most likely to share content from our blog focused on solutions to a wide range of business challenges, What Works for Business. We decided that Facebook, LinkedIn, delicious, and Twitter were the sites on which our target business audience is most likely to share business-related content. Rather than using the ShareThis widget which provides many more options (many confusing options for most of our readers), we decided to create custom share buttons.

To add custom share buttons automatically to each post in a WordPress blog, add the following code to single.php, the file which renders the individual post (note that you must be using WordPress.org, the self-hosted version of WordPress, to be able to customize the php files). See an example of how this looks.

Facebook Share Button Code

Here is the Facebook share code, which can also be found at http://www.facebook.com/share_partners.php/.

<script>function fbs_click() {u=location.href;t=document.title;window.open(‘http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(u)+’&t=’+encodeURIComponent(t),’sharer’,’toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436′);return false;}</script><a href=”http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=<url>” onclick=”return fbs_click()” target=”_blank”><img src=”ADD_IMAGE_URL_HERE” alt=”Share on Facebook” /></a>

Twitter Share Button Code

Here is the Twitter share code, which can also be found at http://www.jhuskisson.com/code-tidbits/share-on-twitter-link.

<a href=”http://twitter.com/home?status=Currentlyreading <?php the_permalink(); ?>” title=”Click to share this post on Twitter””><img src=”ADD_IMAGE_URL_HERE” alt=”Share on Twitter”></a>

LinkedIn Share Button Code

Here is the LinkedIn share code, which can also be found at http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=developers_widget_shareonlinkedin.

<a href=”http://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=<?phpthe_permalink(); ?>&title=<?php the_title(); ?>&source=ADD_YOUR_BLOG_URL_HERE”><img src=”ADD_IMAGE_URL_HERE”></a>

delicious Share Button Code

Here is the delicious share code, which can also be found at http://delicious.com/help/savebuttons.

<a href=”http://delicious.com/save” onclick=”window.open(‘http://delicious.com/save?v=5&amp;noui&amp;jump=close&amp;url=’+encodeURIComponent(‘<?php the_permalink() ?>’)+’&amp;title=’+encodeURIComponent(‘<?php the_title() ?>’),’delicious’, ‘toolbar=no,width=550,height=550′); return false;”><img src=”ADD_IMAGE_URL_HERE” height=”20″ width=”20″ alt=”Delicious” /></a>

Good luck, and we’d love to see how you’ve implemented this on your own B2B blog!


Business Blog Readership Skyrocketing According to New Warrillow Study


According to a new study of small business owners released by Warrillow Market Insight, 40% are now turning to blogs for business-related information. This represents a 122% increase over 2008 where 18% of SMB owners read business blogs.

Small Business Owners Increasingly Turning to Blogs for Business Information (Warrillow Market Insights)

Small Business Owners Increasingly Turning to Blogs for Business Information (Warrillow Market Insights)

If you’re interested in marketing to SMBs, you really should subscribe to the Warrillow Weekly e-newsletter. They conduct great research on a wide variety of topics to help B2B marketers better understand and market to the SMB segment.


Business.com Conversion Tracking Released from Beta


Following a very successful beta test with over 70 participants, we’ve now made Business.com Conversion Tracking available free to all Business.com advertisers.

Business.com Conversion Tracking is now available to all advertisers within the Business.com Account Management System

Business.com Conversion Tracking is now available to all advertisers within the Business.com Account Management System

The most exciting aspect of this launch is we’re now offering a simple, free solution to the “last click” attribution problem I wrote about in our study of B2B web analytics market share. In short, the problem is that B2B advertisers who rely on web analytics solutions which attribute 100% of campaign ROI to the last click before conversion get an overly simplistic, and inaccurate, view of the contribution made by different online marketing campaigns to overall results. And its a problem that’s getting worse as the B2B sales cycle lengthens and business buyers interact with more online advertising before finally purchasing, registering for a free trial, signing-up for an event or otherwise converting. This conversion attribution issue was the second hottest topic (behind Twitter) when I spoke at Mediapost’s recent Search Insider Summit – there’s solid recognition among top brands and agencies that conversion attribution is a problem and that “last click” tools don’t provide the full story.

