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12 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Business (Infographic)

digital marketing can help grow your business

With the change and evolution of modern technologies, small and medium businesses are doing everything they can to keep up, which can be said true for the rest of human society. Brick-and-mortar businesses are either changing their business models to an online one, or beefing up existing marketing efforts with digital marketing strategies – in an attempt to capture a growing and very lucrative online marketplace.

For it is the process of attracting targeted audiences online that will spell the difference between a successfully thriving business – and a failed one. Even if you receive tons of daily traffic to your website, they would not amount to anything unless they convert to leads or sales. In the digital arena where business and commerce are heading to, Digital Marketing tools and techniques provide business owners the best chances for competition, survival and even business growth.

The following 12 reasons will show you why the use of digital marketing is not only investment-wise decision but also an effective marketing channel that can help you grow your business.

The Infographic:

12 Reasons Why Digital Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Business

1. Because Digital Marketing Levels the Online Playing Field 

Gone are the days when business owners still welcome the notion that Digital Marketing is only for the likes of multinationals and large corporations that have the sufficient resources required to mount an online marketing campaign. Digital Marketing actually levels the playing field, providing small and medium enterprises the chance to compete against the big boys and attract their share of targeted traffic.

With digital marketing, small companies now have the resources to perform sales and marketing processes that were previously available only to large corporations. Without a call center, small businesses can engage effectively with multiple customers, even to customers from any parts of the world even if they don’t have physical stores or branches in these locations.

2. Because Digital Marketing Is More Cost-Effective than Traditional Marketing

Small businesses have very little resources and even capitalization. This is why Digital Marketing provides them with a better and much more cost-effective marketing channel that delivers results. Gartner’s Digital Marketing Spend Reporthighlighted that up to 40% of respondents claimed getting considerable savings by using digital marketing methods of promotion for their products and services.

That is why according to the Gartner survey, 28% of business owners surveyed will shift marketing budget allocations from traditional media channels and invest them into digital online marketing tools and techniques. HubSpot confirms this as shown in the chart below that confirms how digital marketers get better Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) compared to other marketing channels.

social media and email delivery lower average CPLs 

3. Because Digital Marketing Delivers Conversion 

Businesses marketing products and services online measure success by the percentage rate of incoming traffic gets converted into leads, subscribers or sales, depending on the intended purposes of your website. Without conversion, all your traffic would mean nothing and all your marketing efforts will simply go to waste. That is why business owners are streamlining their digital marketing campaigns towards conversion optimization, making it a top priority above everything else.

 

Top Priorities for Digital Marketers in 2013 

 There are several tools and techniques that you can use for your digital marketing campaign such as Search Engine Optimization, social media marketing and email marketing. As seen from the chart below from HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, these three that generate quick and effective communication and interaction with targeted audiences will deliver better-than-average results in terms of higher conversion rates.

social media and search above average lead conversion 

4. Because Digital Marketing Helps Generate Better Revenues 

Higher conversion rates generated by effective digital marketing techniques will deliver loads of profitable benefits for you and your business in terms of better and higher revenues. Google confirms this in a study with IPSOS Hong Kong, claiming 2.8 times better revenue growth expectancy for companies using digital marketing strategies to those who do not.

With better revenue growth expectancy, small and medium enterprises using digital marketing techniques will have 3.3 times better chances of expanding their workforce and business – opening their doors to better, larger and farther reaching markets both locally and abroad. Google’s Asia-Pacific Head of SME Kevin O’Kane describes the Internet as rocket fuel for growth for small and medium enterprises.

5. Because Digital Marketing Facilitates Interaction with Targeted Audiences 

One of the reasons why digital marketing is taking over traditional marketing channels is the ability of Internet marketing tools to interact with targeted audiences in real time. Engagement in any form is what your customers expect to receive when interacting with your brand or business. How your business handles such engagements and interactions will spell the difference between business success and failure – just like what eMarketer’s report Key Digital Trends for 2014 is saying as shown below.

 real time marketing stats

Interacting and providing your customers with proper engagement points can give you an insight of what your targeted audiences want. This vital information will steer you towards making the right set of next moves, provide your customers with an even better experience, develop good relationships with them – gaining their loyalty and trust that you will need when your business begins to grow. 

6. Because Digital Marketing Caters to the Mobile Consumer 

Undoubtedly, mobile internet will be the next wave of information dissemination and communication channel, brought about by the rapid proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other internet-enabled devices. These mobile devices have become a central part of American life that 91% of adults in the United States always have their devices within reaching distance.

Now would be the best time to have digital marketing campaigns intended towards mobile consumers, paving the way for them towards achieving better growth and faster expansion. Mobile gadgets have evolved from being mere alternatives for laptops and personal computers, into something that is influencing their purchasing decisions as confirmed by another report from eMarketer.

