In Search of a Great Client/Agency Relationship: What Your Agency Shouldn’t Do.
A quick Google search will serve up plenty of articles and blog posts about what you should look for to have a successful relationship with your digital agency. A critical element of a great client/agency relationship is one that can’t be faked: chemistry. It’s organic and natural, leaving both sides thinking “this is the perfect fit.”
So, the natural chemistry is there. Check. Now, how do you know your relationship with your digital agency is going to be everything you’ve dreamed of?
We’ve heard horror stories from prospective and current clients – and I’m sure some of you reading this have some of your own. Instead of sharing what to do (there’s plenty of that out there already), here’s what to avoid to make sure the relationship doesn’t go south.
What Your Digital Agency Shouldn’t Do
Go silent for an extended amount of time
Too often, clients don’t hear from their agency once the project is underway. Whether it’s a web design and development project, SEO initiative or a paid search campaign set up, constant communication throughout the duration of the project is critical to keeping everyone on track and finishing on time.
When an agency goes silent, it makes clients wonder, “are they giving my project the attention it needs?” and “what is the status of my project?”
Even if they are making progress, the silence is unnerving and the rabbit hole of doubt is imminent.
Ignore what the client wants/needs
You’re working with an agency because of their expertise, experience and your confidence in their capabilities. They are the pros; they do this stuff day in and day out. But, that doesn’t mean they know the nuances of your business or that they understand your goals as best as you do.
Collaboration and a healthy dose of pushback means your project benefits from your deep knowledge of your business objectives and your agency’s extensive experience and talent. An agency who ignores what you need and what you think is best is a recipe for disaster.
Incorrectly scope the project
Without fully understanding the complete scope of a project, it’s impossible to price it accurately. Some agencies will under scope projects so they can price low and get your business. Some simply won’t spend the time to scope properly because they’re too eager to seal the deal. Another recipe for disaster.
You’ll be thrilled to save money, but the outcome is a nightmare. When a project is under scoped, you can expect to be asked to dig back into your pockets to cover what you really need (and maybe even thought you were getting).
Disappear once the project is complete
The best use of your time and money is to build upon the work you and your agency have already done. It saves you from having to onboard a new agency, and pay for that time.
If the agency that designed and built your website goes MIA once it’s launched, you’ll be lost wondering where to turn when you have a question about certain functionality, need help managing the site or simply need someone to keep it updated and secure.
The same goes for other digital marketing efforts – SEO, PPC, Social Media. It’s cliché but true; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Investing your time and money just to leave it all behind is, quite honestly, a waste.
Not just a one and done
Whoever you work with, we think it’s important to make sure they’re invested in the long-term success of your online presence – not just a one and done project.
As our Director of Project Management, Joanne D’adamo, says “Communication is the key to a working relationship and executing a successful project. Regularly, frequently, and efficiently. Project status, risks, critical path, and tracking to timeline.”
To that, I’ll add mutual respect and trust goes a long way and creates a solid foundation for the perfect client/agency relationship we’re all looking for.
If you’re searching for that perfect fit, reach out today to discover how we can be it.
Your Biotech Website Already Gets Traffic. Why Bother with SEO?
Are you asking the common question –“If I already get traffic to my biotech website, why should I spend my time, energy, and money on SEO?” Few would argue that a top priority for biotechnology and pharmaceutical marketing teams is to drive traffic to their website. A steady flow of traffic is a mark of success leading to an increase in revenues, right?
But, what if that traffic isn’t converting and contributing to your bottom line? What if those visitors realized that what you offer isn’t for them?
Truth is, a higher volume of traffic to your website isn’t what paves the road to increasing revenues. Search Engine Optimization is one of the best ways to have more control over the traffic that comes to your website.
All Traffic Is Good Traffic, Right? Wrong.
Not all traffic is going to be the “right” traffic. Visitors won’t return to your website or reach out to talk if they’re not a good match. Think about the type of visitors coming to your website.
Do they meet the criteria for your target audience?
Do they have a high chance of converting?
Do they have the same characteristics as your best customers/clients?
If not, the volume of traffic means nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. So, if you’re attracting unqualified leads then, yes, your time, energy and money is wasted.
Focus on lead quality before lead volume
Your aim is to attract only the leads that have the highest chance of buying from you or working with you. Even if it means targeting a smaller volume.
You may be saying “You don’t get it. We need more leads!” We do get it. That’s why we focus on quality to get you more of the right leads. The most frustrating situation for sales and marketing teams is when a low-quality lead is sent to sales. In the end, it’s wasted time for both teams.
Trust me – you want the quality.
Are you attracting qualified leads?
Sure, you might be “meeting” your goals for traffic each month. But, how many of those visits have generated revenue? How many have turned into a customer? Focus on quality. Fifty high-quality leads have more value than 1,000 unqualified leads.
Ensuring high-quality traffic with a focused, strategic SEO plan means you can narrow your efforts on gaining visits from people who you’re more likely to get business from in the end.
