B2B Content Types Marketers Prefer in 2019

B2B Content Types Marketers Prefer in 2019

Most B2B marketers expect to ramp up their production of social media, website, and video content in the next 12 months, according to recent research from Walker Sands.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in January 2019 among 300 B2B marketers with active roles in their company’s current content programs. Some 51% of respondents hold titles of VP or more senior, and 49% hold titles of director or less senior.

Nearly two-thirds (72%) of the B2B marketers surveyed say their organization plans to produce more social media content in the next 12 months compared with the previous 12 months.

Some 65% plan to produce more website content, and 63% plan to produce more video content.

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Better ROI on B2B Webinars: 4 Basic Steps for Success

Better ROI on B2B Webinars: 4 Basic Steps for Success

Webinars are a great tool for any stage of the buyer’s journey, but if you’re trying to use webinars to blast cold leads with boastful information about your product or company, you’re probably not going to get the level of attention and engagement you’re after.

B2B webinars don’t have to be a lengthy sales presentation in disguise, and they don’t have to be boring or single-use content. To achieve a better return on investment, there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit to consider when you’re planning and putting together your webinar.

Avoid visual missteps

You need visuals that will entertain your audience, keep and hold their attention, and prevent early dropping off. That can and should (where applicable and appropriate) mean gifs, videos, graphs, charts, and infographics.

But, take care to avoid some of these common missteps, all of which will severely limit the replay potential of your webinar:

  • If you’re going to include a product demo, recording the walkthrough in advance can help ensure it goes off without a hitch.
  • If you play a video (demo recording or otherwise), make sure it either doesn’t need sound or it will successfully play with sound audible to all attendees, not just the presenter.
  • Don’t steal images. If you’re getting your visuals from something like a Google image search, then stop now and look to a reputable site to legally acquire stock images.
  • Clean it up and be consistent. Seeing sloppy pasting, inconsistent fonts, or pixelated images stretched too far hurts your credibility by making you look like an amateur. Instead of having the webinar host create the presentation, have him/her/them write the script and note any relevant visuals to include. From there, designers can create the presentation.

Having a clean, professional presentation that’s within branding guidelines will provide the most value to your company and will have a significantly longer lifespan than a one-off, hand-made presentation filled with A/V flops.

See your webinar as part of something bigger

Webinars can take a lot of time to put together and execute. It’s best to create additional, supporting pieces of content either simultaneously or just after the webinar—while the topic is fresh on your mind.

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B2B Livestreaming: Testimonial and Behind-the-Scenes Videos

B2B Livestreaming: Testimonial and Behind-the-Scenes Videos

It’s taken me years, but I finally got my favorite livestreamer, Brian Fanzo, founder of iSocialFanz, to join me on Marketing Smarts to explain how brands can expand their audience and build stronger relationships with customers through video.

Brian addresses audiences around the world about livestreaming, social media, technology, and digital marketing.

I first met Brian at the Social Fresh conference in a few years back, where we made this gif:

I invited Brian to Marketing Smarts to talk about livestreaming and video, and how any brand, from consumer products brands to B2B software companies, can benefit from “pressing the damn button!”

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Everyone hates watching himself or herself on video, so don’t let that stop you (05:39): “Let’s face it, video is not easy for anyone. Video is scary for a lot of people. For most of us. I’ve done over 2,000 videos myself, individually, in two years. I still don’t like watching myself on video. I talk too fast. I move my hands too much. I’m like, ‘Brian, stand still, you’ve got ants in your pants, what’s going on?’ I think, for many, video is intimidating that way.

“I always remind people: There’s a camera on the front of your phone, but there’s also one on the back. So one of the places I tell people to start is, ‘Why don’t you interview other employees, or your current customers?’ I think customer testimonials done in a video style are underutilized. Why have we not done that more? Even more so, it doesn’t have to be once a year. Do customer testimonial videos when they happen.

“One of the brands I was on a phone call with this morning, we were building a strategy for them to do these pop-up workshops, and they’re going to do customer testimonials on all 10 of them. Last year, they did one day of the year where they did customer testimonials. If you have a smartphone, you have decent lighting, and it’s not too loud around, you can do some things like that. Customer testimonials, employee interviews are a great way to do .”

Don’t just repurpose your other content into a video—use video to show people something they’ve never seen (06:50): “Give people access to something they can’t get anywhere else. If you have a product launch or you’re doing a cool event, or maybe you’re revamping a website, give people a behind-the scenes. Do like a 30-minute series where you’re like, ‘Hey, this is what happens behind the scenes.’ People love seeing how the sausage is made. And it’s really easy.

“And the cool thing with this is it doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be massively done. Because you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m pulling the curtain back and letting you see this.’ And it is scary. There are two rules for anyone who’s doing video with me: Perfection’s a fairy tale, and control is an illusion. You can only control yourself, you can’t control any of the other variables. If you can embrace those two concepts, doing things like doing testimonials, behind-the-scenes, is a great way to start on video, and it can be used in multiple different ways. One thirty-minute video…can be chopped up and used in marketing. It can be used in recruiting. It can be used in your internal sharing network.”

Video enables people to relate to you so you can grow relationships more quickly (09:22): “Consumer behaviors around video have drastically changed. We are now more forgiving. We’re more open. We trust somebody that’s on video a lot more than we trust someone that’s just writing. For me, building relationships on social media is everything. And I can grow a relationships four times faster if we are communicating on video, even a Twitter video reply, or if they’re watching my livestreams than if it was just tweets back and forth or if we become Facebook friends and comment once in a while.”

