The right ingredients for an effective marketing automation

In the fantastic world of marketing, the heavy trend that has been imposed in recent years is undoubtedly marketing automation! Whether you’re talking about customer experience, digital marketing and many more, if you don’t consider it, you may encounter some issues. Gartner even predicts that by 2020, 85% of the customer relationship will be automated on a global scale.

So, here’s a little blog post, not on the recipe (it does not exist unfortunately!), but rather the ingredients to consider for effective automated marketing, which to me, seems quite relevant as my first blog for 2018! I consciously use kitchen reference, not by passion (definitely not!), but more to highlight that the success or failure of automated marketing relies on the art of integrating different elements together.

Among those, we find:

Clearly defined objectives

The starting point of any automated marketing process is the objectives, which must be clearly defined from not only a qualitative point of view, but also quantitative. These should be the result of the marketing strategy put in place and are to be considered during the various stages of the project progress.

The most complete data possible

Since data is the raw materials of automated marketing, it’s easy to understand their importance. We are talking about customer data in the broad sense, so it’s not just data extracted from your website. It’s necessary to ensure that the different data circulating in your company is adequately collected. This implies identifying them, which can be done by analyzing the different stages of the client’s life cycle.

It is then necessary to set up a process of collecting this data, via a CRM for example.  I have in mind, an example of a company unable to provide the list of bids sent in the last 6 months. This may sound absurd, but in B2B, bids involve processes that can be very complex due to the nature of the products sold and the degree of personalization requested. In this case, the collection of this type of data implies the revision of the submission process.

Once the data is identified and collected, you will need to make sure that certain processes are in place to determine their quality.  There’s nothing worse than inaccurate data to ruin the image of your company! In fact, here is a link to a blog post that talks about customer data and their characteristics! I would just add that in our case, it might be interesting to process this data in order to create more relevant ones with scoring, a subject that may be the topic of a future blog post.

Even though the customer’s data is crucial, it is important not to neglect the market information that may prove equally relevant and will impact automated marketing. We can, for example, think of the seasonality of a product, the legislative framework, the arrival of competing products, …

Successful scenarios

This is where the fantastic marketing aspect that I alluded in my introduction appears. Okay, the word “fantastic” is perhaps a little strong, we certainly won’t go so far as to film the elaborate scenarios but, the idea is actually to explain to you that to mount them, it is important to define them properly, in every detail. And what are they?

The purpose of the scenario
Of course, the objective of the scenario is one of those defined beforehand. It can be the goal of converting your leads, a goal of loyalty or a goal of reactivation.

The target
It’s a question of defining the segment, the sub-segment or even the persona on which the scenarios will be applied. You identify it with the data collected, which requires some analysis.

The trigger
This is the starting point for our scenario. This can be, for example, a visit to your kiosk at a trade show, the downloading of a document on your website, a request for samples, a request for a quote, the registration of an online product, …

The different actions
Together, all the actions and rules associated with them will give shape to your scenario. They must be defined by their nature (sending e-mails, calling a representative…), their sequence, their position in time, their triggering element, …

Scenario editing or scripting is done first visually with software like Visio or even directly in the marketing automation tool. This makes it possible to see how they fit into your sales cycle (previously drawn) and optimize them despite the complexity that may arise from them. You must be aware that your scenarios are going to evolve in time since your company, your market and the information you are going to draw will encourage you to see them again.

Each action must be reflected according to the information needs of the target over time. These can be filled by content and/or direct contact from a member of your sales team.

Content
The content that occurs in a scenario comes from the company content policy so, you need one! This content can be the source of a scenario (the trigger) but can also be used in conjunction with the defined actions. Keep in mind that generally in B2B, at the beginning of the sales funnel, contacts tend to view articles or download documents in order to educate themselves.  Your scenarios must therefore be considered by not inserting the call of a representative too early, for example.

A suitable marketing automation tool

Once your marketing automation project is established, you will need to select the tool that will help you achieve it. In this regard, there is some confusion with platforms for sending developed e-mails. Although they allow some actions to be automated, they are not real automation tools.

The main criteria to be taken into account for a marketing automation platform, in addition to reliability, are: price, integration with your existing systems to promote data flows, its ease of use, tracking and related data, access to your performance indicators or the support (technical or otherwise) offered by the supplier.

