[Infographic] B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015

MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute partnered again this year to bring you the latest B2B content marketing industry survey. The fifth annual study includes findings from 1,820 North American B2B marketers and presents benchmarks, budgets and trends for the coming year.

According to the study, the secret to content marketing success is to document your content strategy and stick to it. It also uncovered that content marketers are creating more and more content but they still struggle to track ROI, especially when they don’t document their strategy. You can read the full report for all the detailed findings.

Uberflip created an infographic to highlight some of the key elements and help you digest the 40 page report in a glimpse. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

• If you want to be an effective content marketer, you need a documented strategy (not just a verbal one!)
• 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than a year ago.
• Only 21% of content marketers say they’re successful at tracking ROI.
• As far as marketing tactics go, Infographics had the greatest increase in usage from 51% to 62%.
• LinkedIn is the most popular (and most effective) social media channel for B2B marketers.
• In person events are the most effective tactics for B2B marketers.
• More than half of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2015.

B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015

What Do You Sell?

Guest Post by John Jantsch

This title seems like a simple enough question, no trick to it really.

If you sell insurance, you sell a piece of paper
If you sell remodeling, you sell boards, drywall and paint
If you sell tax preparation, your sell a big fat envelope full of filled out forms
If you sell automobiles, you sell four wheels, metal and a way to get around

It’s hard to argue with any of these assertions isn’t it. I mean, that’s what you sell – but that’s not the point is it?

What you really sell is – what the buyer believes that are getting when they buy your product or service. Stop selling what you sell and start selling what people want to buy.

Funny thing is – many small business owners don’t even know what that is. And, it’s the most important thing there is to know. Stop thinking in terms of what you sell and start thinking in terms of what your clients buy or think they buy.

If you sell insurance, maybe they buy a feeling of responsibility or company stability
If you sell remodeling, maybe they buy the feeling they get when friends drop by or knowing that their family routine won’t be too screwed up
If you sell tax preparation, maybe they buy peace of mind or a refund
If you sell automobiles, maybe they buy that sideways glance at the stoplight or knowing their teenage daughter will make it home safe at night

Figure out what your prospects buy, not what they should buy, what they do buy and start communicating that in your marketing message to them.


John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer; Sell Like a Superstar and Duct Tape Marketing: The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine (Portfolio: May 15, 2014). He is the founder of Duct Tape Marketing.


Five Website Design Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Website mistakes

Fix your website mistakes!. Photo courtesy of Iain Farrell(CC No Derivatives)

Do-it-yourself website design options are everywhere, and so are website design companies.  You can even design your own website for free, if you so desire, on many different site builders.  Considering the many options that exist, it’s completely understandable that small business owners often feel a sense of confusion when it comes to building a website.  While there are many extremely desirable elements to website design, there are also some things you should avoid.  Here are five website design mistakes you should be careful never to make.

Mistake #5:  Using PDF Files Instead of Pages

It might be tempting to scan existing documents into pdf format and upload them onto your website.  Give visitors a link to click, and up comes your pdf. Easy, right?  Wrong!  People hate finding pdf’s on websites.  They take a long time to load, and they can be hard to read.  Take the time to create a new page that contains the pertinent information.  You can build links and backlinks, add great photos, and make your page a pleasure to visit instead of an irritation.  Annoyed visitors leave a site and look for a better one – so skip the pdf’s.

Mistake #4:  Using “Bookish” Text

People want information fast.  They want to scan your site and see whether you have what they are looking for.  So:

  • Do not make your site look like the page of a book.  Keep it interesting.
  • Use photos and vary the text size to highlight different areas of your page.
  • Use bulleted lists and quick paragraphs with headers that tell the visitor what they’re going to find under that heading.
  • Make your site interactive.  The more fun people have when they visit your site, the more successful it will be.

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Mistake #3:  Building a Flashy Site That Is Too Complicated For Users To Navigate

You can have the most beautiful looking website in the world, but without elements that are properly built using proven website design techniques, your site will be just more pretty pictures – and the internet is full of those!  People want to go to a site, find what they are looking for, and leave.  The better and faster the internet gets, the faster people expect sites to work.

Mistake #2:  Preventing Smartphone Users from a Rich Site Experience

This is a relatively new mistake in website design, and if you’ve got a website now, it’s worth pulling it up on your phone right now.  Can people who surf the web on their iPhone, Android, or other smartphone really see your site?  Can they find what they’re looking for, and navigate well, without pinching and expanding?  If not, your site needs first aid. Fast. 

