What Can B2B Marketers Learn from Apple’s Success?

With the recent numbers showing tremendous growth for Apple, many marketers may want to stop and take a look at the formula the tech giant has put together to become so successful.

Reports indicate that Apple registered a whopping $13.06 billion profit last quarter, meaning the company has close to $100 billion in cash and securities. To show you how quickly funds have risen in the company’s bank account, it had some $15.4 billion in reserves just four years ago. Not a bad rainy day fund if you will.

Late co-founder Steve Jobs was great at creating demand for the company’s products, be it the iPod, Macbook, iPad or iPhone.

Even with his passing last fall, the company did not skip a beat financially, reporting earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2012 of $46.33 billion in revenue.

Needless to say, Apple has done a great job of marketing its products for some time now.

For the everyday B2B marketer, take a bite out of Apple’s success and transfer it to your business.

Among the ways to improve how you do this is by:

  • Driving demand and value from top to bottom. Make sure that everyone in the company is engaged and buys into what you are marketing;
  • Studying your present customer base. When you study those already in your base, you increase the chances of locating new businesses or sections of your industry that can open the doors to more business. By studying current and potential customers, you enhance your ability to adapt to changes in the industry at a much quicker pace. One of the reasons advertisers choose Business.com is they want to reach business decision makers. Millions of businesses come to Business.com every month to save time and money monthly through our 50,000+ how-to-guides, price comparison tools, leading online B2B directory, and much more;
  • Testing through various means. Marketers should branch out and supplement   general search campaigns with a Business.com pay-per-click or pay-per-lead campaign.  Decision makers come to Business.com at every stage of the purchasing cycle, whether they are just beginning their research or ready to make a purchase.
  • Tracking your data constantly. Among the ways to most successfully do this is looking at the before and after results of your campaigns, identifying what was of most  interest to such prospects, keeping the pre and post-marketing visual of such data, and looking for patterns over time that may emerge. By using relevant landing pages, B2B marketers can achieve improved quality scores, attain a better ranking, and have much better conversion rates as compared to sending clicks to their home page.

As many who have followed Apple can tell you following their most recent revenue report, their momentum is only going to get better as more of their new products hit the market.

Having created many more win than fail product ventures, Apple is a prime example of a company that has marketed to the demands of consumers, something that is at the core of its success.

Photo credit: thebiggestnews.com


How to be a Good B2B Content Cross-Promoter

If your B2B content cross-promoting efforts have been falling on deaf ears in recent times, there are measures you can take to improve such results.

The first and foremost issue to deal with is admitting your cross-promotion efforts have not been working. Yes, admit some failure in this area in order to correct the problem and move on.

When you attempt to cross-promote online content, you are reaching out to other marketers who’ve already shown interest in your material, making it easier to get their attention than someone who you have never had any worthwhile dealings with.

Let’s say your best content work to date was done several months ago and you’re putting together a new online marketing plan.

In that case, cross-promoting the older content that registered with your audience is a great way to promote then and now. You prove yourself to be an authoritative marketer with your past achievements, thereby improving the chances of having this newer marketing content register with the visitor to your site.

As part of the cross-promoting effort, be sure to draw a link between old and new content so that the visitor sees the connection.  Relevancy is key here at all times as you map out then and now.

Some other tips to successful content cross-promotion include:

  • Don’t inundate your audience – While you may feel like you need to throw everything but the kitchen sink at your audience, don’t overload them. You want to lead your audience to a desired action and not overwhelm them with decisions;
  • Take the opportunity to thank them and offer them something new at the same time. If you’ve gotten a visitor to make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter for example, use the ‘thank you’ message to introduce them to something new, i.e. “We wanted to thank you for signing up for our marketing newsletter. Did you know that we have an upcoming webinar on how to market your small business?”
  • Combine your production efforts – In the event you have a blog and a podcast or video production that tie together a common theme, by all means cross-promote them. While they both may be strong individually, they stand to be even better together. Use the blog to get the written message out, while the podcast and/or video piece can bring sound and sight to the message. This is also a good idea in that it allows those who prefer the written word to go to that message, while those choosing audio and/or video can select that medium. As visitors cross back-and-forth, you build up a larger audience, in turn, increase your search engine rankings;
  • Partner up – If you are working with others to promote, be sure to promote their products and/or services and request them to do likewise. Especially in challenging economic times, cross-promoting each other’s goods can cut down on promotional costs and subject you to an expanded audience;
  • Enjoy benefits of social media – As social media tools continue to expand, so do the opportunities for B2B marketers to cross-promote through a variety of different channels. When it comes to Twitter for example, there are ample opportunities to cross-promote, most notably through retweeting. For example, you have two marketing companies that guest blog on marketing-related topics. Sharing each other’s content opens the door to new audience members for both parties, thereby increasing business opportunities.

Lead Others to a Sale When Ready

Along with your cross-promoting efforts, you want to make sure you properly manage those leads once they arrive and register on your landing page.

Oftentimes, the prospect’s data will be put in a computer system, and then your sales team is on to the new lead. This step is important due to the fact you do not want to have the client and/or the sales rep speaking just yet if one or both are not ready for such a conversation.

Make sure that you properly manage the lead once it comes to your site via a whitepaper download, webinar, etc. and are only ready to speak to the potential customer when he or she is prepared for such a conversation. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.

With such a system in place, marketing can nurture the lead and inform the prospect, then passing along to sales only when the time is right.

As a B2B marketer, what do you find to be your best cross-promotion and lead nurturing efforts?

Which ones are you still thinking about trying and why haven’t you done them before?


