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Your Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising for B2B – Part 1

The hot thing for marketers this year (and last year) is still video.

Which is great and all, but how do you actually use video for your marketing efforts when what you sell is a B2B product – not a coffee maker, or dog leash, or a dollar-priced razor?

Can you create a clever, engaging video when what you sell is something that’s imminently practical and, ultimately, rather boring?

Yes!

…Sort of.

A bit.

facebook advertising for business

Before you advertise your offer or product, first…make a video.

You might think that there’s no way to make your B2B product into something that anyone would care about on Facebook, and, frankly, you’re probably right.

What you can do is turn those value-adding, customer-focused blogs into little 30 second videos that you can use to advertise on Facebook.

This works the best if you have blogs that answer a common question about your product or service, or specifically answer a question that is common in your industry.  The goal for this initial test for you should be to get awareness stage prospects to visit your site and check out your blog.  This initial part of your campaign is simply to capture people at an early stage of interest.

To turn your blog into a video, visit my latest favorite tool: Lumen5.

It’ll automatically chunk your blog into sentences that can be placed over short video clips or animated images, using AI to find stock clips or you can upload your own.

Your goal is to condense your blog into a 30 second clip, something that should pique the interest of the person watching it.

Once you’ve created the video, it takes quite a bit of time to process (sometimes nearly 12 hours), so in the meantime, work on the rest of your tasks for setting up Facebook advertising.

setting up facebook advertising for b2b businesses

Setting up the first campaign:

Your Facebook ads are going to have a two-fold strategy: if your budget is small (under $1,000 a month), then alternate months based on the strategy I’m about to outline for you.  If you’ve got a larger budget, then you can start juggling these two methods simultaneously.

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though.

You’re going to start by setting up all the pieces to your campaign and ad set(s) while you wait for your video to process.

Start with campaign: title it something that identifies what you’re doing with this campaign. I usually use a naming convention such as the topic + goal of the campaign – so the name for this first strategy would be blog title + video views.

Next step is your ad sets.  This is where you’ll identify the audience(s) you want to target.

What you’ll want to do first is set up a fairly broad audience (about 2 million or so) that’s targeting between one and three criteria from your social media audience persona.  If you haven’t included the social media habits of your buyers into your personas yet, you can learn more about doing that here.

Target based on the broadest qualifying criteria you use for prospecting – Facebook lets you narrow your audience based on company size, job title, income, etc.

Pro tip: Just because you select the job title “CEO” doesn’t mean your ad will automatically show to the CEOs at companies you want to target, especially if you don’t narrow the audience in any other way.  Teenagers, solopreneurs, and wishful thinkers like to make their job titles “CEO of ‘School of Hard Knocks’” or something similar.  Targeting CEOs (even if you narrow the audience to those who actually work at companies with employees) may not even be the best choice – click here to read more about why you’re probably targeting the wrong audience.

Title your ad sets based on the audience segments you’re identifying.  Each ad set gets its own budget, so keep that in mind as you create these.  Make the titles plenty long so you can see at a glance which segments are performing the best.  My preferred convention is [location]+[gender]+[age]+[interest/demographic/segment] AND/OR [interest/demographic/segment].

Notice I used and/or between the interests that further narrow the audience from location, gender, and age.  This is to indicate whether it’s to combine possible segments, or to narrow.

I’ll talk more about narrowing your audience in the next blog post. It’s not as straightforward as you might think.

We’ll need to review that before continuing with your ad creation.

Prior to setting up your audience, however, you need to learn about them.  One of the most effective ways to do that, at least in a professional sense, is to research them through LinkedIn.

How to Create Your Buyer Persona for B2B Social Media Marketing

Essential for marketing via any medium, you need to know who it is you’re marketing to.

But how, exactly, do you figure that out?  Especially with social media – how does anyone know what works ahead of time?

Do you just guess at what your target audience is interested in, testing things until you get some sort of engagement to tell you that you’re on the right track?  Or maybe, you could check out what your competitors do, and use that as a guide for what you should do.

While either (or both) of those things can sort of work, they’re not ideal for crafting a social media strategy that genuinely attracts and converts viable leads.  Guesswork or copying a competitor really just gives you enough to post something, anything, not necessarily something that accomplishes your social media marketing goals.

What you need to effectively use social media marketing is to create personas to understand who you’re marketing to – and how you can best reach them.

buyer persona creation for social media

Why your social media personas need to be more than just your buyer personas.

Worth noting before we begin is that your social media persona isn’t about the same things as your general buyer personas.

It’s ideal to tie in your social media or content personas to your general buyer personas, so you have a better picture of how your target market might interact with your content.  In addition to a social media component for your buyer personas, it can be worth crafting a basic persona or two based around potential readers you might acquire – who aren’t buyers, but might be influencers for them.

Why do you care about readers who aren’t going to be prospects for your business, and why would you focus on how you can attract those people?  Wouldn’t you want to just focus on potential buyers?

Not really!  For one thing, your pool of potential buyers right this instant is going to be much, much smaller of an audience than you think.  Additionally, you never know who is a potential buyer at what point in time.  People change jobs, companies grow, vendors change – you need to market to anyone who could be a buyer at some point in time.

You also want to provide information to people who might pass it along to their friends or colleagues who are looking for the solution you provide.  That whole idea of 3 degrees of separation?  You’re only one or two people away from a buyer – and social media helps amplify that effect.

That’s why you need a social media marketing strategy that’s about more than just your target buyer.

Your website’s content should be about the buyer and their questions, but your social media strategy should be about reaching the entire community around your industry or topic.  That’s how you both gain access to influencers for that trendy influencer marketing, and how you become an influencer yourself.

research buyer personas

What to research and include in your social media personas:

Now that you know why your social media personas may be different than your buyer personas, it’s time to start actually creating them.  It’s important to remember that personas are fictional – but based on real data. Don’t guess! I’ll review how to find this information in just a bit.

For a social media persona, you need to identify a few key things:

  • Demographic data: age, gender, where they live, job title, annual income (roughly), marital status, etc. This is to get an idea of how often they’re likely to log on, when they’re most likely to log on, the device they’re most likely to use, and how they relate to your buyer personas.
  • Device data: technological proficiency and where your audience is most likely to log in to a specific network are both essential features to knowing the type of content (and format) you should be sharing
  • How your persona is most likely to interact with industry content, and where they’d most expect to see it.

Demographic data is some of the easiest to gather, depending on the network.  Something like this is where a third party tool comes in handy – Sprout Social tells you about your Facebook or Twitter demographics, or you can dive into Twitter data using a tool like Audiense.