An SEO strategy that reflects user intent
There are two different routes you can take with your keyword strategy: a generic, broad approach or a long tail keyword approach. One of these approaches focuses on optimizing for a smaller set of keywords that are extremely relevant to your business and reflect the intent of the user more precisely. Let’s break it down.
Generic keywords are typically one word terms and harder to rank for because you’re up against so many other websites.
Generic keywords have higher search volume but they don’t necessarily reflect the user’s intent, why that person is searching for that specific word.
Long tail keywords
Long tail keywords are multi-word phrases and more effective because they’re highly relevant to your business. They’re more descriptive and easier to rank for in search engines because the competition level is lower. With long tail keywords, you can more precisely interpret user intent.
Long tail keywords vs. generic keywords
You’re currently developing novel therapies for rare diseases. You want to attract people to your website who are looking for a company who does exactly what you do. That might mean investors, researchers, partners or patients.
Optimizing for a generic keyword would focus on “rare disease”. But, this doesn’t mean someone who landed on your website by searching for that term is an investor looking for biotechnology or biopharmaceutical companies developing therapies for rare diseases. It also doesn’t mean that person is a patient looking for rare disease treatments. Or a researcher who wants to contribute to research efforts.
Potential scenarios? It could be a college student studying rare diseases in Biology class. It could be someone simply looking up the definition of a rare disease. It could even be a competitor typing in “rare disease” to see if their biotech website shows up in search results.
Luckily for you, they’re still focusing on generic terms.
Instead, focus your SEO efforts on a long tail variation of the generic term that more precisely describes your exact work or product. If you want quality you’ll likely have more success optimizing for “therapies in development for rare genetic diseases.” We can instantly recognize the user’s intent here.
Attracting the perfect fit is challenging
With immense competition online for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, attracting the perfect fit visitor is challenging. But, an SEO strategy that uses long tail keywords will give you an advantage.
Remember, it’s not all about the volume of traffic. First, start with quality. Once you’re seeing the right traffic, then you can expand on a solid foundation to drive more, qualified traffic that is more likely to convert and become a customer.
If you can adopt this philosophy in your SEO efforts, “why bother with SEO?” will only be a question of the past.
Let’s talk about your SEO strategy for your biotech website and how we can start driving high-quality traffic to your website. Reach out today.
How Much Does a Website Cost?
One of the first things a prospective web design client asks us when they get on the phone with an account manager is, “How much does a website cost?” This is a completely logical and understandable question because, of course, you should want to know how much of your budget you should allocate to the project.
Unfortunately, though, it’s impossible to provide an actual dollar amount for a website project. Websites aren’t one-size-fits-all; they are each unique and customized to meet the company’s’ needs and requirements. In other words, when you’re working with a full-service web design and digital marketing agency to create a custom website, there are far more variables to consider than if you were simply redesigning your website with a templated theme.
Factors that affect the cost of your website project
Although we can’t give you an exact amount for your website redesign without talking about your specific requirements (here are just a few to consider), it is still an area of concern for many prospective clients. Since we’re asked that tricky question, “How much does a website cost?” so often, it’s time we address it here.
The answer? — It depends.
But to give you an idea of why it depends, let us expand on the factors that influence the price of your website redesign.
Creative design and UX
Design and user experience is another element of a redesign project that can lead to varying costs. Without knowing the full scope of the project, we can’t possibly attribute a dollar amount or accurate timing. It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The time and effort that goes into building the full site architecture and wireframes differs from project to project. This is the foundation your website will be built upon and rushing it to “save” isn’t worth it.
On top of that, nailing down the perfect design (i.e. color palette, font, creative treatments, etc.) can vary because of its subjectivity. When it comes to design especially, everyone has an opinion. Our creative and UX teams back up decisions with data from eye tracking studies and heat maps, but getting the final green light from key stakeholders is going to take time on top of our team sitting down to complete the work.
Your own review and approval process
If you know that reserving time on key stakeholders’ calendars is going to be difficult, start early. Waiting until the last minute – until they quite possibly can’t fit you in right away – is only going to hold up your project schedule. Time is money. Lock down your internal processes for getting final approval and moving forward.
Aside from internal review and approval from key stakeholders, allocating time for regulatory reviews and revisions is a whole other beast that takes time. If you’re not looking to throw away money (and I’m guessing you’re not), be sure to allocate adequate time to regulatory reviews in your project schedule.
Copywriting can be one of the most time consuming components of a website – but it’s also one of the most critical aspects of your web presence. While some might have the necessary time and internal resources to write their own website content, many don’t. Instead, you might choose to hire a carefully selected copywriter with the specific skillset of writing for the web in your industry.
Copywriting is just one component of your website’s content. Content, as a whole, is comprised of several other elements, including the number of pages your website has, photos and video included on the site, etc. If you have a large product or service portfolio, the volume of content will be larger, and therefore, increases the overall cost. Tip: Start creating content as early as possible. Many people underestimate how time-consuming of a task this is, and it ends up causing major delays. Don’t wait until the last minute to toss together fluffy text just to fill your page with “content.”
