Top 5 Takeaways from the B2B Search Strategy Summit


The old adage, ‘good things come to those who wait,’ proved true as B2B search marketers gathered last Wednesday, June 23 in San Francisco for the long-awaited conference dedicated solely to B2B search marketing – the B2B Search Strategy Summit.  The online marketing event space may be littered with online marketing events and educational organizations, but one marketer, Mary O’Brien, identified a growing need for a more tailored and advanced conference geared toward B2B marketers.     

 So, at long last, a B2B-specific search marketing conference was born, and on Wednesday, I found myself in a packed room, surrounded by B2B marketers all eagerly consuming and voraciously scribbling and typing their favorite tips, stats and case studies shared by some of the biggest names in the industry.     

 The takeaways from the B2B Search Strategy Summit were many, but there are 5 in particular I’d like to highlight:     

 Takeaway #1 – Know Your Audience (or, C-Suite Decision Makers are Rolling up Their Sleeves & Getting Their Hands Dirty)     

 Without a doubt, one of the themes all speakers both placed emphasis and agreement in was to ‘know your audience.’     

 Throughout the day, this seemingly simple and intuitive theme was referenced time and time again as the foundation for everything in search marketing from landing page selection to ad copy optimization.     

 Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro first introduced the theme during his morning keynote with an interesting statistic from a 2009 Forbes Insights Study: 53% of C-Suite executives reportedly take the first pass at finding information online, with 26% starting the process and then delegating appropriately.     

 No longer are C-Suites sitting idly as others do their work; more than 4 out of 5 are actively online searching for relevant information needed to make key business decisions or purchases. So how many marketers are currently catering their search marketing to this audience?     

 Takeaway #2 – Understanding Your Audience’s B2B Buying Cycle is Key to Optimizing Your Search Marketing Campaign Structure      

 To know your online audience is not enough, at least for Connie Stack of Wordstream and Angela Sanfilippo of You Send It. Both eloquently illustrated the importance of also understanding the intent and behaviors of your audience as they navigate through the B2B buying cycle in order to fully optimize and tailor search marketing efforts.      

 Stack encouraged marketers to take the time to dissect the buying process and categorize keywords appropriately among the different phases of the buying process. From there, you can map content offerings appropriately to each keyword, thereby providing the foundation for ad copy, landing page selection and more.     

 She shared the below image, taken from The Google/Tech Target Behavioral Research Project, as a ‘how-to guide’ of sorts for implementing this process.    

Taken from the Google/TechTarget Behavioral Research Project: Phase 2 (p. 9, 2010) - referenced at the B2B Search Strategy Summit by Connie Stack, Wordstream

 

 Sanfilippo also shared a more strategic view of the benefits and expectations for organizing your search marketing campaign around the phases of the buying process – her distinction of the importance of branded vs. non-branded keywords in each of the phases is widely useful and insightful for both organizing and measuring campaign success.   

Angela Sanfilippo, You Send It
Presented at the B2B Search Strategy Summit by Angela Sanfilippo, You Send It

This is especially true for search engine marketers who use both general and vertical engines where branded vs. non-branded keywords play a unique role within each engine (and are often mistakenly evaluated alongside one another, leading to skewed performance analysis).   

Takeaway #3 – Don’t Just Know Your Audience: Show Them You Remember Them      

 Jay Middleton of Adobe gave us a glimpse into the future of B2B Search Marketing in his afternoon keynote session when he appropriately took the mantra of knowing your audience to the next level.     

Interaction is easy, but engaging your target audience centers around the ability to continue to build upon that interaction in a way that is meaningful and personal to that audience.     

The more data we as marketers can collect on potential customers and leads, and the more data we can use to guide their brand experience, the better we’ll be able to live up to this mantra.     

Adobe, Marketo and Salesforce.com were a few of the companies that showcased some of their best practices and resulting successes from taking the time to set up custom lead scoring, nurturing or marketing automation programs.  It was clear when these programs were coupled with relevant, valuable content for the audience, success quickly followed.     

Takeaway #4 – Don’t Throw Away Hard Work Just Because You Think Your Job is Done     

As marketers, we’re often held accountable for demand generation, lead generation and the lead nurture process. Beyond these responsibilities, we usually look to our sales force to carry their end of the bargain by closing the leads we determine sales ready.     