7. Because Digital Marketing Builds Brand Reputation 

The power of digital marketing lies in its ability for attracting targeted traffic. These types of audiences for your content are most likely already ready to know more about your brand, products or services and may be interested enough to purchase what you have to offer. Delivering on what you promised will help you develop a better relationship with your targeted audiences, help them transition into paying customers that will go back and interact with your site some more – on a regular and continuous basis.

This will prove beneficial for your brand reputation, as satisfied customers will most likely tell other people about their experience with your brand, product or service. Your brand reputation will go viral as expected, further opening new doors of opportunities for reaching bigger markets and attain business growth.

8. Because Digital Marketing Provides better ROI for Your Marketing Investments 

With better revenues and better branding, Digital Marketing can provide a better Return of Investments (ROI) than traditional media and marketing channels. With traditional media, the cost is too exorbitant for small and medium enterprises to leverage on, and the results received are somewhat vague and difficult to measure.

Digital Marketing on the other hand can easily be tracked and monitored, with results immediately realized and measured as soon as targeted audiences provide contact information, subscribe to a newsletter or training program, or make a purchase. The key to success in Digital marketing however, is to generate a steady flow of targeted traffic that converts into sales and leads. The more your business generates this kind of traffic, the faster you can realize your ROI. 

9. Because Digital Marketing Earns People’s Trust 

Digital Marketing rides on the current online trend that focus more on social media signals resulting from direct and more personalized interaction between a brand or business and their targeted audiences. In the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey that involved 25 thousand consumers coming from at least 50 countries, 90 percent of respondents claimed they would trust information about a particular brand, product or service if the data comes from people they know.

Digital Marketing leverages on social media signals, social proof and testimonials from actual consumers who have previously purchased, joined, or availed of a product or service marketed by a particular brand or business. The more reliable these social signals are, the higher the trust rate it can generate from targeted audiences – most of which can be potential customers.

10. Because Digital Marketing Entices People to Take Favorable Action 

While social signals and testimonials help earn trust from targeted audiences, Digital Marketing makes use of effective strategies that will entice people to take a favorable action your brand or business intends them to take. Conversion to leads or sales is still initiated and under full control by the website visitor. They are not compelled to do so but digital marketers can make use of clever and innovative ways to entice conversion using Calls-To-Action.

Calls-To-Action specifies what your web visitors should do next – either to sign up, like, download something, call or buy – specific steps that will entice them to perform a favorable action. Innovative forms, buttons and texts are optimized according to copy, color scheme, graphics and even positioning on the page to generate the best results in terms of generating favorable action. 

11. Because Digital Marketing Makes You Ready for the Internet of Things 

The “Internet of Things” is a global ecosystem of interconnected devices – tablets, smartphones, gadgets, appliances and more – that can interact with each other through the Internet. Sounds like something from a Sci-Fi thriller, but this is what the projected 24 billion gadgets by the year 2020 will actually head to. Digital Marketing will prepare your business towards this eventuality, an interconnected ecosystem that will permeate through every aspect of people’s lives. Survival for your business in the era of the “Internet of Things” means inclusion in this interconnected grid – giving you an access window to reach out to targeted audiences belonging to this online grid.

12. Because Digital Marketing Ensures Business Survival Online

It is a normal occurrence for brick-and-mortar business establishments to encounter visitors entering their store, skimming through and inspecting products, then leave without buying anything. Many kinds of people like these come and go, but a targeted few will actually make a purchase and if satisfied, will come back for more on a later date. If you get less of the later and more of the few, sooner or later your brick-and-mortar business will cease to exist.

Your business can be likened to this. Even if you have tons of website visitors but none of them ever convert, your  business will also cease to exist. Digital Marketing helps you make use of proven strategies and techniques that attract not necessarily more traffic – but highly targeted traffic that delivers results. Targeting the right kind of people that delivers the right kind of results is what Digital Marketing is all about – ensuring survival for your business.

Why Every Business Needs a Website

 

business needs a website

Are you one of those entrepreneurs who doesn’t believe your business needs a website?

By Rieva Lesonsky

Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a small business version of the movie Groundhog Day. I can’t recall when I first learned that only 50 percent of small business owners had websites, but I’m guessing it was it was at least two decades ago. And yet, in 2018, according to Blue Corona, about “50 percent of small businesses have invested in a website.” In another report from CNBC from last June, “45 percent [of small business owners] say they don’t have a business website.” Are you one of those entrepreneurs who doesn’t believe your business needs a website?

Back in the day, the excuse was “websites cost too much,” and surprisingly, Blue Corona says 30 percent of the small businesses that don’t have websites today cite cost as the reason. But that simply doesn’t reflect reality. According to PC Magazine list of its picks for the 10 best website builders for 2018, “For about $10 per month (or around $25 if you’re selling products) and a few hours of your time, [you can] create a unique, attractive website.”

