Posts Tagged ‘Ardath Albee’

14 Brilliant B2B Marketing Strategy Guides

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Much has been written about how the internet in general, and the explosion of content marketing in particular, has changed the nature of b2b marketing. In less than a generation, information has gone from being scarce to overabundant. Today’s b2b buyers are typically 70% of the way through their purchase process before they contact a vendor’s sales team.

B2B brand emotional connectionInformation proliferation means buyers are better-informed than ever about potential approaches to solving  problems, and the related product and service alternatives. But the increased availability of data means vendors are also more knowledgeable about what matters to buyers, how they conduct research, which content resonates with prospective customers (and what types of content fall flat), how to refine and act on key measures and metrics, and most importantly, how decisions are ultimately made. The old “sales funnel” model is giving way to more sophisticated analytical frameworks.

How should b2b marketers adjust their strategies to keep up with this evolution? What types of messages matter most to today’s buyers? Which long-held beliefs of b2b marketers need to be discarded? What do elite marketers do well that their more average counterparts don’t?

Find the answers to those questions and others here in more than a dozen insightful guides to b2b marketing strategy from the past year.

How To Market For the Top Four B2B Business Growth Strategies by g2m Solutions

Sarah PernSarah Pern examines “four major business growth strategies identified by the Ansoff Product-Market Matrix and shows you how to develop marketing strategies that are aligned with achieving the business goals you want.” For example, recommended marketing strategies for the business growth approach of market development include market research to help develop rich buyer personas, and awareness building using “online advertising…PR, SEO, Social Media, attending exhibitions, sponsoring events” (basically all of the elements of the web presence optimization framework) plus outbound tactics.

How To Do It Right: Demand Generation by Forbes

Patrick SpennerPatrick Spenner brilliantly makes that case that b2b marketers should focus on “improving the connections among stakeholders at customer organizations” rather than those between the supplier and individual stakeholders. He astutely notes that personas are often created as isolated individuals, with the connections between the different stakeholders who make up the B2B customer buying team left unexplored and unaddressed.

New Study Shows That Most B2B Marketing is Talking Past Customers by Ideas@Work

Glenn TaylorGlenn Taylor reports on the disconnect between what B2B companies tend to say about themselves and what potential customers want to hear (that is, what types of messages contribute most to perceived brand strength. He advises vendors to take the “opportunity to dig into your positioning and try to tell your story and the ‘why’ of what you do. Statements like ‘driver of innovation’ or ‘leader in our field’ are over done and past their prime. Most marketers cannot deliver on these and almost no customer believes them.”

4 Ways Elite Social Brands Separate Themselves From The Pack In B2B by MediaPost

John_LeeJohn Lee details four practices used by the most successful social brands in B2B, such as using measurement to drive integration (“Lack of measurement is the number one reason that social fails…Nearly 90 percent of brands measure volume and engagement (likes, followers, etc.), but only 31% measure it against revenue”), and developing individual strategies for each social media platform.

B2B Marketing Trends That Will Shape Your Strategy by Anders Pink

Steve RaysonNoting that B2B marketers have been gradually shifting effort and budget from outbound to inbound marketing channels “as buyers increasingly manage the early stages of the buying process without contacting vendors by reviewing websites, talking to peers in the industry and reviewing resources. This allows them to often filter and shortlist without ever talking to a sales rep,” Steve Rayson details eight strategy-shaping trends, including changes in buyer behavior, SEO, and corporate websites, along with the growth in content marketing and social media.

B2B Marketers Need To Step Up Emotional Connections by MediaPost

Laurie SullivanB2C marketing is often perceived as emotion-based, while B2B buyers decide based on facts and logic. The reality turns out to be quite different though; Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research which found “Emotional connections are much more ‘intense’ for business-to-business clients compared with B2C…Between 40% and 70% of customers feel emotionally connected to brands like Oracle, Accenture, FedEx, SAP, and Salesforce, compared with between 10% and 40% for CVS, L’Oreal, and Wal-Mart.” B2B marketers need to become more adept at presenting the professional, social, emotional, and personal value of their products and services.

Everything We Thought We Knew About B-to-B Marketing Is Wrong by Forbes

Scott GillumExpanding on the findings reported in the post above, Scott Gillum reveals that “The company customers say that they are most emotionally connected to is…Cisco.” B2B purchases involve professional risk, particularly for the internal champion, and Cisco is very good at reducing risk for buyers. Furthermore, “Cisco is able to create…’personal value’ consisting of four parts: professional, social, emotional and self-image benefits.”

6 Persuasion Techniques: Science in B2B Marketing by Ideas@Work Blog

Vann MorrisFollowing up on the post above, Vann Morris describes half-a-dozen techniques for tapping into B2B buyer emotion, such as liking: “Research shows that we are more likely to say yes to people we like, and we tend to like people who are similar to us, people who complement us, and people who cooperate with us toward a common goal.” Creating the vision of that “common goal” (and the buyer’s emotional attachment to it) is a powerful marketing technique.

