With the holiday season winding down and 2012 just around the corner, it’s time to take a deep breath and get ready to plunge into the new year. When marketing teams get back from the New Year’s weekend, you can be sure that new found vigor and excitement will be in the air. For B2B search engine marketers, it’s time to seize the opportunity.
Here are five resolutions top of mind on my list for 2012, and recommended for other B2B search engine marketers as the new year begins.
Track More Leads
2012 is the year to stop working with blinders when dealing with Web traffic reports and evaluating the effectiveness digital marketing channels.
- Replace email addresses with contact forms
- Create lead generation forms and landing page summaries for value-added content initiatives
- Consider layering in call-tracking solutions, particularly when a larger percentage of business development inquiries will ultimately come through offline means
- Layer in conversion tracking from Web reporting and marketing automation solutions
It doesn’t surprise me when what seem to be even the most successful B2B organizations still have not fully integrated conversion metrics into their digital marketing strategy.
In many cases, the value of information gleaned from this conversion data, has just not been fully realized. 2012 is the year to change that.
Integrate Lead Management
Complex B2B sales are won face-to-face, after rigorous planning or multiple levels of decision making. This is another reason lead tracking online is not implemented. Because sales-ready leads may not often be found immediately online, conversion tracking becomes less of a priority.
Lead management is essential in realizing the potential of online lead generation and placing them in the right position within the sales funnel. Ed Hadley, Senior Marketing Manager of Neolane characterizes lead management as a four-step process:
- Capture: when someone arrives at a landing page via search and completes a form to download a whitepaper.
- Scoring: assign points to prospects, so sales focuses only on highly qualified prospects who are ready to buy.
- Routing: ensure that the sales team is pursuing only winnable opportunities.
- Nurturing: Leads that aren’t sales ready are funneled into nurture programs, a series of automated communications that help educate prospects and move them down the funnel.
Building a list of lead opportunities and laying the groundwork for ongoing marketing communication efforts can be just as critical to the long-term business development strategy of an organization as well finding sales-ready prospects.
Invest In Content Marketing
Content marketing continues to be a critical component of the B2B search marketing mix. Via the CMI and MarketingProfs 2012 B2B Content Marketing Report, B2B marketers employ on average, eight different content marketing tactics to achieve their goals. Marketers spend over a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing.
But having a content marketing strategy alone will not solve your leads, traffic, and search visibility challenges. I found it interesting that according to the study, 62% of B2B marketers use a mix of insourced and outsourced content. The reality is that content generation that delivers marketing results must happen at a significant level.
For our most successful clients, our organization has led or been a part of the creation of several hundred content assets (per client) in 2011.
Bridge Organizational Departments
For larger organizations in particular, advocate SEO across departments, in an effort to scale SEO initiatives and incorporate keyword development and link building consideration from the start.
Here are some suggestions:
- Strategic Marketing: Showcase keyword research, website report metrics, and tie as much of as possible to bottom-line business value.
- Web Development: Get the IT team on your side by providing potential benchmarks for SEO-centric site initiatives before submitting change requests and support tickets.
- Marketing Communications: Link building requires outbound communication. Who better to interface with than the team traditionally responsible with this communication initiatives?
SEO (B2B or B2C) simply cannot be done in a vacuum. Make it a priority to bring the entire organization into the mix when it comes to fulfilling both short and long-term SEO goals and objectives.
Start Taking Mobile Seriously
While I do realize marketers made the prediction mobile would take off in 2011, it sort of did but sort of did not. While there should be no question that mobile device usage is on the rise and will continue to grow in 2012, the impact for B2B marketers, in terms of website user behavior, probably was not felt as much this year.
For the most part, the B2B marketing customer base was not demanding mobile offerings from their solution providers.
But the numbers from web traffic reports don’t lie. Check out these percentages of mobile browser usage across a select group of our clients’ Web traffic reports, comparing the last two six month periods.
Not only did the use of mobile devices increase as a percentage of overall traffic to these sites between time periods, but the actual growth in mobile browser behavior was over 80% period to period. We highly suspect this percentage and growth period to period will continue to increase in 2012.
What Is On Your List Of B2B SEO Resolutions For 2012?
Hopefully this list will help jumpstart more effective B2B search engine marketing initiatives in the new year, but I am sure I have not hit everything out there.
From social media to Google secure search to overall Web reporting, the list of resolutions and priorities will always shift between organizations. I would love to read your thoughts and perspectives via comments below.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.