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Savvy Sisters - Fri Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:30AM
Comments: 12

Another summer month draws to an end. While our first inclination is to scream "Yikes!," our second is to think of all the Savvy Week in Reviewwonderful ways to enjoy this final weekend of July. What could be more perfect than loading your fave digital device with some good beach reads and videos? Here are some terrific ones to get your started. Enjoy!  

The Savvy Sister

Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash by @rogerdooley

A whole book on landing page optimization? Yep. And it looks like a really good one. Based in neuroscience, these tactics are designed to get results. 

Who are the Top 15 Thought Leaders in Social Media Today? by @NealSchaffer

Great list of great people - many already favorites, plus a few new ones to explore.

5 Quick Tips for Writing a Successful Landing Page by @SEGuide

High level, but helpful - big ideas to keep in mind when you're developing landing page ideas and content.

How to Seduce Strangers and Make Sales by @LisaCron via @MenWithPens

Seduction in B2B? You betcha.

How to Move Your Brand from Invisible to Visible by @jeffbullas

Excellent post that wraps up the whole enchilada in one quick list of things to think about and consider. 

Create Content that Nurtures — and Nudges — Your Prospects by @heatherrast via @juntajoe

Ideas for encouraging lukewarm prospects to take the next step.

Operationalizing Social Media: How SAP replicated its successful social media practices across the globe by @toddmwilms via @MarketingSherpa

Tune into this informative, engaging 25-minute video for a behind-the-scenes look at how SAP does social media right.

Comments: 12
Heather Rubesch - Wed Jul 25, 2012 @ 06:53PM
Comments: 103

 

mug-of-beer.jpgUnless you live in a remote cabin, you know it is an election year and the pundits are all a buzz about the famed “Beer Test”.  In this now politically correct year of 2012 I am not sure it shouldn’t be called the “Drink Test” because the average drink at Starbucks costs more than a beer and you can get a whole bottle of wine at Trader Joe’s for less than $3 but for ease of discussion purposes just insert your preferred social beverage wherever I mention “beer” in this article.

The crux of the beer test is whether or not a candidate is likeable enough for you to have a voluntary social encounter with them.  I grew up in a small Midwestern (think Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show) and I can tell you the beer test absolutely makes and breaks both political candidates and businesses in the agricultural and manufacturing midwest.  I believe likability is also a core intangible we use in deciding who we do business with. Here is my advice for passing the B2B Beer Test.

Don’t start by telling me how smart, special, different you are

If we are sitting down over a beer you probably want to start by finding out a few things about me, my town, my business, my problems before you dive in.  My midwestern manners will allow you to blammer on if you insist on doing so because you are after all the guest but you are making a fatal mistake.

This applies to various channels.  I always suggest to clients who want to keep a warm relationship with a prospect who has given them a “not no but not now” vibe online or offline, look for third party analyst data or research to keep the conversation going.  For example if you spoke with a prospect at a conference or they downloaded a white paper.  Over the next two months you can send me an article or blog post link that addresses my business challenges every few weeks.  If at all possible the first two follow up articles should not be anything specifically about your product or sales brochures.  Could be webinar link or white paper sponsored by your company but not a sales brochure.

Find out everything you can about my company and business

There is so much public data out there now about companies that it is inexcusable not to tap into that.  It will differentiate you.  As an example, I walked into a prospect client last fall for an introductory meeting.  I was being brought in as a subcontractor of a PR firm that had an established relationship to do a project related to rewriting the website copy.  In reviewing the website I found they had a plethora of press releases in their “News” section.  Every time they signed up a new customer or partner for the past 5 years they had gathered quotes from the client and put out a press release.  The quotes in those releases were fabulous.  They told me why their customers bought what they bought.  How they anticipated their needs being met.  When I got to the introductory meeting I felt like I knew the client and their customer. 

This allowed me to make a much more positive first impression at the introductory meeting and have a sense for the clients corporate tone.  I was able to ask leading questions, refer to what I had read to clarify the value proposition of their services and most of all show I cared more about their needs than about my fees.

Do you have a sense of humor?

You don’t have to be a standup comedian and your brand mascot doesn’t need to be a cartoon character to effectively infuse humor or levity in your messaging.  Humor shows you don’t take yourself too seriously.  It shows you are approachable and opens a dialogue where the prospect is more relaxed and willing to share.

I worked with a company a few years ago who sold fairly boring data products to insurance companies.  They took national weather service data and produced historical models showing where past weather events had happened.  They attended an annual conference where all the vendors bought the same 10x10 booth and popped up the same canned graphics and were given the same 6 foot table with two chairs in which to set out their brochures.  This client was small and needed to stand out in a sea of recognized names.