7 Tactics that Are Working for B2B Lead Generation Today by CustomerThink

Louis FoongLouis Foong shares seven tactics that work in b2b marketing today, among them lead scoring using behavioral data (“For example, when a prospect signs up for a free trial, you should attach a higher score to that behaviour than when a new subscriber gets added to your email newsletter list”); progressive lead profiling (asking for new, additional information each time a specific prospect converts); and social retargeting (“If a prospect is just about floating at the top of the funnel, gated content won’t work—you need to give away something valuable, easily, with no strings attached. Gated content will work for prospects that are already quite convinced that your company has the knowledge to educate them on specific problems they are challenged with”).

The Myth of the Infinite Selling Universe by DemandBase

Ardath AlbeeThe always-insightful Ardath Albee exposes the myth (often used when raising venture capital) that the pool of prospective buyers for a company’s product or service is infinite; why this myth is dangerous (“it costs more to generate more leads. It costs more for salespeople to spend more time following up with more leads. This increases the cost per opportunity.”); and suggests how marketers should focus their time on the small set of ideal prospects.

Five Ideas on the Business-to-Individual Concept for B2B Marketers by MarketingSherpa

David KirkpatrickReflecting discussions with industry experts including Brian Carroll and Brian Solis, David Kirkpatrick offers “five lessons on why you should be marketing to the individual, even as a B2B marketer,” among them: “Creating relationships should be a philosophy, not just a marketing strategy”; relevance matters; and the customer is now completely in charge of the buying process, so b2b vendors must “make it easy for those prospects to conduct self-discovery and self-service…provide content and tools that enable those potential prospects to make the decision to buy from you.”

5 Buyer Behaviors Reshaping B2B Marketing by iMedia Connection

Tony ZambitoFrequent best-of honoree Tony Zambito delves into five buyer behaviors that marketers need to be aware of and respond to, including that buyers embrace collaboration; they want to be involved in the co-creation of products and services; and “buyers want less content – yet desire smart content.”

B2B Marketing’s Measurement Problem by B2B Digital Marketing

Eric WittlakeWriting “It is called a complex sale for a reason, but B2B marketers keep trying to fit it into a simplistic measurement framework: where did we get that lead?,” Eric Wittlake explains why simple B2B marketing metrics are not just ineffective but also misleading, and offers recommendations on how to “more effectively measure the impact of marketing on your business.” (We would agree that a new breed of marketing metrics is needed to understand cross-channel impacts.)

The Forgotten Stars of B2B Lead Conversion by Business2Community

Christabelle TaniWarning about the dangers of forgetting the “less glamorous but vitally important tactical elements that do a lot of the the hard, relentless work of attracting and converting visitors to real leads,” Christabelle Tani outlines three simple yet vital components of lead generation, including social proof (“evidence that other human beings are advocating your company and what you sell”) and their role in each stage of the sales funnel.

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The Top #Nifty50 Women Writers on Twitter for 2013

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Each year, the #Nifty50 awards honor 50 men and 50 women who actively engage on Twitter. 2011 was the inaugural year. In 2012, the #Nifty50 recognized the top men and women on Twitter in the technology realm.

The #Nifty50 Women Writers on Twitter for 2013The purpose of the award is to acknowledge the contributions of honorees to their fields, as well as their level of engagement on Twitter; to encourage interaction with these leaders; and to expand social networks. When the timing is right, the #Nifty50 will be expanded to include an element of social good—the #Nifty50 Kids project, which will provide access to advanced technologies for low-income children.

This year’s #Nifty50 highlights men and women who write—more specifically, who regularly produce some form of business-related online content (blog posts, news articles, videos, infographics, etc.)—and who actively engage on Twitter. The honorees include both full-time (e.g., journalists, authors, or PR professionals) and part-time writers (e.g., bloggers).

Since the first awards, the #Nifty50 hashtag has been tweeted and retweeted nearly 7,000 times, with a total exposure of more than 50 million people, according to Topsy. The #Nifty50 was also featured in the new book by Mark (@mnburgess) and Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess), The Social Employee (McGraw-Hill, August 2013) How Great Companies Make Social Media Work – Success Lessons from IBM, AT&T, Dell, Cisco, Southwest Airlines, Adobe, and Domo on building a social culture.

For 2013, we’re pleased to honor 50 women (below) and 50 men (in a post on the Blue Focus Marketing Blog) who are both outstanding writers and content producers and active social media connectors and engagers. Beyond their professional lives, the interests of these women range from the fairly conventional (travel, food, wine, health, fashion, family) to the unexpected (Star Wars, Milk Duds, beer, Swedish fish).