Presented by Lauren Vaccarello, Salesforce.com, at the B2B Search Strategy Summit

 Lauren Vaccarello of Salesforce.com challenged the audience to redefine their responsibilities as marketers and place an emphasis on knowledge transference and team work in closing sales.  

While the marketing automation process can often be a complex and somewhat technical process that few sales reps have interest in understanding, Vaccarello encouraged marketers to take the time to educate sales on the journey their leads undergo throughout this process to provide sales context for contacting and engaging leads.     

Back to Middleton’s point – it’s not only about knowing your audience but about showing them you remember them – and it’s up to the marketer to make sure sales has the information and understanding they need to provide a seamless experience.     

 Takeaway #5 – You Too Can & Should Be Using YouTube      

 Many marketers recognize YouTube as a powerful marketing mechanism; many struggle to understand how B2B can benefit from such a seemingly B2C tool.    

 

  

Presented by Greg Jarboe, SEO-PR, at the B2B Search Strategy Summit

Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR proved the efficacy of YouTube for B2B in sharing a cogent example of how he used YouTube to build hype for a high-end product before it formally hit the market.    

 Jarboe leveraged YouTube as a means for buyers and enthusiasts to preview product design, capabilities and engage with the product in a dynamic and exciting way, which resulted in thousands of views and, even better, a dozen pre-sales totaling more than $1 million.     

 Our blog post from Friday highlighted Cisco’s use of YouTube for engaging and clients and potential customers with a more down-to-earth and witty perception of the company. Launched on Friday, this video already has more than 28,000 views. 

If you’re saying, ‘good for them, but I just don’t see our products, services or company making for a compelling YouTube video…’ then I suggest you reread takeaway #1 above. 

What makes Jarboe’s and Cisco’s efforts and videos so well-received isn’t a product or service, it’s their understanding of what will engage, attract and entertain the audience. 

If you’ve taken the time to know your audience and understand what they find interesting, funny or engaging, then you too can use YouTube to your advantage. And, if you’re smart about identifying and catering to your opinion leaders and product evangelists, you can rest easy in knowing that if they find value in your video, they’ll be sure to share it with many, many others. 

 In retrospect, these 5 takeaways probably could have been shortened to 1: Know your audience. Marketers far too often associate the word ‘audience’ with a certain demographic or firmographic, and spend the majority of our time looking to reach those demographics and find that ‘sweet spot.’ 

But in the end, our ‘audience’ is, in its simplest form, a person at a company within that demographic or firmographic who is looking to solve a problem, relate to others and feel understood. 

  


Cisco uses social media to introduce "the world's most interesting intern"


Hats off to Cisco for making one of the bigger B2B viral video splashes we’ve seen in a while. The video, titled I Am the World’s Most Interesting Intern, created by Cisco social media intern Greg Justice, appeared today on Cisco’s blog The Platform and already has the social media Twitterati buzzing. And with good reason, we think:

  • It’s edgy: How many B2B powerhouses would give an intern a speaking role on a corporate blog?
  • It’s giving the brand personality: We’re getting a glimpse of what it’s like to work at and/or do business with Cisco – and it looks like a lot of fun.
  • It’s a great recruiting tactic: We bet they’ll be drowning in applications for their internships for a while.
  • It’s unexpected: This video really stands out among the rest of Cisco’s social media conversation. They’re pretty chatty online, but it’s mostly business. This is business with a twist.
  • It’s got legs: As interns everywhere take up Greg’s challenge and compete to top this, the companies they’re working for will ride Cisco’s social media wave and reap the benefits – with lots of credit given and links back to Cisco.

See for yourself:

Greg was even thoughtful enough to include the lyrics for his rap in his post on Cisco’s blog. A new classic or a flash in the pan? Love to hear your thoughts.


A 3-Point Method For ‘Recycling’ B2B Content


[ Ed: We are excited to feature B2B specialist Christina “CK” Kerley as a contributing blogger. A strong voice in modern B2B marketing, learn more about CK here ]

Diving into social media and mobile media can be quite daunting for B2Bs. After all, it’s an entirely new way of marketing, communicating, engaging and selling. The tools may be easy, but the environment is complex. One-way messaging habits are now ineffective as new media calls for two-way and multi-way communication with our audience, consequently a lot of content needs to be created to reach this target audience.