A more modern excuse for not needing a website is, “I’m on Facebook” (or Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram). While I applaud those who understand the importance of having a social presence, they misunderstand the primary purpose of social media—which is marketing. Social media is not a substitute for having a website. In fact, one of the goals of having a robust social presence is to drive consumers to your website. In short, your business needs a website.

Why your small business needs a website

There are numerous reasons having a website is crucial to a small business’s growth. One of the most important ones is control. When you build a website, it’s yours. It’s all about your brand. Whether you DIY the site or hire web designers to create it for you, the end result is 100 percent yours. It’s up to you to decide on design, content and goals.

If you rely on social media as a website substitute, you cede control to someone else (which is the opposite of being entrepreneurial). You must use their design, abide by their rules and drive consumers to their site. In essence, you’re spending money to promote their brand. Plus, these companies change their algorithms and policies all the time.

You have no control over the fate of a social site. In the last several months, we’ve all heard about high-profile people deleting their Snapchat and Facebook accounts, which often leads to other people deleting their accounts. This trend can create an overall negative impression of that social site—which can spill over to your company. And of course, no one can guarantee any social media platform will be around for the long term. Remember MySpace? It was the world’s largest social networking site from 2004 to 2010.

Despite the buzz, not all consumers are active on social media. Even if you have a presence on one or two platforms, your customers could be active on another. And many consumers use social media to be, well, social. They want to look at family pictures and talk to friends, not hear a business pitch. (Find out more about how consumers use social media.)

Meeting consumer expectations

Your business needs a website–but not just any website will do. We’re no longer in the early days of the internet. This is the 21st-century, and customers have different expectations. Bazaarvoice says millennials have the most spending power of any generation ever. This demographic, and Gen Z, the one that follows, are digital natives. They expect the companies they do business with to not only have a website, but for that site to be optimized for mobile viewing as well. (Get some tips on designing a mobile friendly website.)

Not having your own website can hurt your sales. If your marketing directs consumers to a social site, can they make a purchase there? In most cases, they cannot.

Consumers often look up a business online, before they decide to do business with you. If you don’t have a website, what will they learn about you? Most consumers today consider businesses without websites to be less than trustworthy.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers turn to the web when they’re searching for local businesses, according to a study by the Local Search Association. What’s more, the LSA reports, business websites are the number-one place shoppers go when they’re ready to buy something.

Get your own domain name

Simply put, every business needs a website, and there is no longer an excuse not to have one. It’s more affordable and easier than ever before to set one up.

First step: You need a name. For maximum effectiveness and credibility, you need your own domain name (e.g. YourBusiness.com). That is how you build a brand. That is how you create a consistent online “home” for your business. That is how you give your customers and prospects direct access to your business.

Once you choose your domain name and register it, you need to create an effective website. Remember, your ultimate goal is to drive consumers to your website so you can convert them into customers. Think of your website as a hub, and everything you do to promote your business (social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, and online ads) as the spokes. Together they’re a powerful tool that drives traffic, builds awareness, attracts new customers, better engages with current clients, and creates a stronger business primed for growth.

Branding vs Marketing: Innovative Solutions In Today’s Digital Marketplace

I created this graphic taking open source images and screenshots of images from companies’ websites and putting them together in my own fashion (with added graphic design of my own making).MACIEJ DURAJ

I have recently covered branding in terms of digital linking of company name and products to specific links related to a company brand domain or URL. However, I covered the topic in tandem with digital asset management and in a way branding is a topic all onto itself deserving more of an analysis. Branding, including link building and other digital practices, is also an innovative way for companies to stand out digitally in the competitive online marketplace of today. Many people also confuse branding with marketing and vice versa.

Another variations of my interpretation of branding using former assets — this time sent through Illustrator.MACIEJ DURAJ (MACIEJDURAJ.COM)

You may be asking yourself: what is the difference between branding and marketing and which of the two should my company be focusing on? The answer is that they are similar in the sense they are about getting a company noticed, but different implementations of recognition. This includes different practices in the entire process of keeping a company competitive, unique and customers coming back.

 

Branding deals more with an image or the quality and assets that go along with it. These may include a company logo, company values, a message that should resonate with a desired company audience and things of this nature. Marketing, on the other hand, deals with tasks and activities in terms of communicating with an audience or making the company’s presence felt. It is getting a message out there to prospective audience or customers. It is also about capturing leads and includes aspects such as social media coordination or email campaigns.

Both of these aspects are important for successful companies to thrive and expand their customer bases. A successful or thriving company should have a message that resonates with an audience and makes its values known through branding. It should also have assets, such as a logo, that become part of this message and image. However, it also needs effective marketing to showcase its brand to new audiences and expand in reach. Once branding and marketing is done in an effective fashion, the third step in the process takes place and that is sales.