We’re proud to acknowledge these 50 women from 48 different organizations as the top #Nifty50 women writers on Twitter for 2013. You can find and subscribe to or follow the entire list on Twitter here.

(Editor’s note: Though I’d be proud to claim her as a member of my extended clan, I’m fairly certain that Marissa Pick and I have no familial relationship.)

Jennifer Aaker
@Aaker

Jennifer Aaker

 

Diana Adams
@adamsconsulting

Diana Adams

 

Ardath Albee
@ardath421

Ardath Albee

 

Kare Anderson
@kareanderson

Kare Anderson

 

Judy Bellem
@JudyBellem

Judy Bellem

 

Meghan M. Biro
@MeghanMBiro

Meghan M. Biro

 

Susan Borst
@susanborst

Susan Borst

 

Lisa Buyer
@lisabuyer

Lisa Buyer

 

Sandy Carter
@sandy_carter

Sandy Carter

 

Karima-Catherine
@karimacatherine

Karmia-Catherine

 

Ann Charles
@annmcharles

Ann Charles

 

Dorie Clark
@dorieclark

Dorie Clark

 

Heidi Cohen
@heidicohen

Heidi Cohen

 

Julie Cottineau
@JCottin

Julie Cottineau

 

Gini Dietrich
@ginidietrich

Gini Dietrich

 

Jenna Dobkin
@JennaSD

Jenna Dobkin

 

Esther Dyson
@edyson

Esther Dyson

 

Marni Edelhart
@CarpeDiFemme

Marni Edelhart

 

Kristi Eells
@Kristi_Eells

Kristi Eells

 

Laurie Friedman
@lauriefriedman

Laurie Friedman

 

Anne Deeter Gallaher
@AnneDGallaher

Anne Deeter Gallaher

 

Ann Handley
@annhandley

Ann Handley

 

Catherine Hays
@catharinehays

Catherine Hays

 

Elizabeth Hitchcock
@ElizHitchcock

Elizabeth Hitchcock

 

Amy Howell
@HowellMarketing

Amy Howell

 

Martine Hunter
@martinehunter

Martine Hunter

 

Jennifer Kane
@JenKaneCo

Jennifer Kane

 

Julie Kehoe
@juliekehoe

Julie Kehoe

 

Katrina Klier
@KatrinaKlier

Katrina Klier

 

Shelly Kramer
@shellykramer

Shelly Kramer

 

Megan Leap
@MeganLeap

Megan Leap

 

Heather Lloyd-Martin
@heatherlloyd

Heather Lloyd-Martin

 

Margaret Molloy
@MargaretMolloy

Margaret Molloy

 

Wendy Marx
@wendymarx

Wendy Marx

 

Lori Moreno
@LoriMoreno

Lori Moreno

 

Marissa Pick
@marissapick

Marissa Pick

 

Maria Poveromo
@mariapoveromo

Maria Poveromo

 

Tonia Ries
@tonia_ries

Tonia Ries

 

Jill Rowley
@jill_rowley

Jill Rowley

 

Lori Ruff
@LoriRuff

Lori Ruff

 

Angie Schottmuller
@aschottmuller

Angie Schottmuller

 

Esta H. Singer
@sheconsulting

Esta H. Singer

 

Mari Smith
@marismith

Mari Smith

 

Michele Smorgon
@maxOz

Michele Smorgon

 

Elizabeth Sosnow
@elizabethsosnow

Elizabeth Sosnow

 

Jayme Soulati
@Soulati

Jayme Soulati

 

Ann Tran
@AnnTran_

Ann Tran

 

Casie Vogel
@casievogel

Casie Vogel

 

Deborah Weinstein
@DebWeinstein

Deb Weinstein

 

Patricia Wilson
@brandcottage

Patricia Wilson

 

Again, you can find and follow the entire 2013 #Nifty50 Twitter women’s list here.

 

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33 Phenomenal Content Marketing and Copywriting Guides and Tips

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Content marketing represents the most fundamental and widespread rethinking of marketing practices in decades. Unlike other modifiers attached to the discipline (consumer marketing, b2b marketing, trade show marketing, digital marketing), the term “content marketing” doesn’t describe an audience, tactic, or channel, but rather a completely different approach to marketing.

Content and Branding InfographicContent marketing turns the dominant paradigm of the last half-century—interruption-based mass marketing—on its head. Rather than interrupting prospective customers with content they generally didn’t want (product pitches) while they were consuming content they did (entertainment or news), content marketing entices targeted buyers with entertaining (consumer) or informative (b2b) content that also happens to reflect the company’s brand messages or product/service strengths.

Disruptive as it is, this philosophical shift has spread widely and quickly: according to recent research, “86 percent of companies serving consumers and 92 percent of ‘business to business’ companies now use content marketing.”