However, don’t let this discourage you. Fact is, your vast archives of data can be “recycled” in new ways across text, audio and video that foster new conversations and spread your ideas to new audiences on a broader scale. But how, you ask?

Use this 3-point framework to help you think differently about the content you’ve already created, as well as your efforts moving  forward:

#1 REPURPOSE existing content.

Start with information-gathering and assessment through:

  • Audit – Conduct an audit of all the thought leadership your company has created—especially content created in the last 2-3 years. Whether the content was delivered through an article, white paper, Webinar, PowerPoint presentation, speech, case study or any other format, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you aggregate ALL applicable content for your audit.
  • Organize - Pinpoint and categorize the various themes, topics, challenges, benefits, key messages, methodologies and “hot buttons” that you have gathered. And make sure you’re focusing only on the content that is still timely, as some content is “evergreen” but other content may be obsolete.

#2: REPACKAGE your content in entirely NEW ways through text, audio and video.

From your findings in step #1, start mapping out how the content can be ‘repackaged’ into new formats across these new tools, channels and platforms. The possibilities are near limitless. For example:

  • Position papers can become a series of blog posts to be read, or a bunch of informative audio podcasts your audience can listen to during  daily commutes.
  • White papers can translate into a series of forum topics and discussions.
  • Video tapes of speeches by your company’s subject experts can become a series of online videos.
  • Categories, themes and challenges addressed in your content can give rise to a LinkedIn Group… or a community that you build.
  • PowerPoint presentations  can become an online slideshow perfect to view on screens both large (laptop) and small (smartphone). You can even overlay the audio onto the slides so that the presentation is that much more dynamic and personal.
  • Industry trends and news can become a stream of mobile SMS alerts that your audience can subscribe to and remain informed of industry developments instantly.
  • Case studies can become a “best practice series” delivered through a set of Webinars where users can post questions via Twitter and Facebook with your team answering them in real time.
  • Findings from a recent study you commissioned can become a set of tweets, status updates and wall postings… that redirect to a blog post, podcast, or video.  

#3: REFINE content for SEO and provide the best experience possible for audiences across VARIOUS environments.

  • Optimize content for search engines. The content that you’ll repurpose and repackage should be refined to include the universe of keywords that will help your site rank highly in search engine results. SEO could be a post all its own, but just be mindful that you’re not only marketing your content to your audience but also optimizing for the search engines that pull your audience to you.
  • Optimize content for multiple environments. The best practices of social-media content are vastly different from the best practices of mobile-media content—because the devices from which your audience views your content are completely different. Just pull up the same Web content on a laptop and a smartphone and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Optimizing for screens both large and small requires more effort, but it’s worth going the extra mile. For more detail, I recommend that you review this post on refining content for mobile environments.

All that said, the benefit of recycling your thought leadership is far from just a way to more easily dive into social media and mobile media. At its core, this practice is an argument rooted in ROI. Why? Because you are MAXIMIZING the investments you’ve ALREADY made—as creating all that smart content took your team a lot of time. Plus, it didn’t come cheap to your budget. So you want your content to have as many legs across as many media as possible.

And now you can repurpose, repackage and refine your thought-leadership content as far as these tools and your imagination will take you.

To learn more about the author of this post, Christina “CK” Kerley, click here.


Business.com Named to 2010 Media Power 50 List


We are proud to announce that Business.com has made BtoB Magazines’ Media Power 50 List for the 5th consecutive year.

Each year, BtoB Magazine recognizes the top advertising vehicles for b-to-b marketers in their Media Power 50 list. This year, Business.com debuted in the Online & Social Media Category  among top names including Google, Hoovers, Yahoo! and LinkedIn.

To read more about BtoB’s Media Power 50, click here.

When Business.com first appeared on the list back in 2006, it was a simple business directory and B2B search engine designed to aide business users in finding relevant B2B products and services.

Five years later, Business.com is now one of the leading online resources for business purchasing decision makers. No longer is Business.com just a Web site used to find products and services needed to run a business, it’s now a B2B destination and community designed to help decision makers make informed purchasing decisions and engage with other business buyers for advice and expertise.