One of the main benefits and ideas of link branding is that it can allow companies to send custom email messages through domains they control and be able to reach customers while bypassing their spam filters.

“Spam filters and recipient servers look at the links within emails to determine whether the email looks trustworthy enough to deliver – they use the reputation of the root domain to determine whether the links can be trusted,” according to Sendgrid . “Implementing link labeling helps in email deliverability because you are no longer relying on click tracking going through a domain that you do not control.”

However, this is just one aspect or example of link branding and branding a brand image online. There are also link branding services that do not deal with email, but the actual hosting of files and linking those files or data effectively. Recently, pCloud, a cloud service provider, has even added a link branding service of its own tied to its cloud hosting platform. It will allow you to set up a customizations to help your company assets stay secure and easily identifiable.

This service seems to focus less on email spam folder recognition, but more with the integration of the cloud storage as well as being able to share files with different individuals. The link becomes branded or tailored to the individual and he or she cans end the link with the desired work files to say a creative agency or a coworker. Since it comes with the ability to track who has viewed or downloaded the link’s content or data, it can make organizing files easier and for files related to the user’s company brand to stand out.

Rebrandly is another example of this. The company specializes in shortening links and making them unique or tied to the fompany’s branding efforts. It also allows for the custom domain name thus helping with the ability to bypass email filters I previously mentioned. The service also comes with a wide range of integrations, which include Firefox extension, Chrome extension, an app on iOS, an Android app, the ability to migrate existing or other links into the service and more. You can easily register a new custom domain with Rebrandly with a simple set-up process.

Other examples of branding include having a recognizable logo that you should hire a good graphic designer or someone with a knowledge of the company’s message to create. Apple’s logo is a good example of a very minimalist, but effective, logo that stood the test of time. The logo Apple uses in its electronic products is unique and stands out from any similar logos or even interpretations of the fruit, but at the same time is not complex by any means. Whether anyone sees this logo they will know the company in question, hint: Apple, being talked about and think of Apple products automatically. It simply resonates with an audience and it took Apple many years and constant battle with competition in order to make it happen.

I am a big fan of minimalism and what I like about Apple’s logo is the different interpretations of it possible at a whim. Below is a screencap of Apple’s logo you can see on the upper left of the Cupertino-based giant’s website. However, the logo appears everywhere Apple computing is talked about and comes in various forms.

Screen cap via Apple’s websiteHTTPS://WWW.APPLE.COM/

Here is one below, for instance, I found via Unsplash open source images and my own interpretations what I did a while back myself with Apple’s logo idea

Via Unsplash open source images (https://unsplash.com/photos/5zgUU6eX50Y)AMANDA YUM

A graphic I created a while back on iPad using Artstudio HD sympolizing my take on the Apple logoMACIEJ DURAJ

Another graphic I created a while back on iPad using Artstudio HD sympolizing my take on the Apple logoMACIEJ DURAJ

Coca-Cola is another great example of a company that has great branding, espcieally in the visual sense. Right away, you may think of a red background with a coke shown and white font showing the brand name. You may even think of a Santa Claus holding a coke in one hand. These are great uses of branding that Coca-Cola has made use of in the past and continues to do so. The company’s branding and logo use is also minimalism and simple in design, but very effective visually for the long term — particularly in terms of color and fidelity to the brand image. The use of both red and white is so profound yet minimalism simultaneously.

Fabrik wrote a great article on the history of this brand and how it really resonated with an audience through imagery and branding. You can read it here.

Via open source images Unsplash (https://unsplash.com/photos/WDCZ5zl7-Qo)BENJAMIN PARKER

A good example of visual branding with a smaller business is Surly Brewing Company. This company has a very effective visual touch on its product labels and a website that stands out and makes the product recognizable. The brewing company offers a very effective branding strategy in both its logo and visual content. Just take a look at its website to see its website bright red colors take you to an intense bar atmosphere. Even the actual cans are red and resonate with this message; thus if you go to a store, you can pick out a bootle right away amongst competitors. This is an example of great branding visual.

Website screenshot of https://surlybrewing.com/SURLY BREWING CO.

This is where I would like to mention some innovative uses of marketing. When you have effective branding, such as a message that resonates with your audience, you can use technology like gaming or video streaming to advertise this to your audience and prospective audiences. You can use online marketing to send potential users a link to your Facebook messenger-based game, for instance, as a form of marketing oncee effective branding has been established. Chatbots are an exmaple of an innovative method of marketing. They allow users to interact with Facebook messenger without a human present and can direct them to visual content, games or answers to their questions related to the brand.

Branding deals with people being able to recognize or identify a business and company. A logo can go a long way with that. Another good use of effective branding is catchphrases that resonate with an audience. These catchphrases should be effective, short, deal with the company or brand and make some sort of a statement. However, I use the term catchphrases for text related to a brand messages overall despite the fact there really are two main things to consider in this regard: taglines and slogans. And these differ a bit.