In essence, Business.com Conversion Tracking punches a hole in the black box of “last click” web analytics, allowing Business.com advertisers to easily see how their Business.com campaigns and keywords are performing to support campaign optimization. We designed Business.com Conversion Tracking to be both extremely easy to implement – 44% of B2B web sites don’t even use web analytics today, and a major reason for this is the complexity of implementing many of the solutions available today – and to work as a complement to existing “last click” or more full-featured web analytics tools. The specific benefits vary by the type of web analytics solution, if any, a company uses today:

For B2B Companies Without Web Analytics

For the 44% of B2B web sites without web analytics today (yes, scary, but its true), Business.com Conversion Tracking offers both clear return-on-investment (ROI) metrics for their Business.com advertising and a very simple 3-step process to implement conversion tracking.

For B2B Companies Using “Last Click” Web Analytics 

For those companies using “last click” web analytics tools like Google Analytics, Urchin Software by Google, Nedstat or others, Business.com Conversion Tracking uncovers data often not available, or incomplete, in these web analytics tools. This includes the ability to monitor the true impact of Business.com campaigns on registrations, quote requests, purchases or other transactions.

For B2B Companies Using Advanced Web Analytics

Advanced web analytics solutions like Omniture, WebTrends and Coremetrics enable B2B online advertisers to track the influence of multiple campaigns throughout the business buying process on eventual conversions. As we saw during the beta, Business.com Conversion Tracking is still very appealing to companies using these more advanced solutions because it takes literally just a few minutes to implement, saves time by making campaign ROI metrics conveniently available within the Business.com account management system and offers a useful check against third-party systems.

To learn more, visit the Business.com Conversion Tracking FAQ page or see the Business.com Conversion Tracking announcement.


Web Site Traffic for the 2009 BtoB Media Power 50


Business.com was recently named to BtoB Magazine’s Media Power 50 annual list of the most influential business-to-business marketing vehicles. This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve been named to the list which also includes household (or should I say workplace?) names such as The Wall St. Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, CNNMoney and more.

When the BtoB Media Power 50 list is announced, we get another great opportunity to answer the question we frequently hear from B2B advertisers and agencies – how big is Business.com?

The answer is surprising to many, but its a bit more difficult to tell this year because BtoB decided to combine print and online properties into a single entity on the list. For example, The Wall St. Journal print edition and WSJ.com are now reported as one in the list. While this change makes sense, it also makes it difficult to interpret the circulation and web site traffic stats for each of the winners.

So how big is Business.com? The chart below compares the number of unique web site visitors in April, 2009 for each of the BtoB Media Power 50 General Business category members:

2009 BtoB Media Power 50 - General Business category

2009 BtoB Media Power 50 - General Business category

Business.com has more unique monthly visitors than all members of the General Business category except for CNNMoney.com. This comparison is based on quantcast.com estimates for March, 2009.

Surprised? As we often say, Business.com is one of the best kept secrets for reaching a large, targeted audience of active business buyers online. For more information, visit the Business.com Advertising Center or call us at (888) 441-4466 (within the U.S.) or (310) 586-4185.


Improve Search Marketing ROI During a Recession: Top 10 Insider Tips


Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking in Boston at the first stop of Online Marketing Summit’s regional tour. My talk focused on improving search marketing ROI during these challenging economic times.

Rather than cover the standard tactical tips for improving landing page conversion rates or improving keyword research – important topics, to be sure, but also topics which are very well covered across a number of online and offline sources – I chose to focus on encouraging the audience to think beyond simple tactics and concentrate on the big picture ideas that will deliver large, lasting improvements to search marketing performance. I’m sure the fact that I went this route will come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen my presentation on how to think about B2B search marketing.