Brand positioning and messaging
If you have your positioning and website messaging finalized, kudos to you! Most people don’t. Or they think they do, but it doesn’t convey any true differentiators. Don’t risk saying the same thing competitors are saying, just in a different way. If you still need to develop powerful messaging that tells your brand story and differentiates you from your competitors, this will increase the cost of your project.
Searching for the perfect imagery to coordinate with your messaging, content, and objectives is a skillset you want on your side, as this requires solid creative direction and an “eye for the prize.” Working with a web design agency that has a defined process for finding the right imagery for your website is going to cost more than working with someone who haphazardly plucks stock photos that can be found on 10 other websites in your industry. You may also choose to use custom imagery and/or video. In this case, the planning and preparation for photo and video shoots will also add to the cost.
Functionality and integrations
A custom website designed specifically for you, your company, and your target audience is going to cost more than the templated alternative with standard functionality. Even the custom route can range from “fairly common” functionality to “complex” functionality. Inclusions like a password protected portal, registration system, and pricing tools are going to increase the cost, as will integrations with ERP systems, Marketing Automation, Customer Relationship Management, Product databases for E-commerce, or any other 3rd party system.
Search Engine Optimization
Some web design agencies are just that: web design and development. While there might be some optimization of content, it’s minimal. Those agencies will even admit that SEO isn’t their core competency. Conversely, when you’re working with a full-service web design and digital marketing agency, your website is undergoing a thorough optimization process to increase visibility in search engines for your target audience. This includes comprehensive research into keyword rankings, competitive analysis, and a well-thought-out keyword strategy that will get your new website in front of the right eyes. Of course this will increase the overall price of the project, but it’s a no-brainer! Why spend all of that time and money if you’re not attracting the right leads?
The people you’re working with
Yes, this last factor is an intangible one, but it’s also an invaluable one. You are paying for the expertise and experience of the entire team of strategists, UX designers, creative designers, web developers, SEO specialists, and project managers. A team with less experience won’t be in a position to anticipate potential roadblocks, create a web journey that guides users to conversions, or develop a keyword strategy with terms that your target audience is actively searching.
As HubSpot suggests, “It would also be advantageous to find a team that specializes in the vertical or niche your business operates in. Finding a specialty agency can also sometimes come with a bit of a price, but it’s an investment well worth the cost.”
A custom website means a custom price.
We wish it was possible to instantly tell you with zero hesitation the price for a website project. But a standard price gives you a standard website – and we don’t do standard.
With so many factors to consider – and without zeroing in on your specific requirements – it would be irresponsible to start throwing numbers around. We’d only be misinforming you and setting both sides up for a very frustrating conversion and failed partnership.
From our experience and knowledge, what we can say is – a custom website project can cost anywhere from $45,000 to well into six figures.
On the lower end of that range is a reasonably sized website with standard functionality (i.e. lead generation forms, a careers solution, and resource library), optimized for search engines (as all of our websites are), minimal integrations, and an average project schedule of approximately 4-5 months.
On the higher end is a larger website with a wealth of content, product database, complex functionality and integrations, all resulting in a longer project schedule of about 6-9 months. In addition to the site itself, these projects tend to have longer decision cycles, larger committees, more meetings and more detailed documentation for functionality.
Again, there are so many variables and we couldn’t possibly give a single price without hearing your specific requirements and circumstances.
The Future of Your Website Depends on Your Proactive Mindset
Too often, companies are building their websites for here and now. The main and only focus is “what we need to achieve now with our website” and “how fast the website can be up to start working toward that goal.”
Building a website with that mindset, though, doesn’t consider the future of your web presence, its sustainability and how it will need to keep up with the constant advancements in technology. You’ll likely be left in the here and now with a stale, stagnant website prone to security threats.
Plan for your website’s future
We all want our website to age well. Nobody wants a website that is stuck years beyond competitors. Taking a proactive stance when designing and developing your website can help position you at the forefront of the competitive landscape now and into the future.
Take your health as an example. You can take preventive measures for disease prevention as opposed to disease treatment. It requires thinking ahead and taking certain actions now to avoid occurrence of a disease.
The same applies (or should) for your web presence. Instead of preventing a disease, you’re preventing the slow demise of your website with certain actions.
Define current goals and objectives
Yes, we are still talking about planning for the future but the here and now is a solid foundation to build upon. This first part, defining current goals and objectives, is simple. When you’re ready to redesign or build a new website you have a punch list of what you need to achieve ready to rattle off. It’s etched into your brain.
If you’re a civil engineering company recruiting top talent, you might be aiming to attract and recruit employment candidates. Maybe you’re selling a product and you need to increase revenue from online sales. If you’re part of the IT team, you might need to improve the security and performance of your website. Or if you’re a marketer you’ll need to attract prospects to your website and generate leads from it.
These can be compiled from key stakeholders across your company to define your current goals and objectives.
But what about future goals and objectives? Glad you asked!