Mistake #1:  Not Hiring a Professional to Handle Website Design

You might want to help your buddy who is learning about website design build his portfolio by building you a website, and while that might be OK if he has some experienced guidance, it also might ruin your chances of ending up with a great site that is both user friendly and high ranking. 

These days, website design is about a lot more than looking good.  Hire a professional, and your site will do exactly what you need it to – gain you business, and increase your bottom line.

There you have it – 5 Website Design Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make. If you feel like you are not sure where to turn to next for help, give us a shout. We can analyze your site and make some recommendations for free. If you need help getting those recommendations accomplished we can help you as well.

How to find your ideal clients?

Businessmen shaking hands

Photo courtesy of reynermedia(CC Attribution)

Wouldn’t it be great if ideal clients just dropped out of the sky every time we needed them? It would be something akin to those State Farm commercials – when you get in a bind and need more cash, just say “Bring me more clients!” Poof!  Like magic, there they appear. Even though we haven’t figured out how to do exactly that, we have the next best thing.  Let’s take a look at a realistic strategy to find who exactly you should be targeting, and then, more importantly, how do we find more of them?

5 Steps to Your Ideal Client

1. Find your most profitable clients.

The first part of this should be fairly easy to do – just get into your client billing information and sort through the data until you find your top 20% of clients, based on amount billed to them. The next step can be a bit more difficult, as you to dig deeper into that top 20%.  Determine for each of those clients who was the most profitable for your business. Be careful – they may be paying a bunch of money each month, but if their profit margin is low, that would not be an ideal client to go after in the future.   After you have determined those most profitable, write down their defining factors, answering such questions as, “What type of company are they? What service or product do they produce? What service or product do you provide for them?”  Then look for what attributes those clients have in common.  This will help you identify the type of clients that buy a service or product from you that has a good profit margin.

2. From the above list, identify those clients who refer you the most.

Now let’s divide that same list again and find out who among your clients has referred you the most. You may even want to make hierarchy of your clients, listing them from greatest to least jobs. This is very important, as it is in an indicator of their level of satisfaction with you and your service.  It tells you who is happy enough to tell others that they should be doing business with you.

Ideal Client

Clients that fall into the upper right quadrant of this graph are ideal..

3. Find the common demographic elements.

Now you will have created an even more specific group, and you need to see what common characteristics they have. Here are just a few things to consider:

• Age

• Employment status

• Gender

• Occupation

• Income

• Educational level

• Industry

• Employee count

• Type of business

• Geographic scope of business

• Revenue levels

4. Understand the behavior that makes them ideal

The secret to attracting ideal clients is to understand what makes them tick.  What triggers them to go looking for someone like you?  What is it that keeps them up at night? What frustrates them so much that they are looking for the solution you provide? 

If you are  providing a solution to their most common frustrations, then this may truly be your golden opportunity.  People make a lot of their buying decisions to eitherremove pain or experience gain. If you can tap into these emotions you can truly grow your business, creating an ever-growing relationship between you and your clients.

5. Draw a full biographical sketch

Finally, once you are able to pull together a company profile that focuses on profitability, referrals, demographics, and behaviors, then you have the foundation of a biographical sketch or persona. The idea is to create a picture of that person at the company that is so vivid that just about anyone could envision a mental picture of that client. You have to be able to also answer the question you will inevitably be asked – How do we spot our ideal client?  This is key in helping your employees fully understand who they should target.  I have even see some companies create a cardboard cutout of their ideal client and include it in all planning meetings. This client model has a name, a family, assets, and almost a real life. Why? Because it make it so much easier to pitch things at a persona, than at some intangible pie in the sky company out theresomewhere.

So, what does this mean for YOU?

There is no doubt that it takes time to create this sort of profile, but it makes it easier to identify and decide who you should be going after, making this an essential process every business should go through.  If you would like some guidance through the process , or if you want to learn more strategies that you can use to generate more leads into your business, please take our free marketing assessment and we would be happy to give you some free suggestions on not only identifying your ideal client, but other suggestions to help you grow your business.

Top 10 Business Lead Generation Tips [Infographic]

The challenge of getting people who may not know of your product or service (and in some cases don’t even care about it) to become interested is often shrouded in a degree of mystery. We have put together a great list of 10 lead generation tips, but they are extremely actionable as well.


