Business.com's Rob Feinstein Earns Industry Accolades


We would like to congratulate Business.com’s VP and general Manager Rob Feinstein who has recently been named to BtoB Magazine’s ‘Who’s Who List’ in the Search category, for the third consecutive year. 

Feinstein was recognized this year for helping launch additional Business.com social features for its business users and advertisers. Under Feinstein, Business.com expanded the What Works for Business blog and launched Business.com Answers, a Q&A social platform with advice on business solutions from experts and peers. 

BtoB Magazine’s special report features 100 key thought leaders across a broad spectrum of the marketing industry. The compilation focused on nine categories: marketers, agencies, direct, email, search, business media, demand generation, events and associations.  Feinstein is listed in the search category.  According to BtoB, nominations were submitted by readers, marketing organizations, industry experts and B2B’s editorial staff. More information and a complete list of honorees can be viewed here.


Case study: Priceless Imprinters finds new revenue in online Q&A


We’ve said before that answering business questions in online Q&A sites is an effective marketing tool. Here’s one success story from Business.com Answers, our B2B question-and-answer forum, to back up that claim. Chris Countey, web marketing manager at Priceless Imprinters in Cherry Hill, NJ, started responding to questions on Business.com Answers last March. Within a few months, the company had seen more than $5,000 of new business from new customers who found him via Business.com Answers.  We asked him about his experience.

Priceless Imprinters LogoBusiness.com: Tell us about Priceless Imprinters.

Countey: We distribute promotional products and advertising specialties. We sell custom-imprinted products via our website www.PricelessImprinters.com and by telephone. We’re a small business and are always looking for ways to improve relationships with the other small businesses who happen to be our customers.

Business.com: Why did you start answering questions on Business.com Answers?

Countey: Actually, I found it when I was working on another startup business website; I thought participating would help the website owner establish an online presence more quickly. Seeing questions from real business owners really opened our eyes in terms of the issues regular people were facing when starting a new business. And that helped us create new, relevant content for her website.

Business.com: What kinds of questions do you look for?

Countey: The first type of question I look for relates in some way to Priceless Imprinters’ business. As an SEO professional working for a promotional products company, I want to answer questions that involve marketing and advertising. I also look for questions regarding general website development, SEO, design, software issues, and hardware issues. I try to answer anything I can, because I know I’ll be helping both the other business professionals and our own business.

Chris Countey of Priceless Imprinters

ROI: Business.com Answers helped Chris Countey generate thousands in new business for Priceless Imprinters

Business.com: What results were you looking for, and what have you seen, from your participation in Business.com Answers?

Countey: I was pleasantly surprised to see traffic coming to our website from answers.business.com just a few days after I started answering questions. It’s been clear that the incoming traffic from answers.business.com has outpaced all other non-search-engine websites in terms of quality inbound links. We were even able to track new customers back to questions we had answered, which was really exciting. As you can imagine, I answered a lot more questions after that! The new business we’ve gotten directly from Business.com Answers is about $5,000 now and continues to go up.

Business.com: How much time do you typically spend reading new questions and posting responses?

Countey: I typically get emails with new questions daily [via the Business.com Answers category subscription feature] and try to respond as quickly as possible. Answering questions can take as little as five minutes if a link to another site will help the user more than I can, or up to 30 minutes if I need to provide a lot of detail.

Business.com: You post both answers and questions on Business.com Answers. Do you use other Q&A sites?

Countey: I’ve used hundreds of forums and help websites to ask questions about everything from SEO to how to change my oil. Unlike most of those other sites, I actually get an answer when I post a question on Business.com Answers. [See Countey’s Business.com Answers profile for links to the questions he’s asked and answered.]

Business.com: Does Priceless Imprinters use other social media?

Countey: Priceless Imprinters is active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and several others. We also manage a blog about promotional products, which we update almost daily. We’re planning to establish a YouTube channel within the next few months.


Web Analytics 101 for B2B Marketers: Key insights on how to make confident data-driven decisions


[Ed: We are excited to introduce Evan LaPointe as a new guest blogger.  Evan specializes in web analytics and will contribute frequently on this topic. To learn more about Evan or get a specific B2B web analytic question answered on his next post, click here and leave a comment.]