They knew they had to visually do something different.  We built a campaign around 1970’s disaster movie posters such as Earthquake, Swarm and Towering Inferno.  We created a movie poster for their product heralding it as the “Anti-Disaster Film of the Year”.  Instead of the normal table and two plastic chairs they bought Director’s Chairs and rolled out a red carpet in their booth and debuted a 4 minute movie about their product while they served popcorn and gave away movie passes to anyone who sat through a demo.

Those who didn’t attend the conference could view the movie on-line and schedule an on-line demo for the same giveaway.  Their name recognition exploded and inbound leads increased ten-fold.  They were memorable and quirky and that was refreshing to their prospects.

What traits make up your B2B Beer Test?  What techniques have worked to improve your brand likability?  Is that something you think about?

Comments: 103
Heather Rubesch - Mon Jul 23, 2012 @ 12:44PM
Comments: 25

BasOne_logo_reasonably_small.pngResearch about B2B buyer attitudes and perceptions of marketing and its effectiveness are very rare.  Particularly comprehensive research spanning 800 decision makers across dozens of industries that take into consideration generational attitudes and biases of those buyers.  That's why we are thrilled to once again share the BuyerSphere report from Base One.  This third annual installment shows not only attitudes but now trends based on how the perceptions are shifting over time. 

Some highlights I drew from my review were:

  • Web searches (71%) and Word of Mouth (56%) lead in research channels across all phases of the buying process.  They also scored the highest for the usefulness of the information found.

 

  • Buyers with less than 5 years in their current role are twice as likely to download a whitepaper while researching a purchase.

 

  • Word of Mouth is the lead influencer in decision making (7.3 on a 10 point scale) but the term Word of Mouth varies across generations.  Millenials are more likely to get that Word of Mouth via a social channel than a Gen X or older decision maker.  They are more likely to get it via offline interaction at a conference or seminar!

 

  • Twitter usage dropped from 10% in 2011 to 3% in 2012.  Facebook dropped 12% to 5% over the same period.  Blogs and Linked in both dropped slightly but remained greater channels and less volital for B2B buyers.

 

  • But don't count social media out!  20 something B2B buyers are twice as likely as 31-40 year olds to use it.  So the trend will tick up as those younger buyers become more senior in their organizations and garner more purchase decision making power!

 

Check it out!  We look forward to discussing the BuyerSphere 2020 report with you before we know it!

Comments: 25
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Fri Jul 20, 2012 @ 08:02AM
Comments: 42

 

Savvy Week in ReviewOnly six more weeks to Labor Day, people. How's your summer going? Have you done all the things you wanted to do? Have you done any of them?

We want you to have more time to enjoy the sunshine season. To save you some time, we've collected our favorite blog posts of the week right here - perfect for a quick scan. It'll only take you a few clicks to catch up with all the latest greatest from the B2B blogosphere. 

You're welcome. 

:)

The Savvy Sister

Jessica Brown’s Best Practices for Managing an Editorial Board – by @tcmarketeer

If you are working in a content team or you want to improve the content your company is producing, consider having an editorial board. Here you get all of the details to get started.

How to Identify and Optimize Keywords for Your Corporate Blog – by @jonathanscrowe via @openviewventure

You probably know you should be using keywords in your content, but if you aren’t, check out this useful primer.

4 B2B Content Marketing Myths – by @wittlake

I have a feeling that you have been hearing all of these sentiments about B2B marketing.

Six Steps to Keep Your Content Marketing Squeaky Clean – via @marketo

I love having things organized, even my content. Here’s a step-by-step process to follow.

Copywriting Case Study: How Encyclopedia Britannica increased conversion 103% by @MktgExperiments

Excerpt from longer webinar that looks at the importance of copywriting to conversion.

Video: A Key Component of Your Integrated Marketing Efforts  by @ShellyKramer

Are you using video yet? Check out these wow! bam! stats and you may want to start. Excellent examples as well.

Writing secret: Light as air, strong as whiskey, cheap as dirt by @speechwriterguy

Had to share this brilliant example of how great copy can tell a story in only a few words.

Don’t let your most important marketing asset walk out the door via @suddenlyjamie

Are you putting your most important asset at risk. Many big brands do. Don't make the same mistake. 

6 characteristics of highly persuasive stories by @rogerdooley

This applies to all kinds of writing and is fascinating to boot. (Hat tip to @cheryldolan_ for the find!)