The OMS team recently posted my presentation to SlideShare so thought I’d share on Business.com’s B2B Online Marketing blog as well. The presentation below will give you some sense of the top 10 tips I offered but there are a number of subtle points which only come out in the telling. If you’re interested in attending one of the OMS regional events to see this presentation live, or any of the other speakers across a range of online marketing topics, visit the Online Marketing Summit web site for more details. For 20% off OMS registration, use Discount Code: business.com20.

Improving Search Marketing ROI During a Recession: Top 10 Insider Tips, Ben Hanna, VP of Marketing, Business.com

Twitter for Business Case Study: @B2BOnlineMktg at 60 Days


Business.com's B2BOnlineMktg Twitter Account Stats On May 11, 2009

Business.com's B2BOnlineMktg Twitter Account Stats On May 11, 2009

Given how few B2B Twitter case studies there are out there, I documented some key metrics and insights from the first 30 days of Business.com’s B2B online marketing Twitter account in a previous blog post. We’re still going strong and learning a lot about how our target audience on Twitter, B2B online marketers, agencies and related publishers, use the site to find and share information. 

First, some quick facts and stats for our @B2BOnlineMktg Twitter account for the first 60 days since my initial post (March 3, 2009).  Following this are several insights and actionable suggestions for B2B companies exploring Twitter for business use.

Followers: 1,358

Following: ~170

Tweets: 245

Tracked clicks on tweets: 3,008

Top 10 @B2BOnlineMktg tweets by number of clicks over the last 30 days:

  1. Best way to describe a Twitter user? Information junkie. New research from @MarketingProfs. http://ow.ly/4621  (126 clicks)
  2. Free social media competitive analysis from @MoreVisibility http://ow.ly/46i2  (109 clicks)
  3. ExactTarget launching ability to track email campaign sharing across social networking sites. http://ow.ly/47AM #b2b  (95 clicks)
  4. Must read for businesses posting content online – Making Negative Press & Flame Wars Work for You. http://ow.ly/4dv4  From @outspokenmedia  (93 clicks)
  5. What factors affect web site landing page conversion rate? Great model from @dericloh http://ow.ly/1UgB#ppc #seo #wa  (82 clicks)
  6. You know Twitter, but would you manage tweets for a B2B company? Take our quick poll! http://ow.ly/3GHh #socialmedia #marketing  (56 clicks)
  7. 24% of interactive marketers now using behavioral targeting / BT – summary of new Forrester report http://ow.ly/4HEI  (52 clicks)
  8. Web site traffic data all a blur? Sort it out with some great tips for visualizing web analytics data. http://ow.ly/3rmD #wa #b2b  (52 clicks)
  9. B2B Twitter example – The Current Network’s @jkretch posts RFP for full service ad agency on Twitter. http://ow.ly/4aez  #TwitteRFP  (52 clicks)
  10. Learn to monitor social media conversations across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube & more. Free Vocus webinar http://ow.ly/2WbG  (50 clicks)

What have we learned in our first 60 days using Twitter for business? Plenty, to say the least. After the first 30 days I became a Twitter convert, found a couple great resources for those just starting on Twitter, and learned the importance of having a clear business purpose for using Twitter, clear metrics and frequent tweeting. The next 30 days reinforced these lessons plus the following:

Use Twitter Tools to Make Your Life Easier

At Business.com we have three Twitter users covering two accounts – @B2BOnlineMktg focused on delivering B2B online marketing insights and best practices to Business.com’s advertiser audience, and @whatworksfocused on delivering the best how-to advice for managing and growing businesses for Business.com’s advertiser audience. Here are some of our favorites:

HootSuite has been very useful as a shared Twitter platform allowing multiple users, pre-scheduled tweets (great for when I’m traveling and the stat/fact I’m posting isn’t time sensitive) and click statistics including charts and your most popular tweets.

TweetVolume helps in those situations where there are several possible keywords you could use in a tweet but want to figure out which one is the most popular on Twitter.