LinkedIn is tougher to dive into, as third party tools can’t analyze the data for your personal connections, and what’s offered for your company pages isn’t all that detailed.  I suggest spending some time (an hour or two at most) looking up potential prospects on LinkedIn based on your buyer persona data (job title, industry, company name) and seeing if there are trends.  For something like this, I’ll write out a simple checklist, and look for as many potential prospects as possible.

don’t actually spend time qualifying them – I’m just looking for as many potential leads as possible, just anyone who could be in the right bucket.  I’ll use website content and email marketing to qualify them more later on.

My checklist for data gathering usually looks like this:

Age: (list off age brackets for tallying next to)

Gender: (list men or women, with space for tally marks)

Job title: (I’ll write down full titles and add tally marks any time there’s duplicates)

Geographic location: (I’ll usually only list regions, or if I see a particular state or city with many prospects, I’ll make a note)

How active they seem to be on LinkedIn: (list options to put tallies next to)

2017-07-21 16.24.55.jpg

It takes time to do this by hand, but it helps you really get an idea of your target audience in general – which is what you need for social media strategy.

After you’ve gathered your data, you can get other information through Google Analytics.

Check the device data by logging in and clicking “audience”, then “technology”, and drilling down into brower & OS, with the secondary dimension of “source/medium”.

google analytcs persona data 1.png

It’ll look like the screen shot above.

What this tells us is what browser people were using when they viewed the site, and where they were referred from. In this case, most of my site traffic comes from Twitter users who are looking at my site on Chrome.  However, I don’t know if that’s Chrome for desktop, or Chrome on a mobile device – so to check, I can click “operating system” in the primary dimension at the top of the table.  I’ll have to input the secondary dimension again (source/medium), but now I can see that there’s an interesting trend.

Windows users generally visit my site on their desktop, and they’re the biggest chunk of my visitors – although not by much.  However, if someone is visiting my site on mobile, they’re extremely likely to be on an Apple device.

Pro Tip: When you see iOS listed in your operating system data, that’s generally a mobile device.  Apple uses the MacOS (listed in Google Analytics as Macintosh) for their larger devices, like desktop or laptop computers, which have keyboards and mice.

You can use this data to see who you’re currently attracting from social media.  If you’re not actually getting any visitors from social, that’s alright – look at this information for your site as a whole, and compare this data against goal completions.

Any trends you see in device usage compared to goal completions tells you what types of users you need to attract.

Another metric that will help you figure out your ideal social media persona is to check returning visitor vs new visitors – compared to operating system.

google analytics persona data 2.png

From here, you can now review the conversions for new vs returning visitors, as well as the operating system associated with new vs returning.

If there’s a trend, record it – you’ll want to attract more people in the bucket that converts most often.

Now turn all of that data into a story – and that’s your persona.

With your aggregate data of who your target audience members likely are, you then combine it all into a story. You want your persona to feel like a person with a back story, not just a pile of data.

Since so much of my traffic comes from Twitter (I use Hubspot to measure my conversions, and far and away, Twitter is my best converting referrer), I need to also consider who my Twitter audience is.

My Twitter target persona sounds like this:

Twitter Theresa is a millennial, 25 – 30 years old, single, who works for CEO Charlie (one of my other personas).  She still lives in the city, and rents her home – it’s usually an apartment or a room in a house.  Her commute is the same length as Charlie’s – often up to 30 minutes – and that’s due almost entirely to traffic.  She makes between $40,000 and $60,000 annually, as she’s usually in an entry level role.  Theresa is extremely driven to succeed, though, and tends to look everywhere she can for ideas on how she can move her career forward.

She uses Apple devices because she’s competent with technology, but not overly knowledgeable, and the UX of the Apple ecosystem is easy for her to use.  At work, though, she has to use Windows operating systems.

She’s fond of downloading content upgrades, such as checklists, ebooks, and resource guides, but she tends to avoid whitepapers.  She prefers things to read that are engaging, easy to understand, and actionable.

She checks Twitter on her breaks, and sometimes sneaks it in between tasks at work.  She doesn’t tweet much, but she likes to keep up on news and information shared by influencers she follows.  She’s also extremely active on other social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, but she uses those almost exclusively for personal connections.

When it comes to ads, she clicks on the ones that look like organically shared news articles, and if she’s allowed to check Facebook at work, she often sees ads related to her work searches.  She doesn’t click on the work-related ads often, though, and if she does, it’s because there was a checklist or resource guide offered.

See how Twitter Theresa goes from a handful of statistics to a real person?  You can actually get a feel for her – as well as what she might find interest, when and why she’s most likely to click, and the channels that she expects marketing materials on.

buyer persona for social media marketing

You’ll need to keep adapting your persona as you experiment with your social media marketing.

One of the things that many businesses fail to do is continually update and adapt their personas. 

The person you’re marketing to today may not be the same person you’ll be targeting next year.

Keep your persona information up to date, and easily accessible – check it on a weekly or monthly basis to ensure you’re keeping on point.

Your Complete Guide to Using LinkedIn for B2B Prospecting

It’s great to have people tell you that they can find new leads for business on social media, but can they really?

Do people really see success through using social media to prospect for new business, or is it all a load of crap?

Let me tell you the truth: it’s both.

Most of the people you see talking about using social media to prospect aren’t actually doing that – they’re trying to sell you on their paid workshop or boot camp course, for the low, low, price of $999.

Prospecting for new leads isn’t just something you pick up in a single afternoon or a bootcamp course.  You have to work at it, regardless of the medium, and social media is no exception.

What do you actually need to do to start prospecting effectively on social media?  I’ll walk you through my preferred tactics for LinkedIn – which can tell you a considerable amount of information about your prospects, if you do it right.

ultimate guide to LinkedIn prospecting

Step 1: LinkedIn Search

The first step to prospecting is clearly defining exactly who your prospects are. For a detailed guide on creating a buyer persona that’s tailored to what you’ll be able to find in your social media efforts, click here!

Once you have your personas defined, start searching.

Use search to cast a wide net, and see what happens when you just splash around a bit, metaphorically speaking.

As an example, I’ll use Telecom Expense Management.

TEM search linkedin.png

This is what it looks like when I type that in to my LinkedIn search bar.

Go ahead and scroll through these initial results.  See who shows up at the top just in this initial search, and it might be worth noting what job postings are automatically served up for you in that search.  If a company is hiring for specific positions, that’s often a sign of growth, or a sign of need – and may indicate that the company is worth investigating.

Once you’ve scrolled through a couple pages of these top results, start narrowing it down.

Change your search to the most common job title you’ve identified as the decision maker (if you’ve been able to identify one).