 

And here's a little bonus for our freelancer and consultant friends-in-arms. The lovely Dianna Huff (@diannahuff) is hosting a webinar just for us on Monday afternoon. It's about building positive marketing beliefs  for ourselves as well as for our clients! Maybe I'll see you there! 

 

Comments: 42
Michele Linn - Wed Jul 18, 2012 @ 07:00AM
Comments: 22

file3831312045645.jpgFor all of us Savvy Sisters, it feels like anything but the "lazy days of summer." In fact, I can't recall a time when all of us seemed so busy -- with both work as well as with our personal lives. 

Because my schedule has been packed, I have thought a lot about how to "get more hours in a day." Although that's not technically possible, I am always striving to become more efficient. 

I wrote a series of posts over at CMI about how to be more productive, and I wanted to share them with you in case you are looking for ways to think differently as well. And, to be perfectly honest, sometimes repurposing content is a good way to get a few more hours in as well, which is why I have created this post!

A Simple and Indispensible Template for Content Marketing Distribution

Even once your content is finished, your job is not done. I’ve found that if I don’t have a system to get the word out there that I don’t do the best job. Here’s a template I use all the time to make sure I’m hitting the right distribution channels, and it’s something you can easily customize.

Improve Your Productivity: 6 Ways to Use Evernote for Content Marketing

When I was on maternity leave this year, I had some free time to try out different apps. Hands down, my favorite has been Evernote. It’s not new, and it’s not fancy, but it’s a workhorse for me. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it! Check out the comments in the post for some additional ideas on how to use Evernote.

How to Make Content Marketing a Habit

Knowing what you need to do and actually doing it are two different things. Here I provide some suggestion on how can “actually do” content marketing instead of just thinking about it.

Get Inspired and Organized: Mind Mapping for Content Marketing

A great productivity booster for me is to visually think about the content I need to create. I use mind mapping all the time when I am in a rut or need to get my thoughts together. Since writing this post, I have tried a number of mind mapping tools, and I currently favor MindNode Lite, which is free on Mac and very easy to use. You can easily export your mind maps to PDFs, Word or text.

Are you struggling to get it all done or have you found good ways to be more productive? Let me know in the comments!

 

About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.
 

 
Comments: 22
Savvy Guest - Mon Jul 16, 2012 @ 09:21AM
Comments: 38

The Savvy Sisters are pleased to have Brad Shorr, Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North as our Guest Poster this week.  Based in Chicago he is a writer, blogger and content guru with extensive B2B experience.

 
quill-pen.jpgIf you’re frustrated because you write awesome content that nobody seems to appreciate, this post should be helpful. 
 
Everyone talks about the importance of “quality content,” myself included. However, an obsession with quality content, however you define it, can actually undermine a content marketing program. 
 
The reason for this is fairly simple, if you consider that content marketing consists of two separate but equal activities: creating and communicating. Communication is the “marketing” part of content marketing. If all of your time and energy go into creating content, you are likely to run out of time and energy for the equally important job of effectively communicating that content to the right audience. 
 
Brilliant content poorly marketed is like the proverbial tree that falls in the empty forest. If nobody hears your content, in one sense it doesn’t even exist – in which case it won’t help you generate leads or establish credibility or accomplish any of the other business goals of your content marketing strategy. 
 

How to Cut Back on Creative

 
Here are a few suggestions for scaling back on creative, which will allow you to concentrate a bit harder on the communication side of the equation.
 

Pull back on the polish. Rules of grammar and usage should always be followed, but there’s no need to agonize over every word choice and labor endlessly over sentence construction. Most online readers are in a hurry, looking for substance more than style.

Don’t belabor the backstory. If it’s true that online readers are in a hurry, tell them what time it is, not how to make the clock. Marginally relevant background information, while interesting, can backfire because it keeps readers from quickly grasping your point. 

Stick to one style. A blog post, white paper or infographic might be editorial or informational in nature; it might be an executive summary or highly technical, lighthearted or deadly serious. But it should never be all of the above. Trying to be all things to all people will make your content pretty much useless to everybody.

 

How to Ramp Up Communication

 
Now that you have more time to market your content, here are a few suggestions that will help you get better results, that will allow your great content to bear fruit.
 
Do serious social syndication. Too many B2Bs go through the motions, joining every possible social network and mechanically sharing their content without giving thought to when or how or even why they’re doing it. Smart content marketers study metrics and continually refine the timing, frequency and style of their content shares. Better to spend time here than poring through a thesaurus searching for the perfect adjective!
 