In conclusion, I would like to point out that the introduction of automated marketing is generally a large-scale project. It implies a transversal view of the company. The associated costs can also be important, especially since there are few solutions suitable for small and medium-sized B2B companies on the market.

This type of project should not be considered simply as an expense since the returns on investment are measurable. We’re talking about a possible increase of 20% to 30% of turnover, by retargetting abandoned carts for example.

Of course, the results are not necessarily acquired at first glance and require rigorous monitoring of key performance indicators. They will however, allow the necessary adjustments and optimization of the processes put in place.

Role and challenges of B2B branding

How is B2B branding different from sales and marketing, and why should B2B companies adopt a branding strategy based on specific objectives?

The subject of Branding comes up more and more frequently in B2B and rightfully so, as it deserves thoughtful consideration. As a B2B marketing professional, you should carefully think through the planning and implementation of your branding strategy because it represents a real competitive advantage.

Your branding strategy must also provide a unique customer experience. A better customer experience distinguishes your brand vis-à-vis your competitors.  Moreover,  this connection between customer experience and brand perception is strong.  An optimized customer experience will naturally improve their perception of your brand.

What is B2B branding?

Your B2B branding represents your business’s values, identity, culture, and reputation. It must also demonstrate its unique market positioning. In a strong competitive environment, you must be able to differentiate yourself through your brand image: the message you want to convey, your offer, your ability to innovate…

Your branding should reflect several important points, such as:

How well you know your customer: One of the most important things your brand can communicate is how well you understand your customer and how effectively you meet their needs.

This is particularly true in B2B, where the seller/customer relationship is often more a partnership than a mere transactional one. Good customer relationship management is essential and reflects your ability to maintain a healthy and lasting relationship over time.

Passion and purpose: It’s important to explain why you act in this way or that, rather than just communicate what you are doing.

Highlight your brand by demonstrating what motivates your values and actions, and what led you to create your unique offering (your added value). Stand out!

Culture and personality: This isn’t only a B2C thing. These elements are of paramount importance in B2B. Your business’s culture directly impacts your relationship with your customers. Your behavior, personality and interactions must follow through with the brand image and convey your company’s values.

Consistency and quality: In B2B, big buying decisions are made, and this is why your brand’s coherence in actions, services and products are of great importance in your customer’s purchase experience. Also, it’s important to “unite” on different media and channels when talking about the brand, to maintain consistency and quality. How your brand is perceived across the media will have an impact on your customers as well.

Uniqueness or Differentiation: Have you wondered what makes you different? Why would they choose you rather than your nearest competitor? What more do you have to offer and what more can you bring?

Differentiation is the factor that determines the value assigned to your brand, and B2B branding answers the question: “Why choose you? “.

Why is Branding important?

As mentioned above, branding is not just about a logo.

Each company has particularities which can be relied on to define brand image and positioning.

What are the values, the message you want to convey?

  • Performance
  • Credibility
  • Impressiveness
  • Innovation

What are your strengths? Don’t try to become someone else, highlight who you are.

In B2B, buyers / decision-makers may have many reasons to choose one company over another. It can relate to price, service, diversity of products, but also the fact that these aren’t found in your values / actions / images / offers.

A successful brand strategy translates into brand equity. It is essential to develop a solid roadmap to implement of your branding strategy.

How to define your brand?

When a company is starting up or launching a product, the entire brand image has to be created.

Here are some steps to follow to help you build your brand:

  • Discover, define and tease out your corporate culture
  • Evaluate each of your internal and external actions. Are they consistent with what you have found?
  • Telling engaging stories, developing empathy
  • Be coherent and sincere

In short, defining a brand strategy isn’t an easy task. But, it will be the “showcase” of your company, and lead you the ultimate value of your brand … Don’t neglect it!

Posted in Uncategorized

The 10 benefits of marketing outsourcing

Many companies now rely on external resources for their marketing, advertising and communication activities. Marketing outsourcing is booming and has many advantages!

In fact, according to a study by the Harvard Business Review, more and more companies are using marketing firms for their marketing operations, and this trend will continue to grow in the coming years.

The growth of this trend can be explained by:

  • The need for a new and external point of view
  • High flexibility
  • Economies of scale
  • Quality of work

At Exo B2B, we offer B2B marketing outsourcing services. Whether complete or partial, marketing outsourcing will act as a resource provider for your marketing activities.

We work directly with your internal teams and are totally “anchored” in your marketing realities.

