Business to business internet marketing

business to business marketing definition and business to business marketing disadvantages
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THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Center for Technical Communication 590 Delcina Drive River Vale, NJ 07675 (201) 505-9451 A Note to the Reader The Business-to-Business Marketing Handbook is copyrighted by the Center for Technical Communication. No portion of this manual may be reprinted or reproduced in any way without the author’s express written permission. © Copyright 2013, by the Center for Technical Communication. All rights reserved. This is NOT a free e-book Purchase of this e-book entitles the buyer to keep one copy on his or her computer and to print out one copy only. Printing out more than one copy—or distributing it electronically—is prohibited by international and U.S.A. copyright laws and treaties, and would subject the purchaser to penalties of up to 100,000 PER COPY distributed. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 2 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Table of Contents Chapter 1 B2B Marketing: 1978 vs. 2008 .................................................. 5 Chapter 2 10 Tips for Increasing Landing Page Conversion Rates ............ 10 Chapter 3 Are White Papers Dead? ......................................................... 14 Chapter 4 The 6 Key Components of Effective B2B Offers ...................... 19 Chapter 5 Should B2B Copywriters Avoid Jargon? ................................... 24 Chapter 6 5 Steps to Building a Large and Responsive Opt-In E-List of Qualified B2B Prospects ......................................................................... 29 Chapter 7 5 Modern Myths of B2B Marketing ......................................... 34 Chapter 8 Are Businesspeople Devoid of Emotion When Making Buying Decisions? ...................................................................................... 39 Chapter 9 Marketing with Case Studies ................................................... 44 Chapter 10 4 Simple Steps to Writing SEO Copy That Both Your Prospects and the Search Engines Love .................................................... 49 Chapter 11 What Works Best for B2B Lead Generation: Inbound or Outbound Marketing? ............................................................................... 54 Chapter 12 Using Web Analytics to Drive Online Sales ............................ 59 Chapter 13 5 Ways to Boost B2B Direct Mail Response Rates ................ 64 Chapter 14 A New Copywriting Formula: the 4 C’s .................................. 69 Chapter 15 What’s Working in B2B Marketing ........................................ 74 Chapter 16 7 Rules for Content Marketers .............................................. 78 Chapter 17 Business-to-Business Headline Writing Clinic ........................ 82 Chapter 18 The More You Tell, the More You Sell ................................... 87 Chapter 19 The Trouble with B2B Marketing .......................................... 92 Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 3 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Chapter 20 Which B2B Medium is Right for You? .................................... 97 Chapter 21 10 Ways to Improve Your B-to-B Catalog ............................ 100 Chapter 22 The Power of Proof ............................................................. 104 Chapter 23 Let’s Get Physical ................................................................ 108 Chapter 24 What’s Working in E-Mail Marketing? ................................ 112 Chapter 25 Tactics and Tips for Marketing B2B Services ....................... 116 Chapter 26 The Evolution of B2B Marketing.......................................... 120 Chapter 27 7 B2B Marketing Myths....................................................... 124 Chapter 28 Networking the Old-fashioned Way .................................... 128 Chapter 29 QRCs and the Death of the BRC .......................................... 132 Chapter 30 Mobile Marketing on the Move .......................................... 135 Chapter 31 Are These Marketing Trends Really New? ........................... 140 About the Author ..................................................................................... 143 Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 4 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Chapter 1 B2B Marketing: 1978 vs. 2008 I started my career in business-to-business (B2B) marketing in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the basics of B2B. I also didn’t see where B2B was likely to change much. So I believed I could continue to use the methods I’d learned during my first few years for the rest of my life. Boy was I wrong First came along the fax machine…then the personal computer…then cell phones…then white papers…then the Internet…then search engines…then blogging…then Webinars…then social networks…and suddenly, B2B marketing had become a brave new world, one that few fully grasped and most of us struggle to keep up with. Here, as I see it, are some of the biggest changes that have taken place in B2B marketing during the past three decades—and also, what has stayed relatively the same. 1—The death of “industrial marketing.” It used to be called industrial marketing, and the trade publication serving the industry was called Industrial Marketing. Gradually, Industrial Marketing changed its name to Business Marketing and then to BtoB. And today, those of us who market products and services to businesses are “business-to-business” marketers. 2—From tactical to strategic. Before the Internet, B2B marketing had relatively few choices. So planning campaigns was simple and straightforward. You’d create a sales Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 5 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK brochure, run a trade ad, send out a few press releases, and try to get a feature article written about it in the industry trade pubs. Today, there are dozens of other marketing methods, and a number of the early communications tools have, in many instances, fallen out of favor and been supplanted by new media—everything from e-newsletters and Webinars, to podcasts and vertical search engines. As a result, you have to decide how to divide your limited budget and time among these new communications vehicles. So planning a B2B marcom campaign is more complex. 