Archive for May, 2010

46% of B2B Marketers View Social Media Engagement as Irrelevant

Do you work for a B2B company and believe social media engagement doesn’t make sense for your company?  Well, you’re not alone.  According to a recent report from digital marketing agency White Horse, 46% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated they thought social media was irrelevant to their company, compared to 12% of B2C respondents.

Although the study showed that comparable numbers of B2B and B2C marketers were not doing any social marketing at all, B2B marketers were much more likely to admit they had social media accounts but were doing nothing with them from a marketing standpoint.

eMarketer b2b vs. b2c social media chart

Furthermore, the study revealed that one-third of B2B marketers feel there is a low level of executive interest in social media involvement.  This explains a lot.  If you’re a marketer and your CEO isn’t convinced social media is worth the time and effort, you’ve got a major roadblock to overcome if you want to start incorporating social media initiatives into your marketing mix.

We’ve heard this excuse before to explain a lack of social media adoption in the B2B space, and it’s understandable that it’s much easier for B2C companies to perceive value in social media engagement.  

Still, while social media adoption is perceived to make more sense in the B2C sector, it’s hard to deny the value in it for B2Bs, too.  Social media can be a powerful lead generation tool, and there have been a lot of social media marketing success stories and case studies showing how B2Bs are excelling through their participation in social platforms.  These businesses are experiencing significant ROI from their efforts, proving that social media does make sense for B2B companies.

So, why should you care about this data?

If you’re reading this blog, you probably have some interest in helping your company also see the light about the benefits of social media and inbound marketing if it hasn’t already.  If it were me, I’d see a huge opportunity in the fact that almost half of B2B marketers view social media irrelevant — the opportunity to take charge and become a pioneer of and ultimately a leader in social media in my industry. 

So, what can you do to help encourage your boss to seek greener pastures with social media engagement?  Arm yourself with data, whether it be in the form of case studies, charts, graphs, statistics, or whatever else you can get your hands on that will help you make your case and illustrate the benefits of B2B social media activities.  There’s a ton of advice out there to help you come up with a plan, so take advantage of it.  Good luck!

Have you been successful in convincing management to adopt social media practices? Let us know how you did it! 

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7 Habits of a Highly Effective Landing Page

 

landing page optimizationDoes your online marketing strategy include things like “conversion,” “ROI” and “new customers?” If the answer is yes, then landing pages are something you’ve thought long and hard about.  Landing pages broker the exchange of information between you and the interested party. Combining an eye-catching offer button with an effective landing page can turn what was once just web traffic into a steady stream of leads for your sales team.

7 Landing Page Best Practices

Pass the Blink Test - Visitors to your site will often make the decision of whether or not they’re going to fill out your form before the page even finishes loading. Make sure where you’re sending folks appears immediately professional and easy to fill out. In other words – make sure they can understand the offer and what you’re asking for in the time it takes them to blink. 

Keep It Simple – A key thing to remember about your landing pages is that anyone who reaches it must have clicked on something to get there – like an action button for a free trial, webinar or whitepaper offer. So, theoretically, you will know something key about these folks immediately.  If they clicked to download a whitepaper on blue widgets, for instance, then you will know they are interested in blue widgets. You should be able to plan your next move pretty well armed with that information, and not have to ask for much more. Use that to your advantage and keep everything about this page, including the amount and nature of the questions you ask, simple.

Keep It Short – Seeing a massive list of 15 or 20 questions will make your prospect think hard about the value of his or her time, and whether or not they feel spending it filling out your form.

Graphics and Endorsements Matter – Remember, you’ll be asking people to submit information they may consider sensitive.  Credibility will be key.  Make sure you have your logo or client testimonial at eye level in one of the margins or in the header – or somewhere else they can quickly see it without having to scroll.

