Digital Marketing Best Practices for Tech Companies

This ​year, ​we ​attended ​Digital ​Summit ​Chicago ​– ​a ​digital ​marketing ​conference ​featuring
thought ​leaders ​from ​companies ​like ​Microsoft, ​AOL, ​Pandora, ​and ​AllRecipes.com.

Below, ​we ​wrote ​up ​our ​favorite ​insights ​that ​we ​learned ​from ​this ​event. ​These ​best
practices ​can ​be ​utilized ​by ​any ​tech ​company ​to ​compliment ​their ​sales ​strategy.

B2B Marketing and Sales

The current state of B2B Marketing:

    • Control has shifted away from the salesperson, since a salesperson is no longer the sole information
      provider. Companies are not reaching out to a salesperson until they complete their own research online.
    • 71% of people say purchasing from a website is more convenient than speaking to a sales person — this went
      up 15% in last 2 years.

What B2B buyers want from their sales reps:

    • B2B buyers want a high value added interaction. Buyers have already researched the basic information on
      their own.
    • 77% want sales reps to present a solution with data that is customized for the buyer
    • 77% want sales reps to help them learn something new, show how their product / service impacts their
      business, and to pivot meetings to discuss what the buyers want to talk about.

How to engage today’s B2B buyers:

    • B2B buyers have a self-directed approach. They don’t want to be sold to. They prefer to consult with 3rd
      party experts, access social networks, and peer review sites.
    • As a seller, you have to amplify what the buyer is doing and provide them with rich, high-value content,
      rather than creating basic content that they already know.
    • You need to have ongoing education (online or in-person) for the buyer – attend a capabilities meeting and
      attend industry events.
    • Before, the product or service took center stage, but now the seller needs to take center stage and project
      a thought provoking and charismatic personality.
    • Sellers need to be:
      • Explainers ( Show me )
      • Consultants ( Enlighten me )
      • Order takers ( Serve me )
      • Navigators ( Guide me )

Why you should embrace social media marketing:

    • B2B marketers rate social media as one of the 3 most effective demand generation tactics
      ( Source: Forrester
      Research ).
    • 72% of B2B social media sellers outperform their peers who don’t use social.
    • Social is a great way to engage and build relationships directly with the customer.

The best way to succeed is to put the buyer at the core of everything you do:

    • Personalized engagement
    • Self direction
    • Ongoing education
    • Use predictive tools for targeting your customer

Content Marketing

Content​ ​creation​ ​statistics:

    • 73% ​of ​companies ​plan ​to ​produce ​more ​content ​in ​the ​next ​year.
    • 42% ​of ​companies ​plan ​to ​spend ​more ​on ​creating ​content.
    • However, ​only ​35% ​of ​companies ​say ​their ​content ​strategy ​is ​effective.

 

How​ ​to​ ​enhance​ ​your​ ​content​ ​strategy:

    • Everything ​your ​customer ​comes ​in ​contact ​with ​is ​considered ​branded ​content.
      Make ​sure ​you’re ​creating ​a ​seamless ​and ​worthwhile ​experience.
    • Make ​customers ​feel ​like ​they’re ​part ​of ​something ​when ​they ​engage ​with ​your
      brand.
    • Rather ​than ​churning ​out ​as ​much ​content ​as ​you ​can, ​you ​need ​to ​focus ​on ​quality.
    • The ​best ​content ​is ​bigger, ​braver, ​and ​bolder. ​Tell ​a ​story ​that ​puts ​your ​business ​in
      the ​context ​of ​what ​people ​care ​about.
    • Engaging ​content ​is ​about ​brains, ​not ​budget. ​It’s ​about ​understanding ​your ​target
      customer ​and ​telling ​your ​story.
    • Smart ​companies ​don’t ​engage ​in ​conversations, ​they ​create ​them.
    • Tone ​of ​voice ​is ​a ​tool ​most ​brands ​undervalue. ​It ​can ​demonstrate:
      • Who ​you ​are
      • Why ​you ​do ​what ​you ​do
      • What ​you’re ​like ​to ​deal ​with
    • Make ​the ​ordinary ​extraordinary. ​Reexamine ​every ​part ​of ​your ​marketing. ​Look ​for
      opportunities ​to ​make ​better ​connection ​in ​untapped ​areas.
    • “If ​the ​label ​[brand] ​falls ​off, ​people ​should ​still ​know ​it’s ​yours.”
    • Every ​piece ​of ​content ​you ​create ​should ​ultimately ​help ​people ​feel ​more ​confident
      about ​spending ​their ​budget ​on ​your ​product ​or ​service.