Consider future goals and objectives
A starting point to develop future goals and objectives could be your company’s growth strategy. Your website should ultimately support the overarching goals of the business so it makes sense to be aware of any growth strategy in place.
If you’re not privy to this information, ask. You’ll want to understand any plans for market penetration and expansion, product expansion, diversification or acquisition. If you know what’s on the horizon, you can build a website for the current state of the company as well as the anticipated, future position within the market.
Anticipate required functionality
Technology is changing and evolving with every blink of our eyes. The website you launch at the end of your redesign project will not be the end all be all. From a management perspective, there might be functionality that needs to be included as a Phase 2 or 3. How might you might use your website differently?
Are you planning to step up your content marketing efforts? You might not have that content developed for launch though, so it wouldn’t make sense to have a resource library with robust filtering options or CTAs for relevant content that doesn’t exist quite yet. But you can build your website with the resource library and an option to include CTAs in mind.
Are you anticipating a shift in 3rd party service providers? That’s helpful to know so you can build your site with those integrations in mind.
Always be thinking ahead about how you envision your site evolving and improving in the future and how that affects how your team might manage it.
Prepare for a shift in user behavior
The constantly changing technology also affects how people will use your website. Sites like Apple and Amazon evolve through an iterative process to maintain the user experience consumers know and like.
How might visitors use your website differently in the future?
One example is banner blindness. As consumers, we’ve all experienced it: a phenomenon that occurs when we consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information.
In fact, a study by Infolinks showed that 86% of consumers suffer from banner blindness. (Source: Neil Patel). We’ve witness the result of the banner blindness epidemic with the shift away from rotating image carousels.
Tracking user behavior for your site specifically can be done in Google Analytics. It will help you notice trends, prepare for the shift and adjust your web experience to meet the user expectations. Staying up to date with current web design trends, studies and reports can also help you stay ahead of the curve.
Create a website that grows with you
Being stuck with a website that needs to catch up with the competition is a position nobody wants to find themselves in. Maybe you inherited it or maybe the first time around it was all about the here and now.
Either way, hopefully this time around you can practice a preventive, forward-thinking approach.
If you’re not sure where to start or how to get there, we’d love to discuss how we can help.
Best SEO and PPC Tools for B2B Digital Marketing
We are commonly asked about the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing. That’s why our Digital Marketing team is sharing which tools they use, how they benefit our clients, and some of their favorite features.
Today, you’ll hear from:
Alicia Hale, VP of Digital Marketing
Hannah Garon, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
Chad Gourd, Digital Marketing Associate
Meara Santoro, Digital Marketing Strategist
Anna Quiros, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist & PPC Specialist
We invite you for a look inside our (no-so-secret) toolbox of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing.
Google Analytics offers digital analytic tools to analyze website data from all touch points in one place. This provides a better understanding of the customer experience for visitors that land on your website.
How we use Google Analytics
Our team uses Google Analytics to manage client’s SEO and PPC efforts. It is especially helpful to track performance over time and provides insights into where improvements need to be made, making it #1 on our list of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing.
How it helps
“Google Analytics data is straight from the source on nearly everything you need to know to help you determine website performance. Everything is at your fingertips!” – Hannah Garon
“My favorite part about Google Analytics is that it’s simple, yet we still have the ability to customize it for each client account.” – Alicia Hale
“Google Analytics is great for in depth insights into ROI and campaign value measurements, plus graphing annotations options gives additional context to any account changes. Google Analytics also makes it easy to create PPC specific goals to track website conversions and user activity, create remarketing lists, and multi-channel funneling options. Finally, it’s great for learning about your PPC audience and behavior flow with seamless integration between AdWords and Google ” – Anna Quiros
“Google Analytics is one of my favorite tools for its ease of use when creating goals, custom views, filter options and any new properties. It’s capability to easily connect to goal tracking in Google Tag Manager helps me manage client accounts more efficiently.” – Chad Gourd
Moz has a complete SEO toolkit has it all: keyword research, link building, rank tracking, site audits and crawls, and page optimization insights.
How we use Moz
We use Moz to perform initial keyword research for clients that will inform their overall strategy and it has made its way to #2 on our list of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing . Moz is also used to create custom ranking reports and perform site audits as we work with them on an ongoing basis to improve and enhance their SEO efforts.
How Moz helps
“I love the accuracy of Moz’s rank tracking and crawl diagnostics.” – Alicia Hale
“Moz’s reports are the best. They’re so easy for everyone to read and digest.” – Hannah Garon
“Moz makes it easy to manage keywords and export ranking and crawl data that I use for content recommendations and suggestions for off-site publishing opportunities.” – Chad Gourd
“For me, the best part of Moz is the excellent insight into competitor rankings and link metrics.” – Meara Santoro
Spyfu exposes the search marketing secret formula of your most successful competitors.
How we use SpyFu
When we need to perform competitive research to see what competitors are ranking for online, we turn to SpyFu, and that’s what it’s landed at #3 on our list of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing.
