Last week, the annual B2B Marketing Expo was held at the ExCel centre in London. Two packed days, hundreds of exhibitors, and dozens of fascinating seminars. On top of being able to see the latest and most innovative brands, the expo hosted brief half hour talks by subject matter experts. I attended three sessions. The first talk given by Luke Quilter, was entitled: Search Marketing and the Importance of Social Media. Quilter spoke about an integrated approach to SEO and social media.
Quilter emphasised the importance of reevaluating how much content brands have in the early stages of the sales funnel. By sharing experiences via social channels, it puts brands back in the awareness stage. Different channels evolve in different sections of the funnel but unfortunately, many marketers only care about the “DO” or conversion phase and the resulting ROI.
As marketers, we need to think about the different phases and channels throughout the consideration process. Quilter moved on to look at “micro moments” and how consumers make decisions. He offered some quick tips for marketers:
- Don’t focus on particular keywords. Focus on longer tail search terms.
- Focus on context and ascertain where a consumer is in the funnel.
- Google doesn’t look at social sharing for its algorithm. It doesn’t appear to help your SEO, because it’s not causation, but correlation, i.e., if you do good work, write interesting and engaging content, you will notice better SEO performance because more people will be sharing it.
- Don’t forget to leverage your content. Many marketers create content but forget to leverage it, they forget who they are targeting and just write content for content sake.
Quilter also shared some interesting social media facts with the audience:
- Social profiles don’t rank within search results. Many social channels want to be search engines themselves; Facebook is moving in this direction. Bing, however, does rank social profiles.
- People check their phones approximately 150 time per day! This immediate access to information has changed our purchase process. Are we doing enough at the top part of the funnel?
- British users spend 1:20 mins per day on social media!
He finished off his presentation by offering some hope for those who are struggling: “The great thing about digital is that you can fail and switch gears quickly and not have to commit for a long time. Digital is a great place to experiment and try new things.”
The second session was entitled: How to Use Video Content Effectively for Social Media, by AdTube’s Utam Bhutia and was aimed at helping B2B marketers navigate the do’s and don’ts of creating effective videos to share across social channels. Bhudia has been producing videos for five years and saw the benefits of using video for social media to increase engagement and ROI.
What makes a video effective?
- Tell a story
- Be authentic, be yourself
Those two points may seem obvious, but they are not often followed by marketers. Bhudia’s sage advice to the audience was, “You shouldn’t do it for the sales, you should do it for the ‘feels’”. He stressed that an emotional connection is vital for video success. Case studies and CSR videos are good ways to show people how your brand is helping. Bhutia also talked about the importance of educating the viewer and to always remember who is the focus of the video content, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. It’s not about you, it’s about them.” What can videos offer your audience? They can be used to answer brand FAQs, give audiences industry news updates, share info with your customers, and most importantly, put yourself in the position of being industry expert.
Bhutia offered some tips for brands wading into video for the first time:
- Don’t upload videos that won’t engage. If the video is boring, your audience will find it boring and you are wasting their time and your time. Upload original content.
- Don’t upload one video and expect immediate success. You need to continually engage and update your customers.
- Don’t put out content with the sole intention of it going viral. Consistency is key, the internet likes consistency, set a schedule and stick to it.
- Don’t just share to Facebook. Share across newsletters and other social channels.
- Don’t upload click-bait. People don’t like being tricked into watching videos that aren’t what they appear to be.
Their talk tackled several questions and challenges brands have when embarking on call tracking, such as: Are you wasting your marketing budget because you can’t track your calls and leads? Do I really need call tracking? What is it? How much does it cost?
Today brands are faced with tighter budgets and more pressure to prove results in order to prevent future budgets cuts due to improper tracking. Many businesses struggle to track their calls and track their spend, or understand where their leads and opportunities originated.
This is especially important for paid search because tracking allows marketers to understand how their interactions were generated. Cornelius and Goward walked the audience through a typical customer journey and demonstrated how a call tracking system can track a phone call made against a customer journey (in their example, for a holiday search). They demonstrated how to assign special tracking identification, such as numbers that generated a unique code assigned to that particular caller. That ID was then able to indicate how far they went in the journey and if they converted. These insights allow brands to tweak their campaigns to ensure a higher likelihood of conversion.
While Goward and Cornelius showcased their own call tracking tool, Bing and Google have these tools available for marketers with easy to follow instructions, if they do not have a ready-made system in place. With the trend towards a mainly mobile environment firmly established, and the addition of “call now” buttons to many mobile websites, accurate call tracking becomes an invaluable tool for improving conversion and customer satifaction rates.
The seminars were informative and enjoyable breaks from circling the stalls, with good take aways for B2B marketers on social, mobile, sales, call tracking, paid search and analytics. B2B often gets pushed aside for B2C marketing but it was good to connect and engage with industry experts and show that B2B is alive and well.
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