Slogans tend to be longer than tagline and encompass a company’s mission more so than taglines, which tend to simply be phrases that create associations with customers of a particular brand. Taglines also tend do appear more often next to a logo periodically or long term as well as in ads people see. On the other hand, slogans are messages that appear more related to a company as a whole than a single product.

According to a blog post I found differentiating these two catchphrases, “Slogans carry a brand’s values and promises as the company grows and evolves, and can be promoted under an overarching company tagline.”

However, I would like to put both of these aspects of branding under catchphrases as that I think is a good way to describe phrases that resonate with an audience and make people remember a particular brand. For me, the two examples I can think of from the top of my head that really resonated with me and gave me a vibe of a very effective brand include Mastercard and Milk (when I was in California). You may have heard the Mastercard slogan: “there are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there is Mastercard.” This is great branding as it really stuck especially with heavy marketing and advertising efforts. The second good example of branding is: “Got Milk?” from the California Milk Processing Board. This was a simple phrase, but it really stuck and the advertising behind it was effective for this to happen.

Hopefully, now you have some good branding strategies and ideas. Do not count out marketing just yet though as both strategies are essential to keep a business going, expanding and resonating with a new audience.

“In a nutshell, branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness,” according to Outbrain. “Branding is your strategy, while marketing encompasses your tactical goals.”

There are some clear differences between branding and marketing, but both fall into the sphere of awareness. Branding, marketing, sales and public relations are things most successful companies take pride in and put a heavy emphasis on. Do not be left in the dust and before launching a product think of some good cathphrases, invest time in a logo and visual content for your packaging or website and find a unique message to resonate with your audience.

Branding IdeaMACIEJ DURAJ (ARTISTICCOUNTERCULTURE.COM)

One way to do this is set up a check list and ask yourself things like, “why did I set up this brand?” “What is my purpose with my product(s) for the long term?” “Do I want to expand over time or keep it local?” “What am I actually trying to accomplish besides make money and what is my target audience?”

Keep these things in mind and you should have a good start in your branding and marketing efforts going forward.

 
B2B Local Search Marketing: A Guide to Hidden Opportunity

Is a local business you’re marketing missing out on a host of B2B opportunities? Do B2B brands even qualify for local SEO?

If I say “B2B” and you think “tech,” then you’re having the same problem I was finding reliable information about local search marketing for business-to-business models. While it’s true that SaaS companies like Moz, MailChimp, and Hootsuite are businesses which vend to other businesses, their transactions are primarily digital. These may be the types of companies that make best-of B2B lists, but today let’s explore another realm in which a physical business you promote is eligible to be marketed both locally and as a B2B.

Let’s determine your eligibility, find your B2B opportunities, identify tips specific to your business model, analyze an outreach email, explore your content with a checklist, and find an advantage for you in today’s article.

Seeing how Google sees you

First to determine whether Google would view your brand as a local business, answer these two questions:

  1. Does the business I’m marketing have a physical location that’s accessible to the public? This can’t be a PO Box or virtual office. It must be a real-world address.
  2. Does the business I’m marketing interact face-to-face with its customers?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, continue, because you’ve just met Google’s local business guidelines.

Seeing your B2B opportunity

Next, determine if there’s a component of your business that already serves or could be created to serve other businesses.

Not totally sure? Let’s look at Google’s categories.

Out of the 2,395 Google My Business Categories listed here, there are at least 1,270 categories applicable to B2B companies. These include companies that are by nature B2B (wholesalers, suppliers) and companies that are B2C but could have a B2B offering (restaurants, event sites). In other words, more than half of Google’s categories signal to B2B-friendly companies that local marketing is an opportunity.

Let’s look at some major groups of categories and see how they could be fine-tuned to serve executive needs instead of only consumer needs:

Food establishments (restaurants, cafes, food trucks, caterers, etc.) can create relationships with nearby employers by offering business lunch specials, delivery, corporate catering, banquet rooms, and related B2B services. This can work especially well for restaurants located in large business districts, but almost any food-related business could create a corporate offering that incentivizes loyalty.

Major attractions (museums, amusements, cultural centers, sports centers, etc.) can create corporate packages for local employers seeking fun group activities. Brands looking to reduce implicit bias may be especially interested in interacting with cultural groups and events.

Professional services (realty, financial, printing, consulting, tech, etc.) can be geared towards corporate needs as well as individuals. A realtor can sell commercial properties. A printer can create business signage. A computer repair shop can service offices.

Personal services (counseling, wellness, fitness, skill training, etc.) can become corporate services when employers bring in outside experts to improve company morale, education, or well-being.

