Four B2B Social Media Marketing Challenges in 2013

Social media marketing (SMM) and related social campaigns are traditionally seen as more of a B2C (business-to-consumer) activity. The core idea is that relationships are based on person-to-person, not person-to-faceless-organization.

However, B2B relationships centers around people. It’s not unique to B2C. While we don’t necessarily advocate discussing the latest ski-trip or personal passions publicly  per se — the companies who inject ‘personality’ and ‘connection’ are much more likely to engage and create new business opportunities.

While B2C may be more ‘experience’ based, B2B positioning is all about value.

Time For Re-Thinking Traditional Marketing

A recent article from the Harvard Business Review (Jan 2013) stated that it’s time to “rethink the 4 P’s of marketing”. Here’s what Richard Ettenson (Professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management) suggested:
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Business Growth Strategy #1: Consider Self-Promotion vs Doing

When I (me) meet business professionals around the nation, it doesn’t take long before the conversation turns to what they do, how they do it, how long they’ve been in business, how many clients they serve, etc.

And, I hear about out-dated, over-used slogans and statements about “why/how” they are different than the rest. Boring, most of the time. Especially in the professional services businesses like chiropractors, doctors, cosmetic surgeons, financial planners, lawyers, CPA’s, veterinarians.

I guess it’s what’s expected. All the ads and messages are the same.

Just go look at a Yellow Pages section of business. Tiresome.

However, there is an elite group of business professionals who take a different stance and approach.

They are the Houdini tribe people.
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In the Digital World, Direct Mail Still Holds Value

Each day when we come home from work, one of the first things we do is walk to our mailboxes and find what’s usually bills and “junk mail.” But one of those latter pieces of mail has a bright-red minivan on the front of it, along with “$5,000 off” printed in big black letters.

For a family that just added a new member and in is the market for a larger vehicle may be compelled to simply call the number on the card and ask questions.

Here are some insights to help your professional services business.

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How Does Google Show My Profile Picture In Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?

This year we saw an increased battle of the social networks, fighting for attention and engagement. That’s not going to stop in 2013.

However, one of the players, while not known for their social platform, are heavily vested in terms of dollars, research, data, people and time – and with a corporate mandate to make it the “go-to” social network. We are talking about Google. (Note: Facebook is the one to beat, but many think it will never happen.)

Before we continue, let’s make this clear: “Google is a search engine – first and foremost. Facebook is a social network, and is not a search engine (yet)”.  This is important, because users behave differently in the two environments. The outcomes are not typically the same either. Business owners wanting more quality leads can attest to that. Looking at your friends BBQ pictures from last weekend, is much different than actively searching for items for a BBQ you want to purchase, for example.

To combat this idea of Google “just” being a search engine, they have introduced the Google Authorship Program, where authors can be linked to their Google+ Profile.

Furthermore, social signals are being used as ranking factors now, and the Author Rank (AR) algorithm is now live and well. In fact, if you are focusing only on Page Rank, you were off from the beginning. Focus on AR instead for 2013, and you’ll see a faster and bigger impact for clicks and branding opportunities.

The AR ranking factors are shown below:

Author Rank Algo Factors – Mike Arnesen

As with the over 200+ factors that go into the Google Algorithm, Author Rank has its set of variables:

  • Google+ Engagement Levels
  • Average PR
  • Authority of publishing sites
  • +1s /shares per post
  • # of circlers (friends that find your content compelling)
  • Posting frequency
  • Outside authority indicators
  • Comments per post
  • Relative authority on Non-Google social networks (“the others”)

The basics of search is changing to include powerful indicators from the Google+ social network. While some may feel this is self-serving (to Google), it’s expected. How can we drive more “stickiness” to our own Google Search Products, using Google+ and social interaction? (asked Google Execs).

While the above points are somewhat technical in nature, you really do not need to worry too much about them. Just consider implementing the Authorship (rel=author/rel=me) features for right now (below).

“We hope to use [author] information and any information as a ranking signal at Google.  So in this case, we want to get information on credibility of authors from all kinds of sources and eventually use that in ranking.” – Google

You have probably seen the profile pictures in search results by now (screenshot below). Once a search query has been entered, a picture is shown next to the Google search engine results. This is in essence the picture from your Google+ profile. The entire listing in results can be optimized too. Think of this as the expanded, new & improved “snippet” display. Click-through rates will be improved if you do this right. It’s an opportunity for you to “advertise” your business using factors YOU control, most of the time.

Google Authorship Example (rel=author)

So, you should follow 4 simple steps to get yours displayed too (it’s fairly quick, and goes live within days):

  • Create a Google+ account (free) and visit authorship page
  • Insert code rel=”author” to reference your link/content/posts to your Google+ profile
  • Check the “contributor” portion of your Google+ profile. Add the URLs (domains) to the ones you write for
  • Verify it working with the rich snippets tool

This is an important way for your business to get more visibility. And, you’ll see your profile listed next to the search engine results in Google.

What Dating Game Shows Teach Us About Mobile Email Marketing

The evolution of mobile devices to smart phones has changed the marketing playing field.

How so?

Because smart phone users have a lot of options when it comes to giving their attention to something. Updating a Facebook status, Tweeting, Angry Birds, etc. When the user receives an email alter on their phone device, chances are they’re receiving a text message, getting a social media update or checking-in to a location.

The trick in the new mobile marketing platform is how to get a person to choose to read your email above other options.