Filter by 2nd degree connections (1st connections are people you’re already connected to, and we’re not worrying about them right this second).  2nd degree connections are close enough that the mutual acquaintance you share with that person may allow you an easier time connecting with them later on.

Filter further by limiting geographical region (US based, Canada, etc), language, and/or industries.

You should end up with a nice, targeted list of potential prospects.  If you’re lucky, it’ll be fairly large, allowing you to continue to filter as you go.  If your list of potential prospects is only 10 people, then your prospects are too narrow of a niche.  Start broad, then refine.

refine linkedin searchStart broad, then refine. Like science!

Step 2: Try and Qualify

Next, click away.  Start visiting profiles willy-nilly (okay, maybe you should try to be strategic about it), and look through them to see if you can identify a few key things:

  • How active are they? Do they post or seem to be active daily, or are they much less frequent LinkedIn users?
  • How long have they been in their current role?
  • How experienced do they seem in that role?
  • What are they interested in?

Make notes on these things, and then click through their job description to see the LinkedIn page of the company they work for.

Run through your checklist of sales qualifications – if you can identify them from either LinkedIn or their company page.  Are they large enough?  Growing fast enough?  Bringing in enough revenue?

If the company is a fit, use their LinkedIn page to check out other employees at that company.  Check out profiles, and make notes of other employees you may be able to get in touch with to get an “in” into the company.

What should happen is that as you go through the first 2 or 3 pages of results, you end up with a list of great fit companies, okay fit companies, and poor fit companies.

You should also have a short list of employees you’d like to connect with at the companies that are potential prospects.

That list of employees is your prospecting list.

bullet journal for business

Your method of keeping notes can be as pretty, or as messy, as you prefer.

Step 3: social selling, like a human.

That first day that you spent prospecting should have taken you a while, easily an hour or two (or the entire afternoon).  You visited a bunch of people’s profiles, and if they log in to LinkedIn on a regular basis, they’ll see that you visited them.

That’s your goal.  You want to wait at least a few days after that first visit, maybe even a week, to see who comes calling to check out your profile in return.

Those people are your even shorter list of potential prospects who are active and engaged on LinkedIn – they’re who you’re most likely to be able to start a conversation with on the platform.

Now, to not seem creepy, you’ll want to change your viewing settings before you go any further.

Click through to your profile settings (click “me” in the upper right corner, then click “settings and privacy”), and in privacy, you’ll see “profile viewing options”.  Select either private profile characteristics, or complete private mode.

turning your linkedin profile viewing off.png

It’ll look like that.

Now, go back to the profiles of everyone who’s been checking you out, and learn more about them.

Are they members in groups that you’re a member of?  When’s the last time they posted or interacted with a group?

When someone is regularly posting and active, you’ll see a box underneath their profile highlights that says “So and So’s Activity”.  Check that out – that’s where you’ll get a feel for what they find interesting, and possible ways to start a conversation.  You don’t have to be connected to the person to see this box – but it only shows up if they’re active.  No activity box means they’re not active, plain and simple.

linkedin prospecting part two.png

This is what it looks like when I check out the lovely Kathleen Glass on LinkedIn – she’s a true expert in social selling, and worth following!

You can click through the “see all activity” button, and see all posts from that person.

If they’ve been posting, then make a note.  You’ll want to come back to comment on those after you switch your profile back to displaying your name and headline when you look at profiles.

After you’ve checked out the people who checked you out, you should have an even shorter list of people who are engaged (not just active) on LinkedIn.

linkedin prospecting b2b

Step 4: What to do with these lists now that you’ve made them:

On the shortest list, where people are active and interested in you, you can try to connect with more finesse than you’ll be trying with other folks.

Turn your profile back to displaying who you are when you look at people, and go back to your shortest list of people who looked at you and are active on LinkedIn.

Visit them one by one, taking the time to go through their most recent posts and like or comment on them.  If they’ve been publishing Pulse articles, even better – read them and leave a comment underneath about what you read.

Bonus: if their posts are genuinely good, add them into your social media posting calendar.  Make sure to tag the person you’re targeting in your posts so they can see that you liked what you read enough to share it. 

Then, send a connection request, and in the personalized note you’ll include, mention one of the posts you commented on.  Use that as a reason for your interest in connecting with them.

Don’t you dare pitch them in the connection request!  We’ll get to that later.  Actually, we’ll never get to it. You never pitch directly through LinkedIn, or any social media platform.  You pitch in person, once you get to a call.  You use social media to get to a point where your prospect asks for the pitch.

Your next list is the people who are active on LinkedIn, but not engaged – they’re not posting or commenting on things on a regular basis.

Visit their profiles, and send them a connection request as well.  Try to call out something you have in common (groups, school, people), and think of a genuine reason that’s not trying to make a sale that would mean you’d connect with the person.

One option is to say you’re trying to build your network in this particular space, and because of (shared group, school, or people), you thought that they’d be a valuable person to know.

With the list of people who didn’t visit your profile, visit their profile again and check their activity stream.  Use the same tactics as above for engaged vs unengaged people, and make sure to keep notes on what you’re doing, and when, for later.

Why not just do this to all potential prospects in one go?

Prioritize.  It’s best to focus on a small group at a time, so that if you do get any initial, enthusiastic replies or messages about what you offer, you’re able to jump on the opportunity.  Tackling this with small groups at a time also allows you to genuinely make each connection request, comment, and interaction a genuine one.

As much as I like automation, this isn’t something you want to automate.

It’s the human factor that makes this work.

using LinkedIn for B2B prospecting

Step 5: build a relationship.

You saw that and you went “yeah, sure, Jen, I’m just gonna build a relationship, because the bricks for relationship building just grow on relationship trees!”

It’s more complex than just “go out and make people like you”, yes.  But there’s practical ways you can get started when you’re trying to get yourself out there.

Ways you can work on relationship building:

  • Participate in groups – keep an eye out for your prospects commenting or posting.
  • Keep a list of people related to specific topics or industries, and when you find an especially helpful or informative piece of content, send them a LinkedIn message.
    • DON’T SEND EVERYONE THE MESSAGE WITH THE CONTENT AS A MASS MESSAGE! Take the time to message people individually.  If it’s too annoying to message all the people you want to with the content, then your targeting isn’t narrow enough.  If you’re annoyed just trying to send the message, think about how annoyed the person receiving it will be!
  • Comment on and/or like the posts made to the target company’s page. It may not get you directly in touch with your key decision maker, but the person managing the company page will notice you.  When the “does anyone know who this guy is?” question inevitably happens, they’ll say something about how you’re the person always interacting with their content.

