Chris Sherman opens up the sessions discuss briefly about the B2B space. Is search marketing effective in this space? Is it counter productive? He says yes it is effective.
The first speaker up is Karen Breen Vogel from ClearGauge, and starts by talking about her company and what they do. They help leverage the internet to acquire and retain customers with a focus on establishing benchmarks and improvements to ROI. They are not technically a search marketing company, they are an eMarketing company.
So why is there a B2B session? There are some different issues with B2B, it’s a longer sales cycle, it can be more difficult, unique and complex. The goal is to establish a relationship with B2B that lasts several months to several years. There is also some good vertical search engines for B2B, where you can go in and do things like you are doing with Google and Yahoo buy bid on keywords and get a more qualified audience. The samller more vertical engines like Business.com and KnowledgeStorm allow you to buy traffic that is already cleansed. Keywords help determine where someone might be in the buying cycle. This allows you to tune your efforts to where they are in the buying cycle. The other thing about B2B is that tracking is more complex, we can’t optimize clicks because of the length of the buying cycle. There are points in the pipeline to sub-conversion that you need to see.
For decision makers and influencers at all stages of the buying cycle utilizing the internet to further their decision process. Allows you to educate on trends in market category and also identify and research various solutions. So how do you take advantage of these people? Place your desire to form a relation into the prospects path. Look at behavioral, contextual, demographic, and role paths. Try to be relevant, but filter the prospect. Provide multiple next step options for the prospect that create learning, route, and qualify. Be sure to measure and optimize valuable business behaviors such as registrations, downloads, specific requests, and so on. You goal is most likely to obtain permission to communicate over email or opt-in. You can’t afford to send a whole lot of traffic to your site, and not collect some emails, to bring the conversation over to email, and then bring them back to your website.
Karen next puts up a list about the various variables that impact paid search. These are such as campaign groupings, negative keywords, daily ad caps, broad match, ranking positions, keywords, message titles, message descriptions, display urls, destination url, ad groups, match types. In B2B you deal with a lower volume of traffic, its not like B2C where you have a large audience. It’s a quality problem, not quantity. She goes on that there is more demand, then there is searches available. So if you are smaller marketer with smaller ad cap, you probably won’t get shown. Large advertisers will get the better ad placements and exposure. She says they slowly raise the ad caps for smaller clients slowly till they hit a good point.
She covers the key pillars of paid search. Keyword research is one of the first. They do something call root term methodology, which reduces the words to its root. Its helps them come up with a myriad of phrases to support there lists. Next go through a process of who, what, and how. Influencer -> Decision Maker -> Purchaser.
The next pillar of search is the engagement process. You need good messages and good landing pages. They use a technique called “operative keywords”. Which are keywords that are most important to you. You know what they are if you looked at them, but building a list is helpful. She says to get more granular messaging. They built a decision tree to help clients place offers most effectively into a prospects path. Where is the tip sheet, white papers, things to know, value lists, and so on. You need to have those on your site, as content is not the only thing will draw those people in. She provides some example of her client Skyline.
The last key pillar of paid search is measuring value. What many companies has found is that many people left the homepage once they got there, or they got visitors internationally they couldn’t do business with. The key is: always get to a benchmark. Even if you not a six sigma type company, use a benchmark. Drive those benchmarks down, and you will be able to attract better prospect for a lower cost.
About measurement. She talks about maintaining an optimal lead generation funnel. There are 4 different types. Nice idea. There is poorly targeted promotions with a wide front end of the funnel and so on. She next provides and example of advanced tracking architecture examples. Take the raw data and encode it logically. Any activity is listed to track it. There is also a point systems and she goes into more complex descriptions that I won’t try to keep up with. Great presentation, lots of good information.
Paul Slack from WebDex is the last speaker for this session. What happens when you think of the typical business 2 business sales cycle. Like getting new equipment, reduce expenses, and so on. The next thing they will do is research possible solutions, get s hort list of vendors, go to bid on a company, and make a decision. The B2B oppourity in the middle of the cycle. There are two critical players who will use search engines… and they search differently. The influencers and also the decision makers.
Influencers are the most important group he says. They often begin the sale cycle, and so they are the first one to come to your website. Influencers also understand the problem and will search in detail with often more than more than 3-5 words. They are still in research mode however, and most likely to respond to a call to action. They are not the decision maker, but rather the grunt that is doing the leg work. Paul gives an example, for a network security company doing a white paper for Nerc 1300 standard in the industry. They wrote an executive brief, put it on the website, optimized for the phrase Nerc 1300. After a year, they had a 13% conversion rate. It worked.
On the topic of internet marketing, websites don’t exist for their own sake, but to fulfill a specific purpose and to satisfy a specific consumer need. He says they have a hard time getting that across to his customers. Overall another good presentation from Paul.