Whether you’re an experienced analytics person or a business trying to get your arms around the concept, it can’t hurt to get back to basics every now and then and make sure your sights are aligned properly. Like anyone, B2B shops have a litany of hurdles to overcome to succeed online, but a well-formed plan for analytics on both your site and your marketing strategy will untangle the mess and help you make confident, data-driven decisions about how to spend your time and money.

First, understand why?

Let’s start out with a rule that unfortunately isn’t always a part of analytics 101: why? The goal of all of this is to understand why you are seeing particular results.  Most introductions to web analytics focus on what you will see in terms of reports, charts, figures, site overlays, etc., but are light on how this information should be used to understand not only what is going on, but why these things are happening. And unfortunately, most businesses end up focusing on the what, drowning themselves in charts and tables that are meaningless without context or analysis. Make sure you are asking why questions in your organization, not just what questions.

B2B web analytics isn’t something that seems to be discussed all that often. After the searches I’ve done on the topic to avoid regurgitating things people have already heard, I walked away feeling like this group is woefully underserved. The one sign of life was this great piece done by Manoj Jasra a few years ago, talking about the right metrics to focus on in regards to the different phases of a customer/client’s interaction with your site: Awareness, Research, Decision, Purchase. When you’re done with this post, check out this write up.

Understanding the similarities of B2B and B2C Web Analytics

There are more similarities to B2C than differences. First off, the metrics used to measure online B2B behavior, for the most part are identical to the metrics used to measure B2C. Given this fact, it is necessary for us to take a different approach to see the big picture.

Let’s consider the differences in the B2B and B2C mentality, from the customer’s perspective. In the B2C world, we employ tactics that appeal to the emotional side of the purchase decision, and we have appropriate metrics to measure our effectiveness against these tactics. We are able to sway someone into buying something they may not have set out to buy in the first place, and upsells/cross-sells are critical.

In the B2B world, however, we are more frequently dealing with defined budgets, needs, timelines, politics, etc., and this means that the same emotion-driven tactics (and metrics) may not apply as cleanly. We are also dealing with people who work within certain industries and verticals, which means that our vocabularies are far more complex and nuanced than with B2C.

B2B Web Analytics is easier than B2C

So where the rubber meets the road is that, in many ways, B2B analytics will be easier than B2C. For example, when we know that a B2B user is searching for a color laser printer for the office and arriving on our site, they have a specific need and budget. If we do not convert that user, there are a lot of things we can dig into that show us parts of their experience that may have decreased the likelihood of a purchase.

Contrast this with a B2C search, where a user likely does not have a defined need or budget and could be looking at a variety of things such as how it compares to inkjet or whether it will print their daughter’s dance recital photos, etc. In this case, the B2B intent is more specific so it’s easier to reveal potential failure points in the purchasing cycle. With the B2C customer, we have less of an idea of their intent, their timeline, their needs (or their understanding of their own needs), among other critical pieces of information.

So for this first post on B2B analytics, I’ll urge you to focus on the why in the context of failures. While “failures” may seem strong, if your customer base is working with budgets and defined needs, they are conversion-prone. So you need to figure out what broke along the way, or where a competitor lulled them away.

In future posts, we’ll focus more specifically on the metrics to be watching, but not before you’ve had some time to really evangelize the why mentality and challenge your business to start asking the right questions. You’ll probably be surprised about how much insight you gain when you and your colleagues start asking the right questions.

Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts and any questions I can answer on future B2B web analytics posts.


What B2B Marketers Can Learn from Old Spice


So I’m sitting here watching these brilliant Old Spice videos on YouTube, trying to find a B2B social media angle to write about. And all I can come up with is: Would B2B marketers see better results from their social media campaigns if they found more ways to include shirtless guys with washboard abs?

My answer: YES. (Okay, now you know something about me.)

The real answer: Depends on who the customers are, I guess. If you’re selling to me – you know what to do.

Handsome men aside, there are at least a few elements of this wildly popular consumer-oriented social media video campaign that do have implications for B2B marketers:

  1. In each video, Old Spice Guy responds individually to tweets from his followers and fans – some of whom are celebrities with their own huge followings, as in the Alyssa Milano video above. That’s a non-traditional and very public way to respond to comments from your audience; it takes advantage of the medium to turn what might otherwise have been an invisible one-to-one interaction into public theater. Thanks to Eric Wittlake (@wittlake on Twitter) for pointing this one out.
  2. Celebrity name-dropping always gets people’s attention. Always.
  3. Old Spice is coordinating this campaign diligently on all its social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, and of course YouTube. And content from one channel feeds the others: Videos address comments made on the company’s Facebook wall and via Twitter; tweets push links to the videos; etc.