Home services (carpet cleaning, landscaping, plumbing, contracting, security, etc.) can become commercial services when offered to other businesses. Office buildings need design, remodeling, and construction and many have lounges, kitchens, restrooms, and grounds that need janitorial and upkeep services. Many retailers need these services, too.

Entertainers (comedians, musicians, DJs, performance troupes, etc.) can move beyond private events to corporate ones with special package offerings. Many brands have days where children, family members, and even pets are welcomed to the workplace, and special activities are planned.

Retailers (clothing, gifts, equipment, furniture, etc.) can find numerous ways to supply businesses with gear, swag, electronics, furnishings, gift baskets, uniforms, and other necessities. For example, a kitchen store could vend breakfast china to a B&B, or an electronics store could offer special pricing for a purchase of new computers for an office.

Transportation and travel services (auto sales and maintenance, auto rentals, travel agencies, tour guides, charging stations, etc.) can create special packages for businesses. A car dealer could sell a fleet of vehicles to a food delivery service, or a garage could offer special pricing for maintaining food trucks. A travel agency could manage business trips.

As you can see, the possibilities are substantial, and this is all apart from businesses that are classic B2B models, like manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers who also have physical premises and meet face-to-face with their clients. See if you’ve been missing out on a lucrative opportunity by examining the following spreadsheet of every Google My Business Category I could find that is either straight-up B2B or could create a B2B offering:

See local B2B categories

The business I’m marketing qualifies. What’s next?

See which of these two groups you belong to: either a B2B company that hasn’t been doing local SEO, or a local business that hasn’t created a B2B offering yet. Then follow the set of foundational tips specific to your scenario.

If you’re marketing a B2B company that hasn’t been doing local SEO:

  1. Know that the goal of local SEO is to make you as visible as possible online to any neighbor searching for what you offer so that you can win as many transactions as possible.
  2. Read the Guidelines for Representing your business on Google to be 100% sure your business qualifies and to familiarize yourself with Google’s rules. Google is the dominant player in local search.
  3. Make sure your complete, accurate name, address, and phone number is included in the footer of your website and on the Contact Us page. If you have multiple locations, create a unique page on your website for each location, complete with its full contact information and useful text for website visitors. Make each of these pages as unique and persuasive as possible.
  4. Be sure the content on your website thoroughly describes your goods and services, and makes compelling offers about the value of choosing you.
  5. Make sure your website is friendly to mobile users. If you’re not sure, test it using Google’s free mobile-friendly test.
  6. Create a Google My Business profile for your business if you don’t already have one so that you can work towards ranking well in Google’s local results. If you do have a profile, be sure it is claimed, accurate, guideline-compliant and fully filled out. This cheat sheet guide explains all of the common components that can show up in your Google Business Profile when people search for your company by name.
  7. Do a free check of the health of your other major local business listings on Moz Check Listing. Correct errors and duplicate listings manually, or to save time and enable ongoing monitoring, purchase Moz Local so that it can do the work for you. Accurate local business listings support good local rankings and prevent customers from being misdirected and inconvenience.
  8. Ask for, monitor, and respond to all of your Google reviews to improve customer satisfaction and build a strong, lucrative reputation. Read the guidelines of any other platform (like Yelp or TripAdvisor) to know what is allowed in terms of review management.
  9. Build real-world relationships within the community you serve and explore them for opportunities to earn relevant links to your website. Strong, sensible links can help you increase both your organic and local search engine rankings. Join local business organizations and become a community advocate.
  10. Be as accessible as possible via social media, sharing with your community online in the places they typically socialize. Emphasize communication rather than selling in this environment.

If you’re marketing a local business that hasn’t created a B2B offering yet:

  1. Research your neighborhood and your community to determine what kinds of businesses are present around you. If you’re not sure, reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce or a local business association like AMIBA to see if they have data they can share with you. Doing searches like “Human Resources Event Seattle” or “People Ops Event Seattle” can bring up results like this one naming some key companies and staffers.
  2. Document your research. Create a spreadsheet with a column for why you feel a specific business might be a good fit for your service, and another column for their contact information.See if you can turn up direct contact info for the HR or People Ops team. Phone the business, if necessary, to acquire this information.
  3. Now, based on what you’ve learned, brainstorm an offering that might be appealing to this audience. Remember, you’re trying to entice other business owners and their staff with something that’s special for them and meets their needs..
  4. Next, write out your offering in as few words at possible, including all salient points (who you are, what you offer, why it solves a problem the business is likely to have, available proof of problem-solving, price range, a nice request to discuss further, and your complete contact info). Keep it short to respect how busy recipients are.
  5. Depending on your resources, plan outreach in manageable batches and keep track of outcomes.
  6. Be sure all of your online local SEO is representing you well, with the understanding that anyone seriously considering your offer is likely to check you out on the web. Be sure you’ve created a page on the site for your B2B offer. Be sure your website is navigable, optimized and persuasive, with clear contact information, and that your local business listings are accurate and thorough — hopefully with an abundance of good reviews to which you’ve gratefully responded.
  7. Now, begin outreach. In many cases this will be via email, using the text you’ve created, but if you’ve determined that an in-person visit is a better approach, invest a little in having your offer printed nicely so that you can give it to the staff at the place of business. Make the best impression you possibly can as a salesperson for your product.
  8. Give a reasonable amount of time for the business to review and decide on your offer. If you don’t hear back, follow up once. Ideally, you’re hoping for a reply with a request for more info. If you hear nothing in response to your follow-up, move on, as silence from the business is a signal of disinterest. Make note of the dates you outreached and try again after some time goes by, as things may have changed at the business by then. Do, however, avoid aggressive outreach as your business will appear to be spamming potential clients instead of helping them.