3—The end of the “industrial film,” slide shows, and 35mm photography. When I worked at Westinghouse Aerospace in the late 1970s, I actually produced my first A/V promotion on 16mm film. Soon after, film died, and everything was shot in video. We also had an entire department that did nothing but produce slides for presentations. Managers who wanted to speak with slides had to go to the slide department to get them produced. Now, everyone has PowerPoint and can produce their own slide shows on their PCs. Also at Westinghouse, we had a full-time photographer, Pete, a skilled professional who took photos of products, processes, and installations with a 35mm camera. Today, film has largely disappeared, replaced by digital photography…and everyone who owns a digital camera thinks he’s as good a photographer as Pete. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 6 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK 4—The dethroning of trade journals. The primary means of marketing business-to-business products was through the major trade journals targeting the industry or market niche you wanted to reach. Today, trade magazines still exist, but are hardly flourishing. They struggle to compete with the Internet, and play less of a central role—though are still important—in educating members of a particular industry or trade about new technologies, products, and developments. 5—The decline of print advertising. Whenever we wanted to promote a product, doing an ad for the product was a no-brainer. It was automatically assumed you’d advertise. The question was where, when, what size, how frequently, and with what budget. Today, print advertising is rarely the primary B2B marketing medium. For many B2B marketers, it’s not even on the radar. More likely to be considered: paid search, SEO, and e-mail marketing. 6—The effectiveness of planted feature articles. Writing articles for industry publications was such an effective marketing strategy, I knew a guy who had a boutique PR agency that did nothing but ghostwrite and place such feature stories for clients. Typically the articles were bylined by an engineer. Today, despite the supposed decline of the printed word, writing articles for trade publications remains one of the most potent B2B marketing tactics. Writing online articles for Websites and e-zines may generate more clicks and traffic, but in many markets, a bylined article in the leading industry magazine still has Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 7 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK more credibility and clout—and the reprints make terrific sales literature. 7—The shrinking of PR. In the heyday of print, each industry was covered globally by too many trade publications and newsletters for most marcom managers to count. So they hired a B2B PR firm to make sure their products got as much coverage as possible. But in the 1990s and 2000s, publishing underwent a consolidation, with the number of publications serving each industry declining by 50 to 75 percent or more. When marcom managers saw there were only a few publications in their market, many decided they could do PR in-house, and numerous small B2B PR firms either folded or saw billings decline. 8—The demise of the sales brochure. For many years, I made my living primarily writing sales brochures. These were slick, glossy affairs with expensive photography and high-end graphic design. It was not unusual for a client with a new product to want multiple brochures for a new product covering different applications or markets, each ranging from 4 to 16 pages or longer. Today sales literature primarily resides on the Web as pages accessible through the company’s Website and through search. Fewer and fewer print brochures are published, and they are shrinking in size, with the most common format the two-sided 8½ by 11-inch “sell sheet.” 9—The rise of the white paper. The primary sales collateral today is the white paper, not the brochure. While the sales brochure focused on the product, and looked and read like sales copy, the white paper focuses on educating prospects about a Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 8 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK problem and how to solve it—and looks and reads like a how-to article or tutorial. 10—The critical importance of keywords and search. In the old days, the most important sales channel to cultivate was your inside sales force and your reps: the primary means by which prospects approached your company about buying your product. In 2008, the primary means of finding products is through Internet search. Therefore, the most important knowledge for the B2B marketer to acquire is not how to recruit reps (though that’s still important). It’s finding out the keywords and phrases prospects search when looking for your type of product or for help solving one of the problems it addresses…and along with that, making sure your site comes up on the search engine’s first page when prospects type in those keywords and phrases. I’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg as far as the differences between business- to-business marketing in 2010 vs. 1978. There’s a lot I left out because of space limitations: e-mail marketing campaigns, e-newsletters, blogs, vertical portals, tele- seminars, social networks—you name it. And that, I think, is the point: I was wrong in 1978 to view B2B marketing as static and set. It’s dynamic and fast-changing, and for today’s B2B marketing professional, it’s a full-time job just to keep up. My objective in this new e-book is to help make keeping up a little easier, and bring you a steady stream of profitable new ideas for generating more B2B leads and sales. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 9 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Chapter 2 10 Tips for Increasing Landing Page Conversion Rates There’s lots of buzz about blogging, viral marketing, social networking, and other new methods of generating eyeballs and traffic online. But all that traffic won’t make you any money unless you can convert those unique visitors to leads or customers. Depending on whether you are selling a product directly from your landing page, asking visitors to download a free white paper, or promoting a Webinar or demonstration, conversion rates can range from as low as one percent or less to as much as 50 percent or more. Here are 10 keys to writing landing pages that maximize online conversion rates: 1—Build credibility early. People have always been skeptical of advertising, and with the proliferation of SPAM and shady operators, they are even more skeptical of what they read online. Therefore, your landing page copy must immediately overcome that skepticism. One way to do that is to make sure one or more “credibility builders” are clearly displayed on the first screen the visitor sees. In the banner at the top of the page, use your logo and company name if you are well known; universities, associations, and other institutions can place their official seal in the upper left of the screen. Within or immediately under the banner, put a strong testimonial or three above the headline on the first screen. Consider adding a pre-head or subhead which Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 10 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK summarizes the company’s mission statement or credentials. At, the positioning statement is: “Expert Software for a New Level of Efficiency and Control”. 2—Capture the e-mail addresses of non-buyers. There are a number of mechanisms available for capturing the e-mail address of visitors who click on your landing page but do not buy the product. One is to use a window with copy offering a free report or e-course in exchange for submitting an e-mail address. This window can be served to the visitor as a pop-up (it appears when the visitor arrives at the landing page) or a pop-under (a window that appears when the visitor attempts to leave the landing page without making an inquiry or purchase). These are both blocked by pop-up blockers. A “floater” is a window that slides onto the screen from the side or top. Unlike the pop-up and pop-under, the floater is part of the Website HTML code, so it is not stopped by the pop-up blocker. 3—Use lots of testimonials. Testimonials build credibility and overcome skepticism, as do case studies and white papers posted on the Website. If you invite customers to a live event, ask if they would be willing to give you a brief testimonial recorded on video. Have a professional videographer tape it, get a signed release from the customer, and post the testimonial on your Website as streaming video. Require the customer to click a button to hear the testimonial, rather than have the video play automatically when the visitor clicks on the page. For written testimonials, customers may suggest that you write what you want them to say and just run it by them for approval. Politely ask that they give you their opinion of your product in their own words instead of having you do it. Reason: what Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 11 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK they come up with will likely be more specific, believable, and detailed than your version, which might smack of puffery and promotion. 4—Use lots of bullets. Highlight key features and benefits in a list of short, easy- to-read bulleted items. I often use a format where the first part of the bullet is the feature, and after a dash comes the benefit; e.g., “Quick-release adhesive system – your graphics stay clean and don’t stick together.” Online buyers like to think they are getting a lot for their money, so when selling a product directly from your landing page, be sure all major features and important benefits are covered in a comprehensive bullet list appearing on your landing page. When generating leads by giving away white papers, you don’t need a huge list of bulleted features and benefits. But using bullets to describe the contents of the paper and the benefits that information delivers can raise conversion rates for download requests. 5—Arouse curiosity in the headline. The headline should arouse curiosity, make a powerful promise, or otherwise grab the reader’s attention so he has no choice but to keep reading. The headline for a landing page selling a training program on how to become a professional property locator makes a big promise: “Become a Property Locator Today – and Make 100,000 a Year in the Greatest Real Estate Career That Only a Few Insiders Know About.” 6—Use a conversational copy style. Most corporate Websites are unemotional and sterile: just “information.” But a landing page is a letter from one human being to another. Make it sound that way. Even if your product is highly technical and you are Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 12 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK selling it to techies, remember that they are still human beings, and you cannot sell something by boring people to death. 7—Incorporate an emotional hook in the headline and lead paragraph. Logical selling can work, but tapping into the prospect’s emotions is much stronger— especially when you correctly assess how the prospect is feeling about your product or the problem is solves right now. Another effective tactic for lead-generation landing pages is to stress your free offer in the headline and lead. Example: Kaydon’s landing page shows a picture of its catalog with the bold heading above it reading, “FREE Ceramic Bearings Product Selection Guide.” 