Since content marketing itself is no longer a differentiator, practitioners are asking questions like: how can I efficiently create a steady stream of fresh, relevant content? What types of content are most valuable to my sales prospects? How can content be optimized to support search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? What metrics are most helpful in measuring success and support continual improvement?

Discover the answers to these questions and many more here in more than 30 of the best content marketing articles and blog posts of the past year.

Content Marketing Guides, Tips and Tactics

5 Ways to Clone Great Social Media Content by SteamFeed

Jennifer KaneHelpfully pointing out that “You likely already have strong content on hand (either on-line somewhere or even stuck in a file cabinet in your office.) Instead of developing new stuff from scratch, riff on/reuse this stockpile of awesomesauce and use it more strategically,” Jennifer Kane proposes a handful of techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, such as “Drill down or spiral off on your content themes…if a piece of your preexisting content has resonated with your audience, consider using it as source material for a more in-depth examination of the topic or to jump off on a sub-topic tangent that will enable you to expand the perception your audience has of your brand.”

Digital Natives: How They Are Changing the Content Marketing Game by Content Marketing Institute

Patricia RedsickerPatricia Redsicker presents six strategies content marketers need to embrace in order to address the information needs and wants of digital natives–those born “between the mid-1970s and the late 1990s, (who) have grown up during our current golden age of digital technology. Now in their mid-teens to mid-thirties, people in this generation came of age knowing how to interact with technology and are comfortable using it to their advantage.” Among her recommendations are focusing on content that builds trust, that efficiently answers simple questions quickly, and that makes content consumers feel valued.

Corporate Content Marketing for Best in Class Results by Creative Marketing Channel

Catherine LockeyNoting that “Best in class companies utilize content marketing for brand awareness, customer acquisition, lead generation, and customer retention” and that most companies plan to increase budgets in this area, Catherine Lockey answers six key questions about content marketing, such as “How do best in class companies create all of their great content?” The answer to that one is outsourcing; roughly half of all small companies and three-quarters of large firms outsource at least a portion of their content creation efforts.

Seeking Marketing Alpha by Propel Growth Blog

Candyce EdelenThough the panel discussion this post was written to promote is long past, the thoughts about content marketing shared here by  Candyce Edelen are still well worth a read. “The Internet and email make it easier and cheaper to make noise, resulting in a virtual cacophony of marketing claims barraging customers every day – with everyone claiming to be ‘the leading, number-one, unique, value-added, trusted provider’ of ‘robust, innovative, cutting-edge, high-performance, ultra low-latency technology….’ Yawn. How can every vendor be the ‘leading provider’ anyway?”

Content Marketing in 6 Steps by Social Media Today

Steven Van BelleghemSteven Van Belleghem lays out “the 6 crucial steps to take in order to end up with a good content strategy,” starting with topic selection (determining what’s at the intersection of your company’s unique internal expertise and the information needs/wants of your market) and proceeding through measuring marketing performance (based on the content marketing objectives you’ve established).

Long Live Content Marketing by Rebelations

Rebel BrownRebel Brown offers practical guidance on how to avoid self-promotion and salesy content that “will send your audiences running” and instead focus on providing value: “For example, let’s say your audience is challenged by performance problems with their applications. Don’t send them a piece of content all about your faster processor, database, system or whatever. That’s obnoxious and pretty blatant self-promotion!  Instead,  share a piece of content about the key aspects of their infrastructure that they might want to check for problems. Share your expertise to guide them through the process to better understand their issues.”

5 CEO-Worthy Metrics for Demonstrating Inbound Marketing Success by Marketo B2B Marketing Blog

Jon MillerJon Miller outlines five key inbound marketing metrics to measure and continually improve content marketing success, such as lead generation by content and channel: “Beyond core organic traffic and leads, track lead generation by content asset and source.  What sources are driving the most traffic? What kinds of content drive the most leads? The most revenue?  It can also be insightful to track how these vary by product line or business unit.”

Feeding The Content Marketing Beast – 7 Places to Find Cheap Content by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenNoting that two of the biggest challenges content marketers face are “producing sufficient content” and “having enough budget to cover the cost of content,” Heidi Cohen has compiled almost two dozen recommendations for developing content cost-effectively, from repurposing speeches delivered by company executives and soliciting employee contributions to reworking content from your distributors and suppliers.

What Tech Buyers Want From Content by Marketing Interactions

Ardath AlbeeArdath Albee reveals three key attributes that technology buyers value in marketing content, including freshness: “58% (of technology buyers in a UBM TechWeb survey) said they wanted content that was timely and current (while) only 11% said they’d consider content more than 18 moths old.” If you’ve got older content that is still relevant to buyers, refresh it to keep it current with the state of your industry.