Keep notes in a CRM so you’ll know who you interact with the most and who you can start to count as a genuine connection, not just a digital acquaintance.

Throughout this entire process, you should also be posting blogs and content regularly to your LinkedIn profile.  Chances are extremely good that you won’t actually get a lead from a direct message on LinkedIn – your leads will actually reach out to you themselves through your website.  LinkedIn just kept your company top of mind.

Notice that nowhere in this sequence is there a step where you send your pre-formulated pitch to the person.

That’s because you never do that.

Never ever ever ever EVER. 

Sure, if you spray and pray, you might get a nibble once in a while.  Some people swear by that.  Think about the people you’ve met who swear by “just pitch everyone you meet!”

They probably remind you rather forcibly of greasy, used-car salesmen.  And sure, copying their methods will probably get you leads.  Used car salesmen sell cars, after all.

But you’ll get far fewer quality leads, and you’re far more likely to alienate any warm leads you were developing.

If you’re feeling confident, after you’ve spent some time building a digital relationship through interactions, you can try sending a message to engaged prospects to see if there’s any pain points you can help them with.

Each message should be unique and tailored to the person you’re messaging.  No copy pasted, formulaic messages.

If this sounds like a lot of work, and that it takes a long time, that’s because it is, and it does.

What you’re doing is networking, but expanding the power of personal networking through social media.

This isn’t any different than all the hand shaking and business card exchanging you do at a conference, it’s just more strategic and you can do it from home in your pajamas.

ROI for linkedin prospecting

So…How long does this take?  When do I see ROI for the efforts?

Ah, that’s the rub.

Doing all of this takes time.  It may only take a few months, it may take a year or more.

Either way, it’s not a fast lead generation tactic.  If you’re really, really determined, and you really work at this for an hour or more a day, religiously, then you may start seeing some pretty dramatic results fairly quickly.

But let’s face it.

You’re not going to spend an hour or more a day looking up potential prospects and networking. You’re not going to scour your LinkedIn groups for posts you can comment on, and you’re not going to craft pithy, touching messages on a daily basis to connect with potential leads.

Instead, let’s set some reasonable goals.

You work on this for a solid afternoon, maybe two or three afternoons, maybe a couple evenings with a glass of wine so you can better cope with how truly lousy some people’s profiles are.  I mean, really, if you’re in TEM and all of your LinkedIn activity is about cupcake factories, that tells me what you’re really aiming for in life.

Mmm, cupcakes.

Anyway, be realistic.  Don’t expect this to generate big name clients overnight, and don’t expect it to be easy or fast.

How to Determine if Your Business’s Digital Presence Needs a Facelift

Deciding when it’s time to redesign or rebrand your website (and the rest of your digital presence) is a difficult decision to make.  I mean…it works well enough as it is, right?

There seems to be two main camps of companies: those who haven’t updated their website since the recession in 2008, and the companies who are so new that their site is equally new.

Your company is probably inbetween these two extremes, but the hard part is knowing if your site is modern looking enough.  Chances are, your site’s last big update was to have it conform to Google’s algorithm changes – things like being mobile responsive, since that was such a big deal.

But…is it time for your site to get a full facelift, though?  Or do you just need to continue to tweak it to remain competitive in search?

Here’s how to figure that out:

digital marketing strategy for b2b

Is your site mobile responsive?

This is a huge issue if you haven’t updated your website to be mobile responsive yet.  Google heavily favors sites that are mobile responsive, to the point where if your site isn’t responsive, you’ll likely .

Mobile responsive doesn’t have to mean that you have an entirely separate mobile website. More often, it’s simply a template update within WordPress.  Having an entirely separate website is actually more than a little unnecessary if you’re a B2B business – how many of your clients are really looking you up via mobile?

You can check that for sure by looking at Google Analytics, but in the meantime, it’s safe to say that in the B2B world, most people are searching for new clients or vendors on their desktops.

If you’re not sure if your website is mobile responsive, there’s a super easy way to check: just look it up using the mobile browser on your phone.

Does your website change format to adapt to your phone screen?  Does an entirely new website pop up?  Or does it take ages to load, and it loads as a miniaturized version of the full desktop site?

Once you have your site up on your phone, check out how it appears and how it functions.  Do you have a login portal for customers or clients to log in and view a tool dashboard?  How easy is it to navigate to the necessary screen to log in?

These basic user experience tests are integral to deciding if your site needs a facelift.

If your site isn’t mobile responsive, or the mobile version isn’t fast and easy to use, it’s time to give your website a facelift.

How fast does your website load?

After you’ve determined how mobile responsive your site is, check how fast it is.

Use the Google Pagespeeds Insights tool (since it’s Google’s analysis that determines how they rank you, anyway) – click here to get to it.   Enter your home page’s URL into the tool, and let Google tell you how fast or slow it is.

The nice thing about the Google tool is that it will tell you exactly what’s wrong with your site, and provide suggestions on how to fix it to make it faster.

If you don’t understand the suggestions Google provides, that’s a sign that you need to bring in a professional to help you optimize your website.

How easy is it to find out what your company does?

This might seem obvious to you, but it may not be so obvious to website visitors.  It’s surprisingly common, especially among B2B businesses, for what the company does to be so hidden behind jargon that it takes some serious sleuthing to figure out what the purpose of the company even is.

Look at your home page with a critical eye.

Can you tell what your company does in under 10 seconds, without scrolling?

If it takes a little scrolling, a little reading, or even some clicking around your site to figure out if it’s a telecom expense management company, an outsourced IT agency, or software as a service, then your site needs some copywriting or design help to fine tune the messaging.

Your site may be beautifully designed, but if visitors can’t tell what your business does, it doesn’t matter.

One way to tell if your home page isn’t clear enough is to check your bounce rate in Google Analytics.

Log in, and look to see what your home page bounce rate is.  If it’s over 70%, and the time spend on your site is less than 30 seconds, that’s a pretty good sign that your home page is really deterring new visitors – and it needs a facelift, STAT.

b2b digital marketing strategy

How easily can someone contact you?

Another surprisingly difficult thing to find on many B2B websites is how to get in touch with them at all.

Are your social media channels easily visible as icons or links on each page?

Do the links to your social media channels actually work?

Do you have your business’s main phone number available if someone prefers to call you?

If they prefer to email, is there an easy to use contact form?  How much information does the form ask for – and does it offer something worthwhile in return?

When someone fills out the contact form, who does that notification go to?  Is there a system set up to notify your sales team or sales manager?  How quickly does someone respond to a new contact form fill out?

All of these questions are important to answer – they may not necessitate a full site redesign, but they may point to a bigger need within your company’s sales structure.

