Jolina Pettice

SES NY Session: B2B SEO Tactics

B2B Tactics Session at SES NY 2008

B2B Search sessions (both organic and paid) can be few and far between, so any time it exists I’m sure to plant myself in the front row.  The B2B Tactics session was moderated by Jeffrey Rohrs, VP, Agency & Search Marketing, ExactTarget

Speakers included:

Patricia Hursh, President and Founder, SmartSearch Marketing
Barbara C. Coll, CEO, Inc.
Adam Goldberg, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, ClearSaleing
Karen Breen Vogel, President and CEO, ClearGauge

With B2B SEO being a sweet spot for the team at TopRank, hearing from other industry leaders about how they have effectively executed for such companies is certainly relevant.

With 64%of search engine users searching for business information, it’s surprising that B2B isn’t more widely covered.

I’m sure it has something to do with the idea that attendees might find a discussion around optimizing for Pepsi more interesting than let’s say a B2B manufacturer.

Although, including more sessions around B2B search can help marketers build a better case for it, penetrate the industry further and grow the industry as a whole.

Karen Breen Vogel made a case for prioritizing SEO within B2B’s with the following:

  1. The 64% of search engine users looking for business info
  2. Higher click-thru rates on organic results
  3. Credibility and branding from organic rankings – high placement in organic and paid reinforce credibility

To this, consider adding the more measurable business benefits including:

  • Increasing Conversions
  • Increasing Inquiries

Switching gears to Pay Per Click, Patricia Hursh followed through on the title of the session and gave the audience hands on information to become more effective in B2B PPC.

The Tips included:
1. Reach prospects early in the buying cycle

B2B Tactics Session - SES NY

  • Buyers use search to develop shortlist of options

2. Focus and align ad copy
An evolution of someone’s search might look like this:
Laptop computer > laptop information > laptop user reviews > IBM laptop models > IBM

It is important to reach the searcher early in the buying cycle to establish credibility and become a source of information.

This is an important consideration in organic search as well, as you research and define target keyword phrases. Don’t miss out on the chance to educate the searcher about the features/benefits of what you offer.

On the flip side, don’t miss out on the searcher who knows what they want and wants to buy it now.

3. Pre-qualify clickers

  • Address your specific target audience
  • Specify who should/shouldn’t click
    i.e. instead of software reseller, use CRM software provider. Serving Fortune 2000 in southern USA

Doing so, will mean that your quality score is going to take a hit due to less clicks but it is an approach worth testing. A relevant inquiry is always worth more.

4. Create landing pages and microsites

Landing pages should be specific to the ad copy to increase inquiries and decrease the abandonment rate.

Microsites are useful for specific industries/products. I find microsites to be a good option, especially for enterprises, where the content for a marketing segment is often distributed across a site and doesn’t speak to the offerings as a whole.

In addition, microsites allow for a different, and more engaging, voice than is commonly used on corporate websites.

5. Test pages continuously

Patricia noted that for one of her campaigns, moving the form to an internal page (not the landing page) more than doubled the conversion rates.

This is something to test, particularly in industries that don’t respond well to ‘being sold to’.

This really goes against everything I know as a marketer, but I have found it to be true as well. For one of my clients where email marketing is part of the mix, we receive more responses from announcement-only email campaigns, where readers are not directed to a form.

6. Offer more than one call to action
Back to testing, it’s important to offer more than one call to action.
Not everyone is ready to download a free trial, so don’t alienate them by offering nothing that relates to where they are in the buying cycle.

Not everyone is ready to download software so offer them a whitepaper as well.

7. Simplify registration forms
Inquiries will increase with fewer forms.

Simplify, get the critical information, and obtain the rest through subsequent follow ups.

8. Implement a lead nurturing process
Work to define the following the differences between a contact, an inquiry, a prospect and a lead.

They are all different depending on the company and it’s important that everyone is on the same page. As well, be sure to assign the appropriate sales person to the correct type of lead.

When doing this, be sure that the leads that fall somewhere between ‘hot’ and ‘not’ don’t fall through the cracks. This happens and it’s a major area of opportunity in which you can help yourself/clients be more effective.

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  1. Avatar Scott Hepburn says

    Great post…makes me wish I was at SES. Maybe next year.

    Patricia’s tips for getting more from B2B pay-per-click are a good starting point for small and mid-size business owners. My only regret is that PPC and B2B SEO are concepts that are still confusing to smaller business, particularly where on-staff marketing doesn’t fit the budget.

    Did you get a sense of who attended the seminar? What types of companies did they represent? What backgrounds did they bring to the table?

  2. Excellent post-especially about offering more than one call to action. The B2B buying process is more complex and much slower than the the B2C buying decision generally is, and offering a variety of calls to action is so appropriate for the B2B audience. Buyers want comprehensive, reliable information, and they can better get that when they have choices as to how they interact with your message-asking for pricing info, getting technical specs, etc. Each buyer comes to your site with different needs, and giving them a variety of choices of what to do on the same page is one way to keep the B2B audience engaged.