Blue​ ​Bottle​ ​Coffee​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:

    • Michael ​Phillips ​2010 ​world ​barista ​champion ​and ​director ​of ​training ​for ​Blue ​Bottle
      Coffee, ​created ​a ​“Secret ​to ​Brewing ​Amazing ​Coffee” ​video ​that ​added ​value
      because ​of ​his ​world ​class ​expertise.
    • Michael ​wasn’t ​a ​professional ​speaker ​or ​host, ​therefore ​his ​authentic ​personality
      and ​stream ​of ​consciousness ​shined ​through ​when ​he ​spoke.
    • Providing ​deep ​content ​value ​that ​comes ​from ​an ​authentic ​place, ​creates ​smarter
      customers ​who ​can ​appreciate ​the ​intricacies ​of ​your ​product.
    • Blue ​Bottle’s ​strategic ​use ​of ​their ​employee’s ​expertise ​made ​customers ​feel ​like
      they ​were ​a ​part ​of ​the ​company’s ​vision ​to ​brew ​world ​class ​coffee.

Humane​ ​Society​ ​Silicon​ ​Valley​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:

    • Pet ​shelters ​typically ​make ​you ​feel ​guilty ​in ​their ​commercials ​(i.e., ​Sarah ​Mclachlan
      commercials ​with ​sad ​animal ​faces).
    • However, ​this ​Humane ​Society ​disrupted ​industry ​clichés ​by ​using ​humor ​and
      animal ​memes.
    • They ​also ​talked ​about ​how ​donating ​to ​shelter ​helps ​not ​just ​animals ​but ​people
      too.
    • Youtube video example – a rescue dog helped a man lose weight and build his self-esteem

 

Levenfeld​ ​Pearlstein​ ​LLC​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:

    • This ​law ​firm ​noticed ​that ​attorney ​profiles ​were ​the ​most ​viewed ​part ​of ​their
      website.
    • So, ​they ​hired ​a ​video ​crew ​to ​interview ​their ​attorneys ​and ​ask ​them ​deep ​life
      questions ​(what ​did ​you ​want ​to ​be, ​most ​prized ​possession ​in ​office, ​if ​you ​could
      time ​travel ​where ​would ​you ​go).
    • This ​showed ​in ​depth ​who ​they ​were ​as ​people, ​not ​just ​lawyers ​(a ​big ​contrast ​to
      the ​competition’s ​bios).
    • This ​content ​engaged ​viewers ​and ​boosted ​their ​business.

Email​ ​Marketing

The​ ​current​ ​state​ ​of​ ​email​ ​Marketing:

    • 80% ​of ​people ​only ​“scan” ​emails.
    • 58% ​of ​adults ​check ​their ​email ​first ​thing ​in ​the ​morning.
    • Receiving ​too ​many ​emails ​is ​the ​#1 ​reason ​people ​unsubscribe.
    • Adding ​video ​to ​your ​email ​campaigns ​can ​increase ​engagement ​and ​click ​rates ​by
      300%.
    • GIFs ​increase ​engagement ​and ​click ​rates ​by ​42%, ​conversion ​rates ​by ​103%, ​and
      revenue ​generation ​by ​109%.
    • Email ​conversion ​rates ​are ​40 ​times ​that ​of ​Facebook ​and ​Twitter ​conversion ​rates.
    • 58% ​of ​marketers ​plan ​to ​increase ​spending ​on ​emails ​in ​the ​next ​year ​(more ​than
      any ​other ​channel).
    • Nurtured ​leads ​through ​email ​( ​multiple ​email ​touches ​) ​make ​47% ​larger ​purchases
      than ​non-nurtured ​leads.

 

Importance​ ​of​ ​having​ ​the​ ​email​ ​addressed​ ​from​ ​a​ ​person:

    • 75% ​of ​people ​say ​the ​“from” ​name ​has ​the ​highest ​impact ​on ​their ​open ​rate.