Don’t Forget the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing by The Content Cocktail

Christina PappasChristina Pappas shares a seven-step checklist for making sure that your content contributes to company goals, without being too pushy or salesy, among them “Make sure there is an offer or connection to your product in every piece of content…every piece of content you publish should have some tie-back to your company and the solutions you provide to the market. This doesn’t have to be obvious and it doesn’t have to be smothered all over the thing, but it should be there somewhere,” such as links to white papers or other related assets at the end of a blog post or report.

Exploring the Five Cs of Content Marketing at Cisco by IT Services Marketing Association

Sherri LieboSherri Liebo identifies the “5 Cs” that Cisco Services looks at to better listen to customers when creating and sharing marketing content, including Customers (“What are customers looking for?”),  Competition (“What is the competition doing? How does Cisco Services compare?”) and Collaborators (“What is happening with our channel and strategic partners?”).

Research: B2B Buyers Want Content by Social Marketing Forum

J-P DeClerckJ-P De Clerck summarizes findings from Base One’s Buyersphere Survey regarding the content needs of business buyers. While the study focused on Europe, its findings are more broadly applicable, such as that “87% of…buyers look for advice before buying…The first source when doing so: Web searches. With 71% of respondents who look for information, searches are by far the main source of information.” Among other findings:

  • • Business buyers are most active in sharing content on forums, LinkedIn and blogs;
  • • Younger members of the buying team are most likely to read white papers and blogs, and attend webinars; and
  • • Buyers “who are working in IT were more likely to have downloaded whitepapers (36%) or read blogs (28%)” than those in other industries.

J-P has also launched a blog, Content Marketing Experience, focused exclusively on content marketing issues and guidance. His post Five Reasons No One Shares Your Content is spot on and well worth a read.

Content Marketing: 3 tips for how to get started by MarketingSherpa

Daniel BursteinDaniel Burstein dispels three myths than hold content marketers back or prevent them from getting the support they need within the organization, such as “‘We don’t want to give away our secrets.’
If you can’t give potential customers enough information about how you do what you do (whether that is fixing plumbing leaks or improving marketing performance), then why should they trust you with their business?” And McDonald’s “secret sauce” is (shhhh)…Thousand Island dressing.

4 secrets to successful content marketing by iMedia Connection

Jacqueline McDermott LiskWriting that “the digital world allows us to measure just about anything, including three factors that help marketers gauge the success of their content: click-through rates, time spent on content, and shares via social media,” Jacqueline McDermott Lisk outlines strategies for producing high-quality content that will both improve these statistics and drive business results.

Sweet talk your leads and move them through the sales funnel by Polaris B

Shelley PringleBecause not all “leads” are ready to turn immediately into buyers, Shelley Pringle outlines a four-step process for converting those leads into customers over time. The process starts with understanding your prospects’ buying cycle and creating content for the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.

Sourcing B2B Content For Marketing Strategy! 11 Timeless Examples #FTW by aimClear Blog

Marty WeintraubMarty Weintraub presents “11 timeless content creation examples that have always worked,” among them demystifying myths (“Nearly every sales process is up against some level of customers’ misconceptions and other informational obstacles. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and address these sales impediments head on”), covering industry events in real time, excerpting white papers (a great content idea), and interviewing industry experts.

Content Marketing and SEO

10 Reasons Why You Need an Optimized Content Strategy Now by iMedia Connection

Krista LaRiviereKrista LaRiviere, CEO of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs, explains how recent Google algorithm changes (including more emphasis on social signals, the clampdown on low-value backlinks, the Google +1 button, and freshness updates) now make optimized, user-focused content more important than ever for search rankings.

How to create search friendly content by Bing Blogs

This post explains how to create optimized content more efficiently by creating a template or repeatable process for content development, and presents seven tips for discovering tinely topics to write about, incorporating keywords, using hooks to capture readers’ attention, and more.

Content Marketing – Think Campaigns Not Just Links, Your Guide to TOFU by SEOmoz

Kieran FlanaganNoting that “From an SEO viewpoint, the interest in great content is to attract links, where as a lot of what Google is looking to eliminate are examples of where content is used to build links”—particularly in the wake of its Panda and Penguin updates—Kieran Flanagan steps through an approach that puts business objectives first, with links and shares tracked but not viewed as the primary goal.

Infographics, Images and Video

5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas recommends five content marketing techniques for obtaining and retaining the attention of your prospective buyers by going beyond text: “Sometimes you need some inspiration and you need to try some new ideas and different media that may provide a nudge to try something different and creative outside your comfort zone…Images and photos are much more likely to be shared than an article or a white paper. Videos or infographics will be shared at high velocity compared the the humble ‘written word’ that have been with us for millenia.”