TwitterCounter provides a nice chart showing Twitter follower growth. However, it will only show stats from the first day you use it to look-up your account followers.

Twinfluence is the best tool I’ve found for measuring the combined influence of your Twitter account and followers. I’ll admit it, Twinfluence speaks to the geek in me because it uses some core concepts of social network analysis I recall from grad school. The site offers clear definitions of key statistics, though, and provides valuable benchmarks for B2B Twitter users to track regularly.

Business People are Both Excited & Confused by Twitter

Thanks to coverage on Oprah and the race between Ashton Kucher and CNN to be the first Twitter account to pass one million followers, there’s been a major inflow of new Twitter users in the last month. This rush of excitement is tempered by confusion about what to do on Twitter when you get there, something I covered why business people are confused by Twitter in a prior post.

When people start investigating Twitter for business purposes – building thought leadership, quickly communicating with their customers, soliciting or searching for advice on business issues, etc. – one of the biggest sources of frustration stems from Twitter’s original purpose as a way to let people know what you’re doing. As I’ve heard over and over again from B2B marketers just starting to investigate Twitter, the apparent obligation to tell people what you’re doing (e.g., I’m having X for lunch; I’m at the airport waiting for my flight to Boston, etc.) makes little sense to them in a business context, and following the most popular Twitter users with their constant “here’s what I’m doing” updates quickly becomes overwhelming.

My advice – if you’re going to use Twitter for a business purpose, understand what the media has to offer and find your own way. Don’t feel obligated to use it only, or even primarily, to send or receive real-time updates on what you are doing. Which leads me to my next point…

Give Your B2B Twitter Audience What They Want

Our target Twitter audience is B2B online marketers, agencies and related publishers looking for the latest facts, stats and B2B-specific insights across a variety of online marketing domains including paid search marketing, SEO, banner advertising, social media, email marketing, lead gen and more. I’ve talked to a lot of these folks about social media over the last year or so and the #1 thing they care about is relevance – if social media can connect them with valuable audiences or information, they’re all for it. As a tool for letting people know what you had for lunch? No way. So, here’s what we do with our @B2BOnlineMktg tweets to meet their needs:

All tweets are facts or stats useful for B2B marketing (see above for examples) – no “what I’m doing” tweets

Tweet the cream – we aggregate a huge volume of news and research across multiple online marketing disciplines and pick out only the most interesting and actionable pieces to tweet about.

Include links- Twitter’s 140 character limit is essentially equivalent to a long headline. You can’t say much of business value within this limit, but you can write a great intro to a more detailed online piece. We focus on writing those great headlines/intros.

When retweeting, give credit but rewrite to highlight relevance – there is an amazing amount of great B2B marketing content on Twitter that’s doomed to obscurity by what amounts to poor headline writing. When I find this content, I’ll cite the original source (often using “via @…”  at the end of the tweet) but feel its my job to better describe the relevance of the content on the other end of the link to our target audience. To become a better tweet writer, and better marketer overall, read “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Leave the live tweeting for others – we tried live tweeting our presence at the recent Web 2.0 Expo but it just didn’t work. Follower growth stagnated and this tactic just didn’t seem right for the editorial purpose of our @B2BOnlineMktg account. Not for our audience, so not for us.

No auto-reply to new followers – While there are tools that allow you to automatically send a standardized direct message to new Twitter users that follow you, we don’t use them. Frankly, it seems odd to send a standardized, and often irrelevant, message to someone in a medium like Twitter that’s supposed to be a community messaging platform. If you want to thank someone for following you, that’s great, but if you care about quality followers and meaningful interaction then take a minute to look at their profile and tweets, and send a more personal thank you.

Don’t worry about forcing engagement – I’m happy to respond whenever someone asks a direct questions or follow up on something we tweeted, and will occasionally search for and respond to questions posed by other Twitter users, but I’m not constantly asking questions to try drive interaction within Twitter. This interaction and engagement will come over time.