 

Importance​ ​of​ ​Subject​ ​Lines:

    • 68% ​of ​people ​say ​the ​subject ​line ​has ​the ​highest ​impact ​on ​their ​open ​rate.
    • Character ​count ​doesn’t ​matter, ​choice ​of ​words ​matters ​more.
      • But ​keep ​in ​mind ​that ​iPhones ​cut ​off ​subject ​lines ​after ​32 ​characters
    • Superlatives ​can ​affect ​the ​open ​rates. ​However, ​you ​need ​to ​choose ​words ​that
      add ​value ​
      ( ​instead ​of ​generic ​words ​).

      • Example ​of ​how ​to ​increase ​your ​open ​rate:
        • Use ​“Special”, ​“brand ​new”, ​“latest”, ​“exciting.”
      • Example ​of ​how ​to ​decrease ​your ​open ​rate:
        • Use ​“Good” ​or ​other ​generic ​adjectives
    • Questions ​increase ​open ​rates.
      • Questions ​that ​start ​with ​“can’t” ​and ​“won’t” ​do ​better ​than ​questions ​that
        start ​with ​“will” ​or ​“who.”
    • Use ​punctuation ​to ​your ​advantage.
      • Your ​punctuation ​should ​sound ​like ​a ​natural ​speaking ​voice

 

Importance​ ​of​ ​design:

    • Over ​56% ​of ​people ​open ​their ​email ​using ​a ​mobile ​phone. ​Optimizing ​your ​design
      for ​mobile ​is ​no ​longer ​optional, ​it’s ​essential.

 

Importance​ ​of​ ​targeting:

    • Personalizing ​your ​email ​by ​using ​the ​target ​customer’s ​first ​name ​can ​raise ​open
      rates ​by ​26%.
    • If ​you ​use ​targeting ​data ​to ​segment ​your ​campaigns ​(age, ​location, ​interests, ​etc),
      you ​can ​increase ​your ​revenue ​by ​up ​to ​760%.
    • 90% ​of ​consumers ​find ​custom ​email ​content ​useful

Email​ ​automation​ ​tips:

    • Email ​1    Say ​thank ​you ​and ​make ​a ​good ​first ​impression
    • Email ​2    Use ​a ​case ​study ​or ​some ​other ​social ​proof
    • Email ​3    Provide ​high ​performing ​content ​and ​profile ​of ​new ​subscribers
    • Email ​4    Be ​bolder ​and ​ask ​specifically ​for ​a ​CTA

 

Increase​ ​engagement​ ​with​ ​“welcome”​ ​email​ ​campaigns:

    • “Welcome” ​emails ​are ​typically ​sent ​automatically ​after ​the ​customer ​makes ​a
      purchase ​from ​you ​or ​signs ​up ​for ​your ​mailing ​list. ​It’s ​important ​to ​give ​your
      audience ​a ​next ​step ​for ​doing ​business ​with ​you.
    • “Welcome” ​campaigns ​have ​a:
      • 4x ​higher ​open ​rate ​than ​other ​campaigns
      • 5x ​higher ​click ​through ​rate ​than ​other ​campaigns
      • 33% ​increase ​in ​long-term ​engagement ​than ​other ​campaigns
      • 57% ​of ​companies ​do ​welcome ​campaigns
    • The ​best ​time ​to ​send ​these ​is ​as ​soon ​as ​possible. ​Real-time ​welcome ​emails ​are
      most ​effective.
    • If ​you ​don’t ​have ​anything ​to ​give ​away, ​a ​simple ​welcome ​message ​from ​your ​CEO
      can ​help ​secure ​customer ​trust.