Does your website actually support your content marketing strategy?

Finally, above and beyond, does your website actually support your content marketing strategy?

Do you even have a content marketing strategy?

If you don’t, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to attract new organic search visits.  Content marketing isn’t just blogging and dropping those on your website and calling it good.

It’s about coordinating your blogs with your main offerings, with core pages on your website, and using blogs to lift how the rest of your website ranks.

That’s why you need a content marketing strategy, not just a blogging strategy.

How to Update Your TEM Company’s Marketing Strategy to Stay Competitive

Companies that are large enough to need TEM (telecom expense management) are well aware that they need their phone contracts (and more) managed.  The trouble is that as a TEM company, you’re having a hard time convincing those companies that they should outsource that need to a business like yours.

You’d love to work with the truly large companies – a single contract with a Fortune 500 company could pay your entire company’s payroll for the year – but the fact of the matter is, you’ll get most of your business from small to midsized companies.

Problem is, those companies don’t see a reason to hire you.  They’d rather sign up for a SaaS product that’s significantly cheaper than your services, and anything the automated TEM product doesn’t do, they’ll unload on their poor IT or Finance team.

So how do you convince a company that doesn’t see why they’d bother with you that you’re the best solution?

It’s not by whipping your sales team if they don’t make enough cold calls.

It’s not by dumping even more money into trade shows (while they help, they shouldn’t be your only marketing tactic).

It’s especially not by purchasing lists.

telecom marketing strategy

Know your market – and market to them appropriately.

One of the largest market segments are mid to large companies that are large enough to have departments within their company structure, but not necessarily so large they have an entire department dedicated to managing things like phone contracts and bills.

For many of those companies, they don’t see a reason to do more than assign someone within IT, HR, or Finance to review invoices or contracts as necessary.  If they can find and use one of the many SaaS products out there that helps automate this, all the better.

Why pay for an outsourced agency if they don’t have to?  All a TEM company does is scan for errors, right?  And if that’s all they do – why not just pay the (significantly) cheaper price of the automated SaaS product on a monthly basis?

If your company does more than “just look over the invoices for errors”, you need to find a way to make that clear to the customer.

That’s what content marketing does.  It’s not just blogging because it’s what you’re supposed to do now – you’re educating prospects right as they are searching for information.

The people who need your services may not know they need them.  Instead, they’ll be using Google to find answers to questions – questions that, if your sales team overheard them at a trade show, they’d know the person asking was a lead.

Those questions are the questions you want to answer with blog posts.  Those are the questions that help educate your potential prospects about why they need more than just a software tool, or why it’s not such a good idea to just unload invoice auditing on the finance team.

There’s a practical reason for those blogs about specific questions:

There’s another thing your telecom expense management company will be struggling with: competing SERP placements with the young and hungry SaaS companies.

They dump plenty of money into paid AdWords and how they rank in search – to compete without dumping even more money into paid search yourself, you’ll need to make your organic rankings that much better.

Enter content marketing.

Again, blogs don’t just get thrown on your website because it’s the thing to do.

You strategically and intentionally plan them out, creating clusters of blogs around specific topics, all linking to each other and to a services or packages page within your website.  By cross-linking within your own site, search engine(s) will see that those pages are related.  The more thoroughly the combination of linked pages cover that specific topic, the higher all pages will rank for their relevant keywords.

And you don’t even have to pay for advertising.

TEM marketing strategy

Don’t forget who’s actually researching your business.

Decision makers aren’t just the VPs of their departments anymore.

It’s important to craft your content strategy around the people who are actually going to be searching for that content:

The little guys!

The entry level or middle managers who actually get tasked with researching solutions.  You’ll rarely get a CEO, CIO, etc, who’s searching for what you offer, and it’s foolish to think you’ll be able to attract and convert a key decision maker with your first few blogs.

It’s foolish to think a C-suite is going to be swayed by even a year’s worth of blogs.  Instead, you’ll sway them through the conversation that happens between the managers underneath them, recommending your services to their bosses.

Instead, focus on providing the necessary information for the underlings of those decision makers to suggest your business as the logical solution for the problem they had to research.

The easier you make it for those people researching problems that you solve to find answers, the more they’ll like your business, trust your business – and want to get to know your business.  It also helps them sell their bosses on what you offer.  By the time your sales team gets involved, the business is already halfway ready to purchase.

How happy would your sales team be if every lead they received as an MQL was excited to hear from them when they received a qualification call?

That’s what content marketing accomplishes for you.

Content Marketing isn’t just a buzzword – it’s an extremely strategic modern marketing move.

Content marketing is the method your TEM company can use to give itself a competitive edge against those young and hungry SaaS companies edging in on your business.

It lets your prospects learn about you as they research solutions, while simultaneously helping you rank better in both organic and paid search.

Your TEM company can’t stay competitive against the new companies springing up everywhere by doing what it’s always done.  You need to adapt and evolve – and fast.

How to Engage On LinkedIn Now That You Can’t Automate Anything in Groups

As of June 30th, LinkedIn has officially shut off the API for LinkedIn Groups.

When you log in to LinkedIn and visit groups that way, this change doesn’t affect anything.

But, if you’re like Tyrannosaurus Marketing and our clients, this has a pretty significant impact on how you post to and interact with those groups.

Using Hubspot or Hootsuite, you used to be able to schedule content to post to groups of your choosing at various times.  You also could reply to anyone who commented on those posts, allowing folks like me to interact with people on behalf of company employees as a part of a larger marketing effort.

Not anymore!

Without the API, you can’t schedule posts to LinkedIn groups, and you can’t respond to comments from a third party tool, either.

You have to do it all the old fashioned way: by logging in and scrolling through the groups manually.

linkedin group API access

Why did LinkedIn Remove the API access, anyway?

It’s not known why, exactly, LinkedIn shut down API access to Groups.  You can still post to, and manage, your personal LinkedIn posts from third party tools – just not groups.

Many marketers, like myself, are grumbling about this, but there’s several possible reasons LinkedIn has done this.

One of the most popular theories was to reduce the quantity of spam hitting all of the groups, non stop.  This method of spray and pray “marketing” isn’t really marketing at all, it’s just throwing your information out there and hoping for the best.

Groups don’t generate results if you’re just spamming them with links: they require the effort of participation.  Frustrating for actual LinkedIn users who wanted to see groups be helpful, the spray and pray folks have turned most of the larger groups into link spam sewage pits.

So would turning off the API access fix this?

Nope.

The groups have been abandoned – or poorly moderated – for too long.