Lead Generation Tips


Here are the 10 Lead Generation tips again (written out):

  1. Do Your Research – Before you even attempt to generate new leads online, do your research to get specific details on your target audience. Who are they? What are they searching for online? How are they conducting these searches? This will help you create an effective keyword strategy to capture these leads.
  2. Use Paid Online Advertising – Pay-per-click online ads are a great way to drive highly-targeted traffic to your website quicker than SEO. With a set monthly budget and some solid keywords, you can capture specific leads who are looking for your exact products or services in the area.
  3. Connect with Prospects on Social Media – More and more people are using social media to interact with local businesses in their area. If your target audience is spending time on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, set up profiles on these sites and start capturing these leads.
  4. Build a Targeted Email List – Inviting your target audience to subscribe to your email list is one of the easiest ways to generate new leads. Give away something of value in exchange for their email addresses so you can easily follow-up with them; this is a great way to build relationships so they can get to know you better.
  5. Improve Search Engine Visibility (SEO) – Most consumers go to the search engines to look for local products and services. Your website needs to show up high in the results in order to capture these hot leads who are actively searching for what you offer.
  6. Optimize Your Local Listings – Local listings, such as Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local were created specifically to connect local businesses with local consumers. Make sure your listings are complete and optimized so they come up higher in the search results.
  7. Educate, Inform, & Solve Problems – Many people scour the web for answers to their problems and concerns. As a result, many of them end up doing business with companies that have published great content that helped them out. Implement methods, such as blogging, to consistently publish this type of “lead-pulling” content.
  8. Enhance Your Site for Conversions – Getting traffic to your site is just the beginning. The icing on the cake is converting this traffic into new solid leads. Make sure your site is equipped to keep visitors longer, as well as motivate them to take action. Good content, videos, images, and strong calls-to-action all pay an important role in boosting conversions.
  9. Consider Paying for Leads – SEO takes time to get results and pay-per-click can be expensive for some markets. But working with a high-quality lead source can definitely help you connect with more qualified leads. This method is powerful in expanding your reach and seeing a rewarding ROI.
  10. Follow-Up with Your Leads – Whichever method you choose to generate new leads for your business, be sure to keep the lines of communication flowing with them so you can convert them into brand new paying customers. Otherwise, all of your efforts will simply be a waste of time and money.

Want to Learn More About Lead Generation tips for your business?

Contact us

and we can customize a plan for you.

Get Website Traffic Fast!

Online, one of the most significant keys to success is getting website traffic. The more visitors you have, the better your sales and profits. Presumably you have a niche and you know your keywords, and regularly conduct keyword research to stay on top of what’s popular. Based on those assumptions here are five quick and easy tips to get website traffic fast!

Tip #1 Make sure you’re actually tagging your keywords.

Do you spend a lot of time optimizing your content and then neglect to tag them on your webpage? Tags are where search engines look and if there are no tags they’ll pass right by your web pages. Here’s a quick brief on tags.

  • Title tags. Title tags are quite possibly the most important place to situate your keywords. Your title tag is where you place your primary keyword or keyword phrase. The sentence will describe your business in less than 90 characters.
  • Header Tags. Header tags are next and they are ranked in order of importance to search engines. 
  • Meta Tags. Meta tags provide the small descriptive text found underneath the title tag on the search engine results page. Like title tags these should be kept brief, informative and up to date.
  • Alt Tags. Alt tags are used to provide a text description of a graphic. Each graphic on your site should have a description and an alt tag.

Tip #2 Add content to your site daily

Content is essential for traffic and a top search engine ranking. Content is what search engine spiders look for and index – without it there’s nothing to index or rank. Give visitors and search engines a reason to visit and index your site. Make a commitment to provide daily, optimized content and your traffic will soar.

Increase Website Traffic

Photo courtesy of Orin Zebest(CC ShareALike)

Tip #3 Procure valuable and relevant incoming links

The more websites which link to your webpages the more valuable search engines perceive you to be, though not all links are created equal. Search engines give more leverage to links from sites which are popular and credible and from sites which are relevant to your website topic.

There are different types of links:

  • A direct link looks like a basic website address, for example, www.yourwebsite.com
  • A text link occurs when the webpage address is embedded in the text. Readers simply click on the link and are redirected to a new website page.
  •  If the link is to an internal web page, for example an article published on a website, rather than the home page, it is called a “deep link.”

You can encourage linking to your website by adding content to your site,  submitting to article directories, publishing press releases, blogging and participating in social networking forums, chat rooms and social networking sites.

Tip #4 Be Social!

Now more than ever before, internet marketing is about building a community. Whether you offer a forum on your website or you participate in social networking sites, social networking is a valuable traffic generating tactic. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be powerful tools for generating links and traffic to your site – create a profile and then post comments, links to your site and ideas which generate conversation.

Get involved – many chat rooms and forums are industry specific, find those which cater to your industry, and begin participating. Speak to and connect with a highly targeted audience.