Additional​ ​effective​ ​email​ ​campaigns: 

    • Pre- ​and ​post- ​tradeshow ​emails ​are ​a ​great ​way ​to ​keep ​in ​touch ​with ​your audience
      • Pre-tradeshow ​emails ​can ​include ​directions ​to ​get ​to ​the ​event, ​parking ​tips, etc
      • Post-tradeshow ​emails ​can ​include ​“thanks ​for ​stopping ​by ​our ​booth.”
    • Transactional ​emails ​and ​receipts ​are ​8x ​more ​likely ​to ​be ​read
      • You ​can ​“give ​more” ​content ​in ​these ​emails ​since ​you ​know ​they ​are ​more
        likely ​to ​be ​opened ​(i.e., ​information ​about ​a ​later ​sale, ​tips ​and ​best ​practices
        for ​using ​a ​product)

SEO​ ​Strategies

Optimizing​ ​your​ ​website​ ​for​ ​SEO:

    • You ​Need ​to ​build ​a ​solid ​foundation ​first. ​It’s ​not ​worth ​your ​time ​to ​optimize ​a
      website ​for ​SEO ​that ​is ​currently ​built ​poorly. ​Clearly ​define ​your ​target ​personas
    • Things ​to ​avoid ​when ​designing ​your ​website
      • Non-indexed ​pages
      • Slow ​page ​load ​time
      • Duplicate ​content
      • Broken ​links
      • 404 ​errors
      • Redirects ​other ​than ​301s
      • Excessive ​URL ​parameters
      • Poor ​use ​of ​keyword ​density
      • Poor ​implementation ​of ​user ​intent ​( ​what ​is ​the ​user ​trying ​to ​find ​on ​each
        page? ​)
      • Poor ​use ​of ​themes
      • Poor ​variety ​of ​content
      • Duplicate ​or ​missing ​title ​tags
      • Duplicate ​or ​missing ​meta ​description ​tags
      • Cluttered ​or ​inefficient ​code
      • Poor ​mobile ​optimization
      • Large ​image ​files
        • You ​must ​optimize ​images
        • Smoosh ​is ​a ​great ​plug-in ​for ​downsizing ​pictures ​for ​file ​size
      • Faulty ​redirects
      • Not ​using ​tags ​correctly ​( ​rel=“alternate” ​and ​rel=“canonical”)

Your​ ​website​ ​must​ ​be​ ​optimized​ ​for​ ​both​ ​front​ ​and​ ​back​ ​end​ ​optimization:

    • Front end is what the browser works with
      • HTML, ​CSS, ​JavaScript, ​media ​( ​images, ​video, ​etc.. ​)
    • Back ​end ​generates ​the ​page ​for ​the ​browser
      • Integrating ​database ​content ​and ​displaying ​in ​the ​browser

Questions​ ​to​ ​answer​ ​when​ ​creating​ ​personas​ ​for​ ​your​ ​website:

    • What ​are ​the ​words ​that ​your ​personas ​use?
    • What ​are ​their ​questions ​and ​concerns?
    • What ​websites ​do ​they ​frequent?
    • What ​is ​the ​best ​way ​to ​communicate ​and ​reach ​them?
    • What ​does ​the ​perfect ​persona ​profile ​look ​like?
      • What ​are ​their ​pains ​and ​fears?
      • What ​are ​their ​barriers ​to ​adoption?

 

Creating and Targeting Paid Ads

The​ ​psychology​ ​of​ ​today’s​ ​customer: 

    • It ​takes ​28 ​interactions ​with ​a ​brand ​for ​consumers ​to ​feel ​comfortable ​choosing them
      • Therefore, ​customers ​don’t ​always ​engage ​the ​first ​time ​they ​see ​social
        media ​ads.
      • It ​takes ​some ​time ​to ​build ​brand ​recognition ​and ​trust
    • In ​the ​year ​2000 ​the ​average ​attention ​span ​was ​12 ​seconds, ​today ​it’s ​dropped ​to ​8
      • Comparatively: ​the ​average ​attention ​span ​of ​goldfish ​is ​9 ​seconds
    • In ​the ​automotive ​industry, ​3 ​out ​of ​4 ​consumers ​change ​their ​mind ​from ​what ​they
      initially ​set ​out ​to ​purchase.

      • These ​metrics ​are ​similar ​in ​other ​fields ​– ​it’s ​very ​easy ​to ​influence ​buyers

 

*Sources: ​Ann ​Handley ​(MarketingProfs), ​Mary ​Shea ​(Forrester), ​Hannah ​McNaughton ​(Metric ​Marketing),
​Jeremy ​Hudgens
(Genius ​Monkey)

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