How to Reach B2B Buyers Early with Search Engine Marketing


Lead Generation Through B2B Search Engine Marketing

As a B2B vendor or service, it is imperative to know the importance of online visibility and B2B search engine marketing. If it was as easy as handing out your website address, and waiting for buyers to type in your URL, everybody would invest in a vendor website.

If you don’t know much about search engine marketing (SEM) and optimization (SEO), it’s time to start learning. Numerous studies – such as Enquiro’s Buyersphere – have conducted studies which prove that the majority of B2B buyers turn to their general search engines throughout all stages of purchase research and selection. Moreover, buyers use their search engines in all purchase stages before ever going to a specific vendor site. Not only that, but the majority of buyers research, negotiate and purchase on industry sites over a specific vendor site. In the awareness stage, 65% of buyers use a general search, and even in final purchase stages, over 40% of buyers still use search engines.

So what does this all add up to?

B2B vendors and businesses MUST be visible to their market in the general search engines – not only within B2B search engines. As said, the majority of B2B buyers use general search in the awareness stage of a purchase. This means that with proper B2B search engine marketing, lead generation can be made early on. The more visible your vendor site in Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the more buyers will come to your vendor site in the earliest phase of purchase selection. SEO and SEM are the only way to establish and maintain long-term visibility in search results. When B2B search engine marketing and SEO are implemented for the best possible B2B buyer search terms, and are combined with contextual advertising and marketing, your early B2B lead generation conversion rates can reach

Now you know why B2B search engine marketing for general search is imperative. So how is it done?

SEO is the natural, organic process of optimizing your website – both on-site and off-site – for search engines, for the goal of maximizing online visibility to the target audience. By consistent efforts in both on-site and off-site SEO, with an emphasis upon continually updated, informational, high quality content – your vendor site will build long-lasting optimized ranking in search results for your targeted keyword phrases.

B2B search engine marketing should accompany SEO as a reinforcement. SEM usually refers to PPC ads and Google Adwords campaigns. However, any random SEM campaign is not going to suddenly flood your vendor site with traffic. In order to create a strong and effective SEM campaign, it requires dedicated research prior to deciding upon your best keywords to promote in both Google ads and click through ads. By using side-by-side double campaign strategy, comparative analysis of which keywords bring the most traffic at the highest conversion rates, you will have much more successful results.

More to come on the specifics of B2B search engine marketing.

B2B Buyer Behavior – What Works in 2011


With the recent release of both the Buyersphere B2B research and Google Marketing Outlook for 2011, information about B2B buyer behavior and B2B marketing is only a few clicks and a pdf away. The Buyersphere surveys European buyers only, and the Google Marketing Outlook surveys primarily American marketers, which you could chalk up as the reason for two big fat inconsistencies as to where B2B lead generation will be had. But, because both groups focused upon, and agreed digital and internet sources are the most preferred, culture is sort of irrelevant. I mean, web-based activity is web-based activity, whether it comes from Ohio or Kazakhstan. At any rate, buyer behavior as documented in the Buyersphere is straight from the horse’s mouth. So, you marketing folks – listen up, and you won’t have to read 40+ pages of pdf documents.

There is one B2B marketing channel that was reported all-around to be the biggest money-sucking, budget-draining form of marketing: trade shows/offline events. Despite that marketers agree buyers prefer digital sources, 28% of marketing budgets went to trade shows: way, way more than any other form. Crazier still, 38% of marketers said they were going to spend even more in 2011. So, either trade shows are just crazy expensive, or marketers are going a little nuts with event fliers and logo t-shirts. Whichever it is, trade shows dropped from 33% to a piddly 18% in 2011, as sources that B2B buyers used at any point during a purchase process. So, a word of advice for marketing VPs: ease up on the trade show bucks.

The next inconsistency may surprise you. As said, both buyers and marketers agree internet sources are the most preferred. 40% of marketers apparently think Facebook Walls and Twitter followers are part of those preferred internet sources with the most influence. Oh contrare, according to the buyers. Only 10-12% of buyers used any social media – specifically Facebook, blogs and Twitter -to garner information at any point during the purchase process. Meanwhile, supplier websites/content and search engine research jumped from 55% to 70%, and 41% to 65%, making them the biggest sources of B2B buyer information.