7 Steps to Make Your Infographic a Success by SEOmoz

Slavik VolinskyInfographics can be great for generating re-posts and inbound linke—if done properly. Slavik Volinsky explains what works (e.g., start with a great idea and great distribution plan: “To create a great distribution plan, approach your industry’s ‘big minds’ and ask for their feedback with full intention of listening & improving the infographic”) and what doesn’t.

The History of Content Marketing [Infographic] – Corporate Storytelling is Not New by Content Marketing Institute

Joe PulizziContent marketing guru Joe Pulizzi presents a fascinating history of content marketing, from cave paintings and 19th-century “customer magazines” through the emergence of corporate blogs, business video, microsites, and the proliferation of content marketing sites, books and resources.

Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post by MarketingSherpa

Advising marketers to “focus on the message, not the medium” Daniel Burstein (again) offers half a dozen suggestions for taking content beyond blog posts and white papers, like creating a mobile app or a useful online tool “Like the ESPinator from ClickMail Marketing, which helps email marketers choose an ESP that helps them best fit their needs.”

The future of content marketing by iMedia Connection

Rebecca LiebRebecca Lieb reports on research showing that larger, more sophisticated content marketers are gradually “lessening their dependence on text-based channels” and focusing more on video and images. Interestingly, she also notes that “Search, email, blogging, digital PR, and  even (brace yourself) advertising have, and will continue to have a place at the table as content marketing grows in importance,” or in other words, that web presence optimization will get more attention.

7 Rules For Writing Awesome Content by Small Business Trends

Lisa BaroneLisa Barone presents seven writing rules to help in crafting content that will inspire customers to act, including telling stories (“If you want to improve your writing, stop lecturing to people and to start telling them stories”); experimenting (“Improve your writing by experimenting with new mediums [videos, infographics, contests, polls, Twitter chats] instead of getting caught in the same pattern of content”); and to avoid generic messages, “write as if you’re writing to one reader.”

Is Content Marketing The New Advertising? by Forbes
***** 5 STARS

Michael BrennerMichael Brenner shares a highly bookmark-worthy infographic that positions 16 different content formats along the dimensions of attention required from the audience and ease of implementation. For example, social media generally requires little attention from the audience (being very short form), and also little effort, while something like an app, telecast or interactive game is at the other end of the spectrum on both dimensions.

How You Can Use Infographics to Tell a Story by Social Media Club

Mireille MassueMireille Massue offers six steps for creating a compelling infographic (such as making it sharable by submitting it to Infographic Directories); nine resources to learn more about infographics; and (of course), an infographic outlining eight steps to create an infographic.

The 6 Best Slideshare Decks on Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Michel Brenner (again) passes along half a dozen noteworthy slide decks about content marketing, from experts like Rand Fishkin, Joe Pulizzi, and Rebecca Lieb and Charlene Li, whose Winning Content Strategies presentation notes that “77% of Internet users do not engage with online advertising. A shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing is imperative to brand survival.”

Expert Copywriting Tips

Harvard Lesson: Verbs Beat Adjectives by Neuromarketing

Roger DooleyRoger Dooley, commenting on one of the toughest sales jobs of all—”selling” yourself to Harvard Business School, where nine out of 10 applicants are rejected—concludes that verbs sell more powerfully than adjectives. Verbs persuade more effectively because they “require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question…These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.”

Using Great Storytelling To Grow Your Business by Fast Company

Kaihan KrippendorffFormer McKinsey consultant Kaihan Krippendorff outlines two approaches for producing more compelling content (or presentations): using LOTS (“language of the senses…When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you”) and building on your story spine–a structured approach to use in opening a presentation or throughout a longer document.

25-point Web copy checklist: How to write for Google by Success Works
***** 5 STARS

Heather Lloyd-MartinHeather Lloyd-Martin provides a remarkable checklist for creating content that will appeal to human readers and search engines alike, from starting with a customer persona and keyword/topic research to crafting a compelling title and meta description to effectively “sell the click” to searchers.

Copywriting: How to improve headlines on landing pages and blog posts by MarketingSherpa

Adam T. SuttonAdam T. Sutton, noting that “people are busy. You need to write a headline that convinces them to ignore distractions and pay attention,” outlines four attributes of value to consider when crafting headlines along with five tips for writing attention-grabbing headlines, such as front-loading (start with the most valuable phrase, e.g. “Get Paid to Take Online Surveys” is a much better headline than “We Can Help You Get Paid to Take Online Surveys”).

Write the Best Titles for Content Marketing: A 10-Point Checklist by Content Marketing Institute

Roger C. ParkerRoger C. Parker recommends 10 questions to ask when writing headlines, such as “Does your title clearly promise a desired benefit?,” “Did you emphasize your intended readers in your title?” (for example, “C. J. Hayden’s ‘Get Clients Now: A 28-day Marketing Program for Professionals, Coaches, & Consultants’ targets readers by occupation”), and “Does your title include the keywords readers use searching for information online?.”

