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Drip campaigns: Secret weapon for B2B services

 July 24, 2012
by Paul Heron

If don’t use automated drip email campaigns, you could be losing significant sales and profits for your B2B services company. A drip campaign is a series of personalized emails and/or newsletters to leads and clients.

A drip marketing system is far superior to standard newsletters, because it is so customizable. Most drip campaigns target prospects and dormant clients. Another great way to use drip is to maintain enthusiasm and forestall buyer’s remorse in a new client who has just signed on for your B2B services.

Drip campaign emails offer your B2B services business the following benefits:

1. Increased conversion and retention: Drip campaign emails can increase your prospect conversion rate and client retention rate by enabling you to inform and maintain contact with both potential and past clients.

2. Two-way communication: When you send custom drip campaign emails to your contacts, you increase prospective clients’ opportunities to reply with their questions and needs.

3. Instant and continuous contact and visibility: You need to stay in contact with your clients to continue as their B2B services provider and get referrals to their colleagues. Drip campaign emails and drip marketing are an easy, automated ways to maintain visibility and build relationships over the weeks and months between transactions.

4. Easy customization: All it takes is imagination and experience to customize your drip campaign emails and newsletters to each audience. Different types of B2B services clients and prospects can and should get different drip campaign email streams.

The secret its customization: One way to think about a drip campaign is to assume you’ve made a commitment to call important clients, past clients and prospects once a week. How would you prepare for those calls? What fresh news would you offer? How do their interests change with seasons or other events?

As with most projects, start small and build. Your B2B services business will benefit.


More SEO tips for B2B services

 July 17, 2012
by Paul Heron

We’ve posted recently on SEO for B2B services websites. Here are some more tips for improving your search engine rankings:

1. Write high-quality website content: We stressed fresh, relevant content earlier, but it’s worth repeating because it’s so important. Include appropriate keyword phrases for your specific audience, but do not oversaturate pages keyword phrases, making them impossible to read. Update your website content frequently, so Google and other search engines recognize it as an active site.

2. Blog: This is the best way to have constant, fresh content on your B2B website. Every B2B services website should have a blog. Write blog posts on topics that position you as an expert in your industry. Remember to include keywords and keyword phrases in your posts.

3. Research keywords: The Keyword Tool by Google Adwords is an excellent free resource to decide which keywords will most improve your search engine ranking. Two things about keywords and SEO:

  • Use your imagination to find unique keywords and keyword phrases that your prospects are likely to type into Google or another search engine. Research “long-tail” search terms that are less competitive, but that prospects for your B2B services still would be likely to type into a search engine.
  • Don’t keyword stuff: Remember that you are writing for your audience first. The basic rule of thumb is 3% to 5%, or 3-5 repetitions for every 100 words used on a page.

4. Get organic backlinks: Inbound links from another site are like a “vote” for your website. Backlinks are one of the most important aspects of SEO—but getting them takes time and effort. Avoid link exchanges. Search engines can determine whether the links to your page are organic, or if they are reciprocal links or links from link farms. Tips for increasing the number of good quality inbound links to your website:

  • Ask for links from non-competitive blogs and websites that are relevant to your B2B services business. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to do this.
  • Guest blog on other industry sites.
  • Write fresh, relevant content on your B2B website that people will share and link to.
  • Create good meta-tags for every page of your B2B services website and for all images.

BOTTOM LINE: Focus your B2B services website on finding and speaking to your audience. If your website is important, people will visit and link to it. Become an expert in your industry. Write content that is valuable to your readers.


Getting testimonials for B2B services

 July 10, 2012
by Paul Heron

Testimonials with full attribution of the client’s name and company are the gold standard when it comes to building credibility for your B2B services company.

When testimonials are done effectively, website visitors gain great insight about who you are and your personal brand. Testimonials in brochures and websites help with marketing and lead generation.

