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Date posted: April 29, 2013

As I celebrate 23 years in business this month, I wish to thank you–my clients. It is you who pushed me to take a leap of faith and start working independently in April 1990. It is you who have been supportive, appreciative, and loyal. And, most importantly, it is you who provide me with the work I do each day.

I have learned a lot from my clients during the past 23 years. Here are five things my clients have taught me:

  1. How to understand their needs
  2. How to maximize the value I bring to them
  3. How to support their career aspirations and goals
  4. How to harness the creative talents of others
  5. How to transform their vision and ideas into winning content

So, thank you again for your support.

You have played the key role in making my entrepreneurial dream come true.

Date posted: April 24, 2013

Mobile_main_0413Mobile communication tools deliver shipment visibility, worker performance, and asset-tracking data directly to managers, no matter where they are. My April feature (Mobile Communication: Connecting Supply Chains On The Go) in Inbound Logistics explores the use of mobile communications tools for these purposes.

If you enjoy the article, please share it across your social networks.

 

Date posted: April 11, 2013

ImagesUse of the corporate website is central to virtually every B2B marketer. How to increase the leads the Web site generates is an ongoing challenge.

Recently we came across a post by Sarah Worsham of Sazbean Consulting which recommended a number of simple improvements to address that challenge. They’re well worth considering:

  1. Contact Info
    One of the easiest improvements is to make sure that your contact information is readily available throughout your website — not just on your Contact Us page. If you have a phone number, put it on every page, somewhere at the top where it’s easily seen. You want customers to be able to contact you when they want to, without having to go searching for your information.
  2. Fulfill need or solve problem
    So much of the copy that’s on business websites is about the features of a particular product or service. Instead, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and think about what problem your service solves or what need your product fulfills. Talk in these terms instead of a feature list.
  3. Calls to action
    Calls to action are very important on business websites. If someone gets to your site, reads all your stuff, what do you want them to do next? Make sure that you tell them exactly what the next step is. For example, at the bottom of the product or services page, ask visitors to contact you for a free quote — put the contact form right on that page to make it as easy as possible.
  4. Enticing content
    Content is why people come to your site. Either via a search result, or a link from another website or a social network. Providing content that is enticing to your audience can build up your return traffic, as well as increase your reputation as a valuable resource. One of the ways to do this is through blogging, but you could also build the content on your website with things like videos, how-to articles, product specifications, and answering frequently asked questions,
  5. Lead collection
    One mistake that many businesses make is to have zero ways of collecting leads on their websites. If someone is interested in what you’re selling, you want to know about it. The easiest way is just to add a contact form or two to your website. But you can also collect leads by offering something of valuei n return for names and email addresses. Something like a free e-book or document that offers some valuable information that your potential customers would be interested in. 
  6. Landing pages
    Many businesses spend tons of time working on their homepage, but the truth is that with search engines driving much of the traffic to your site, only a percentage of people who come to your site enter on your home page. Many more will enter on pages that fulfill a particular need that they are searching for. This means that these entrance pages, or landing pages, can be a valuable place to spend some time making sure they’re working as hard as they can for you.
  7. Measure and improve
    Without some sort of measurement, it’s hard to determine how well you are doing. Should you continue to write about the topics you’ve covered previously? What parts of the website are working really well? Are there pages that people are entering your site that you should convert to lead generating landing pages? All these questions can be answered by measuring. Free tools like Google Analytics are a great start. Measuring will increase the effectiveness and
    efficiency of your efforts.

This is solid advice, clearly stated. I’m happy to share it here.

Date posted: April 5, 2013

If you are interested in following trends in social media and content marketing, I invite you to subscribe to my hand-picked list of Twitter experts. I rely on this Twitter list to monitor news and conversations about social media marketing, content marketing strategy, podcasting, and related technology.

I hope you find the Tweets of the experts on my list as useful and interesting as I do.

Date posted: April 3, 2013

Overview_heroJust before the turn of the year, Uri Bar-Joseph, director of marketing at Optify, published an article on marketingprofs.com that listed 10 trends for B2B marketing in 2013. Now that we’ve entered the 2nd Quarter, it seemed a good time to revisit these and see if they’re unfolding as expected:

  1. Digital marketing will continue to grow
  2. Digital marketing services will surge
  3. Content creation services and software will proliferate
  4. Integrated marketing will gain popularity
  5. Direct mail will make a return
  6. Big Data applications will emerge
  7. The immeasurable will become measureable
  8. Pay per click (PPC) will decline as budgets move to other
    paid solutions
  9. Marketing spend on software will increase
  10. Sales responsibilities will move to Marketing

From my perspective, he’s batting about .800. Based on interactions with my clients, the only trends we’re not seeing strongly are the return of direct mail and the decline of PPC. The digital impetus remains a barrier to the direct mail business, though the author tied the return to the use of online connections. That of itself says something about the dominance of digital in the B2B sector. As to the decline of PPC, I continue to see strong use of those tools, such as Google’s Adwords.

We would hasten to add another trend we’re seeing: the leveraging of existing content into ebooks. The rapid proliferation of digital readers and tablets such as Apple’s iPad are making this a logical move for many B2B marketers.

I’ve taken part in that myself, and if you have any interest on how this works and how to do it, I’d love discuss the subject with you.