Go Naked – They are a few keystrokes and a click away from becoming a bonafide, qualified lead. In other words, you’ve got them right where you want them! The last thing you would want to happen is for them to get distracted. “Going naked” refers to the practice of making your landing page deliberately sparse. Customize this page so that it has zero navigation – no menu, no link back to the homepage, no other places to click, nothing. This page needs to be devoid of any and all hyperlinked distraction. Have the form and the “submit” button be their singular point of focus, and usher them through to completion.

Restate Value – The landing page will be hyperlinked to the offer button on your website; but make sure the two are also logically linked. Use a simple, bulleted list near the top of the page to restate what you’re offering and why it’s valuable. Doing so will ensure your prospect knows exactly what they’re getting – and create a qualified lead for your sales team.

Eat Your Own Dogfood – Before publishing the page, ask yourself: would I fill this out? Would I find this page confusing? Would I feel comfortable sharing this information over the web? Use these questions to ultimately perfect the look and feel of your landing page before going live. And of course, as always, test, test, test!

What other tactics have you found to be successful in improving your landing page conversion rates?

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May 2010 Linkscape Update (and Whiteboard Explanations of How We Do It)

Posted by randfish

As some of you likely noticed, Linkscape’s index updated today with fresh data crawled over the past 30 days. Rather than simply provide the usual index update statistics, we thought it would be fun to do some whiteboard diagrams of how we make a Linkscape update happen here at the mozplex. We also felt guilty because our camera ate tonight’s WB Friday (but Scott’s working hard to get it up for tomorrow morning).

Rand Writing on the Whiteboard

Linkscape, like most of the major web indices, starts with a seed set of trusted sites from which we crawl outwards to build our index. Over time, we’ve developed more sophisticated methods around crawl selection, but we’re quite similar to Google, in that we crawl the web primarily in decending order of (in our case) mozRank importance.

Step 1 - We Crawl the Web

For those keeping track, this index’s raw data includes:

  • 41,404,250,804 unique URLs/pages
  • 86,691,236 unique root domains

After crawling, we need build indices on which we can process data, metrics and sort orders for our API to access.

Step 2: We Build an Index

When we started building Linkscape in late 2007, early 2008, we quickly realized that the quantity of data would overwhelm nearly every commercial database on the market. Something massive like Oracle may be able to handle the volume, but at an exorbitant price that a startup like SEOmoz couldn’t bear. Thus, we created some unique, internal systems around flat file storage that enable us to hold data, process it and serve it without the financial and engineering burdens of a full database application.

Our next step, once the index is in place, is to calculate our key metrics as well as tabulate the standard sort orders for the API

Step 3: We Conduct Processing

Algorithms like PageRank (and mozRank) are iterative and require a tremendous amount of processing power to compute. We’re able to do this in the cloud, scaling up our need for number-crunching, mozRank-calculating goodness for about a week out of every month, but we’re pretty convinced that in Google’s early days, this was likely a big barrier (and may even have been a big part of the reason the "GoogleDance" only happened once every 30 days).

After processing, we’re ready to push our data out into the SEOmoz API, where it can power our tools and those of our many partners, friends and community members.

Step 4: Push the Data to the API

The API currently serves more than 2 million requests for data each day (and an average request pulls ~10 metrics/pieces of data about a web page or site). That’s a lot, but our goal is to more than triple that quantity by 2011, at which point we’ll be closer to the request numbers going into a service like Yahoo! Site Explorer.

The SEOmoz API currently powers some very cool stuff:

  • Open Site Explorer – my personal favorite way to get link information
  • The mozBar – the SERPs overlay, analyze page feature and the link metrics displayed directly in the bar all come from the API
  • Classic Linkscape – we’re on our way to transitioning all of the features and functionality in Linkscape over to OSE, but in the meantime, PRO members can get access to many more granular metrics through these reports
  • Dozens of External Applications – things like Carter Cole’s Google Chrome toolbar, several tools from Virante’s suite, Website Grader and lots more (we have an application gallery coming soon)

Each month, we repeat this process, learning big and small lessons along the way. We’ve gotten tremendously more consistent, redundant and error/problem free in 2010 so far, and our next big goal is to dramatically increase the depth of our crawl into those dark crevices of the web as well as ramping up the value and accuracy of our metrics.