What else?


5 Sexy Tidbits That Every Facebook Marketer Should Know


[Ed: We are excited to introduce Kevin Gaither as a contributor to this blog. Kevin is Business.com’s Director of Middle Market Sales and will cover various B2B Online Marketing topics. Learn more about Kevin by clicking here.]

How many fans does your Business Facebook Page have?  If it’s less than 624 (the average), then listen up!  Here are 5 tips that will increase your fan base and get your content shared with more people.  More importantly, leveraging your Facebook network effectively may help you generate more leads for your business. 

I recently attended a webinar hosted by HubSpot called “The Science of Facebook Marketing” presented by Dan Zarrella.  Dan shared key insights on how to effectively use Facebook as a marketing tool and here are my top 5 takeaways. The full slideshow is available at the bottom of this page.

#1 – Help your users look cool

Being on Facebook is ultimately a performance.  When you post a status update, you’re performing.  When you “like” something, you’re in essence performing for your friends and fans.  Nobody is going to “like” a Wart Remover Fan Page!  Dan tossed out the idea of creating a fan page called “Being Awesome.”  So if I liked it, my status update would read “Kevin Gaither likes Being Awesome.”  Cheesy example but you get the point.  Do things with your brand that help users look cool or “perform” based on their affinity with your brand. 

#2 – Get to know your audience. 

 One of the things that Dan measured was Facebook Profile Activity by Age, slide 17 below. This tells us that younger people tend to have more friends and wall posts. Older people like talking about themselves more.  If you’re trying to reach a younger audience, you really want to focus on the social aspect of your marketing campaign.  If you’re trying to reach an older demographic, focus on activities that would get them to like quotes and books for example.  How do you find out the demographics of your audience?  Among other methods he mentioned, you can go to Quantcast, which is a free service, put in your URL and it will give you US Demographic information. 

#3 – Stay away from buzzwords. 

Of a sample set of marketing terms, pages mentioning SEO or even Blogging had less than average fans, displayed in the graph below.  Facebook users will engage with topics such as Ice Cream or other kinds of food but they won’t share SEO or Branding topics, see slide 27.  Be creative with your brand to incorporate references that are NOT buzzwords to get your content shared and more fans to your page. 

Science of Facebook Marketing by Dan Zarrella, slide 25

Science of Facebook Marketing by Dan Zarrella, slide 25

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

#4 – Have content around Movies, TV Shows and Books 

More users “like” pages about these kinds of topics and less likely to speak about topics regarding services, education and local business.  Perhaps you can have content on your page that profiles a popular documentary or a book that’s relevant to your brand so that people will be more inclined to “like” or share it. 

#5 – Make your content sharing-friendly. Here’s some data he cited that will help you do this: 

  • Articles that have “Video” in the title of the article are shared 30% more on Facebook.  Facebook is video friendly so use that platform to share your videos.  Ideally you want to create the video content yourself and then market it on Facebook.  But if you don’t want to create the content, do a YouTube search on your topic and include good videos about that topic (i.e. Top 3 videos on selecting restaurant supplies).
  • Articles with digits (1,2,3) are shared more than articles without digits.  People like specificity.  From Dan’s site:  “In a wide range of marketing arenas digits have been shown to perform very well. They tend to help conversion rates in the form of prices and on social news sites like Digg “Top 10″ style posts have always done well.”
  • Keep It Simple Stupid.  Ever hear of the Flesch–Kincaid readability test?  Me neither.  Here’s the bottom line.  Articles that increase in complexity will be shared less.  Write simply and plainly for Facebook and your content will be shared more frequently.
  • Think mainstream.  Facebook is a mainstream audience.  Think about those Cosmo titles in the supermarkets.  “22 Smart, Sexy Skills That Every Cosmo Girl Needs to Know.”  These tactics work!  Be creative like this and it will help get your content shared.
  • There was much more to this webinar but these were a few of the juicy tidbits that I felt might help you out today.  Below is the slideshow in its entirety.

    What are your thoughts?