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17 (of the) Best Email Marketing Guides of 2011

Monday, February 27th, 2012

As figures below show, email marketing remains a vital element of modern B2B and B2C marketing programs. More than four out of five internet users check their email first when they go online for business each day, and nearly three-quarters check email six or more times per day. Email messages generate 15 to 20 times the response rate of traditional paper direct mail—while costing much less and being more environmentally friendly.

Email and social media play well together. 81% of marketers are now using social media to expand the reach of their email content, as businesses that combine their email and social media efforts see faster list growth and higher click-through rates than those using email alone.

With that in mind, what are the best practices for combining email with social media marketing? What are the most effective tactics for growing a relevant opt-in subscriber list? How can marketers determine the best frequency for their email campaigns? Write subject lines that increase open rates? Avoid common mistakes that make their messages less impactful?

Find the answers to these questions and many more here in some of the best email marketing guides, articles and blog posts of the past year.

Email Marketing Tips & Tactics

How Uncoordinated Emails Can Kill Off B2B Prospects by MarketingProfs

Ardath AlbeeFrequent best-of honoree Ardath Albee explains how email programs can go wrong when a customer or prospect receives email messages from multiple departments for different purposes, and the efforts are improperly (or not at all) coordinated–and how to avoid losing subscribers as a result.

Common HTML Email Design Mistakes by In The Box

Noting that “While HTML emails may appear to be miniature web pages, they possess a unique set of quirks and limitations,” Chelsea Rio details six common email html mistakes (e.g. over-reliance on images, particularly large images) and how to avoid them–assuring that what you intend is what your readers actually see.

20 Tips for developing a Successful Email Marketing Campaign by Web SEO Analytics

Dimitris ZotosDimitris Zotos provides 20 helpful email marketing tips here, from using A/B testing (to test styles, colors and fonts in order to optimize your subscription page) to having clear policies about privacy and sending frequency to adding sharing buttons to make it easy for readers to share your content.

5 cardinal rules of email etiquette by iMedia Connection

Writing that “businesses need to be mindful of a few best practices before engaging via email, as it is a very personal channel and one misstep can cause a customer to hit the unsubscribe button,” Craig Fitzgerald presents a few simple email etiquette rules such as respecting frequency: “You don’t want to over-saturate email inboxes, but you also don’t want consumers to forget about you.”

6 Tactics to Determine B2B Email Frequency by Mass Transit

Adam Holden-BacheAdam Q. Holden-Bache passes along six methods for determining the right email frequency for your audience, so that you maximize potential returns without over-communicating and alienating your subscribers. For example, check your metrics: “If you see open/click rate drop-off and lowering conversation metrics, that will tell you that recipients aren’t responding to your campaigns. If you see steady or increased activity from your emails, then its likely you’re campaign schedule is at worst at an acceptable level.”

5 Tips To Dive Into Email Metrics by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Reporting that “when trying to communicate with prospects, organizations are using e-newsletters most (72%) vs. social networks (48%) and blogs (46%),” Nathaniel Cramer advises email marketers on how to take action based on common email metrics list open rates, click-through rates and conversion rates.

The State of Email Marketing (Infographic) by Constant Contact
***** 5 STARS

Discover why email marketing remains popular, based on hard data: 74% of online adults say email is their preferred form of commercial communication. 83% report that email is the “first tool they check when going online for their business each day.” 72% say they check their email six or more times per day. And “even Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that email is the first thing she checks in the morning and the last thing at night.”

How to Write Effective Email Subject Lines

How to Write Better Email Subject Lines by The Lunch Pail

Patti RennerPointing out that “Email marketing is only as strong as its open rates,” Patti Renner explains the “5 C’s” or great email subject lines and throws in some additional tips, such as keeping it short, avoiding redundancy (e.g., “If your From line includes your business name, your subject line doesn’t need to repeat it”) and using acronyms and jargon carefully.

The 4 Words That Will Get Your Email Opened by Copyblogger

Sean PlattSean Platt reveals what these four words are, what kind of results they can generate, why they are so effective, and how to support those words in the body of your email message, no matter what type of product or service you sell.

Best Practices for Integrating Email and Social Media Marketing

5 Email Marketing & Social Media Musts For 2011 by iMedia Connection

Curt KellerCurt Keller offers some outstanding guidance on how to integrate email and social media marketing activities, such as “Run through your social media presences with a magnet, grab every comment that praises your brand to the high heavens, and stuff them in your next email: either as a section or as the focus of an entire newsletter.”

Email Plus Facebook Marketing: Fresh ideas from FreshPair by MarketingSherpa Blog

Daniel BursteinDaniel Burstein interviews Lindsay Massey, Marketing Director at Freshpair about integrating Facebook and email marketing activities, because as Lindsay notes, “We look at email and social as great complements to each other, and we definitely don’t see email as ‘dead.’ After all, how does Facebook notify you that you have new comments or messages? Email!”