Here are 5 tips on getting effective testimonials for your B2B services website and marketing materials:

1. Ask for testimonials: Ask for a testimonial from every client after every transaction. Send an email asking your clients to tell you in just 2-3 sentences about their experience with you, and if and why they would work with you again. Put a process in place that makes it easy for your customers.

2. Get specific information: Ideally, each of your testimonials should touch on different aspects on your brand. Client service surveys can be a good way to get specific information about clients’ experiences with you. Make sure all your testimonials don’t say the same thing.

3. Use video: Video testimonials can be very effective and add extra SEO juice. Keep the video short and to-the-point—30-60 seconds is a good length for a website video.

4. Ask permission to use positive feedback: If a client says or writes anything complimentary about their experience with you, ask them if you can use that for marketing purposes. Always get permission to use any type of testimonial on your B2B services website.

5. Never make anything up. It seems obvious, but don’t fake anything. It will seem insincere and getting caught is a fast way to lose credibility.

If you are struggling to get testimonials for your B2B services offering, consider using an outside third-party to interview clients and write up their testimonials. Sometimes this is the only way to get busy clients to write the kinds of testimonials you need for your B2B services website or marketing collateral.

Testimonials provide credibility. Watch a short video to learn why credibility is important for B2B services marketing.


Keeping visitors on your B2B services website—Part Two

 July 3, 2012
by Paul Heron

In our last post, we offered three ideas for keeping visitors on your B2B services website. Here are three more ways to reduce your bounce rate and get prospects to make that all-important first contact.

4. Include frequent calls to action. A call to action is just a simple sentence telling your visitors what you want them to do. Ask readers to comment on your blog posts and to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. Tell them to sign up for your newsletter, register on your website, or check out your latest offer. Whatever it is you want your readers to do, tell them.

5. Focus on grabbing visitors above the fold. When someone lands on your B2B services website, they only see a portion of your home page. This area is called “above the fold” and relates to the part of an old-style newspaper that was visible on newsstands. Newspaper publishers wanted all the “hot” news above the fold to increase sales. For the same reason, all your most relevant, important, and engaging content and images should appear above the fold. You only have seconds to entice your readers to stay on your website or click away. Ensure your above-the-fold content will grab their attention. Include your business name, a strong selling point, a call to action and a phone number or contact form.

6. Create lots of content. Create as many pages of content as you can with articles and posts related to your industry and B2B services. Include videos, tools and other ways for your visitors to engage with your content. Use keyword phrases to improve your SEO. Target your writing to your specific prospects, so they’ll actually read what you have to say. Be informative and relevant, and you’ll find that they’ll stick around to learn more.

Interested in learning more? Check out our website audit tool for B2B services websites.


Keeping visitors on your B2B services website—Part One

 June 26, 2012
by Paul Heron

Let’s say you’re planning to overhaul your B2B services website. You understand the need to pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO) so prospects can find you using Google or other search engines.

But how do you keep them from clicking away within seconds—long before they discover what great B2B services you provide?

In this and our next post, we’ll give you six tips for keeping visitors, once they arrive.

1. Choose colours that fit your business: Your B2B website’s color scheme creates your visitors’ first impression of who you are. Use two or three main colors for your B2B services website. More than 5 colors will detract from your message and drive visitors away. Don’t use dark background colors that dominate the page and distract readers from your content. Take a cue from highly successful companies, such as Apple, and keep your look clean.

2. Include images: Some B2B services websites are full of written content clearly aimed at getting noticed by Google and other search engines. But most have high bounce rates. Well-chosen images convey much more meaning than words. Be sure to tag all images with your keywords and phrases to improve SEO.

3. Simplify your navigation: Create a navigation system that lets your visitors explore your B2B services website freely—but always with confidence they know where they are. Use your sales experience to think about different paths a prospect might follow to make a decision. Build in a sales or contact “track” that ensures visitors can easily make a purchase or get in touch when they are ready to take that important step. If your web platform offers a link to a beta version of your new site, encourage typical visitors to test drive the site and observe opportunities to improve navigation.

For more information, check out our website audit tool for B2B services websites.