8—Solve the reader’s problem. Once you hook the reader with emotional copy dramatizing her problem or a powerful free offer, show how your product—or your free information—can help solve their problem. For example: “Now there is a better, easier, and more effective solution to wobbly restaurant tables that can irritate customers and ruin their dining experience: Table Shox, the world’s smallest shock absorber.” To maximize landing page conversion rates, you have to convince the visitor that the quickest route to solving his problem is taking the action indicated on the landing page, and not—as you might be tempted to let him do—surfing your site. That’s why I prefer landing pages to appear with no navigation, so the reader’s only choice is to respond or not respond; there’s no menu of click buttons and hyperlinks to other interesting pages to distract him. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 13 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK 9—Make it timely and current. The more your online copy ties in with current events and news, the higher your response rates. This is especially critical when selling financial and investment information as well as regulatory compliance products in fields where laws and rules change frequently. Periodically update your landing page copy to reflect current business and economic conditions, challenges, and trends. This shows your visitor that your company is current with and on top of what’s happening in your industry today. 10—Stress the money-back guarantee or lack of commitment on the part of the user. If you allow customers to order products directly from the landing page, make sure you have a money-back guarantee clearly stated on that page. All your competitors give strong money-back guarantees. So you can’t get away without doing the same. If your product is good and your copy truthful, your refund rates can be as low as one percent or even less. If you are generating leads, stress that your offer—which might be a white paper, online demonstration, or Webinar—is free. Say there is no obligation to buy and that no salesperson will visit. Chapter 3 Are White Papers Dead? It’s often the case that when a marketing technique is overused, it gradually loses its effectiveness over time. When that happens, usage drops off, and prospects are consequently no longer bombarded by the technique. Example: the AOL CD mailings. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 14 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK A year or so later, some smart marketer remembers the old technique, realizes it hasn’t been used for a while, and decides to test it again. Sure enough, it works, because the market hasn’t seen it for some time. Other marketers who use it also start getting good results, and the marketing tool becomes popular once more. In the consumer sector, sweepstakes is a direct marketing technique that varies in effectiveness over time. Now, in business-to-business, some direct marketers question whether white papers are running out of steam. The concern is that there are too many white papers—so that the offer of yet another one has lost its appeal. As one white paper skeptic told me, “Prospects already have too much to read; why would they ask for more?” Yet the numbers tell a different story: namely, that white paper marketing is alive and well and working. "The demand for white papers has never been higher,” says Michael A. Stelzner, executive editor of “During business downturns, corporations rely more on marketing to help them acquire leads and establish thought leadership. White papers are the secret weapon for companies. Our organization has seen a major increase in white paper use among businesses of all sizes, but especially those selling costly or complex products." In a survey of nearly 1,400 IT professionals, the majority said they were more likely to download and read white papers than product literature. Over the years, I’ve seen a number of direct mail and e-mail tests in which offering a free white paper or other free content increased response rates 10% to 100% or more. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 15 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK White papers work; more than half of IT professionals say white papers influence their buying decision. I do think, however, that we have to broaden our notion of how to use free content offers, which is essentially what a white paper is: free information designed to educate our prospects and motivate them to inquire about our product or service. To begin with, I think it’s not white papers themselves that are tiring but the name itself. “White paper” signals to some prospects a document that is an obvious selling tool. And with virtually every white paper in the world available for free, white papers have a low perceived value as a giveaway. The solution is to keep using white papers in your marketing but to call them something else. The mailing list broker Edith Roman used to publish a print catalog of mailing lists. But instead of calling it a catalog, they called it the “Direct Mail Encyclopedia.” Offering a free Direct Mail Encyclopedia helped generate more inquiries for their brokerage services. Copywriter Ivan Levison calls his white papers “guides.” Marketer David Yale uses “executive briefing.” I’m partial to “special report.” For consumer marketing, marketing expert Joe Polish suggests “consumer awareness guide,” and for a B2B white paper giving product selection tips, I’d change this to “buyer’s guide” or “selection guide.” For a white paper giving tips or instructions on a process, I might call it a “manual.” If you publish a print version that fits in a 10 envelope and is saddle stitched, you can call it a “free booklet.” Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 16 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK All of the above are variations on the free content offer. Direct marketers refer to free content offers as “bait pieces,” because they are used to “bait your hook” when you go “fishing” for sales leads. Does what you call your bait piece really matter? I think it does, because calling it a report or guide creates a perception of greater value—after all, thousands of publishers actually sell special reports and booklets for prices ranging from 3 to 40 or more. I often put a dollar price for the guide or report in the upper right corner of the front cover, which strengthens the perception that the freebie has value; I don’t think this would be credible on a document labeled as a white paper. What about the complaint that prospects already have too much to read? I am reminded of a quotation from Rutherford Rogers: “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” There is more information on the Internet than you could process in a thousand lifetimes. But good white papers don’t merely present information; they offer solutions to business and technical problems. Virtually every B2B sale you make is because someone thinks your product or service is the solution to their problem. A white paper can help clarify the problem as well as convince the reader that your idea or method is the best of many options for addressing it. Every marketing campaign has an objective, yet if you ask most managers what the objective of their white paper is, they probably couldn’t tell you. Too many see white papers as an opportunity to merely collect and publish a pile of research material they found on the Web using Google. To make your white paper successful, you must define the marketing objective before writing a single word. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 17 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK For example, a manufacturer found that consumers were not buying their do-it- yourself (DIY) underground sprinkler kits, because homeowners perceived installing the irrigation system by themselves as too difficult. Solution: a free DIY manual on how to install an underground sprinkler system in a single weekend. Clearly written and illustrated, the manual overcame the perception that this was a tough project, making it look easy. In the pre-Internet era, bait pieces were mainly paper and ink. Thanks to the PC and the Internet, bait pieces can now be produced as PDF files and instantly downloaded online. But at the receiving end, they are usually printed by the prospect and read on paper. It may be that what’s wearing out is not free content, but the standard white paper format: pages of black ink on 8½ by 11-inch sheets of paper. To make your bait piece stand out, consider using alternative formats: DVDs, CDs, audio cassettes, podcasts, Webinars, tele-seminars, flash cards, stickers, posters, software, games, and slide guides. A slide guide is a cardboard promotional item with a moving slide or wheel that allows the prospect to perform some simple calculation, e.g., convert inches to centimeters or determine the monthly payments on a mortgage. Most white papers are 6 to 10 pages—about 3,000 to 4,000 words—but you are not locked into that length. You can go shorter or longer, depending on the content you want to present and the marketing objective of the bait piece. The bait piece can be as short and simple as a list of tips printed on one side of a sheet of paper. Or it can be as long as a self-published paperback book. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 18 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Free content offers have been used effectively in marketing for decades, and rather than tiring, they have been given new life, thanks in part to the information- oriented culture spawned by the Internet. “Every organization possesses particular expertise that has value in the new e-marketplace of ideas,” writes David Meerman Scott in his book Cashing In With Content (Information Today, 2005, p. 8). “Organizations gain credibility and loyalty with customers, employees, the media, investors, and suppliers through content.” Chapter 4 The 6 Key Components of Effective B2B Offers How important is the offer in business-to-business marketing? Answer: very. I have seen numerous tests in which a simple change of offer has increased the response rate by 25% to 900%—dramatically improving ROMD (return on marketing dollars) for the advertiser. The best of these winning B2B offers share six common characteristics…and to lift your response rates, your offers should, too. Winning offers: 1—Are different or unique. The best offers are fresh and new. When copywriter Bill Jayme wrote the direct mail packaged that launched New York magazine, he proposed a sweepstakes. Sweepstakes have long been used to sell magazine subscriptions, but none has ever offered the prize Jayme dreamed up: dinner at Gracie Mansion with New York City’s mayor. Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 19 THE BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS MARKETING HANDBOOK Most investment newsletters offer free special reports as premiums. The Sovereign Society, a newsletter on offshore investing, offered something different: a free Swiss bank account—a gift not given by any other investment newsletter. Most business magazines offer either discounted subscription rates or standard premiums like special reports, tote bags, or calculators. Advertising Age had a successful control where the premium was a ceramic coffee mug. Coffee mugs are nothing special. But this one was imprinted with a mock-up of an Ad Age cover. If the subscriber was Jan Smith, the headline on the mock issue of Ad Age was personalized to read: “Jan Smith Chosen as Marketing Genius of the Year.” 2—Have a high degree of desirability. An unusual offer only works if it’s something people really want. A publisher was selling a loose-leaf service on how to manage Novell NetWare local area networks. Response rates doubled when a new direct mail promotion offered a disk with free software—a collection of utilities for Novell networks. The 100% increase in orders confirmed that these software programs were tools network administrators obviously wanted to get their hands on. The outer envelope teaser read: “Yours FREE – 5 Powerful Programs to Help You Manage Your Novell NetWare Network More Efficiently and Easily – See Inside for Details on This Special Time-Limited Offer.” On the other hand, a financial newsletter mailed a renewal promotion that offered as a premium a pack of playing cards with the editor’s picture on them. Not surprisingly, it flopped: who would want that? Center for Technical Communication. ©2013 20

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