Build relevant social media communities. If a tree falls in the forest and 10,000 irrelevant Twitter followers hear it … you’ve gained nothing. It takes an enormous amount of time to connect with relevant and influential social media participants, and most B2Bs I’ve worked with grossly underestimate the challenge. To get a better idea of how tough it can be, read this post about B2B community building.
 
Pay attention to SEO. Great content without SEO is like a sports car without gas: it looks pretty but won’t get you anywhere. Organic search visibility is critical for B2B lead generation, and today more than ever firms need to stay current on best practices for SEO. Here is an article I wrote that provides a detailed rundown on key SEO changes that affect content marketing []. 
 

Over to You

 Are you struggling to find the right balance between creating content and marketing it? What advice can you share about tackling this problem?

 

(Image credit: #36226548, © ANK -Fotolia.com

 

 

 

 

Comments: 38
Savvy Sisters - Fri Jul 13, 2012 @ 05:00AM
Comments: 18

Savvy Week in ReviewIf you are like us, it seems like the summer months have left us insanely busy instead of relaxed. So, if you haven't had time to spend reading, here are our favorites from the last couple of weeks.

To our readers in the United States, we hope you had a wonderful holiday last week!

The Savvy Sister

5 Reasons for the Great Content Marketing Correction by @juntajoe

Joe Pulizzi explains how content marketing is helping brands produce the right balance of content.

B2B Sales + Marketing: how much demand do you really need to generate? by @bobapollo

Here's how to determine exactly how much activity you need at each stage of the pipeline.

PowerViews with Ann Handley: First, Get Your Strategy, Messaging & Story Right via @PointClearPD

Ann Handley, aka @MarketingProfs, shares her views on everything from storytelling and mixing outbound and inbound to social media, and sales and marketing alignment. Check out the video or read the transcript highlights.

9 Top Twitter Tips You Should Start Using Today! by @BrennerMichael

In honor of his third year on Twitter, Michael Brenner offers up the guidelines he's used to post over 18,000 tweets.

5 Powerful Design Elements that will Transform Your Blog into a REAL Business – by @thesaleslion

This post from Marcus Sheridan is a great read for any company who is struggling to clearly articulate how they can help their customers.

B2B Mobile Websites Using Responsive Web Design – by @dougkessler

You may have heard about responsive design (and if you haven’t, take a read), but if you want to see a B2B site in action, take a look at the redesign of Velocity Partners in the UK.  Great resources at the end as well.

What Makes a Successful and Outstanding Business Blog? by @LizStrauss

Outstanding collection of resoures. 

5 Reasons Email Marketing Crushes Social Media Marketing for B2B by @KISSmetrics

Wham! Ka-pow! Take that saucy social media. Email is here to stay and kick some marketing ass.

6 Ways to Make your Content Sticky by @JeffBullas

Sticky is a Good Thing. 

 

 

SavvyEbookCover.jpgLast, but certainly not least, did you catch the launch of the first Savvy Sisters ebook earlier this week? 

Check out 60 Savvy B2B Inspirations - a collection of bite-sized morsels from the last three years of Savvy B2B Marketing posts. We had great fun pulling this together and hope you enjoy it! 

 

 

 

 

Comments: 18
Savvy Sisters - Wed Jul 11, 2012 @ 11:15AM
Comments: 59

SavvyEbookCover.jpgSince Savvy's inception we have been talking about writing an eBook. We have long been excited to share interesting eBooks from our friends at Hubspot, Dianna Huff and Jonathan Kranz but the right time hadn't come around for us. Wendy gets credit for holding the rest of our feet to the fire and for finally putting an end to the procrastination. Jamie took her frequent role as the project manager to create the task list and to assign to do's. Kate lent her expert eye to the layout and design elements. Stephanie and Michele provided editing and critical eye to all the pieces. Finally Heather handled logistics and got the final product live on the blog to ensure you all could download it!

So like everything else Savvy has ever done, this eBook is at its core a collaboration. It showcases 60 quotes, 10 selected by each Sister, of what we believe is our best work from our first three years as a blog. We hope you get as much inspiration reading it as we did from creating it. It was a renewal for us about why we began collaborating in the first place - we are simply better together!

So here it is!  60 Savvy B2B Marketing Inspirations

 

We hope you will all share it with your network and collegues and give us your feedback below in comments on what you think of our project.

Comments: 59
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Fri Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:00AM
Comments: 37

Savvy Week in ReviewSummer is in full swing, but the bloggers don't seem to be taking much of a vacation. Even though the fourth of July is right around the corner (for those of us residing in the U.S.), our readers and Twitter streams are still overflowing with all kinds of B2B goodness.

Here are this weeks fave picks from your resident Savvy Sisters.