How SpyFu Helps
“Competitive data like rankings for SEO, budget projections and purchased search terms for PPC are a few of the top reasons we turn to SpyFu for our competitive research.” – Alicia Hale
“I leverage SpyFu to do research on competitor’s ad copy and landing pages. The insight helps inform the strategy I’ll propose to a client. SpyFu’s ability to see which keywords your competitors are getting traffic from and bidding on plus which keywords you have in common and which keywords they are bidding on that you are not gives significant insight into the strategy I’ll propose to a client.” – Anna Quiros
“SpyFu lets me generate SEO and PPC keywords and rankings on both our clients and their competition via crawled URLs.” – Chad Gourd
Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools) & Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Search Console is where we monitor clients’ website performance, identify issues, submit content for crawling, removed content we don’t want indexed, view search queries and monitor backlinks. Search Engine Watch says, “Perhaps more importantly though, Search Console is where Google will communicate with you should anything go wrong (crawling errors, manual penalties, increase in 404 pages, malware detected, etc.).
Bing Webmaster Tools offers the same reports, diagnostic and research tools and notifications to maintain visibility of your website in Bing.
How we use Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools
These tools perform well for several reasons. They can control when and how Google indexes your site. There’s also the ability to submit client XML sitemaps via Bing and Google to help pages get crawled and appear in SERPs.
All of this insight into the overall performance of our clients’ websites has earned these tools the #4 on our list of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing.
How Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools Help
“These tools bring really great insight into how Google is crawling your website, what Google and Bing can “see”, how many pages are being indexed, how many pages are being blocked by robots, any crawl errors, etc. We can also request pages be removed from the index via Google Search Console which can come in handy!” – Meara Santoro
“These tools are invaluable to us because of the search analytics, queries and page speed insights. I can get lost in some of the queries’ impression data!” – Hannah Garon
Google Adwords tracks and manages PPC (pay-per-click) online advertising campaigns.
How we use Google Adwords
We use Google Adwords to set up and track PPC campaigns for our clients. The toolset that supports strategic PPC initiatives is one reason our team loves using it and why it’s #5 on our list of the best SEO and PPC tools for B2B digital marketing (but certainly not any less valuable than the rest).
How Google Adwords Helps
“My favorite feature of Google Adwords is the Keyword Planner that determines search volume, CPC and competitive data for a specific keyword or a group of keywords. It makes performing keyword research much more efficient.” – Hannah Garon
“I’m always in Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner when I’m doing research for clients.” – Chad Gourd
“Adwords is a dynamic online advertising platform that can work for almost any type of business. Google is constantly making updates by adding new features and functions. My favorites are:
• Flexibility to advertise on different networks all in one place (Search, Display/Remarketing, YouTube)
• Opportunity to precisely target client audiences based on user intent when searching, keywords, demographics, devices, geographic location, etc.
• Auction insights features that breakdown your ad/keyword in relation to your competitors.
• Search terms reports that let you to see the reality of keywords/keyphrases people have typed to trigger your ad. This gives you immense insight into user intent.
• Changes within the platforms are immediate.
• Seamless integration with Google Analytics and other common software systems like CRM and Marketing Automation.”
“Overall, it comes down to empowering our team to build and manage strategic Adword campaigns for our clients” – Alicia Hale
So, there you have it!
Our main goal with SEO and PPC is to help you rank higher in the search engines and get your advertisements in front of more of the right people. These tools have proven to be essential and equip us to help you achieve these goals.
Our digital marketing team is excited about working with our clients to achieve the best results possible. Reach out today and let’s talk about how we can help you build and execute an effective SEO and PPC strategy.
B2B Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Get Upper Management on Board
You and your team just had the most productive and inspiring B2B digital marketing strategy brainstorm session. Your group’s collective brain was firing on all cylinders, spouting off brilliant new ideas for your website complete with a glowing content calendar, digital advertising campaigns and digital assets to boot. You’re on top of the world.
The wave of confidence in your B2B digital marketing strategy is quickly deflated
You hear the voices of senior management in your ear asking questions like:
• How much is this going to cost?
• How do we know this is going to work?
• How will we measure success?
Sound familiar? You’re in good company.
Keeping an executive team happy with the activities and results of your B2B marketing strategy is a big source of stress for countless marketers. The pressure trickling down from the top of your organization can be stifling, making you feel like someone is constantly watching your every move.
While some organizations have leadership teams who believe in its impact, many B2B marketers struggle to prove the value of digital marketing. To help, we’ve outlined a few tips and tricks to keeping even your highest-level executives on board with your B2B digital marketing strategy. Like anything else, it can be done; it all starts with an understanding of when and how to involve them.
When to involve executives in the digital marketing conversation
In marketing and in life, timing is everything. Finding the appropriate time to involve upper management in your digital marketing efforts is a delicate balance. If you involve them too soon without having a well-thought-out strategy and plans to execute in place, they may see you as unorganized. But if you involve them too late, you might risk having to retrace your steps.