The Most Popular Tweets are About Twitter & Social Media

Not a surprise, really, but people interested in social media and Twitter tend to seach for and get most excited about tweets that mention these topics. This presents an interesting challenge for us – we know we can get more followers and retweets from social media topics, but also know that B2B social media is only one of the B2B online marketing topics we cover.

To maintain our editorial focus, we’ve chosen to maintain a reasonable balance across B2B online marketing topics rather than heavy-up on social media content to quickly boost our popularity. Other B2B companies working to grow their Twitter followers need to make their own choice on this issue.

Follow Other Users With Interesting, Relevant Tweets

This is another one of those areas where I disagree with Twitter norms…I don’t follow everyone who chooses to follow @B2BOnlineMktg. Why? Our goal with the account is to be a leading B2B online marketing information source on Twitter. If another user follows @B2BOnlineMktg simply to get a reciprocal follow, that does nothing to help us achieve our goal – that user is unlikely to read our tweets, find value in them, and pass them along to others interested in B2B online marketing. 

If this approach leads to slower follower growth, that’s fine. Our focus is on quality followers over quantity. If you want thousands of Twitter followers just for the numbers then its relatively easy to do (I’ve seen at least one example of 1,000+ followers in 24 hours simply by putting out a huge number of tweets on a variety of topics). The quantity over quality approach, however, rarely works in any B2B marketing domain.

Tweet Frequently, but Give Your Tweets Room to Breathe

We’ve found that 5-6 tweets per day, spaced out across Twitter prime time for business – 7-9am and 11:30am-1pm local time – is related to a higher click volume per tweet. This is where the ability to schedule tweets that aren’t time sensitive really helps. Without scheduling, you’ll be tempted to post multiple tweets whenever you have the chance, stacking several on top of each other which will cause people to focus on your most recent tweet to the exclusion of the others.


Improve B2B Conversion Rates by Reducing Buyer Risk


Have you ever been absolutely sure that your product or service was the best solution for a particular prospect, only to find out that they chose to go with another vendor? What about that great product comparison whitepaper you developed which generated an amazing number of sales leads but no sales? Or the by-the-book email nurture campaign that just doesn’t perform like it should?

One major reason for these, according to a fascinating new study from Enquiro Research, is that the standard model of business buying as a thorough, rational, step-by-step process just isn’t accurate. Instead, this study of over 3,000 business buyers suggests  that B2B buying is driven largely by attempts to control personal and organizational risks. In other words, according to the authors, “99% of B2B buying is about covering your butt.”

These insights put a  new spin on the drive to improve B2B conversion rates – if business buying is driven more by risk mitigation than rational optimization, what does this mean for landing page content and offers? How can B2B online marketers create the lowest-risk environment for prospects to increase registrations, quote requests or purchases?

In a world where risk protection dominates rational evaluation in the business buying process, the following are important for improving B2B online marketing conversion rates:**

Understand Business Buyer Risk

To reduce business buyer risk and improve conversion rates, its essential to understand the extent to which your company, products/services or offers may be perceived as risky by your target buyers.

Purchase consideration clearly matters – there’s less risk in asking someone to provide their email address for an e-newsletter subscription than there is in a $100,000 purchase. Market position also matters, but its not just your company’s standing in the Fortune 500 or Inc. 5000 that makes a difference. Is your company the dominant player, or just entering the market, in the specific product or service for which you want to improve conversion rates? For example, few would doubt that Google’s “conversion rate” for signing-up new pay-per-click advertisers, where they’re the clear market leader among general search engines, is much higher than their conversion rate for radio advertising in their recently discontinued Audio Ads program.

For those of you marketing low price/low consideration products or services from a dominant, market-leading position, good news! There isn’t likely to be all that much you can do to improve conversion rates by reducing business buyer risk since risk is so low already.