Land on Better Numbers in 2012

As any marketer knows, having a good landing page optimization strategy goes a long way in determining whether or not one is receiving a good return on investment (ROI).

It is important to remember that consistently testing and optimizing your landing pages is key to achieving better ROI and improving the bottom line. With so much attention given to this area of your marketing efforts, the better the customized or dedicated landing pages in all likelihood means the more visitors.

A recent Marketing Sherpa report looked at a number of landing page optimization benchmarks, including the usage of customized or dedicated landing pages for each source of traffic in 2010. When asked to compare to sending traffic to the default site, 49 percent rated using dedicated landing pages somewhat effective, 43 percent rated it very effective, while 8 percent said it was not effective.

Having kicked off the New Year, perhaps you’re looking back on 2011 and wondering how your landing page optimization efforts could have been better. If that’s the case, keep several of these factors in mind as you strive for optimal performance:

  • Remain focused – It bears repeating that you want your landing page to be focused and as simple as possible, given visitors to your page are more than likely looking to get in and get out in a relative short amount of time. Among the tactics to employ are concise paragraphs, bullet points to highlight important items, and an easy manner in which the visitor can act or attain additional information;
  • Don’t crowd visitors out – Keep in mind that everyone who comes to your landing page is not a computer guru by any means. If your page is too complex, too crowded and above all too hard to navigate, you stand a good chance of not only losing the visitor at that time, but having them not return. As mentioned in the first tip, don’t make it an adventure for your visitors and save the special effects for the movie theaters;
  • Employ useful metrics – Identify the key metrics that you are going to be measuring and set a benchmark so you can measure the impact of the changes. You want to see from start to finish where the visitor goes, at what point where they may be having issues, and where you may be losing them. Assuming you sell items online, start at the shopping cart and follow your visitors all the way through to the checkout point to make sure the visit was successful;
  • Be resolute when it comes to success – Marketers also need to zero in on their registration page, wherein visitors provide their information to obtain a white paper, request a demo or make an acquisition. At this point in the process, make sure you give them a call to action, be it a survey, subscribing to your newsletter, or even some form of sale;
  • Test, test, and test some more – Another important item to remember is that you need to test your landing pages. Among the things to test are using various subject headers, test the number of questions you provide in a request form, and make sure what products and/or services you are offering visitors are clearly defined. When possible, use A/B/ testing or multivariate testing in order to decipher those page elements that are showing more propensities to convert. The bottom line, leave no stone unturned;
  • Keep an open mind – While you have hopefully had success with your landing pages, there is always room for improvement. Be open to changes, but don’t make one after another where it looks like you’ve lost control of the landing page. Changes should be made for a reason, not just for the sake of change;
  • Review, review, and review – Last but not least, make sure two or more sets of eyes peruse the landing page before it goes live. Nothing cries out louder when it comes to questioning a company’s ability to deliver than misinformation, spelling errors with content, site navigation issues, etc. Your landing pages should sparkle from start to finish, don’t leave it up to chance. If you have even the slightest question about whether or not this page is ready for public viewing, hold it back until you feel 100 percent confidence in it.

If you are still not entirely clear on how to avoid mistakes when creating your landing pages, then by all means take the time to do it right instead of rushing something out there that may or may not work.

With the right landing pages, your business stands a better chance of landing in the black in 2012.

When it comes to your business, what processes are in place for creating dynamic landing pages?

Also, what do you find to be the biggest challenges with creating stellar landing pages?








B2B Media Q3 Gains Develop in Digital, Print and Trade Show Sector

The digital, print and trade show sectors of B2B media all witnessed increases in Q3 2011 compared with the year-earlier period, according to Business Information Network data from American Business Media.

The numbers point out that digital grew 22% in the third quarter, to $1.6 billion. Print witnessed a growth of 4.6%, to $5.7 billion, and trade shows jumped higher by 1.1%, to $7.7 billion.

Mergers and Acquisitions See Uptick

The mergers and acquisition side of things has also seen a lot of activity over the last 12 months.
Overall, M&A deal value in the media, information, marketing services and technology sectors grew 9% to $47.0 billion in 2011, according to investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group (JEG). The number of deals in these sectors increased 2% to 896.

Marketing and interactive services turned out to be the most active category surveyed by JEG, with 291 deals (an increase of 17% over 2010) and $15.1 billion in deal value (increase of 33%).

“Overall, the interactive markets, including B2B and B2C online media and technology, and mobile media and technology, as well as marketing and interactive services, accounted for 71% of M&A deal activity for the year and 65% of the value,” JEG said in a statement.

The B2B online media and technology category witnessed an increase of 3% in the number of deals, to 63, and a 132% gain in deal value, to $6.0 billion. Among the biggest transactions was Oracle Corp.’s $1.1 billion acquisition of Endeca Technologies, which markets software to assist marketers’ better e-commerce efficiency.

Where is Digital Advertising Spending Headed in 2012?

For 2012, eMarketer is predicting that digital advertising spending will increase 18 percent to $36.8 billion, a figure that does not include spending on marketers’ own Web sites, something which Outsell Inc. projects at more than $60 billion on a yearly basis.

While the nation’s economy still seems to be sputtering, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the B2B marketing industry will be watching from the sidelines when it comes to spending habits.

As a B2B marketer, what are your budgeting plans for this year?

Are you expecting to:

1. Spend more on advertising?
2. Spend less on advertising?
3. Spend about the same amount spent in 2011?

Most importantly, are you optimistic that 2012 will be a good year for you in your B2B marketing endeavors?

Photo credit: windmillnetworking.com