B2B users come to Business.com early and often to research their business purchases by browsing our collection of more than 35,000 expert business how-to guides, checking out the latest news and trends on our B2B Online Marketing Blog and reading the latest Business.com whitepapers.

They stay engaged with industry peers through asking business questions and offering business expertise in our B2B online community, Business.com Answers. And, as always, they’re continuing to find and buy relevant B2B products and services.

With millions of business users continuing to discover the value in Business.com each month, connecting B2B marketers with a concentrated and active audience of B2B decision makers has never been easier. From search to display to audience retargeting, B2B advertisers are able to connect with their target audience in a customized and dynamic way. And, Business.com is continuing to provide B2B marketers with additional tailored, brand-building sponsorship opportunities through custom content sponsorships, podcasts and more.

For all these reasons, Business.com is honored to be recognized within the Online & Social Media category of the Media Power 50 list. With Business.com’s 10th Anniversary this year, we’re proud to be able to say we’ve spent half of our company life on the BtoB MediaPower 50 list.

We would also like to recognize BtoB Magazine’s 10th Anniversary. Wishing BtoB Magazine a happy anniversary and many more!


How to drive word of mouth in B2B online marketing


When word-of-mouth marketing experts Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends and John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing sat down this month in Las Vegas at the Corporate Executive Board’s Enterprise Council on Small Businesses Summit, every B2B marketing executive in the room paid attention. Here are some of the important tips they shared for B2B companies marketing to small businesses online:

General advice on encouraging word of mouth

  • Campbell’s advice on marketing to small businesses: Being human goes a long, long way with small business owners. “They love to see people’s faces,” she pointed out. If you’re targeting small businesses, include employees’ pictures and individual voices on your site and in your marketing materials.
  • Your enthusiastic advocates will emerge within the online dialogue about your company, said Campbell, so make sure you do everything possible to encourage and support them. These are your most valuable assets in the world of word-of-mouth marketing: They’ll defend you to critics and praise you to their trusted circles.
  • How to enable a viral “ripple effect”? It all starts with a mind-blowing experience, said Jantsch. That might be content, or product, or customer service – but to get a lot of people talking about you, you have to do something extraordinary. (Easier said than done, as we all know.)
  • Many small businesses are already using social media, advised Jantsch, so do your homework. If you’re making a sales call, know what your target has done that day on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn before you walk in the door.
  • You’ll get more word-of-mouth power by using social media to educate your audience rather than selling to them, said Campbell: “Always think about how you’re adding value.”
  • Jantsch recommended asking customers about their experiences with your products and services, and capturing those comments on video. Customers love it, he noted, and it’s great content that’s easily shareable on your site or theirs, or through other marketing channels.

Online reviews

  • Don’t assume Yelp doesn’t apply to B2B, said Campbell. She’s found some very interesting B2B companies reviewed there – she listed San Francisco marketing company Vertical Response as an example.
  • Jantsch encouraged B2B marketers to take online reviews for what they are: an opportunity to engage with customers, both the happy ones and the less satisfied ones. When you find an unhappy customer talking about his or her experience, get in there and make it right – in public. That will go a long way toward establishing trust with your audience. He also challenged B2B marketers to “get bold” about asking for feedback from customers.
  • Another good reason to encourage your customers to write online reviews: shelf life. Campbell said product reviews she wrote four years ago are still drawing significant traffic on Small Business Trends.
  • Distribute the reviews you do get via other marketing channels, counseled Jantsch. Have you gotten a few good reviews on Yelp or Citysearch? Reprint and link to them them on your website and in your email newsletter.
  • How should businesses deal with outspoken critics? “The line between love and hate is very thin,” Jantsch reminded the audience. Hear them, acknowledge their dissatisfaction, help resolve their issues, and talk about it every step of the way to turn a critic into a fan.

Resources (as in “How will we staff this function?”):

  • Jantsch suggested rotating responsibility for responding to online comments and inquiries throughout the organization, up to the CEO (yes, he said this with a straight face). Once top management has a sense for the kind of online conversation happening with your customers and target market, they’ll be more likely to see the value – and authorize the funding necessary to maximize its potential.