We’ve been offering marketing outsourcing solutions since 2002 and we adapt to all sectors of activity (B2B and B2B2C)

Have you thought about outsourcing your marketing department? Not decided yet? This post gives you the 10 benefits of outsourcing marketing!

Why choose marketing outsourcing?

1- Keep informed of marketing change

Marketing and new technologies are constantly changing and evolving, which is why it’s important to be on the lookout for changes. It’s difficult for a company to stay on top of the latest marketing trends while staying focused on business development.

2- Team skills and versatility

It’s well known that you can’t just improvise marketing and communications! Indeed, it requires various skills to create and implement their strategies.

A complete marketing department should be comprised of several profiles such as:

  • Strategists and Account Managers (Planning, project management)
  • Developers / programmers (for the technical part)
  • Designers / graphic designers (for visuals, print material, the front end of a website …)
  • A content creator / editor
  • A community manager

Do you have all these people internally? Even if your employees are very competent in their field it’s always more productive to be dedicated to a more restrained number of tasks to ensure the quality of the work!

3- Save on marketing equipment

After the skills, marketing equipment … For graphic design, web development or even email marketing, it’s essential to be properly equipped. This involves the acquisition of expensive tools such as:

  • Graphic design software
  • Development Software (IDE)
  • Email marketing platform

In addition to your internal resources, the purchase of such software can quickly become a significant cost in your marketing budget. By outsourcing your marketing activities, you won’t need to worry about this part, as your provider will take care of it for you.

4- Get a head start

Your closest competitor has been using the same marketing practices for the last 10 years and they are starting to run out of steam! It’s time to position yourself as an innovative company that’s active and aware of best marketing practices. By the way, do you know what those are? We do!

5- Improve your sales

You’ll be able to focus more on business development and “direct” sales as your marketing firm takes care of generating qualified leads with marketing campaigns.

6- Qualify your leads!

Your agency provides you qualified leads from landing page forms, Adwords campaigns, marketing emails … Your only “job” is to investigate them! Marketing campaigns lose steam if acquired leads are not processed and qualified!

7- Open to new markets!

Marketing has no geographical limits! With Adwords campaigns and social ads you can reach new territories and new targets. However, creating paid advertising campaigns requires some skill and knowledge of these media. It can’t be improvised, so surround yourself with good people!

8- Test new tools

Marketing agencies are on the lookout for the latest trends in tools and new technologies. It’s worthwhile to test some and then evaluate the added value: what it brings you and saves you (visibility, notoriety, cost). It’s never bad to want to try new tools. On the contrary!

 9- Acheive economies of scale

Consider how much time and money you can save, compared to hiring, training, renting office space, computers, providing employee benefits, and more. Marketing outsourcing is your solution!

10- Choose an experienced agency

We often say it, but it’s worth repeating: B2B and B2C are two very different worlds. Choosing a company that specializes in your field is a priority.

At Exo B2B, we’ve specialized in B2B marketing since 2002 and our marketing team is passionate and efficient. We adapt to your needs and we support you in all your marketing projects on a daily basis.

Contact us, and let’s talk about it!

 

Which Adwords KPI should I analyze to optimize my marketing campaign’s performance?

I want to be 1st in search engine results, I want to increase traffic on my website, I want to generate leads, I want to double my web sales, I urgently need to recruit staff …

Do you ever find yourself thinking these things out loud? Perfect! We have the magic solution that can give you exactly what you want … It’s a little known tool called “Adwords”, and it can do all of this for you! Ever heard of it?

Seriously though…Google Adwords really is the tool you need to meet those kinds of objectives

In a lead generation strategy, Google Adwords is an unavoidable lever. But creating an Adwords campaign is just the begining. It’s important to know which KPI to track, analyze and optimize. This is why we’re dedicating this post to the subject.

Set your goals  Before starting your Adwords campaign, it’s important to set your goals!

This is simply because your campaign will be configured very differently depending if your main objective is to generate traffic (visibility / awareness), or if you want to generate conversions (sales, for example).

So, set your Adwords campaign goals accordingly.

adwords-objectifs

AdWords

After setting your objectives the next steps are setting the budget, the audience, and the keywords … All required steps for a proper AdWords campaign configuration.

Monitor and optimize, what KPI monitor?