Far more likely, as diginomica points out, LinkedIn is (desperately) copying Facebook, and Facebook’s stance of not granting any access to group management to third party tools.  In most, you can only use a tool to manage groups you created – you can’t post to or manage groups that you are simply a member of.

Maybe LinkedIn is trying to emulate that in an effort to get more users to log in to the network on a more regular basis.  Maybe it’s Microsoft flexing its muscle with an eye towards an ulterior motive we’ll see 6 months from now.

Who knows?

Regardless of why, you still need to adapt to what’s happened: you have to manage LinkedIn Groups manually now.

LinkedIn Group API strategy

The good news is that this really shouldn’t affect your strategy all that much.

If you’ve been marketing your business in LinkedIn groups intelligently, without spam, like a smart marketer, this is an annoying development from LinkedIn, but not the end of the world.

It means you can’t manage group participation for other key members of your business anymore, but to be honest, without personal interaction, ghost-posting has a limited effect.

Instead, spend 15 minutes a day just interacting within groups.

Post once a week, maybe, if you find an article that’s particularly relevant.

Comment on at least one or two posts in at least one or two groups.  The frequency of spam and junk links should be significantly less, now that it’s effectively impossible to post to 20 groups at once.  Refreshingly, it should be easier to find meaningful posts to interact with, and develop relationships with the posters through.

Scroll through the recent posts in a handful of groups, and click “like” on at least 3 or 4.

That’s it.

That’s really all you need to do to maintain an active appearance on LinkedIn.

While it’s often suggested to join as many LinkedIn groups as possible, to have as wide a reach as possible, if you’re just getting started with group engagement, take baby steps.

Search out some of your best clients, and see which groups they’re in.  Search some of your key prospects as well, and check out their groups.  Any groups that overlap are prime candidates for you (and your colleagues) to join and participate in.

Look for 4 or 5 groups that overlap between at least 2 customers or prospects, and join those.

Make a point to scroll through and interact with content within those groups at least once, every single day.

After you’ve done this for a week or two, start looking for an article or two to share to each group once or twice a week.  You’ll have to share it manually, of course, instead of scheduling it, but that’s precisely the point.

Share content that isn’t from your own business to start – this is to establish yourself as a contributor, not a self-promoter.

After about a month of sharing primarily other people’s content, and hopefully sparking some discussions with it, you should be able to share a blog of your own and see some resulting conversation.

LinkedIn’s removal of their Group API access isn’t the end of the world.

If you’re practicing marketing that’s geared towards genuinely helping potential prospects, and providing valuable resources to those who could benefit from your help the most, then this isn’t a big deal.

It’s a little annoying from a management perspective, but it’s completely livable.

If you’ve been marketing through sheer force, by spamming every single group you can join with links to your website, blog, product, or service, then this API change is really going to hurt.

 

SEO and Content Marketing – Is There Even a Difference Anymore?

When I first started working in social media marketing, SEO was a technical skill that relied heavily on how a website was coded, specific methods for designating keywords, and other technical gobbledygook.

Only those who’d actually spent the time learning and becoming proficient in the technical skills needed for SEO could be relied upon to help boost your website’s search engine rankings. Or, you could game the system – stuff your website copy with keywords by adding paragraph after paragraph of keywords as metadata, or just as white text at the bottom of your website.

I got started in digital marketing just as these tactics were fading out, and instead, the methods for building a search engine optimized site were beginning to evolve.  Google’s Hummingbird algorithm was coming, and while the previous versions focused on penalizing keyword stuffing (which is what I learned as I got started), hummingbird was something new.

Before that, though, search engines operated in predictable ways.  The number of times a keyword or phrase appeared in a particular webpage mattered, as well as exactly where that keyword appeared. There were checklists everywhere that promised high SERP placements, as long as you had a keyword in the H1 tag, your image alt texts, and at least 3 times throughout the web page – or something along those lines.

Following those guidelines took little practical skill, although weaving them into content that was actually worthwhile was a harder task.

It was that shift from simply ticking off check boxes on the list of SEO optimization to actually producing worthwhile content that brought us to where we are now: SEO is Content Marketing.

SEO for B2B

Then why is there still SEO – and what’s up with all the website plugins to help with it?

SEO still exists because, let’s face it, many (if not most) small to mid sized businesses are just now catching on to the idea that it’s even a thing. They’re still focusing on the more outdated ideas of SEO, and that’s why they install plug ins, rather than learning what actually goes in to optimizing their site for search today.

To know why the methods of improving SERP placements are more focused on content and less on precisely where you place keywords, we need to talk a little bit about how Google ranks web pages in the first place.

In 2013, Google’s algorithm updated to Hummingbird, which focused on semantic search rather than simply the individual words in a search. This method of search operates around the context of a given query, meaning that Google is looking for the underlying reason for their search, not just combinations of the words they’ve typed in.

Hummingbird also focused on the idea of conversational search – think about how you ask Siri or Cortana to give you an answer about something. We don’t use our phones to search by stating keywords into them, we ask a question.

This is becoming true for how people use search even when they’re not using a virtual assistant to search for them. Think about headlines and how you search for things – “How to optimize a Twitter profile” is a different search than “Why optimize a Twitter profile”, and both are questions someone would want answered.

Hummingbird is about giving people solutions to why they are searching, rather than simply laying out facts.

That is why SEO strategy has needed to change. You can’t really game the system for a long term positive result by simply stuffing keywords in specific order – you have to actually create content that provides value to your website visitors.

hummingbird google algorithm

SEO does still require some technical know-how, but you need content first and foremost.

Yes, you absolutely do still need someone to help with linking, schema data, and other back end optimization that isn’t going to be taken care of through the creation of quality content.

But all of that back end work will count for little, if anything, without the production of quality content that provides value to your site visitors.

The content you provide should be focusing on how to meet the needs of your visitors.

Notice that I don’t say it should be trying to promote your business as much as possible. The point of this content is on the visitor, not on you. When it comes to blog content, you’ll want to create information that’s helpful, rather than promotional. The fact that people visit your site and find it informative will accomplish far more for your SERP position than simply bleating about how amazing you are all the time.

What improves your search engine ranking isn’t how many times you talk about yourself, but how many visitors you get to your site for various keywords. Visitors don’t just type in keywords, though – they type in questions. If your site answers those questions, you’ll attract more visitors, your SERP position will rise, and you win at search.

Improve your SEO by improving your content.

The answer to improving SEO in 2017 is that you just plain need to produce good content.

Not lots of content.

Good content.

When you can provide information on a topic, thoroughly and completely, your website will rank higher for that topic. Plain and simple.

Knowing what topics to try and create content for is hard, though. So is figuring out the various long tailed keywords you can try and rank for while creating that amazing content you’ll be writing.

