Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

How to Educate, Engage, & Persuade Buyers Over Lengthy Sales Cycles

Nick Nelson on Jul 3rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Content Planning Strategy for Long Sales Cycles

In the world of consumer goods, purchase decisions are often made instantaneously and on a whim. 

“This blouse is exactly my style! I’ve gotta have it!”

“I’ve been wanting a PlayStation 4 forever. Finally it’s mine!”

“This tent is just what we were looking for. I don’t even need to ask the wife, I’m buying it now.”

Even large, life-changing purchases can sometimes be triggered in a snap.

“This car is perfect for me. I was going to check out a few other dealerships but no need; I’ll take it!”

Of course, in B2B, this is rarely the case. Recently, we discussed the expanding nature of today’s buying committee, which is part of the reason business purchase journeys are only growing longer

Nick Nelson

Buyers vs. Buying Committees: Not Knowing the Difference Could Cost You

Nick Nelson on Jun 27th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Buyers vs. Buying Committees

Working as a marketing or sales professional in B2B presents a unique set of challenges and hurdles. One that probably doesn’t get discussed enough is the nuance of trying to reach and engage buying committees, as opposed to single customers. It’s a hugely important distinction that too many strategies fail to fully account for.

If you’re not speaking to everyone, you might be speaking to no one. And we all know where that leads.

The Expanding Buyer Committee

A buyer (singular) is a sole decision maker responsible for researching solutions, vetting vendors, and authorizing purchases. It is exceedingly rare to see this type of setup in place anymore, unless at a startup or a very small company. Given the typical weight of these decisions, several people tend to now be involved with the process, and sign-off is often required from at least one high-ranking executive.

Nick Nelson

Social Media Secrets: 5 Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

Nick Nelson on Jun 24th, 2019     B2B Marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media

Under-the-Radar LinkedIn Features for Marketers

It’s plain to see that B2B marketers, at large, see the value in social media. The latest B2B benchmarking research from CMI and MarketingProfs found that nearly two out of three respondents (61%) increased their usage of social media for content marketing purposes in the previous year. Another new report shows that social content is atop the list of focal areas for B2B marketers in the coming year.

It’s also fair to say, based on various data points and conversations with folks in the biz, that most of us feel we could be doing better with social. The size of the audiences on these platforms make them essential to any digital strategy, but breaking through suppressive algorithms and showing clear ROI is a perpetual challenge for brands.

Nick Nelson

Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility

Nick Nelson on Jun 20th, 2019     B2B Marketing

Avoiding Unintended Brand Trust Fractures

Recently, we’ve been running a series of posts here on the TopRank Marketing Blog called “Trust Factors,” where we explore techniques that modern brands can use to build trust and credibility with digital audiences. There are numerous examples of companies building trust with best-answer content and boosting credibility with influencer marketing for this purpose.

Marketers are always seeking creative ways to forge genuine connections while standing out from the pack. New research from Edelman shows that consumers now have higher expectations than ever when it comes to brand responsibility. However, it’s worth pointing out that these efforts (even with the best of intentions) can backfire.

When steps taken to strengthen trust instead have the opposite effect, we call these “Trust Fractures.” A recent example got me thinking about the subject, and why marketers everywhere should be cognizant of its lurking danger.

Nick Nelson

The Relationship Between SEO and Social: It’s Complicated … and Complementary

Nick Nelson on Jun 5th, 2019     Content Marketing

Social media marketing and search engine optimization are often viewed as two disparate components of a holistic digital strategy. In some ways, they are distinct, but there is far more convergence and crossover than we’re often led to believe.

I find that looking at one side through the lens of the other invariably helps me better understand the more ambiguous aspects of each. So today I thought I’d share this perspective, with a focus on how these tactical areas can work cohesively to strengthen your brand’s visibility and impact on the web.

Similarities Between Social and Search

Let’s begin by exploring some commonalities between social media networks and social engines.

Nick Nelson

B2B Content Not Making an Impact? Try These 7 Underutilized Promotion Channels

Nick Nelson on May 29th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Creating great content requires considerable investment, in terms of time, effort, and money. Knowing this, it’s crazy how often I see marketers and brands fail to follow through by promoting their content to the fullest and maximizing its targeted exposure.

It literally makes me sad. I’m tearing up as I write this. One moment… Talk amongst yourselves.

via GIPHY

Ahem. So the scourge of unseen quality content is one we must conquer. The path to doing so, I’m afraid, isn’t as simple as scheduling a bunch of links across the same old social feeds. This isn’t to say social media isn’t important, but this formulaic, reflexive approach is fast losing its luster.