Your campaign is started, impressions, clicks, and even conversions are generated, but you are kind of foggy on how to interpret these numbers, and what conclusion to draw to in order optimize them…

Here are the KPIs that deserve to be followed and understood to make your AdWords campaign even more powerful

1 – Click Through Rate (CTR)

The CTR is an important KPI, because it will determine the cost per click.

The Click Through Rate is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. The higher your click-through rate is, the more it means that the ad and keywords are relevant to the targeted leads.

In general, the average click-through rate in B2B is around 2.55%. In industrial services the CTR is around 1.40%

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-ctr

How to improve your CTR?

  • Modify the ad, add qualitative content
  • Increase bids
  • Improve the quality score

1- Search terms

Search terms are simply the searches performed by search engine users, that end up creating impressions and clicks on your ad.The search terms report lets you know how your ads are run on Google’s search network. It also enables you to find the terms and expressions not relevant to your ad. You can then add them to your list of negative keywords. Don’t waste budget unnecessarily for searches that wot generate conversion!

3- The quality score

Quality level is an important KPI. Google evaluates the quality level of your ads on a scale of 1 to 10, and considers different elements:

  • Expected CTR
  • Relevance of the ad (keywords vs. description …)
  • Landing page usability (keywords, does your landing page clearly bring up the main subject of the ad, does your add have images? Are the sentences grammatically correct?)

As you can imagine, the more these criteria are met, the higher your quality score will be. If your quality score is 3/10 then you should rework the above-mentioned points.

4- The daily budget

Follow your daily budget and make sure it’s not maxed out too quickly. If this is the case, then you may miss opportunities if your ad is not running throughout the day.

To avoid this, you can schedule broadcast times, add keywords or increase the budget.

5- The Conversion rate

Is this KPI one of the most important to watch? Yes, if your campaign goal is to fill out contact forms and generate sales. As a reminder, the conversion rate is the number of conversions (desired actions performed), divided by the total number of clicks (in%). This indicator allows you to analyze the profitability of your campaign and measure your ROI.

The higher your conversion rate is, the more efficient your campaign is and the more relevant your ad is. If your campaign doesn’t generate conversion, then it requires optimization at the keyword or landing page level …

Let us manage your Adwords campaigns!

Whether it’s recommendations, campaign creation, or monitoring and optimization, at Exo B2B, we take care of your advertising campaigns. Contact us!

B2B content marketing sans budget or bandwidth – hmm!

You’ve heard a lot about B2B content marketing. You’ve read that it has to be researched, strategized, developed, optimized and promoted.  Oh, and why not do an overhaul of company culture while you’re at it, turning internal experts into regular content contributors.

But if you look up from your computer for a moment, inside your small to medium-sized business workplace, you quickly begin to wonder how you could collectively scrape up enough bandwidth to even sit down and talk about these kinds of strategies, let alone budget and implement them.

According to this stat from a 2017 report by the Content Marketing Institute, the majority of companies that have engaged in B2B content marketing either employ a small team or it’s basically a one-person show.

 

 

It’s likely where you are at today, and it certainly doesn’ t make B2B content marketing any easier.

Yet you know that quality content reaps benefits. It speaks to your customers, it moves them along the sales cycle and acts as a powerful SEO magnet.

So how can you benefit from content marketing with practically no resources?

Get ready to start B2B content marketing

Let me first whip out one finding from a recent CEB Gartner study on the power of content across the customer journey.

“The bulk of content consumption happens in the early stages of customer research, far from the purchase decision”
-source: Delivering on Marketing’s Promise to Drive Sales, CEB Gartner

 

The study found that the biggest content consumption in the sales cycle was happening when customers were understanding and evaluating solutions, even before they were considering a supplier (23%). At the low end of the B2B content marketing consumption scale was when they were selecting a supplier (18.6%) and when they were completing the purchase (13.4%).

This means that no matter how little time or money you have to devote to your B2B content marketing, you should be using it to strive to inform and educate through your content because that’s how potential customers are making the most use of it.

So let’s look at some shoestringy was to do that.

Optimize what you already have

Instead of going through the time-intensive process of creating brand new content, why not start by optimizing what you already have? Your website, product information, blog posts and presentations can always be improved upon.  If you have immediate access to all this content, make the most of it. here’s how.