That’s where planning out your keyword strategy ahead of time comes in handy.

I created a helpful keyword planner to get you started.  It’ll help you turn one keyword into multiple related keywords.

Use them naturally throughout your blog, and you’ll find yourself rising through the ranks in search engine placements.

How to Look Like a Pro on Twitter When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

Whether you think Twitter is dying or not, it’s still a network worth paying attention to.

Frequently, businesses or people who like to regurgitate the gossip of Twitter being dead or dying are just plain bad at Twitter.  They think they’re active – but they’re really not.

Most businesses active on Twitter aren’t really as active as they think they are.  They put in a token amount of effort and call it good. They blame Twitter, not their inactivity or incompetence, on why they don’t see any results from the platform.

The thing about social media, Twitter included, is that you don’t get credit just for having an account and existing there. That’s not how social media works, and it’s not how you get visitors, site traffic, or increased search engine rankings. Social media and the internet don’t work like a checklist you just check off as you accumulate Required Internet Participation Activities.

Twitter isn’t a dying social media network. To the users who love it, it’s an extremely active, robust social media network, and it’s extremely useful to a variety of business industries.

Does your industry have news and events?

Guess what!

Your industry probably has other businesses and people – either prospects or potential new hires – who are active on Twitter.  It’s a place where people share information, and if anyone you’d like to do business with is active on Twitter, that makes it a network you should be active on.

Twitter is the network where news breaks. It’s fast, it’s brief, and it’s where businesses and personal brands alike can get more casual.  Or not, whatever floats your boat.

So how do you make your business look like a pro at Twitter without sinking hours and hours of effort into it?  It’s well and good to say you should be active on Twitter, but let’s face it, you don’t really care enough to sink hours and hours into learning it to a level to actually be a pro.

set up twitter for business

The obvious basics: get your profile picture and header image sorted out.

In order to be perceived as professional, you need to look the part. If you’re creating this Twitter profile on behalf of your company, then it needs to be the brand logo. It should be a PNG file, and it should be easily recognizable. It also needs to be in a square format.

Sure, your logo is probably an oval, or rectangle, but don’t crop the logo down using the profile crop tool. Use Photoshop or a similar tool to paste the logo onto a square, plain background (white or black or whatever your branding style guide describes), and then use that as the logo.

If you’re creating an individual Twitter profile, it needs to be about you – creating multiple accounts to represent your business only dilutes the branding and brand recognition. You don’t want people searching for your business to be confused about which account they should message if they have a question. You absolutely can create a personal Twitter and use it to help spread your business’s message – but let’s start with the basics before we start jumping into multiple accounts.

Your header image should be visually appealing and branded, but not look like it’s a clip out coupon from a bargain magazine. Use an image – stock photo or an image from a paid photoshoot for your business – that has elements of your business brand colors within it.

Make sure that the image is large enough that it doesn’t look pixelated, but also be sure that it’s not so large Twitter won’t accept it at all! Their upper limit is 10 MB, so as long as it’s not a massive image, you should be alright.

The bio – you want to use this to make finding you on other networks as easy as possible.

Use Bitly to generate a shortened link of both your business’s home page, and of the business’s LinkedIn page (or Facebook page).

In the link section when you edit your bio, put the bitly link to your business’s home page.

In your bio, use your value proposition as the description (if it’s too long to fit, figure out how you can rephrase it so that it does fit), and at the end, add the link to the other social media network.

This funnels people from Twitter, a low buying-commitment platform for B2B, to a different network that’s more likely to lead to conversions. LinkedIn is my preferred next step for business, but if you’re in B2C, or you’re already seeing success with Facebook, then by all means – use that in your shortened link instead.

Wondering why I’m telling you to use a link shortener? You should be customizing your URL so that you can easily see how much traffic you’re getting directly from the link in your Twitter bio. Learn more about doing that by reading through my past blog on the subject.

You want your bio to be succinct and to the point.

Once you’ve got the bio fleshed out, you’re done prepping the basics of your profile. This was the easy part.

using twitter for business

Next step: Interacting with people.

The hardest part about not looking like a complete dinosaur on Twitter is posting and interacting with other people on Twitter.

The easy thing to do is tell you what not to do.

  • Don’t use those free automated responder tools. You know, the ones that say “thanks for being an engaged member of my community! -courtesy freebie tool, get yours by clicking here!”. Those are cheesy, terrible, and don’t work nearly as well as they want you to believe.
  • Don’t use all caps – I can’t believe I still have to tell people this, but online, it looks like yelling. STAHP.
  • Don’t thank a follower for following you, and in the same tweet, send them a link to buy something from you. You know what gets people to unfollow you almost immediately? Doing that.

There’s some less obvious things that you’ll want to avoid doing as well.

Use hashtags correctly – don’t just add # in front of random words and consider that good. Hashtags are ways of sorting topics, much like the way you’d file papers in a filing cabinet. You don’t sort your papers by random words on those papers, right? You have files for various customers, or files for your car paper work, or home paperwork, insurance, etc.

That’s how a hashtag works. It’s how you can find tweets that other people have specifically tagged as being related to the word behind the #. In order to be a hashtag, everything behind the # needs to be one word – so you’ll end up with word monstrosities that don’t seem to make sense until you figure out what words were shoved together.

Don’t complain if someone follows you or interacts with you and they’re not in your target demographic. I see a surprising number of folks get offended, or at least perturbed, that I or a client end up following them, and we’re not a perfect fit for who that person thought they’d be attracting as followers.

Above all, try to treat people as kindly as you would treat them if you could see them face to face.  It’s easy to hide behind the anonymity of a screen to be nasty or snarky, and you may come across as rude without meaning to.  Try to err on the side of being too nice – no one ever got mad at a company for being too pleasant to talk to.

Relax! It’s the internet, and Twitter in particular has a short attention span. Follow people, if they don’t post information you find relevant or helpful, then unfollow them.

Easy peasy.

You can, and should, also look for people tweeting about topics related to your business or industry, and tweet at them. Tweet something conversational in response to their tweet, or simply thank them for sharing an article you liked. Over time, these small interactions build up into a community.

The key part of that is time. Expect this type of community building to take several months, if not a year or more.

In order to attract people to interact with, you’ll need to post.

Posting is relatively easy. You search for content from other people, and share it. Learn more about curated content here – it’ll keep your Twitter feed active and full, and encourage people to follow and interact with you.

Sharing your own content is the other key part.

For each blog post, aim to write at least 10 status variations to use on Twitter.