Please be sure to read our next post with more ideas retaining B2B website visitors.


7 Keys to Successful B2B SEO Writing

 June 19, 2012
by Paul Heron

1. Establish a Theme: Search algorithms now ‘read’ pages to look for a theme and purpose. So be each page on your B2B services website a purpose and a theme. Then write your copy to establish and reinforce the theme.

2. Write Good Headlines: Include your most popular key words and phrases. Search engines pay special attention to main heads (coded <h1>) and subheads (coded <H2>).

3. Develop Great Copy: Try to write at least 200 words of copy per page to establish a clear theme and include more keywords. Also, search engine have copy-to-link ratio thresholds and may penalize thin-copy pages. More copy avoids this risk.

4. Use Natural Language: In the early days, some sites contained keyword-rich, but unreadable content. Algorithms are getting smarter. They can now recognize language patterns. So balance keyword and key phase usage with keeping the language natural. This avoids being penalized in search rankings.

5. Manage Keyword Density: Aim for one or two keywords per paragraph. Paragraphs with too many keywords irritate readers and risk having your copy read as spam. Try to use key words and phrases in the first sentence of lead paragraphs and/or page-ending paragraphs.

6. Write Strong Title Tags: Title tags are the words right at the top of the screen when you load a page. Search engines rely on them to establish the page theme. Write 12-15 word tags, with the most important words and phrases in the first half of the tag.

7. Stay Consistent: To help the search algorithm understand each page, use the same keywords in the title tag, heads, subheads and body. Ensure image files names and ALT tags support the page theme. Separate words in Image file names with hyphens. Write thematic tags for internal and external links.

There are other ways to improve SEO for your B2B services website. But these are the main tools for writing pages that will attract traffic.


Four tips for improving results from your B2B services blog

 June 12, 2012
by Paul Heron

Clients who run or market B2B services companies understand that a regular blog can attract an audience and increase their business. But many don’t pay enough attention to important blog attributes.

Here are a four items to remember.

1. SEO: Be sure to write keyword-rich content targeted to your B2B audience. Choose topics that let you use keywords for which you want your site to rank high. But always remember you’re writing for your audience, not Google. If you write clear, relevant content, you’ll increase the number of organic inbound links to your site. Not surprisingly, fresh, consistent and relevant content encourages Google and other search engines to direct traffic to your site.

2. Become a thought leader: Express your point of view, show your knowledge, and provide good advice for your B2B services clients. If you are one of few companies in your service category and market territory with an active blog, prospects will more easily find your B2B services website and will see you as the go-to expert in your area.

3. Share your posts: Use blogging software or a website platform with easy links to social media. When you write a business services blog post, remember to share it. This costs nothing and can provide you with a consistent flow of leads.

4. Enable feedback: Allow comments on your B2B services blog so you can answer any questions potential clients may have. Blogs that attract comments will show your prospects that you have an audience.

Great content is essential for a successful B2B services blog. Implementing these 4 tips will help generate greater rewards from the wisdom you share.


B2B communications: Make it easy!

 June 5, 2012
by Paul Heron

Be sure to pay attention to reading level when writing B2B services website copy, marketing materials or proposals. Otherwise sound communications can fail to get attention because they're hard to read.

The U.S Plain Writing Act of 2010 mandates plain language in all government communications. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommend that information for the general public be written to grade level 6-7 on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test.

Legislation aside, easily-read documents make good sense, especially when stakes are high. Clear, plain language writing leaves readers of B2B collateral and bid proposals more time and energy to focus on your content. That increases the chance will and take the action you intend--to buy your B2B services, for example.

To check the reading level of your content in Microsoft Word, go to Review > Spelling and Grammar > Options and make sure the “Check Readability Statistics” box is checked. Aim for a reading grade level of 10 or lower.

The Wikipedia page for Flesch-Kincaid will show how the score is calculated, but the general rule is shorter words and shorter sentences improve readability.

Make it easy for B2B prospects to understand the value you offer and you will have greater success.

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