Inform and educate

In B2B, whether it’s communications, heavy industry, agriculture or manufacturing, the content that explains your products or services can be heavy reading. The thing is, your customers don’t only consist of mechanical or engineering experts. There are finance, logistics and service people, executives and management people who could be involved in the purchase process as well.  Some of your content might seem downright arcane to them. Explain things in a popular science kind of way.  Think about how your favorite science show explains stuff. Contrary to what some may believe, there is no loss in credibility in making things simple to understand.

And if you have to walk up to an expert in your company and ask him or her to explain it to you first, even better. The un-marketing words and phraseology he or she uses will probably resonate better with customers, and likely be keyword-rich too.

Use the customer’s perspective

B2B content marketing sans budget or bandwidth

Do the product descriptions on your website sound like “innovative, feature-rich, outstanding value”? This may well sound hollow to your customers.  Even if your products truly are Innovative, these kinds of descriptions quickly wear thin on prospects because they don’t reveal much about the product, or your company. Oh, and everyone has heard them so often, they are sick to death of them. Just so you know.

You have to convert your content to your customer’s perspective. Pair down the superlatives and explain more about their problems and how your product will solve them. Sounds simple, yet just basking in your company’s environment day in and day out makes those superlatives become second nature. After a while, Goofy expressions like “the most innovative..” and “we are the market leaders in…” can actually seem quite normal to you. The antidote to this is a reality check with your customer’s pain points. You’ll quickly realize that “innovative” and “market leader” don’t solve any known customer problems. Have you spoken to any customers recently?

The next best thing is reading comments on the web or in social media about your, or similar products. Questions, debates, and frustrations are fertile ground for content creation.

Use web tools

Optimizing your content using web tools can help speed things up. If you work in WordPress (60% of everybody works in WordPress) you can use a powerful plugin like Yoast.  It optimizes readability as well as SEO.  Other good optimization tools include Google keyword planner and SEMrush.

Start attracting search engine attention now

Even if you can go in and optimize your website’s content at the rate of a web page or two per day, it will help your search rankings. Not in a matter of days, but weeks and months. If you keep at it though, you’ll reap the benefits. Optimizing your content makes your website fresher for those search engine robots.  Particularly in B2B, optimizing a couple of pages a day likely changes your site more often than that of almost any of your competitors.

Stand out from your competitors, not from the entire world

Here’s another thing: Don’t get hung up on perfection. There’s no time for that. Your content doesn’t have to be more educational and more wonderful than anything that’s ever been done.  It just has to be better and more interesting to your customers than that of your competitors. And you know what? in B2B, sometimes that isn’t so hard. It can seem surprising to the uninitiated, but many B2B businesses treat their websites like a catalog you can flip through. They aren’t really committed to conversion through the website, given that their traditional sales channels are still working better than ever.  So, check out your competitor’s web sites. Look for customer pain points they don’t cover or that they just gloss over.  If they claim a competency that’s yours,  think about how you can nuance your abilities, so you can stand apart.

Master your subject matter

Sounds simplistic but you have to know what you are talking about. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck repeating the same clichés your competitors are. No amount of visuals will compensate for uninteresting content. You have to stand apart. The wider and deeper your knowledge about your industry and its customer experiences, the more you’ll be able to weave compelling stories around your subject matter and gain credibility. Also, if you are up to date in your industry knowledge, you’ll feel less sideswiped by new trends when they show up.

Research your key subjects. Read more. You know this whole internet thing is just a tool to sharpen your mind at differentiating the wheat from the chaff so buck up, and read more. Go to the industry news websites read the articles. Regularly. Read blog posts, ebooks and white papers. Read comments. These are often very enlightening because they enable you to peer into the brain of your prospects.

Stay up to date and form opinions. Your content has to go beyond trumpeting brand or product benefits. You must establish a solid backdrop of facts, stories, and opinions against which your company, your products, and services look like rock stars.

Dig deeper when developing social media content

If you decide to share content in social media, try to avoid sharing the same news as everyone else. An article will almost always have links to other articles or stats. Investigate and see if there is a story in that lesser known information. Digging deeper will often enable you to post articles that stand out from the competition.

Although I have no data to support this opinion, I tend to believe that the lack of social media engagement companies currently experience has a lot to do with the fact that little effort is being put into what articles they choose to share. What articles can you share that will make you stand out from the rest? What percentage of your social media activity is you actually doing or saying something unique? In social media, your B2B content marketing should be used to demonstrate what makes your company unique.

Fine. But where do I start?