One way to generate this list of statuses is simply to use the headlines you decided not to use for the blog – or simply the multiple headlines you wrote to decide on which headlines you’d use for each social media channel. One of the best ways to write a really great headline is simply to write 20 variations of the same headline, and then pick the most compelling version.

When you’ve already written 20 headlines, you’ve got plenty to choose from for statuses.

If all of those headlines sound a little too similar to use every single day, start switching them up by framing them as a how to, or a question, or a tip pulled from the blog.

I’ve created a status writing guide to help you do this as easily as possible – when you get to the bottom of this blog post, just click on the button to get it!

You don’t want to just blast your own content for three days straight once you’ve written all of these statuses, though. Switch it up. Try to get yourself into the habit of posting 1 status of your own content for every 3 posts of curated content you find. This rule of thumb has served me well for the last few years, and continues to do so. Sometimes I post more of my own (or my clients’) content, sometimes less, but as a starting point, 1:3 is still a great ratio.

It’s important to post every day on Twitter, but that doesn’t mean you need to remember to log in to post every day. Use a scheduling tool instead – click here for a recap of my favorite social media tools for Twitter in particular.

That’s it, really. Post regularly, remember your manners, and avoid automation until you’re more comfortable with Twitter.

Yes, that’s right – I said avoid automation until you’re comfortable, not avoid automation like the devil.

As long as you post consistently, and make a point to find other accounts to interact with, you’ll see your follower count start to climb. You’ll also start generating site traffic from Twitter, and you’ll be able to use it as a resource to find breaking industry news. You can start being the first in your LinkedIn groups to share news – rather than learning about it a day or two after a major event has happened.

Your TEM Blog Sucks and This is Why

Content marketing, or, more practically speaking, blogging, is no longer really an optional marketing task for most businesses.  Regardless of industry, if you’re in the business of business to business, you need to have a blog to be considered competitive.

That’s pretty common knowledge, but less common is an understanding of why.  What’s the point of blogging?

To understand this, we’ll take an industry that, honestly, is pretty terrible at it: telecom expense management.

TEM blog

The biggest reason most B2B blogs fall flat on their faces:

Where most B2B blogs, including TEM, go very, very wrong, is that they forget the main reason for their existence: the reader.

In the case of our main example, telecom expense management, the most common type of blogs are press releases, “look at our features!”, or “how to use our software”.

Very little is really published about information that the general CFO or head of HR is going to be looking for as they scope out potential companies to partner with.  Sure, the content about the software, tools, or services that your TEM company offers is an essential part of your blogging mix – but you need content to appeal to those prospects who aren’t already customers.

Even your current customers probably aren’t reading the blogs detailing how to use the product or service you’re offering.  They already buy from you; why would they keep scoping out the information you share?

Most often, the people who are influencing buy decisions are crawling through your website, examining your white papers, informational pages, pricing packages, and then scrolling through your blog posts to see what information is there.

Here’s the funny thing about these people who spend a ton of time on your website, clearly indicating an interest in purchasing: they’re usually not the ones signing off on the final purchase.  They’re “just” the people who influence that buy-in from the C-suite or directors of their department.

Think about your own company.  How much time does your CEO, CFO, CTO, etc, actually spend researching new solutions or partners before buying in?

Do they really spend their valuable time on Google, looking up options?

Or do they assign the task to someone in their department, often a younger person (those pesky millennials!) who has the bandwidth for a research task?

So your blogs need to stop trying to show off how amazing you think you are, and instead offer information that’ll make life easier for those poor underlings who are looking for the best possible solution.

Let me say it again: Shut up about yourself already. Write about the intricacies or average daily routine of what you do.  These are things the average company probably doesn’t know anything about, which allows you to subtly point to your own business as the reader’s resource for those things.

Use Google Trends, Google Key Word planner, or just plain Google phrases related to what you do to get ideas.

Telecom expense management in particular has a very, very sad blogging landscape.  The top links for “telecom expense management” on its own is all top companies that will be hard for your smaller company (or smaller budget) to compete against.

Instead, what are phrases your prospects are more likely to use?

What are questions that indicate a prospect really, truly needs your services?

I’m going to guess it’s something like “how to audit telco invoices”, “how to keep BYOD secure”, or something along those lines.  Specific questions that indicate the person searching has a question they need answered – and since they’re googling it, their current solution isn’t working.

Those phrases are referred to as “long tail keywords”, and they’re your ticket for better blogs.

You don’t need to write a blog detailing how someone in a finance department would audit an invoice from each and every possible telecommunications provider, because a) that’s silly and b) that knowledge is precisely what someone would hire you for.

Instead, write a general guide – a listicle, even – of the most common items that need to be reviewed, and are on most invoices for most telcos.

As a bonus, you can offer that list as a little printable checklist, which your readers can get by just offering up their name and email address.  You’ve provided them with a helpful piece of content (the most common invoice errors), and they’ve given you something valuable in return: their contact info.

What to do with those email addresses now that you’ve got them is the topic of another post, but the takeaway here is that the way you get that email address in the first place is you offer helpful content.

There’s more content on the internet now than ever before, and readers are becoming conditioned to it.  They tune out blogs and information that’s just a repeat of what they already know, or they refuse to even click through or read content that’s clearly just an advertisement.

Your technical, long tail keyword-targeted blogs aren’t going to get hundreds of thousands of visitors, but they’re really not supposed to.

Instead, you want that handful of people who have that question, and want to see what you have to say to answer it.

Those people are prospects, and they’re worth more than a thousand visits from non-prospects.

telecom expense management marketing

Don’t forget to not be a sleazeball in your blog posts!

Once you write a blog post that’s a resource of helpful information, condensed into 500 – 1,000 words, you’ll have to fight the urge to sprinkle references to your business throughout the blog.

Or, you’ll have to push back against your boss/management to not end every paragraph with “and that’s why you should work with us!  You can reach us at 1-800-No-One-Is-Ever-Going-To-Call-You-Because-Of-This!”

You really, really don’t have to push your services within your blog post because the blog post is hosted on your website.

The people reading your blog post already know that you’re the business who published it.

Which means if they’re curious about you, they can click around on your site and figure it out on their own.

They don’t need you treating them like a 5 year old in kindergarten, who needs to be reminded every 5 minutes that they’re learning something.  They’re smart enough to decide, on their own, that they want to learn more about your business, and click around on your website to figure it out.

So make sure that your packages or services page is compelling, and that you’ve loaded all your sales-speak there – because that’s where prospects will end up if they’ve decided they like you enough.

You don’t need to shove your business’s offerings down the throats of your blog readers constantly throughout the blog post.

You just need to get them to your website in the first place – and they’ll handle the rest.