On the other hand, B2B marketers working to establish their offerings in new markets and/or selling higher-consideration purchases may have considerable opportunity to improve conversion rates by addressing business buyer risk factors.

Become an “Approved Vendor” Through Teaser Offers

B2B online marketers struggling to drive conversions of a high consideration product for a relatively new business that hasn’t established a dominant market position are in a very difficult position. Even with a brilliantly conceived and executed marketing program focused on an accurate, rational view of your products’ superiority, quality conversions that lead to sales are still likely to be relatively rare. More often than not, prospects will fall through because they “got a great deal from an existing vendor” or “went with a vendor that’s already approved.”  None of the standard advice about improving conversion rates through better landing page design will put a dent in this issue because its not about making it easy for your prospects to see what they should do and act. Instead, the problem is not being on the approved vendor list in the first place.

So what do you do? Become a champion for a teaser offer (e.g., simplified product, free 30- to 60-day trial, etc.) that lowers the perceived risk of getting started for your target audience. To be an “approved vendor”, whether formally through the AP department or simply through the trust built up via multiple, positive interactions around the teaser offer, gives you a considerable leg up on future business. Its not as simple as landing page design but, if better landing page design was all you needed, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Use Search Marketing to Drive Word-of-Mouth

The Enquiro research suggests that word-of-mouth can be hugely influential during the business buying process, particularly for “blank slate” purchases where the buyer/company has no prior experience with purchasing that type of product or service. While search marketing is an extremely powerful tool for getting your message in front of business people searching for solutions, B2B search marketing tends to focus much more on driving prospects to whitepaper or webinar registration pages, or to ecommerce sites, than driving people to view and participate in conversations about a company’s products or services (for an exception, see Office Depot’s success incorporating customer reviews into paid search campaigns).

If your target buyers see your solution as moderately to highly risky, there’s reason to believe that alllocating  a portion of the search marketing budget toward driving more online and offline word-of-mouth activity will positively impact conversion rates. While it may not happen overnight, fueling the conversation can reduce the perceived risk of conversion.

Address Buyer Risk in Your B2B Demand Gen Program

One of the major challenges in driving online conversions or creating a more effective B2B demand gen programs is personalization – making each landing page, e-newsletter or offer as relevant as possible to the target prospect – and addressing business buyer risk gives us another opportunity to make demand gen practices more personally relevant. To improve conversions by reducing business buyer risk, you might consider the following changes to your demand generation program:

  • Match prospects with happy customers that came from similar “risk” profiles – rather than matching a “blank slate” prospect with a reference customer that’s been with you for 20 years, have them talk with customer that made their “blank slate” purchase with you within the last couple years. Also, consider getting references from multiple people involved with the decision to purchase your product or service, and matching prospects with references at their same job level and role in the purchasing process.
  • Consider linking to customer reviews or forum conversations from your conversion pages – giving prospects more than one option sounds like landing page heresy, but this may not be the case for higher consideration purchases and less established brands. If visitors to your landing page have any doubts at all about converting, at least take them to content that reduce the perceived riskiness of converting.
  • If you sell primarily to large companies, get creative with landing page technology-  consider doing a reverse IP lookup on visitors to your landing pages, identifying the company and serving a dynamic content block on the page indicating that your company is already an approved vendor for the visitor’s company (if you are). Sounds creepy? Possibly for very early stage offers, but less so when a prospect visits for detailed spec sheets or to request a quote. NOTE: this won’t work well for small companies.

 

What do you think?  What would you do to improve conversion rates by reducing buyer risk?

For more background, you can download the first whitepaper from Enquiro’s new business buying study, “Mapping the BuyerSphere“, from the Enquiro web site.

**These recommendations, and many more, are part of  Business.com’s presentation “Improving Search Marketing ROI During a Recession: Top 10 Insider Tips,” during the Online Marketing Summit 14-city Regional Whistle Stop Tour from May 5th through July 2nd, 2009. For a 20% discount on OMS registration from Business.com, use discount code business.com20.