Tip #5 Advertise for more exposure and traffic

Advertising, when handled strategically, can be used to promote your content and products or services. PPC advertising is often the tool of choice because you control the advertising budget on a daily basis and have the tools to test and track your advertising efforts. Once you’ve honed your PPC ads the return on investment can be phenomenal in terms of traffic and purchases.

For maximum results, create a website traffic and SEO strategy. Outline your plan and your goals and then take the necessary action. Take advantage of these five traffic and search engine tips to boost your business.

How to Create a USP(Unique Selling Proposition) That Works

Your unique selling proposition (USP) explains to you and your audience why your products and/or services are preferable over someone else’s products or services. Figuring out and writing down your USP is an important part of helping you develop a profitable business.

To be able to create a working USP you’ll need to:

* Understand Your Target Audience – Who exactly are they and what problems do they have that you can solve?

* Get to Know Your Competition – How is your competition serving your audience?

* Know How Your Product Provides Value – How does your product provide value and solve problems for your audience?

* Know Why You Created It – Why are you the one who should create the product service that really works?

Researching each of the four points above will help you gather the information that you’ll need to write your USP. Using the information collected above, you’ll want to write your USP in a concise, creative way that connects you to your market and explains how you solve their problems and fill their needs differently from your competition, in a way that resonates with your customer.

To write your USP answer the following questions:

* Product Name – Write down what you want to name the product.

* Description of Product – Describe your product succinctly.

* How Product Works – Explain how the product works.

* How Product Is Different – Tell your audience how your product is different.

* Why You Created the Product – Explain why you created the product or service.

* Why They Should Buy It – Tell your audience which problems the product solves.

* Explain the Guarantee – This is where you tell them they’ll get their money back, or somehow show them that trying your product or service is risk free.

To develop your USP, answering these questions will tell your customers (and anyone involved with your business) what you do, why you do it, and why someone should buy from you. That’s what the USP does. What makes it work is that it’s something you and your entire organization can look to when creating new products, services, or marketing for the products and services.

You need to be able to describe the unique benefit to your clients if they purchase your products and services. But, having a clear USP isn’t just beneficial to them – it’s beneficial for you and your organization too because you need something to focus on to keep your marketing messages on track.

The other way to make your USP work well is to have it be short and concise. After you collect all the information and answers, you’ll use it to write your USP. But you will narrow it down immensely. Your entire USP should not be more than a short paragraph of about 50 words or less that you can easily use. Sometimes your USP can become your slogan. Think of some famous slogans. If they answer who, why, how, what, when, where and make a guarantee, then it’s their USP. Think: “The chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

Of course, you can use your USP to create an entire story that you can put on your about page to answer questions your audience has and expand on your short USP.

What is marketing?

What is marketing?

Photo courtesy of kevin dooley(CC Attribution)

So you may be asking, what is marketing all about really? Is it just a term used to justify high consulting fees, or maybe even someone’s role in a business? It’s an often asked question and I’d like to share a few different responses to that question with you today.

I was determined to get to the bottom of this, so I went hunting far and wide to get an answer. Here’s what I found:

According to the AMA (American Marketing Association) it is”… the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (https://www.ama.org/AboutAMA/Pages/Definition-of-Marketing.aspx). It’s a mouthful isn’t it? So I kept hunting.  I decided I should go to the dictionary and headed over to Merriam-Webster’s and here’s what they had to say: “the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc.” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/marketing). Now that’s a lot clearer, right – simply put it is about making people aware of a product or service. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg actually, can you buy a product you are not aware of? So that helps, but I knew there had to be a still even better definition out there for us to really understand what marketing is.

The ultimate answer to “what is marketing?”

My search took me to the world of Duct Tape Marketing and the ultimate definition by John Jantsch: “Getting someone, who has a need, to know, like and trust you. Now, when you have a marketing system in place this expands to – getting someone, who has a need, to know, like, trust, contact and refer you.” Did you notice the 2 key aspects to this and to what marketing is as a whole? It’s all about driving awareness and then building trust. If you can achieve those 2 things, you have truly built a foundation that will lead to opportunities which ultimately lead to sales. How are you going to build awareness and trust into your marketing efforts?

[Tweet “What is marketing. really all about?”]

How to Analyze the Supply and Demand of a Niche

As a small business owner, it is imperative that you study the supply and demand of any particular niche for which you feel you want to be involved. In addition, choosing a smaller niche market can allow your business to avoid competing with huge businesses that can afford to put out less expensive items. You can also charge higher prices for specialized and differentiated products or services that you promote to smaller audiences, giving higher profitability. In contrast, a larger business isn’t going to touch the smaller niches because they want to make much larger profits than the smaller niches will allow.