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8 Ways To Increase Your Client Base For B2B

No matter what type of small business you own, increasing your income is the goal. Building your client base is important and the best way to add that income boost you desire.

There are many ways you can expand your reach or turn those who find your business into paying customers. These eight ideas are a great way to get started and will help you improve your bottom line.

  • Launch a New Product or Service – Offering something new is a great way to put your name in front of new people. Do not reach too far out of your comfort zone, but offering something a little different will bring different people into your world. These new customers may be interested in your other items/services too.
  • Ask for Referrals – Look at your current customer base as a way to attract new customers. Everyone has friends, neighbors or co-workers they may be willing to tell about your company.
  • Rework your Website – Did you create that website months or years ago and just let it sit stagnant? You will get more hits on the web if you offer new content regularly. Additionally, more people than ever turn to the internet instead of calling for information.
  • Social Networking – Social networking is more than just building a Facebook page for your business, you have to get in there and really communicate with those who take the time to find you on the social networks. Think outside the box and consider profiles on Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr as well as Facebook.
  • Sponsor Events – One of the best ways to make local connections is participating in community events. Get out there and put yourself in front of people that may become your customers.
  • Attend Community Group Meetings – Groups such as Veteran’s organizations and charitable organizations such as the Kiwanis and Lions Club are always looking for community members to speak at meetings. Share information about your industry and you will have the chance to meet others that might become customers.
  • Consider PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising – This is something that works for some, but not others. However, you can usually get started for just a small sum. Give different campaigns a test run before you commit to a larger one. Add other programs (like SEO) as you see and validate more of that data/analytics.
  • Follow Up – Those who check out your product or service but do not convert can be a clue as to what you are doing wrong. Follow up on those potential customers and find out why they didn’t turn into sales.

This is a good starter list, and should get you on the path of more quality client attraction quickly.


Why CEO’s Tweeting is Good For Their Business

Chief Executive Officers are instinctively leaders. They lead companies into success, they blaze new trails in business and they lead the world in innovation. Another way they lead is in the exchanging of brilliant ideas. In other words, one of the most important ways a CEO leads in his or her industry is through thought leadership.

This means they know all the ins and outs of their industry, and they tend to have great insight into the future of their industry.

Imagine a tool where CEOs could share snippets of their brilliant ideas with a massive, attentive audience of millions. Enter the world of Twitter the gigantic social network that lets just about anyone grow an audience for their platform. In short, any tool that lets you share business ideas to millions of users is good for business.

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How Search Engines Work (Infographic)

If you are a business that is just starting out, you’ve been around for a while, or simply looking to grow to the next level — this post is for you.

Without a steady growth of potential prospects coming to your business (online or off) – you are facing a slow death. And, with rising expenses, office, staff, equipment overhead – you need a way to cover yourself.

Enter the search engines.

The beauty of search engines is that they can send visitors who are actively looking for you. You may choose several different strategies, from Paid (PPC) to Non-Paid (Organic SEO). However, most folks don’t visit your website and buy on the first touchpoint. You need to develop a user experience and a sales/marketing funnel to build trust, nurture the relationship over time. However, that’s for another post.

We want to know how search engines work.

Here is a simple informational graphic that explains how search engines work:

How Search Engines Work

This represents many nights, days and years of work in the search technology field and breaks down how Google treats incoming requests (queries) specifically.

They start with the user first. (That should be your strategy as well). Then ask – are they searching for information only (in research mode), are they entering web addresses directly (known brand/URL), or are they more transaction or eCommerce based (compare/buy)? What keywords/phrases cover that market? Make sure they are included on designated pages – and in content and HTML (code).

You should do this next:

For your visitors and market place, understand and ask what they are commonly looking for? (do your keyword research and competitive research first).

Build out a plan for how you can serve them with relevant content and offers.

Make sure that you follow this graphic to see if your pages are serving the search engines as the final step. You can speak to your webmaster about the technical stuff.

Your job is to serve your audience, and match content to keywords and the audience – as well as building a reputation in social circles (Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc).

3 Facts About Marketing Your Own Financial Services Business

Since 1933, the finance and banking system has been crippled by legislation and stringent guidelines.

Add to this, the over 76 million Baby Boomers that will retire with an estimated $30 trillion in accumulated assets in the next 20 years.

However, after the serious economic events of 2008 and even including current day, the Boomer’s belief systems have been all but destroyed. To help manage this wealth, a trusted financial adviser is an absolute must.

So, who can they trust? And, how do they find you in the first place?

While you encourage questions about your business, how you operate, and what you offer, not everybody reaching out is qualified. Plus, you may spend a lot of time and unproductive hours every day chasing bad or low quality leads.

Nobody wins.

However, a ‘formula’ that seems to work well for a professional service business is: 

Authority + Trust + Right-Side Marketing = Natural Quality Prospects Attraction

Furthermore, there is mounting evidence of a changing marketplace in the financial services sector that reveals it’s more challenging than ever to attain success online.

While a formula can be a good place to start the process, you must begin to implement the most critical pieces from NEW learning. That includes understanding marketing systems and business building frameworks that match YOUR business. This will eventually improve and meet the goals, lifestyle and service of your highly affluent boomer and senior clients.

Everybody wins.

STEP 1: Watch this short video.

STEP 2: Download the “How To Sell Financial Services in 2012/2013 Report” (sent via email.)

Eliminate CHAOS in your Financial Advisory Business with a Prescripted Plan.
Register for an educational strategy session (sorry, must watch video first)

“Right-side” marketing is amazing. Register now.

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