And when you're done reading, why don't you think about getting out of town. Based on my own, personal research study, a vacation might be just the thing to amp up your marketing ...

The Savvy Sister

 

Content Curation Sneaks Up on Marketers – by @ardath421

Ardath Albee provides some useful insight into what is useful curation and what isn’t (and, look at us curating this article on curation)!

33 New Email Marketing Resources You Shouldn’t Miss – by @ggiiaa via @unbounce

If you are looking to improve your email marketing, check out this nice compilation from Georgiana Laudi at Unbounce.

True Colors: What Your Brand Colors Say About Your Business [Infographic] – via @marketo

Here’s a fun look at what colors brands are using and what feelings they evoke.

Key Tips for Using LinkedIn Profiles To Demonstrate Your Content Marketing Expertise – by @CarlFriesen via @junta42

Carl Friesen provides some useful tips on how you can easily use LinkedIn to help with your content marketing efforts. I’ll be making these changes myself!

Lead Generation: How 64% of marketers starve Sales of opportunity by @brianjcarroll

The results of MarketingSherpa's latest lead gen benchmark report are in -- and they're ugly.

4 distinctively different states of the B2B buying decision process by @bobapollo

A terrific -- and different -- way of figuring out how to interact with prospects.

Why Your CEO Doesn't Care About Content Marketing by @chriswinfield via @Marketingland

These are the objections and misconceptions you need to overcome to get your content marketing initiatives off the ground.

How to Build and Operate a Content Marketing Machine by @tobymurdock via @B2Community

Follow these steps (with visuals to boot) and you'll be well on your way to consistenly churning out content.

What is the most valuable social media advice you received?  by @_AnnTran

A collection of response to this question from a variety of marketing and other professionals.

5 common call-to-action errors  by @MktgExperiments

Are you making these? Hope not!

5 Types of Blog Content That Drive Engagement by @ShellyKramer

Who says there's nothing to blog about? These 5 types of posts will get your creative juices flowing.

Categories and Tags: Get More Traction from Your B2B Blog  by @DiannaHuff

Don't overlook these SEO tools.  

 

Comments: 37
Jamie Lee Wallace - Thu Jun 28, 2012 @ 03:21AM
Comments: 12

softer_brando.jpgI've been hiding my softer side from you. 

As some of you know, In addition to writing at Savvy, I also have my own blog at Suddenly Marketing. Though I sometimes cross-post, I've recently kept things separate - focusing on more technical and tactical topics here on Savvy, while over on Suddenly Marketing I've been letting my hair down a bit with a series of "soapbox" posts. 

Today, I'd like to invite you to come on by my place for a little heart-to-heart. We'll have big mugs of iced cofeee (chai for me) or maybe a couple glasses of wine and I'll tell you how I really feel. I'd love it if you let me know what's on your mind, too.

See you there!

 

softer_dog.jpgYour Secret Marketing Weapon

Imagine you had a secret super power that helped you make your marketing instantly more effective, more viral, and more fun. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Good news: This isn’t a hypothetical question. You really do have a secret weapon (even though you might not know it yet). I’m not going to keep you waiting; I’m just going to spill the beans. The secret weapon that will help you stand out, make an impression, and get people interested in your ideas/products/cause is... 

 

softer_buscall.jpgMarketing Magic: Out of the Box

“Think outside the box” has always been one of the phrases I love to hate, but in this post, I get an assist from Jon Buscall's adorable basset hounds Stan and Digby. We talk about the myth of best practices, where the magic happens, and face facts that only we can create our own boxes.

 

 

softer_secret.jpgThe Real Secret of Doing What You Love

I have a confession to make. I don’t love what I do.

I am good at what I do, I often enjoy what I do, and I’m grateful that I can do what I do and make a good living at it;but … my heart does not burst with joy each morning as I contemplate the day’s tasks.

In this post, we look at what really drives us to do what we do. 

 

I hope you'll come by and check these out. Don't forget to visit the comments section. There are some great people leaving their insights in the comments. If you don't already know them, introduce yourself on Twitter or wherever. They'd love to meet you, I'm sure!

 

JME5670V2thumbnail.jpgAbout the Author: Jamie is a freelance strategist, teacher, and copywriter who partners with solo entrepreneurs to define and market their brands. Her specialties include brand development, social media strategy, and content marketing. Enjoy more of her posts, visit her site at Suddenly Marketing, or drop her an email.

More posts by Jamie.

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Image Credit: Awesome picture of Brando with his cat from collection of celebrities and their cats on Lovemeow.com

Comments: 12
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