Mastering proper timing can boost their trust in your team. Try to involve them early on in your planning process and then again at key milestones so their vision is taken into consideration throughout the entire digital marketing strategy. Be considerate of the fact that their time is precious and often in high demand. If their input isn’t absolutely necessary to move forward, don’t waste their time.
How to involve executives in the digital marketing conversation
In life and in business, it pays to plan ahead. Be proactive by looking at your entire project schedule and highlighting times when it makes sense to involve upper management in the conversation. Send out meeting requests well in advance, so your team stays on track to provide them with all the information they need to remain confident in your project.
Remember, if you’re feeling pressure from them that means they more than likely are feeling pressures of their own. Be prepared to answer any questions they have and avoid getting them “into the weeds” of the project with day-to-day tasks.
How to alleviate concerns and make your executives look good
Senior executives take on a lot of responsibility in your organization, including the success or failure of your website and digital marketing strategy. Anxiety related to B2B digital marketing might be coming from a place of uncertainty about if they will see results from the investment. According to a Bain & Company research report, nearly 90% of B2B marketing and sales executives feel ill-prepared to address the new reality of digitally savvy customers. (Bought Not Sold: Marketing and Selling to Digitally Empowered Business Customers, Bain & Company)
Help put their fears to rest by showing them you and your team have done your homework. Share industry research on what’s worked for similar companies and explain why you believe those same strategies might translate well for your business.
One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the ability to measure its performance. Explain what success will look like and how you see your website and digital marketing strategy and campaigns coming together to achieve that goal. Provide the necessary information they will need to keep the Board of Directors or Venture Capitalists confident and on board with your digital marketing initiatives.
We know that keeping the higher-ups at your organization happy is no easy task, but hopefully with these tips your team will be prepared to “wow” them and turn them into digital marketing advocates!
URL Best Practices for SEO
Whenever most people talk about SEO, the focus seems to be more on weaving keywords into content and less on the technical aspects of SEO. Technical SEO is focused on how well search engines can crawl your website and index your content (Source: Quick Sprout)
URL structure is one piece of technical SEO that can affect the visibility of your website in search engines. Some of our readers might be asking “What can I do in addition to optimizing my content?”
Glad you asked! You can enhance your SEO efforts and give your website an even better chance of ranking well in search engines. Start with these tips on URL best practices for SEO:
Keep URLs readable
Unfortunately, we’ve all visited websites where the URL looks like someone was cleaning their keyboard. Don’t be that person. A URL that is readable for a person will be judged better for its readability by search engines. Boost your readability score by using URLs that are easily readable for humans and, therefore, scored higher by search engines.
Test time! Which URL below is easiest to read. Pretty simple, right?
Choice A is too busy, a mosh pit of symbols, letters and numbers.
Choice C gives zero indication of the page content.
Hyphens in a URL visually break up words for a user. Removing any guesswork about the content that’s on the page will encourage people to click through.
Keywords in your URL
Yes, optimizing your URL for search engines (in addition to content) can help improve your rankings. Aside from improving relevancy attributed to that page, including keywords provides better usability and can increase the click through rate. When someone sees a relevant keyword, they immediately know what to expect if they click.
Shorter is better
Think about how we search and read online. We skim, scan, and pick out individual words and phrases. To appeal to how we know people are reading online content, when it comes to URLs shorter is best.
Ditch stop words
Stop words are filtered out by search engines. Stop words include: a, the, of, for. They’re the common words that search engines will ignore to speed up their crawl of your website. Let’s jump back up to the test. Choice “C” doesn’t include the stop word “for.” Search engines will skip over it anyway and users can still understand the topic of the page. Win-win!
Keep in mind, while these URL best practices can certainly benefit your content optimization efforts, implementing these alone without optimizing everything else won’t give you the SEO results you need.
If you find yourself questioning your URL structure, just remember clean and concise is always your best bet.
Our SEO Specialists can help you enhance your SEO initiatives too. Reach out today and let’s get you in front of the right people in search engines!
SEO and CRO for an Integrated Website Optimization Strategy
Are you banging your head against the wall trying to figure out how SEO can bring the traffic you want to your website AND how you’re going to convert them once they’re right where you want them (it’s not as evil as it sounds!)?
We’re always hearing the importance of an integrated digital strategy. One that includes everything from social media, web strategy, online advertising, video optimization, SEO, content marketing, etc. You should be scouring and executing in every digital nook and cranny – so long as it makes sense for what you want to achieve. Don’t risk leaving out the critical pieces and throwing off your entire integrated approach and beloved marketing mix.
All of this is absolutely true. I’m not denying the importance of an integrated approach. But, for digital marketers who are just getting the lay of the land and who haven’t quite figured out where to start in creating their marketing mix the idea of needing to start with a fully integrated digital marketing strategy can be frightening.
That’s why I want to dial it back with a much simpler integrated approach. One that comes naturally, but still with benefits galore.
Today, let’s talk about the inherent link between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). A beautiful balance between the two can drive a greater volume of higher quality website leads.