5 Steps to Create an Integrated Social Content Ladder


[Ed: We are excited to feature Jay Baer as this weeks’ guest blogger. He is a popular social media strategy consultant and reknowned blogger. To learn more about Jay, click here. ]

Sure, social media takes a lot of time, but probably not as much time as you think. Too many companies and organizations are reinventing the content wheel for every social outpost they maintain. A better approach is to create a content ecosystem that allows you to repurpose and cascade your best information.

 Instead of a series of self-contained initiatives, build yourself a content ladder.

 Here are 5 steps to get there:

 1. Understand Taxonomy

Taxonomy is incredibly important in social media because it’s the most direct link between the worlds of social and search marketing. Remember, your most important customers are search engines, and your content ladder needs to maximize your chances for search success

When creating and promoting social content, include specific, relevant keywords and search phrases wherever possible. (This is especially important now that Google and Bing are incorporating social content into real-time search results).

 Find keywords and search phrases to include in these three places:

 Web site Analytics

Look at your keywords report to find phrases that are driving traffic to your site. I recommend using a mixture of your Top 25 phrases and some that are highly relevant to your business, but perhaps aren’t sending as much traffic as you’d like at present.

 Social Mention (or a paid social media listening package like Radian6, if you have one)

Go to www.socialmention.com and search for your company or product name (in quotes), and set the pull-down to “all.” You’ll then see a search results page that shows a comprehensive list of places you’ve been mentioned on the social Web.

 Below, you’ll see a keywords chart that lists common terms associated with your name in social media. Consider adding some of these to your list if they differ from your analytics results.

Twitter Lists

How your company or product are referred to in consumer-created Twitter lists can yield important taxonomy insights.

Go to your Twitter account, and click on “listed” next to your followers count, and see how the lists that include your Twitter account are named. Consider including some of these phrases to your master keyword list.

Incorporate your phrases into your social content wherever possible, but only when relevant. Nobody appreciates keyword spam on the social Web.

 2. Seek Content Inspiration

Creating successful social media content isn’t just status updates. Take your top  keywords (including your company name, product name, etc.) and search for them on Google, Bing, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and SocialMention.

What shows up in these search results? How much photo and video content appears? Content from your competitors? From fans? You’ll be amazed at how many content-creation ideas this simple exercise can generate.

3. Understand Your Frequency Ecosystem

The key to a content ladder is organizing your rungs. Your scenario may of course vary, but for illustration purposes let’s assume you have a Twitter account, Facebook fan page, blog, and email newsletter.

To create an efficient ladder, you must understand the comparative publishing schedules that you typically employ for each of these outposts. Ordered from most frequent publication to least, let’s assume that your program looks like this:

  • Twitter (5x/day)
  • Facebook (2x/day)
  • Blog (3x/week)
  • Email (1x/week)

Create your own integrated frequency schedule to better understand how your outposts interrelate.

4. Test & Track

Create a piece of content (remember to include your key phrases), and post it to the first rung in the ladder (Twitter, in this case) Use a tracking system (I prefer bit.ly) to determine how popular that specific piece of content was with your audience.

Remember, however, that many factors influence popularity at the individual content piece level. Don’t make assumptions – test them. Vary time of day, day of week, phrasing, link placement, and other options, and thoroughly document your results.

Social media scientist Dan Zarrella has some excellent research on social content best practices.

5. Tweak and Repurpose

The content pieces that are most successful on the first rung of your ladder should be appropriately tweaked and redeployed on the second rung of your ladder (Facebook).

Test and track content success on Facebook using bit.ly (or number of likes and comments), and add the most effective content pieces to the next rung on the ladder. Note that as you move down the ladder, your repurposing will be more complex – a blog post requires substantially more content than a Facebook update in most cases.

If a piece of content is successful on your blog (measured by visits as determined by Web site Analytics), add it to the next rung – your email newsletter.

By understanding how your various social outposts can work together at the content level, you can develop meaningful efficiencies. Also, because a sprinkling of the content included in the lower rungs of your ladder has already proven successful on higher rungs, the relevancy and popularity of your content should increase for most fans/readers/subscribers.

Of course, this content ladder approach assumes that you do not have the exact same audience for each of your social outlets, and I believe that to be an entirely realistic assumption. You may have some overlap (especially with Facebook and Twitter), but consumption of status updates and consumption of blog posts and email newsletters are meaningfully different activities, and attract different groups of fans.