So, how does this boil down for B2B lead generation, and how to get it? Well, B2B buyer behavior is definitely demanding more and more information from providers and suppliers. But, concentrating on the right sources with B2B marketing is key. So, beef up your web content, not your Facebook friends. Upgrade SEM instead of your LinkedIn profile. Hire SEO and web content writers, instead of bloggers and Tweetybirds. And, maybe reduce the whole bazillion dollar budget for event booths and hand-out buttons. Nobody wears buttons anyway.

A restaurant’s artful use of influence that surprised and delighted me


“Aged and hand–cut especially for Friday’s, half a pound of one of the most Steak and potatoesflavorful, popular steaks around, expertly seasoned and fire–grilled to your order. Then glazed and served with our Jack Daniel’s glaze and creamy mashed potatoes.”

“Honey, I’m ordering the Jack Daniel’s Flat Iron Works entree!  It looks delicious!” After reading the same description, my wife says, “Order that for me too.” Mouth watering, I quickly picked up our cordless phone and began dialing the number listed on the TGI Friday’s website.  Seconds later, I found myself impressed by how professional and courteous the young lady was that answered the phone.  After learning that I wanted to place a carryout order, she placed me on hold.  About a minute or so later, a young lady name Miriam picked up and began interacting with me.  Miriam, was personable, cheerful, and eager to help me!

You might be wondering, “Where is the artful use of influence that surprised and delighted you?” The incredible reality of influence is, it frequently effects us without our conscious awareness.  In this particular situation, I found myself liking both of the TGI Friday’s employees right away.  What’s amazing is I didn’t realize the specific tool of influence that had started working on me until I sat down to write this post.  No, it wasn’t hunger!  :-)   It was what Dr. Robert Cialdini labeled as “Liking” in his best-selling book, “Influence: The New Psychology of Modern Persuasion.”

I’ve owned that book since 1991.  I’ve read it countless times.  And, I’ve even completed an advanced training course with six tapes and workbook about the principles Dr. Cialdini revealed in the book.  Hopefully, you recognize that the reason I’m divulging all that info is not to impress you, but to impress upon you that regardless of my extensive study and utilization of the principles of influence, they still have an impact on me.  The main reason for this is that I go into many situations knowing what I want.  What do I mean?  I knew full well what I wanted from TGI Friday’s.  I wanted to be treated courteously, cheerfully, and in a timely manner.  I also wanted a delicious meal.  With the exception of my steak not being cooked exactly the way I wanted it, the folks at TGI Friday’s located at 61st & Memorial in Tulsa, OK, delivered on all fronts.

Wait a minute!  Now, let me tell you how they surprised and delighted me.  After I arrived at the restaurant, Miriam greeted me with the same cheerful and eager-to-help attitude.  Then she went the extra mile by offering me a drink while I waited for her to get my food and change.  By the way, I turned down the drink.  Anyway, when Miriam returned with my bag of piping hot food, she also handed back the Buy One, Get One Free Jack Daniel’s entree coupon I was given for my birthday with the manager’s approval.  I remember asking her, “You’re giving the coupon back?”  Miriam cheerfully said,”Yes, I am!  You can use it again until the April 30th expiration date.  Isn’t that cool?”  I said, “Yes, that’s very cool!”  I grabbed the bag food and gave her a tip.

Do you think I used the coupon again before the expiration date?  Absolutely!

I’m curious.  Can you identify all of the six principles of influence that occurred during my experience with TGI Friday’s staff?  If you’re a master of influence, it should be easy for you.  Please write your answer in the comment section below.

I also highly recommend that you sign into that Twitter Remote thingy to the right over there.  You see it?  It’s a great way for you to be seen (and discovered) by the other, almost *1,900 folks who visit my blog each month.  I’m so grateful to know that you and many other people enjoy my blog.  Have a great weekend!

To your success,

Ron

*The number denotes an approximation of the average number of unique visitors to this blog during January 1, 2009 – April 30, 2009.  The exact total number of unique visitors is 7,575.  Thank you so very much for being one of those visitors!