Search Engine Optimization ultimately comes down to conversions
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of incorporating keywords and key phrases your target audience is typing into search engines when looking for a service, solution or product that your company provides.
Ultimately, SEO comes down to conversions. You want to optimize your website for specific words that bring your ideal customer or client to your website. In turn, the goal of your website is to convert visitors, driving business growth. Proper optimization drives that well-qualified traffic to your website – visitors that have a higher chance of converting.
72% of marketers from enterprises rate search engine optimization (SEO) as successful in achieving marketing objectives like lead generation and increased web traffic (Source: MediaPost)
Conversion Rate Optimization decisions can be influenced by SEO research
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action – be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. (Source: Moz)
Keep in mind, a conversion doesn’t always have to be related to a “sale.” It can be any action by a user that gets you closer to reaching your business objectives.
For one company, a conversion might be a form submission to speak to a sales rep or schedule a demo. For another, it might be a helpful resource download like a white paper or case study. Whatever a conversion is to you – it should be something measurable that relates back to your overall goals.
To encourage website visitors to take a desired action, a user-centric approach and a research-driven user experience strategy is key. Building a website specifically for your target audience (or buyer personas if you’ve developed them) makes them feel empowered. Who doesn’t love feeling empowered, like you have everything you need to take on the world?
When you give users exactly what they want, when they want it, and where they want it, it benefits you in the end. Visitors will spend more time on your website, engage with you more and gain trust in your capabilities. Plus, improving the overall usability of a website can increase conversions by nearly 43% (Source: HubSpot)
SEO + CRO = Integrated Website Optimization
A strategic inbound marketing strategy – including optimizing your website for visibility in search engines and optimizing for on-site conversions – doubles the average website conversion rate, from 6% to 12%. (Source: HubSpot via SmartBug Media) That’s no joke.
To that point, a truly integrated website strategy is critical to the success of your web presence. Especially when we’re all expecting increasingly more, better quality leads from it.
A focused keyword strategy derived from in-depth keyword research and analysis is an important component to your SEO strategy. Optimization efforts don’t end with driving well-qualified website traffic though. What happens next is just as important.
An SEO Strategist should be working with a UX Specialist to optimize website elements like landing pages, call-to-actions (CTAs), site architecture and form fields according to the keyword strategy.
On the flip side, a UX Specialist should leverage findings from SEO research and let the data drive decisions for UX design. This approach will guide website visitors toward converting in a personalized way.
As we always say, let the data drive the decision so I’ll let this speak for itself: 95% of companies who used several methods of optimization (e.g., conversion optimization and copy optimization) saw conversion rate improvement, compared to websites that only implemented CRO, 72%. (Source: Econsultancy)
Here’s my suggestion: simplification.
Don’t think of SEO and CRO as two separate, segmented initiatives. Think of them in a more unified way, a way that benefits SEO, CRO and you. When you think of them as two components of one overall strategy you will start where overlaps occur and be better positioned to create a truly integrated website strategy.
Winging Your B2B Web Design is a Bad Idea
In our fast-paced, highly-demanding world, there is often an overpowering temptation get a start on improvements to your B2B web design quickly. Sometimes, the temptation is so overpowering that we sacrifice doing things the right way just so we can get it done as quickly as possible.
While quick is great, hastily and trying to manage the moving parts of B2B web design without a strategy can be detrimental to your end result.
Is it difficult for your digital marketing team to stop, step back, and strategize on your B2B web design and digital marketing initiatives before diving in head-first?
You’re not alone – 36% of B2B marketers say the inability to stop executing, and to think strategically, is a barrier to their marketing success.
Consider these factors before kicking off your B2B web design and development project
From energy and resources used, to time and budget spent, there are too many factors involved to just ‘wing it’ when it comes to building your website.
The first component to consider when building your website is who exactly are you building your website for? Understanding who your main audience is and what they will want from you will help you to be able to provide them real value. Consider their challenges, frustrations, desires, and goals, and use that to create a website that will truly serve a purpose for them. This is critical because a website that serves your audience will also serve you.
Platform/Content Management System
To see long-term success with your website, it’s important to use a Content Management System that enables your team to quickly and easily update the website. Consider whether there’s a specific requirement for a Content Management System, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of the various options.
According to Kissmetrics, 40% of visitors to your website won’t return after having a negative experience. Make sure to do your homework upfront to get deep into the minds of people coming to your website. Figure out what they need from you and provide them with this information immediately upon landing on your site. Their experience should never be a guessing game.
Online brand messaging & positioning
The way you present your brand message on your website is crucial. It should convey to your visitors, who you are, what you do, and why you matter. It’s also essential that your message is immediately clear and evident. Again, no guess work.
Web page copy
Page copy on your website shouldn’t be an afterthought. One decision you’ll have to make is who is writing the content: you, someone on your team, or perhaps someone you’re outsourcing the work to. Whatever you decide, it’s vital that the tone and personality of your page copy is consistent with the overall tone and personality of your brand.