As indicated, these are foundational steps for both groups — the beginnings of your strategy rather than the ultimate lengths you may need to go to for your efforts to fully pay off. The amount of work you need to do depends largely on the level of your local competition.

B2B tips from Moz’s own Team Happy

Moz’s People Ops team is called Team Happy, and these wonderful folks handle everything from event and travel planning, to gift giving, to making sure people’s parking needs are met. Team Happy is responsible for creating an exceptional, fun, generous environment that functions smoothly for all Mozzers and visitors.

I asked Team Happy Manager of Operations, Ashlie Daulton, to share some tips for crafting successful B2B outreach when approaching a business like Moz. Ashlie explains:

  • We get lots of inquiry emails. Do some research into our company, help us see what we can benefit from, and how we can fit it in. We don’t accept every offer, but we try to stay open to exploring whether it’s a good fit for the office.
  • The more information we can get up front, the better! We are super busy in our day-to-day and we can get a lot of spam sometimes, so it can be hard to take vague email outreach seriously and not chalk it up to more spam. Be real, be direct in your outreach. Keeping it more person-to-person and less “sales pitchy” is usually key.
  • If we can get most of the information we need first, research the website/offers, and communicate our questions through emails until we feel a call is a good next step, that usually makes a good impression.

Finally, Ashlie let me know that her team comes to decisions thoughtfully, as will the People Ops folks at any reputable company. If your B2B outreach doesn’t meet with acceptance from a particular company, it would be a waste of your time and theirs to keep contacting them.

However, as mentioned above, a refusal one year doesn’t mean there couldn’t be opportunity at a later date if the company’s needs or your offer change to be a better fit. You may need to go through some refinements over the years, based on the feedback you receive and analyze, until you’ve got an offer that’s truly irresistible.

A sample B2B outreach email

La práctica hace al maestro.”
– Proverb

Practice makes perfect. Let’s do an exercise together in which we imagine ourselves running an awesome Oaxacan restaurant in Seattle that wants to grow the B2B side of our business. Let’s hypothesize that we’ve decided Moz would be a perfect client, and we’ve spent some time on the web learning about them. We’ve looked at their website, their blog, and have read some third-party news about the company.

We found an email address for Team Happy and we’ve crafted our outreach email. What follows is that email + Ashlie’s honest, summarized feedback to me (detailed below) about how our fictitious outreach would strike her team:

Good morning, Team Happy!

When was the last time Moz’s hardworking staff was treated to tacos made from grandmother’s own authentic recipe? I’m your neighbor Jose Morales, co-owner with my abuela of Tacos Morales, just down the street from you. Our Oaxacan-style Mexican food is:

– Locally sourced and prepared with love in our zero-waste kitchen
– 100% organic (better for Mozzers’ brains and happiness!) with traditional, vegan, and gluten-free options
– $6–$9 per plate

We know you have to feed tons of techies sometimes, and we can effortlessly cater meals of up to 500 Mozzers. The folks at another neighboring company, Zillow, say this about our beautiful food:

“The best handmade tortillas we’ve ever had. Just the right portions to feel full, but not bogged down for the afternoon’s workload. Perfect for corporate lunches and magically scrumptious!”

May I bring over a complimentary taco basket for a few of your teammates to try? Check out our menu here and please let me know if there would be a good day for you to sample the very best of Taco Morales. Thank you for your kind consideration and I hope I get the chance to personally make Team Happy even happier!

Your neighbors,
Jose y Lupita Morales
Tacos Morales
www.tacosmorales.com
222 2nd Street, Seattle – (206) 111-1111

Why this email works:

  • We’re an inclusive office, so the various dietary options catch our eye. Knowing price helps us decide if it’s a good fit for our budget.
  • The reference to tech feels personalized — they know our team and who we work with.
  • It’s great to know they can handle some larger events!
  • It instills trust to see a quote from a nearby, familiar company.
  • Samples are a nice way to get to know the product/service and how it feels to work with the B2B company.
  • The menu link, website link, and contact info ensure that we can do our own exploring to help us make a decision.