What’s the easiest place for you to start? Your emails? Your social media accounts? The company website? Your blog? what are you waiting for? The important thing is to start and go steady. It is going to be a marathon, not a sprint so no need to get all ceremonial about where you start.

Ok, the best place to start is with content that is already getting the most attention.  Choose your best performing content and keep refreshing and developing it. That’s where you’ll get the most out of your available bandwidth.

In line with your business goals, you want to attract customers.  You want to make them keep coming back, keep consuming your content, and eventually become your customers. I hope these suggestions have given you some motivation to set about those tasks.

We’ve succeeded at B2B content marketing with our customers. We specialize in B2B marketing.  Why not find out more?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should I use webinars in my B2B strategy?

Social media, email campaigns, AdWords, blogs are among the most widely used channels in online marketing strategies.

Most of us have been leveraging these  for a while now! That’s why it’s also necessary to mix things up and use new marketing tools to achieve complimentary or different goals. Have you ever thought of using webinars in your B2B marketing strategy? There are very good arguments to do so!

Read what follows to find out what a webinar is, as well as what its objectives and benefits are, and how to exploit them.

What is a webinar?

The word “webinar” is a contraction of the words “web” and “seminar”, it’s an online presentation moderated by one or several speakers talking to a target audience.

Webinars can deal with a large variety of subjects, in any sector of activity. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 40% of B2B marketers use webinars, and 70% think they are particularly effective.

webinaires-strategie-b2b

Why should I do webinars?

Are you one of those people who doesn’t really believe in the potential of webinars? Are you aware of the benefits you can reap from them?

Webinars are first and foremost a communication channel made up of interaction, exchange, and debates … all live! They can be informative, educational, in the form of a workshop, or simply theoretical. Up to you to choose the format that will best suit you.

The purpose of a webinar is to answer your target audience’s questions and concerns. You need to offer them your expertise and know-how in order to not only to sustain your market reputation but also to improve your online visibility.

Finally, the main objective is, of course, to generate new leads. Webinar participants are certainly interested by the subject, but that could be just the tip of the iceberg! It’s up to you to do follow ups with your audience and qualify your leads.

How to make your webinar a success

It would be a shame not to “nail” your webinar! The very first thing to do for a successful webinar is prepare!

Carefully select your webinar platform

There are several platforms to choose from. These are generally paying but relatively reliable, such as GoToWebinar and Webex.

Choose your subject

Think about the elements you want to cover, build your presentation and rehearse! A webinar shouldn’t exceed an hour otherwise you risk losing your busy participants. You can also offer webinars in “flash” format, that is, less than 30 minutes long and on a rather light topic.

Promote your webinar!

To get as many participants as possible, you have to promote it, otherwise, your webinar is unlikely to succeed! Talk about it on your social networks, send newsletters, add mention of it into your e-mail signature, post it on webinar websites … And don’t forget to add reminders and follow up!

Convinced?

Want to find out more about webinars but don’t know where to start? Come to see us and let’s talk about it!

 

Your emails aren’t spam

As you know, email campaigns are essential to your B2B marketing strategy. As we often repeat here at Exo,  Emails are fundamentally important for B2B lead generation, and getting the word out about your company, its products, services, your offers , and so on.

To take full advantage of this wonderful tool, it’s important to respect a few “golden rules”. This  will ensure your email gets into your recipient’s mailbox without heading straight to the “spam” folder.

You’ve undoubtedly heard about C28, Canada’s Anti Spam Law (CASL). The purpose of this law is to protect Canadians from unsolicited spam. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to respect certain rules in order not to be penalized.

Here is a list of tips that we strongly recommend you follow, for efficient and effective emails.

Configure your campaign

Before starting your email, think about its initial settings.  Several factors should be taken into consideration:

Name your campaign: This is mostly for yourself. Giving it a specific name will help you find it more easily in your email campaign tool as well as in your CRM. This will reduce confusion when it comes time to analyze it.

Domain and sender name: Using your own domain optimizes email reception. The sender’s name is also important to the recipient. Use a person’s name instead of a department or service.

The senders address: Use a real e-mail address. “no-reply” almost certainly means banishment to the spam folder.