Plan ahead for any integration with 3rd party services or software such as product databases, CRM, marketing automation, careers/HR solutions, live chat services, etc. This will ensure a full, 360 degree view of your sales and marketing activities.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
You can create the most beautiful, easy-to-use website, but it won’t even matter if nobody can find it! The solution? Comprehensive and strategic SEO efforts to drive well-qualified traffic to your website. After all, 72% of B2B customers start their research with a Google search (Source: Think With Google. “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing).
Another way to drive targeted traffic to your website is with online advertising: Paid Search, Display Advertising, and Social Media Advertising. Research where your audience is spending the majority of their time online and let this information help you make an educated decision on where to do most of your advertising. Meeting them where they are online, especially with the exact information they are looking for, will increase the chances of them visiting your website.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Once someone does find your website, the idea is that they will convert. A conversion is based on your Key Performance Indicators. What qualifies as a successful website visit? A form submission? A white paper or case study download?
It’s essential to optimize landing pages and lead capture forms for conversion as well. For example, the number of form fields should be sufficient enough to gather the information you want, but there shouldn’t be so many that it deters people from completing it.
Blog strategy and execution
Content marketing is becoming increasingly important and is a great way for companies to earn the buyer’s trust. A blog, for instance, is the perfect place to consistently share content that your audience cares about. It can address their frustrations and concerns as well as tips to overcome them. No matter what you’re sharing, remember that it should be educational and informative, but not overly promotional.
Visuals on your website have been increasingly popular and effective, especially for the modern, on-the-go buyer. In fact, video helps to persuade 73% of people to buy a product or service. (Source: Animoto via Search Engine Watch)
Chief Marketer says “a new study from The Web Video Marketing Council found that almost all of the [B2B Marketing] respondents (96%) are engaged in video content marketing, with 73% reporting that video has positively impacted marketing results, while another 56% said that sales results were positively impacted.”
Last but certainly not least, the design of your website is key to consider, as this is your first shot at impressing visitors to your website. According to Kinesis, 94% of a website user’s first impression is design-related. While the creative aspect of B2B web design is important, it shouldn’t be the driver.
First, your B2B web design should be easy to navigate, well-organized, and structured in a way that makes sense to users (with the content and guidance they want). Once you’ve accomplished this, then you’re in the perfect position to apply your brand’s personal touch – brand imagery, typography, and color palette.
Stop, collaborate and listen
As tempting as it may be to wing your website to get it done as quickly as possible, you must. Give it 110% on the first shot, instead of flying by the seat of your pants. Most importantly, keep in mind that winging it almost always means having to go back, retrace your steps, and duplicate your work because the project was hastily completed.
Easy to Use Content Management System for the Enterprise? Believe It.
We’ve reached the end of our WordPress for the Enterprise blog series and will be closing out with the benefits of this easy to use Content Management System. Given the security, scalability and flexibility, the usability of WordPress is one more added benefit to check off your list of must-haves.
By the way, if you missed previous posts in this series you can check them out here:
Think WordPress Isn’t for the Enterprise? Think Again.
WordPress Can’t Scale for the Enterprise? Guess Again.
A Flexible WordPress Website for the Enterprise? You Read That Right.
Did You Know? WordPress owns 65% of the global CMS market and 27% of websites are on WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System in the World, largely due to its ease of use.
Large, enterprise companies are inherently going to have a complex site architecture and processes. Typically, it’s the Marketing team managing and updating the website who don’t have the technical knowledge to manipulate code. An easy to use Content Management System is crucial.
Manage complexities with an easy to use Content Management System
The WordPress dashboard is the first screen you see when you log in to the administration area of your website. This is where you’ll quickly and easily access each page. The dashboard is representative of the overall usability with its clean, simple and intuitive user interface.
Custom Content Options
No two websites or the content on them are the same. The way one company organizes products, solutions and content in general can be vastly different from another company. Creating and editing new and existing content in WordPress is pain-free with custom content options. On any page, you can include:
• Checkbox to indicate a page/post to be featured on the homepage, for example
• Option to place relevant content like a case study on a specific page
• Checkboxes to add features to a product page
WordPress also makes it easy to manage content according to your company’s internal workflow for approval. Here are just a few examples:
• Create drafts, schedule publications, and look at your post revisions
• Make your content public or private, and secure posts and pages with a password
• Enable private commenting between authors and editors
• Schedule content to be published at some point in the future
• Set an expiration date for when a piece of content should be un-published
• Establish a content workflow for creating and reviewing content before pushing live
Managing user roles and responsibilities should be easy, and with WordPress it is. You can assign roles and responsibilities to specify which pages team members can update, edit and publish (and which ones they can’t). Organize users by department or job function to keep track of administrators, editors and authors.
A CMS that requires knowledge of HTML or CSS code isn’t the most efficient solution for a non-technical marketer. That’s why we recommend WordPress as an intuitive, easy to use enterprise Content Management System that can still accommodate requirements of large B2B companies.
If you’re looking for a Content Management System that suits your needs, please reach out. We’d love to explore if WordPress is the right solution for you.