The trick is to learn how to analyze the supply and demand of any particular niche to ensure that you want to enter that market.

* Define Your Customers – How many customers are there to whom you can market any particular product or service? Knowing how many there are can give you a good idea about what the price point of the product needs to be in order to make it worth your while. Remember, you’re never going to reach every last potential customer so adjust your expectations accordingly.

* Determine Their Needs – As you look at the customers you want to work with, it’s important that you develop an understanding of their needs so that you can create products or services that are special, differentiated, and that they’re going to be willing to pay a higher premium for than mass-produced products and services that are lower quality.

* Provide the Right Products or Services – Knowing the customers and their needs will help you get down to work identifying several potential product ideas that you can do more research on by using keyword research, polling of the audience, and other methods to determine the supply and demand of products like yours.

* Outline a Marketing Plan – Once you’ve figured out the product or service you want to market, you’ll be able to determine marketing strategies and tactics that will help you earn the most from your small niche. Part of profitability is to know how you can market efficiently to your customer.

* Make a Profit – Finally, doing the research will help you determine if you can make a profit. Take the number of people in the market, the average market penetration and your price point, and you can come up with the most likely number of products you’d have to sell each month, week and day to reach your goals.

In order to make all this work together it’s important to:

1. Choose Keywords – Keyword research is somewhat subjective and starts with an understanding of your audience and a few words that you think they’ll use. You can also use tools to help you do keyword research.

2. Research Other Products – Find products that claim to be answers to your audience’s issues and check them out to find out how you can differentiate yours enough to charge the price point you need.

3. Identify the Price Point – Using the information gathered, come up with a price point that works for you.

4. Determine Your Break Even Number – Using all that information, come up with how many products you’d need to sell to make the profit you need to make, and whether it’s even possible considering all the other factors.

Bringing all these points together will ensure that you understand how supply and demand relates to the profitability of your niche. If there aren’t enough customers, or enough demand, and you can’t sell at a price point that fits with your income needs, you can then know it’s time to move on to another idea.

Top 10 Traffic Ideas for your Blog

Blogs are popular ways to create an online presence for personal and business reasons. You can build a blog for free and begin posting content right away. But, what good is that content if no one is reading it. Here are ten ideas to bring in the traffic your blog needs to survive.

Of all the successful blogs on the Internet, hundreds more have failed. Running a blog is like running a business website. Unless you are willing to put the time in and treat it seriously, you won’t be blogging long.

That is not to say that the failed bloggers weren’t serious about blogging. Mostly, new bloggers aren’t prepared for the work that goes into creating a successful blog. Just building the blog doesn’t mean that people will necessary come to you. You pursue the audience and give them a reason to see what you have to say.

1. Fresh Content – no one wants to visit a blog day after day and see the same posts. Update your blog content at least twice a week. This will be easier if you write several posts ahead of time and upload them at the appropriate times.

2. Article Marketing – the niche you’ve chosen for your blog is one that interests you. If it is interesting you will spend more time doing it. Create content not only for your blog but also to be submitted to article directories. Use the resource box to advertise your blog so people can find you.

3. Social Networking – these sites are everywhere. Join Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, Twitter or a dozen others and make connections. You can join groups of likeminded people who are also bloggers or entrepreneurs.

4. Viral Marketing – this is where you spread the word about your blog. Talk to friends, family and even strangers. Give out business cards that have your blog address on them.

5. Use RSS Feeds – RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.” Readers can subscribe to your feed and get email updates when new content is posted. It is an easy way for them to keep up with your blog without spending all day online.

6. Submit Blog to Search Engines – doing this allows your blog to be ranked. Google and Yahoo! are two of the most popular search engines you want to crawl your blog pages. It doesn’t guarantee top ranking, though. You’ll have to do a little more work for that.

7. Joining Forums – as a blogger you are a budding entrepreneur. Right now you are marketing yourself to find traffic and then profit. Become a member of business forums, work at home forums and others to meet new people and share ideas. You can add a link to your blog in the signature line so others can find you.

8. Visit other blogs – show your appreciation to those who visit you by also posting comments on their blogs. It is a kindness that shows others you are not just out to advertise your blog alone. Add links to your blog in your comments.

9. SEO Marketing – whatever you write, use relevant keywords. Keyword density between three and ten percent is good for getting higher page rankings in search engines. Base your keywords on a research you do to find the most popular words used in search engines for your niche.

10. Social Bookmarking – submitting posts to social bookmarking sites allows others who are members of those sites to track you back to your blog.

Using any of these ideas will start the traffic moving in your direction. It takes time but you will build the readership you want.