To learn more about the author of this post, Jay Baer, click here.


Video: WebVisible shows its customers "The Great Divide" in local online advertising


I’ve been keeping an eye out for good examples of companies using social video to speak to its customers – and this one crossed my desk today. It’s from WebVisible, an online local advertising company in Irvine, CA, and it’s called “The Great Divide.” Why? Because a study WebVisible did with Nielsen Online found that while businesses and consumers were using the Internet to look for local products and services, local businesses weren’t embracing online advertising to market their businesses.

In the video, you’ll hear local businesses state confidently that their business comes from word of mouth or the yellow pages. And then you’ll hear real people say otherwise. For any local business that’s been holding back on advertising online, it should be a bit of a wake-up call. And for WebVisible? Just another way to get their message out to their target market – small local businesses – and smooth the way for their B2B sales efforts.

The video goes along with a contest WebVisible is running through June 30, 2010. They’re asking people to tell them about their biggest challenges in growing their businesses – the winner gets three free months of WebVisible’s online advertising services. [More details on the WebVisible contest]

Watch the video:


How to get B2B leads through online Q&A


If you think answering questions in online business Q&A sites like Business.com Answers isn’t worth your time, I’m going to try to change your mind. Opt out of online Q&A and you’re leaving money on the table, period.

First, consider these statistics from a recent report by search marketing agency Enquiro:

  • 39 percent of people researching for a first-time B2B purchase say they will rely on word of mouth and the opinions of other business people
  • More than half of business buyers talk to other people who use a product as either their first or second task in the purchase process

Bottom line: Word-of-mouth recommendations play a starring role in today’s business purchase process.

And how are people looking for this word-of-mouth input? In business-focused online Q&A sites. Consider this excerpt from a recent string from Business.com Answers, our B2B question-and-answer site:

Subject: Top email service providers for campaigns

Kelly (user): I am looking for the top ESPs (Email Service Providers) for sending tactical and operational emails. I am looking for an on-premise or hosted solution. Could you please let me know what you recommend?

Answer: I have used both Constant Contact and Streamsend to manage mass e-mail distribution. Both have worked very well. I preferred Streamsend due to their pricing structure (based on e-mails sent, not contacts in your database). Jeff Arnold, Pocket-Promo.com

Answer: Infusionsoft also offers a great service. You can watch a demo on their site and they also offer a free trial service to see if they’re a fit for your business and your needs….I’ve just switched to them. – Anita Campbell, Small Biz Trends

Answer: Some email service providers are Constant Contact, Delivra, iContact and Yesmail. You may also want to look at Lyris, a powerful email marketing service. – Jim Alimena, BlumbergExcelsior

[ Read the full exchange about email service providers on Business.com Answers ]

See anything you like here? If you’re one of the companies mentioned, I bet you do. And once your company name is in the mix, it’s in your best interest to dive into the dialogue. This isn’t a hard sell opportunity, but rather a chance to thank the person who recommended you and jump into the conversation. With someone who clearly needs to buy a product or service that you sell.

You’d respond: Anita, thanks so much for throwing our name in the hat here – we really appreciate it! Kelly, we’ve been providing exactly the services you mentioned for more than a decade, and I’d be happy to talk with you about how other clients are using our services and whether we might be a good fit for you. Feel free to call me at 555-555-5555 or email me at myname@mycompany.com. Looking forward to talking with you!

Now imagine that you’re scanning incoming inquiries about your industry (you can do that automatically in just a few minutes a day on Business.com Answers using our Category Subscription feature) and a question like this comes in. The person who’s asking the question sounds like she’s pretty close to ready to buy, doesn’t she? That’s a live lead. You want to talk to her now, while she’s narrowing down her choices. And answering questions like this on Business.com Answers or other business Q&A sites is a direct way to open those lines of communication.

As a vendor, should you jump in and answer? Absolutely. But again, it’s about sharing information, not a hard sell. Try to help the person understand the issue in a way that makes you look smart and responsive, and you’ll be top of mind when it’s time for that person to evaluate purchase options.