As the above outreach illustrates, Team Happy was most impressed by the elements of our sample email that provided key information about variety, price and capacity, useful links and contact data, trust signals in the form of a review from a well-known client, and a one-on-one personalized message.

Your business is unique, and the precise tone of your email will match both your company culture and the sensibilities of your potential clients. Regardless of industry, studying the above communication will give you some cues for creating your own from the viewpoint of speaking personally to another business with their needs in mind. Why not practice writing an email of your own today, then run it past an unbiased acquaintance to ask if it would persuade them to reply?

A checklist to guide your website content

Your site content speaks for you when a potential client wants to research you further before communicating one-on-one. Why invest both budget and heart in what you publish? Because 94% of B2B buyers reportedly conduct online investigation before purchasing a business solution. Unfortunately, the same study indicates that only 37% of these buyers are satisfied with the level of information provided by suppliers’ websites. Do you see a disconnect here?

Let’s look at the key landing pages of your website today and see how many of these boxes you can check off:

My content tells potential clients…

☑ What my business name, addresses, phone numbers, fax number, email addresses, driving directions, mapped locations, social and review profiles are

☑ What my products and services are and why they meet clients’ needs

☑ The complete details of my special offers for B2B clients, including my capacity for fulfillment

☑ What my pricing is like, so that I’m getting leads from qualified clients without wasting anyone’s time

☑ What my USP is — what makes my selling proposition unique and a better choice than my local competitors

☑ What my role is as a beneficial member of the local business community and the human community, including my professional relationships, philanthropy, sustainable practices, accreditations, awards, and other points of pride

☑ What others say about my company, including reviews and testimonials

☑ What my clients’ rights and guarantees are

☑ What value I place on my clients, via the quality, usefulness, and usability of my website and its content

If you found your content lacking any of these checklist elements, budget to build them. If writing is not your strong suit and your company isn’t large enough to have an in-house content team, hire help. A really good copywriter will partner up to tell the story of your business while also accurately portraying its unique voice. Expect to be deeply interviewed so that a rich narrative can emerge.

In sum, you want your website to be doing the talking for you 24 hours a day so that every question a potential B2B client has can be confidently answered, prompting the next step of personal outreach.

How to find your B2B advantage

Earlier, we spoke of the research you’ll do to analyze the business community you could be serving with your B2B offerings, and we covered how to be sure you’ve got the local digital marketing basics in place to showcase what you do on the web. Depending on your market, you could find that investment in either direction could represent an opportunity many of your competitors have overlooked.

For an even greater advantage, though, let’s look directly at your competitors. You can research them by:

  1. Visiting their websites to understand their services, products, pricing, hours, capacity, USP, etc.
  2. Visiting their physical premises, making inquiries by phone, or (if possible) making a purchase of their products/services to see how you like them and if there’s anything that could be done better
  3. Reading their negative reviews to see what their customers complain about
  4. Looking them up on social media, again to see what customers say and how the brand handles complaints
  5. Reading both positive and negative media coverage of the brand

Do you see any gaps? If you can dare to be different and fill them, you will have identified an important advantage. Perhaps you’ll be the only:

  • Commercial cleaning company in town that specializes in servicing the pet-friendly hospitality market
  • Restaurant offering a particular type of cuisine at scale
  • Major attraction with appealing discounts for large groups
  • Commercial printer open late at night for rush jobs
  • Yoga instructor specializing in reducing work-related stress/injuries

And if your city is large and highly competitive and there aren’t glaring gaps in available services, try to find a gap in service quality. Maybe there are several computer repair shops, but yours is the only one that works weekends. Maybe there are a multitude of travel agents, but your eco-tourism packages for corporations have won major awards. Maybe yours is just one of 400+ Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, but the only one to throw in a free bag of MeeMee’s sesame and almond cookies (a fortune cookie differentiator!) with every office delivery, giving a little uplift to hardworking staff.

Find your differentiator, put it in writing, put it to the fore of your sales process. And engineer it into consumer-centric language, so that hard candy buttons with chocolate inside them become the USP that “melts in your mouth, not in your hands,” solving a discovered pain point or need.

B2B marketing boils down to service

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 
– Charles Dickens

We’re all in business to serve. We’re all helpers. At Moz, we make SEO easier for digital and local companies. At your brand, _________?

However you fill in that blank, you’re in the business of service. Whether you’re marketing a B2B that’s awakening to the need to invest in local SEO or a B2C on the verge of debuting your new business-to-business offering, your project boils down to the simple question,

“How can I help?”

Looking thoughtfully into your brand’s untapped capacities to serve your community, coupled with an authentic desire to help, is the best groundwork you can lay at the starting point for satisfaction at the finish line.

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