Nick Nelson

The Community Imperative: Engaging in Conversations Rather Than Disseminating Information

Nick Nelson on May 21st, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

Building Online Communities in B2B

What does effective marketing engagement look like?

In the common model we see today, it’s something like this: Brands push out relevant messaging, hoping to compel a response or interaction that leads to a conversation (and maybe ultimately a conversion). This can be anything from a comment on a social media post to a chat window initiation.

Nothing wrong with that. These back-and-forths between brands and individuals are important ingredients toward building trust and loyalty. The problem is that, as a sole method for driving engagement, the cast-and-wait approach is too dependent on explicit triggers to spark these interactions.  

Devising and creating content that drives targeted engagement is hard work. It’s worthwhile, but hard, and sometimes even well conceived plans miss the mark. What if you were able to develop a self-driven engagement engine, which fostered strategic conversations built awareness among your most valuable customers and prospects?

Nick Nelson

Trust Factors: The (In)Credible Impact of B2B Influencer Marketing

Nick Nelson on May 14th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Influencer Marketing

How Influencer Marketing Can Help B2B Brands Build Trust

Trust is a currency. It’s arguably the most valuable currency in today’s B2B marketing environment. And much like real money, it needs to be earned; the risks of attempting to counterfeit trust are grave.

In the first installment of our Trust Factor series, we discussed how creating best-answer content serves a long-term trust-building strategy. Today we’ll examine the ways in which partnering with influencers can provide a dramatic boost to your brand’s credibility and authority in the eyes of your audience. We’ll also share some examples of companies that are already doing this effectively, and the lessons we can draw from them.

There are no shortcuts when it comes to developing genuine trust with your customers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take the shortest possible path, so long as you know where you’re going. Walking this road with the right influencers at your side can expedite the journey.

Nick Nelson

Less Is More: Time to Cut Content Bloat & Create Content Connections

Nick Nelson on May 9th, 2019     B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

When it comes to the craft of writing, my favorite luminary is the late William Zinsser. His book, On Writing Well, is — in my opinion — the definitive work covering its stated subject.

On Writing Well is an essential read for anyone who wants to elevate their prose. Zinsser’s primary focal area is word economy. “Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly,” he implores. “Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work?”

That last question is especially pertinent to B2B marketing writers. The reader should always be our top concern when penning copy, but in this case, the stakes are even higher. Attention is at a premium with business professionals, so wasted words are especially costly. Content bloat leads to audience abandonment.

Nick Nelson

The Impact of Twitter’s Proposed Shakeup on Marketers and Influencers

Nick Nelson on May 1st, 2019     B2B Marketing, Social Media, Twitter

The Potential Impact of Twitter's Proposed Changes

Twitter needs to change. This truth is acknowledged by everyone affiliated with the social media network, including its co-founder and CEO.

Jack Dorsey sat with Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers of TED last month for a roundtable discussion about the state of his company, and the path ahead. Specifically, their chat centered on Twitter’s conversation health, and how to improve it.

During the talk, Dorsey laid out some interesting ideas. Today we’ll touch on several of them — including one proposed shift that could fundamentally alter the platform’s very fabric — with an eye on the potential impact for B2B marketers and influencers.

Nick Nelson

Top Takeaways from LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report

Nick Nelson on Apr 23rd, 2019     B2B Marketing, LinkedIn

Key Takewaways from LinkedIn's Enlightened Tech Buyer Report

Technology is one of the fastest-growing B2B sectors, for reasons that are self-evident. As new solutions and innovations continue to enhance the way businesses operate across every industry, every key department has increasing tech needs and buying power these days.

The folks at LinkedIn* recently released a 2019 global report, The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal, and it merits attention from marketers of all stripes. As the “enlightened” descriptor implies, tech buyers (for reasons that are also self-evident) tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to research, consumption, and purchase behaviors.

Today we’ll take a deeper look at LinkedIn’s new data around this trendsetting cohort, breaking down five key revelations within.

Nick Nelson

Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility

Nick Nelson on Apr 16th, 2019     B2B Marketing

How Best Answer Content Builds Trust

Page one. Answer box. The top result. In the minds of marketers, these prime destinations have largely been associated with SEO success.

From the days of keyword-stuffing and algorithmic alignment to more nuanced modern approaches accounting for semantic voice commands, influencer integration, and search intent, edging competitors on that SERP has been a key source of aspiration. As it should be: heightened visibility on Google makes a big difference in terms of driving traffic.

But it’s a little short-sighted to think only about that first, fleeting interaction — the search, the discovery, the click. What about the deeper impact? As customer experience becomes a central focus for brands everywhere, we should be more considerate of what happens after a user clicks through that search result, and how it affects your brand.