Video can work for B2B brands as well as B2C (11:19): “Relatability comes through your employees. A great company is great because they have great employees. No company out there today does an amazing job of putting their employees first. It’s still a logo. It’s still a brand…. Start highlighting your employees. [In B2B], people are making their decisions, more often than not, on the trust they have with the company that’s delivering the service [that the company is trying] to understand their pain points, that they’re going to stick around for a long time, and that they get the industry. What better way to do that than through ?

“If you’re a B2B services company, you should let an employee take over your Instagram Stories account once a week. And the employee doesn’t have to talk about just the company. Let them document their life. Let them talk about why they do what they do. Let them talk about the amount of work they do on certain things. Because, when it comes down to it, when someone’s making especially a software decision, and one company understands the employees and they can picture people they trust, and the other one is logo and a website and the same price structure, it’s a no-brainer that you go with the one that has people you can relate to.”

To learn more, visit isocialfanz.com and be sure to follow Brian on Twitter: @isocialfanz.

Brian and I talked about so much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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Ways to Boost Your B2B Marketing Content Readership

How to Use Customer Testimonials in B2B Marketing

Forestville: March 7, 2019

A father bear, mother bear, and their baby bear arrived home yesterday afternoon to find that a young girl had broken into their home and was sleeping in the baby bear’s bed. Investigators said the girl, whose name they disclosed is Goldilocks, was last seen running from the site of the break-in after jumping out a bedroom window after having been awakened by the bears. Prior to falling asleep, Goldilocks ate all of the baby bear’s porridge and broke his chair, authorities alleged.

An elective course Allen took in college was an introduction to news journalism. Among the assignments in courses like this is to write a lead paragraph (the “lead” or “lede”) using a well-known children’s tale as the news item. Lead paragraphs are written to provide the reader a preview of the story to come, summarizing it with only basic facts—the “who, what, when, and where.” The objective of the lead is to prompt readers to continue on to get the details.

We led this article with that thought to make the point that if you want your business-to-business (B2B) marketing content to gain readership, the first thing you must do is think like a news journalist.

In this age of information overload, it’s critical to be able to quickly grab your reader’s attention with the key points you want them to take away. That way, even if they read only the first few lines of your marketing message, they’ll immediately grasp the most critical things you want to communicate. And, hopefully, if you’ve done a good job setting the stage, they’ll continue reading to pick up more of the specifics in your marketing content.

Content marketing is used by over 91% of B2B marketers; but only 37% of marketing organizations have a documented content marketing strategy and only 20% describe their approach to content marketing as “very successful,” according to a survey by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute.

That’s because, as the survey noted, over 83% of those on the receiving end of online marketing messages reported being overwhelmed by both the amount and the length of communications. They want the content shorter, to the point, and prescriptive—as in “just give me a solution.”

Solution in mind, and aside from thinking like a news journalist as you take on marketing content initiatives, what are four other surefire ways to optimize your efforts?

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How to Use Customer Testimonials in B2B Marketing

How to Use Customer Testimonials in B2B Marketing

Before buying a book or a pair of headphones from Amazon, it’s highly likely you’d read a few reviews to ensure you’re making the right decision. For consumers, reviews are vital in helping make purchasing decisions. But the same is also true for organizations that buy a product or service from other businesses.

In the case of business-to-business (B2B) marketing, testimonials can carry a lot of weight in highly competitive markets and must be carefully planned and executed. Before choosing which company to purchase from, B2B buyers spend a long time considering their budgets, product effectiveness, vendor professionalism—and the testimonials of peers.

B2B companies know how to talk up their products or services, emphasizing how efficient and cost-effective they are. But customers don’t want marketing spiel; they want balanced and unbiased feedback from people they can relate to. They also want concrete figures and results.

Testimonials build trust between the company and its users, and they help customers overcome any skepticism they might have. They also allow for comparison among similar products, which might help you get the edge over your competitors.

A good testimonial outlines key benefits, makes comparisons with other products, and backs up the claims you’ve made about your product or service. That’s why many businesses choose to include a form of testimonial in their marketing. But some are more effective than others.


Research backs up the claim that customer testimonials are effective. Testimonials beat all other types of content marketing for their effectiveness, WebDAM found:

Some 78% of people say they trust reviews as much as recommendations from acquaintances, and it’s interesting to note that the inclusion of both positive and negative reviews is perceived as more trustworthy than just positive reviews.

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B2B Thought-Leadership Content Ideas and Opportunities

B2B Thought-Leadership Content Ideas and Opportunities

B2B vendors that create thought-leadership content tend to underestimate the impact of these pieces and overestimate their quality, according to recent research from Edelman and LinkedIn.

The report was based on data from a survey of 1,201 businesspeople in the United States who work for firms in a wide rage of industries.

Some 89% of buyers (respondents who are responsible for purchase decisions) say thought-leadership content increases their awareness of sellers, 45% say it has led them to invite an organization to bid on a project when not previously considering that vendor, 58% say it has led them to award business to an organization, 58% say it has enabled an organization to command a premium price, and 59% say it has led to the purchase of additional products or services.

On the other hand, 59% of sellers say thought-leadership content increases awareness, 17% say it increases consideration, 26% say it drives purchases, 14% say it enables premium pricing, and 29% say it makes cross-selling easier.

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