How to Grow and Manage an Opt-In Email Subscriber List

10 Effective Ways to Get More Email List Subscribers by KISSmetrics

Sherice JacobSherice Jacob provides 10 tips to maximize the quality of subscribers on your email list, not just the quantity. Included on her list: make your submit button interactive, encourage readers to forward your newsletter, and offer special deals to new subscribers. Not included (thankfully)–displaying an annoying pop-up box to new site visitors.

21 Awesome Ideas to Grow Your Email List by HubSpot Blog

Michael Redbord lists almost two dozen “ideas for offers that can help dramatically increase the size of your email list and lead conversion volume,” such as education (eBooks, whitepapers, buyer’s guides), free stuff, and online tools (e.g. ROI calculators, “grader” apps).

You Bought a List… Now What? by iMedia Connection

Gary HalliwellGary Halliwell shares five tips for effectively using and managing a purchased list for B2B marketing purposes, starting with effective planning: “List buying should be part of a larger strategic plan. Lay out the full plan on a whiteboard, and include everything from initial touch-point, to sales accepted lead, to closed deal. Define the metrics that help you track success of your campaign over a reasonable amount of time.”

The 7 High-Converting Places to Add Email Sign-Up Forms to Build Your List by Social Triggers

Derek HalpernDerek Halpern identifies seven places (well, six places plus, in Derek’s own words, “The Dreaded Lightbox Pop-up…The Lightbox sign up form is a GREAT way to grab emails. However, depending on your niche, it may not work. In some niches, the light box pop-up can KILL your conversions because it’s annoying.” Pop-up boxes suck.) to add an email signup form in order to maximize subscriptions.

Mobile Email Marketing Tips

Mobile Email Marketing – What You Need To Know by Modern B2B Blogs

Maria PergolinoContending that “Originally thought to be more effective for B2C markets, mobile email marketing is fast becoming an effective way to communicate with B2B prospects and boost lead generation,” Maria Pergolino outlines four key best-practice areas for mobile email marketing, including formatting (it’s “best to send critical email marketing messages as text instead of html allowing the email to be readable on any mobile email client”) and design considerations.

How to Create Mobile Friendly Emails by Site Reference

Misti SandefurMisti Sandefur reports that “31% of people view their personal emails on their mobile phones,” and that figure is increasing. She then provides seven tips for creating mobile-friendly emails, from creating a mobile-specific template and keeping subject lines short to sticking with single-column, left-aligned text.

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How to Get the Latest and Greatest B2B News and Insights – Personalized Just for You

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Since its inception, the B2B Marketing Zone has been the one place to catch up on all the latest posts from the leading B2B bloggers, writers like Brian Carroll, Chris Abraham, Ambal Balakrishnan, Ardath Albee and many more. Over time, the site has evolved and added new features to enhance its value to readers.

The latest addition: Aggregage, the platform that powers the B2B Marketing Zone (or BMZ) has added a robust personalization engine.  Readers can now sign-up and have content from the site personalized based on their interests.

Personalized B2B Content from the B2B Marketing Zone

Sign up and sign in to personalize your content from the B2B Marketing Zone

To check it out, sign-up using the “Personalize Your Content” button at the top right of the BMZ home page, as shown here.

The BMZ always features great, fresh content from the leading B2B bloggers. The home page is updated daily, plus it’s easy to search posts by blog, topic category, date, company mentions and more.

Now, personalization makes it even better. Curators find the best sources of content.  The BMZ then uses social signals from sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and delicious as well as clicks and views.  The algorithm that determines what makes it to top of the front page of the site looks at attributes like average values for the source , who is providing the signal, reputation and influence, and other factors.

What’s changed is that now the BMZ enables you to sign up and provide your Twitter and LinkedIn info. The personalization engine will then examine your activity on these sites and what kind of content you share.  It uses that data to evaluate your interests as well as to cluster you with other like-minded readers based on interests and sharing.  You can further control your interests via the Subscription page.

The personalization engine “learns” about you over time and combines three pieces of information to predict what will be most interesting to you:

  • • Social signal score – are other readers finding this content interesting?
  • • Topic match – does the subject match your interests?
  • • Like sharing – are other individuals similar to you sharing this content?

The engine then uses these signals to both personalize the ranking of posts on the site when you log in, and to produce customized Daily and Weekly newsletters for you.

The goal of the BMZ has always been to make sure readers don’t miss the best and latest content from the leading thinkers and writers in the world of B2B marketing and sales. Now, with personalization, there’s even less chance that you’ll miss a post that is really important—based on what it is exactly that’s important to YOU.

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