Carefully craft your email subject

The very first thing your recipients see is the subject of your email! Your subject header must be impactful and must encourage them to open it. The subject header should be in line with several best practices:

  • Don’t exceed 100 characters (think mobile, where long titles don’t work out very well)
  • Be simple, precise and direct, encourage action
  • Use Actions Verbs
  • Use punctuation (in moderation)
  • Propose “exclusive” content
  • Avoid making brash offers that seem too aggressive

Respect the images/text ratio

Another reason your email may not get through is that it contains more images than text! A highly visual email containing only images is nice to look at, but isn’t appreciated by the receiving company’s webmail, which won’t think twice about tagging it as spam.

Even if your email is delivered correctly, there is a chance that the images won’t display, and only the ALT tags will show. To avoid this kind of problem, use a ratio of 60% text and 40% images. Why the ratio? Simply because true “spammers” don’t bother respecting it and webmail can easily identify them.

Don’t forget the unsubscribe link!

It’s mandatory and that’s that! Your recipients must have the choice to stop receiving your e-mails.

In what form? A simple link is sufficient. it must be free of charge, and must be followed up by a confirmation

Need advice for your emailing campaign?

The B2B marketing strategy specialists at Exo B2B, are here to help you get the best leverage from your emails. Contact us to find out more!

Why include Instagram stories in your B2B marketing strategy?

We recently wrote a post about Snapchat and explained how to use this social network in your B2B marketing strategy. Today we’d like to offer you a post on its closest competitor, Instagram. Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012 and now has around 700 million users worldwide (B2B & B2C).

Instagram en B2B

This social network, widely used in B2C, is now growing quickly in B2B as well. Why’s that? Because today, Instagram is no longer the network for sharing holiday, lunch or cat photos… It has become more than that. According to a study by Simply Measured, 86% Of the world’s major brands now use Instagram.

And Instagram continues to evolve.  Just last month, we witnessed the launch of its much talked about “stories”, designed to compete directly with Snapchat!

Instagram has no cause to envy Snapchat. The application even offers new features like the addition of clickable links, for example.

Now, lets have a look at why it’s a good thing for you to include Instagram stories in your social media strategy!

What is an Instagram story?

Instagram stories launched in 2016. It offers features quite similar to Snapchat’s and is very successful. It’s an alternative to photos with filters. Many B2B players have taken advantage of this new trend to get in on this social network.

How does it work ? Like this:

  • Take a photo / video
  • Add a filter (or not)
  • Add your position / hastag / emoji
  • Tag people / brand
  • New: add links

Stories have a 24h lifetime, after which the contents disappear. Unlike Snapchat, shared photos and videos are not saved in the application.

How to use Instagram stories in B2B

Instagram stories is condusive to B2B and allows you to highlight your company / projects / products:

  • Promote your business: through a story, present a typical company day
  • Share your events: add details of events in which you are participating, add places, mention your collaborators …
  • Make promotional offers: capitalize on its temporariness (24h) to make exclusive offers
  • Create engagement: use stories to start discussions with your community (ask for a product review, start a discussion about a specific topic …)

What are the advantages of Instagram stories in B2B?

One of its primary advantages is that everyone who already follows your Instagram account will be able to access your stories. As soon as you add a story, a small colored ring appears at the top of the screen.

Just as important, Instagram stories are measurable! Indeed, it’s quite possible to know the number and names of people who have seen your story.

Moreover, its live video feature shows you who is following your story in real time, so you can engage in conversation and talk to your community.

Finally, based on the number of views on each of your publications, you can fine-tune your content to generate stronger interest.

Conclusion: Should I include Instagram stories in my social media strategy?

The key to your success with Instagram stories in B2B lies in how you’ll use it. We believe this network has great potential and it would be a shame not to exploit it, moreover your competitors are likely there already … So why shouldn’t you?

How to build an editorial line

Content marketing is really at the crux of setting up an inbound marketing strategy with the objective of “attracting” your customer. That’s why it’s essential to define an editorial strategy.

The first step is to define your goals and identify your readership. Then, choose the channels you’ll use. It might turn out that there are quite a few! (social networks, blog, e-mail …).

For the following advice on the development of your editorial strategy, I’ll use the “What, Who, Where, How, How much, Why method.

[WHAT]: Your editorial line’s objectives

Your editorial line determines how to communicate in various media. It has to define the tone used, the intended target, as well as dictate the choice of themes and subjects.

Your editorial line should reflect your business and industry. For example, a company that works in the food sector will focus its content on subjects that affect its field: new food standards, novelties in packaging, figures and trends, etc.

It’s important to focus on your core business and expertise. Your editorial line reflects your brand image, reinforces the strength of your discourse, and ensures your credibility.