You’d write: Kelly, as you’re putting together your list, I hope you’ll include us and give me a chance to show you our most recent offerings. I’m sure you’re thinking about how your email tool will integrate with your existing CRM solution, and we’ve worked with all the major players, so getting everything running smoothly and passing information back and forth should be straightforward. We know there are lots of great options to explore – if you need a hand making sense of all the possibilities and parameters, I’m happy to help, whether we end up working together or not. Here’s my contact information – don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The point is that people making B2B purchase decisions are looking for input in all kinds of places. In online Q&A forums like Business.com Answers, they’re asking very direct questions about very specific (and often imminent) product and service needs. Other users may recommend you, and that’s great: Peer recommendations carry a lot of weight. But there’s an effective way for you to be part of that conversation too.

At Business.com Answers, we get questions about everything related to starting and running a business. Everything. If you sell it – whether “it” is software, accounting services, replacement parts for tractors, restaurant equipment, SEO advice, office design consulting, or a thousand other products or services – someone out there is thinking about buying it and is asking about it online. And if someone’s asking, you should be answering.

Are you convinced yet?


Panelist Interview – Expert Hot Seat: Your Most Pressing B2B Search Questions Answered


If you’re a Senior B2B Online Marketing Professional looking to implement proven, best practices designed to increase ROI and drive traffic, you can’t afford to miss this event. The B2B Search Strategy Summit not only promises to address the most common and complex obstacles B2B online marketers face, but it will provide a wealth of strategies and tactics that you can implement immediately.

The B2B Search Strategy Summit will be held in San Francisco on June 23, 2010.  This event will tackle challenging hurdles such as how to shorten the B2B sales cycle, how to generate more quality leads, how to increase web traffic, and how to stay ahead of the competition. If you’re interested in registering for this event, click here. And if you register by June 17th use sponsor code “BUSINESS” and save $300 off registration.

We recently interviewed Patricia Neuray, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Business.com, who will be featured as a speaker in the panel discussion Expert Hot Seat: Your Most Pressing B2B Search Questions Answered.  She provided us with more insight into the event and why this is a must for B2B online marketers.

Question: Can you provide a brief description of your panel topic and what you hope to learn and share from this panel?

Answer: The panel is coming together to address B2B marketers’ hottest questions. I hope to share some of my current and past industry experience to address common concerns such as how to improve ROI, how to increase conversion rates and increasing brand reach. As the head of sales and marketing, I both oversee our own B2B marketing efforts and interact with our clients to answer questions like these every day. I’m also hoping to learn more about the challenges facing B2B marketers to identify opportunities for  how Business.com can help. I’m also interested to see if the challenges presented are similar to what we face at Business.com.

Question: Which sessions are you most excited/interested in attending? And why?

Answer: One of the reasons I’m really looking forward to this event is that all of the sessions are specific to B2B online marketers.  I’m especially looking forward to hearing Jay Middleton from Adobe as the afternoon keynote speaker. He is presenting the topic: The future of B2B search marketing. Jay manages Worldwide Search for Adobe and is discussing how B2B search is moving away from focusing on lead acquisition and moving towards a focus on the customer throughout the entire B2B buying cycle.

Question: What trends are you excited about for the future of B2B Search Marketing?

Answer: Like most, I’m aware of the profound change that social media has made – especially for sales and marketing. Even though B2B historically tends to lag behind B2C in terms of adoption, I’m excited to see B2B’s staying ahead of the game and keeping up with these trends. With the popularity of smart phones, mobile marketing in particular has seen astonishing growth and I’m excited to see how B2B marketers harness that power to improve their bottom line.

(For more on B2B social media marketing, download Business.com’s Social Media Benchmarking Study, click here.)

Question: How is this B2B Search Summit unique?

Answer: There are numerous online marketing conferences out there, and even a few quality B2B online marketing conferences. There are also general search shows like Search Engine Strategies where marketers can stay up-to-date on the latest in search, but this is the only event I’ve seen that is truly B2B search marketing specific.  The right mix of a B2B focus with a targeted Search Marketing emphasis makes this a valuable event for any B2B marketer who’s in search marketing.

To learn more about the B2B Search Summit, click here. And don’t forget to register by June 17th with sponsor code “BUSINESS” and save $300 off registration.

More about Patricia Neuray: She has a proven track record of developing innovative advertiser solutions as well as cultivating sales teams that consistently exceeds goals. If you have questions for Patricia and would like to contact her, please email her at Patricia@business.com