Defining your objectives is the number one priority when putting together an editorial strategy. So, what are yours?

  • Promote your business and your teams
  • Increase your visibility and awareness
  • Generate leads
  • Increase your sales
  • Stand out from your competitors

[WHO]: Define your target

Once you’ve defined your editorial line, you can start the editorial strategy phase. This begins with the definition of the intended target. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your content for?  Decision makers, prescribers, influencers, B2B or B2C companies, age, interests…
  • What are your goals?  Generate leads, increase your traffic, boost sales, encourage contact…

The content of your editorial line will have to adapt to your target to be able to capture them, to meet your objectives.

[Where]: Which channels to use, where to publish?

Your target is set, you now know who you are addressing, and that’s great! It’s important to note that behaviors on the web are different depending on the type of person, sector, activities … if your customers are in the B2B sector, favor channels like blogs, newsletters, and social networks …

According to a Quicksprout study

In B2B, 91% of companies use LinkedIn, 65% say they’ve acquired at least 1 customer there. 40% of companies use this network to search for a new service or technology.

85% of companies in the B2B sector use Twitter and 50% consider Twitter an effective social network for generating leads.

In B2C, these figures are different, for millennials they’re different too, and so on and so forth.

The channels you use will depend on your target audience. Those most frequently used are:

  • Social networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…
  • Blogs
  • Emailing
  • Ebook

[HOW]: Define the content and the editorial framework

To establish your editorial framework, define what type of content you want to broadcast. Your content can be informative, sales-oriented, institutional …

It can be an article, e-book, questions / answers, the important thing is to make your content attractive, and to create the need to find out more.

Define the subjects that suit you well, and on which you can position yourself as a specialist:

Offer advice: Do your customers / prospects often ask the same questions about a service, a product? Be reactive, provide detailed and customized responses

Promote your company: what is your added value, who are the teams, the experts …

Offer technical posts: you are an actor in the automotive industry? Do you sell pool pumps? What information do you think your readers truly crave?

[How much]: establish a frequency of publication

Your editorial strategy is part of your marketing strategy. To be consistent in your broadcasts, establish an editorial calendar with your contents sorted by channel.

In addition to being a great organizational tool, it will allow you to more easily follow your objectives.

It’s up to you to build a calendar that you can easily navigate. Here are some elements it could contain:

  • Date of the publication
  • Topics
  • Keywords
  • Target
  • Objectives
  • Channels
  • Author

There are many tools that can help you build an editorial calendar, take advantage of them!

[Why]: Reinforce your expertise, stand out from the competition

As you’ve certainly gathered by now, your editorial strategy is at the heart of your content and fits into your web marketing strategy. An effective editorial strategy will be a major differentiating asset and will strengthen your brand image.

Don’t wait, stand out from the crowd!

 

C28: the right to legal action suspended but fines still possible!

On June 7, 2017 the story of Bill C-28 went through another plot twist. On that date, the government suspended the private right of action provisions under Canada’s anti-spam law. The purpose of this legislation is to protect Canadians from unwanted or unsolicited emails. The Bill was passed on July 1, 2014. It includes a three-year grace period.

Law C28 in short

  • Refers to commercial e-mails sent to an e-mail address.
  • In most cases, requires companies to obtain consent prior to sending e-mail messages.
  • Establishes mandatory rules in respect to the form of communication (unsubscribe link, …)
  • Requires companies to provide evidence of obtained consent.
  • Provides for penalties in case of non-compliance.

As soon as the law was announced, the business community was quick to react. Indeed, many companies expressed their concerns about the impact of these measures on their business activities. Associations such as the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) have strongly denounced the negative effects of the law and helped achieve the suspension of the plaintiff’s right to appeal.

So, what will happen on July 1, 2017?

Since Bill C28 is only challenged on the question of the possibility of civil action against companies sending the commercial emails, it remains valid. It’s important to note that penalties in the form of fines from the CRTC remain applicable and may even intensify on July 1.

If you’ve already made arrangements to comply with law C28, don’t change anything! If you haven’t been paying attention to it as of yet, don’t put it off any longer!

Here at Exo B2B, we advocate personalized and respectful marketing. We set up e-mail campaigns on behalf of all types of customers, ensuring they convey a good corporate image to their target audience while being effective in achieving results.

Interested? Contact us!