We look forward to your feedback around this latest index update and any of the tools powered by Linkscape. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

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LinkedIn Brings Business Connections to Twitter

Back in November 2009, LinkedIn released a new feature that allowed you to update your LinkedIn status via Twitter. Now, LinkedIn has decided to further build out this integration.

By installing the Tweets application, LinkedIn users will be able to find and manage their LinkedIn connections on Twitter through LinkedIn. The application has several distinct features but there there are two that are distinctly valuable.

First, the application allows you to see which of the people you are connected to on LinkedIn have Twitter accounts listed in their profiles.  What’s especially helpful is that the application doesn’t just show you a list of names; it actually allows you to follow (or unfollow) people right through the Tweets application. This step removes any need to go back and forth between Twitter and LinkedIn.

Next, with the click of a button, you can take all of your LinkedIn connections and turn them into a private Twitter list. LinkedIn will keep this list current by updating it based upon your connections.

Marketing Takeaway

Why is this important though? By further integrating with Twitter, Linkedin is allowing their users to take their connections on Linkedin and bring them to new social media sites.  This adds more value to your LinkedIn connections. Also, many of us already have “business” related lists on Twitter, or wish we had one but don’t have the time to manually create one. By doing the work for us, they’re also creating feelings of goodwill – one less thing I have to do and it’s all thanks to LinkedIn. 

But why is this important to marketers or business owners? By following people who matter to you in a business setting, you can more easily get the word out about your company as well as find influencers that you should be following.

What do you think of this new feature? 

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The SEOmoz Office Gets a New Do

Posted by jennita

Disclaimer: You will not learn any SEO, CRO, SMO or Analytics in this post. You may however feel the urge to watch the Wizard of Oz and eat crepes.

As you may have heard, SEOmoz has moved offices (woo hoo!). So we thought it would be nice to take you on a tour of our new digs. We’re quite proud that we outgrew the old space and needed a bigger place. Please follow along as I take you on a tour of the new office.

We are just a block from Pike Place Market, and within walking distance of Bell Harbor which is where SMX Advanced is held. We have the entire top floor! But let’s look at the good stuff… the inside.

First, as you first step out of the elevator you may think, "Wow, this really is a cool space." But then…

SEOmoz from Elevator

You look down at your feet and exclaim, "Wow! I feel the need to breakdance!" [busts a move]

SEOmoz Entrance

Next, as you make your way through the Operations department (who used to sit in a back, very dark corner) you too will be in complete shock at the sunny, openness of the space. Just like this guy:

Holy big, bright awesome room batman! Yes we even have a meeting room called the Batcave [see below]. (Ok, the bat cave is a bright, sunny, room that does not resemble a bat cave in any way. But that’s ok, cuz we have a bat cave. damnit.)

Oh wait. What’s this?! Crepes, yes my friends. On "opening day" at the new moz office we had a crepe guy! "I’ll have one with nutella, strawberries and bananas please."

But seriously, we really have a lot of work to do. See, we’re working! Well at least Ben Huff is (the dude on the left). :)

Nevermind. Oh look we also had fruit (and mimosas ehem), we’re not complete pigs you know. Remember Phil [dude on the left]? Last time you saw him he was wearing his PJs. #justsayin

Have I mentioned that Rand has an office… with a door… that he can close! This probably isn’t overly exciting for most people but for the developers who used to sit right outside his office (aka his desk) and listened to every phone call, webinar and Whiteboard Friday… let me tell ya, they’re cheering today.

Plus we have 5 meeting rooms now. We used to have one. Again… now there are F I V E. I was late to a meeting earlier because I couldn’t find Thunderdome. I thought it was in Spider Skull Island, but apparently those are different. heh. Boys named our meeting rooms if you hadn’t guessed that already.

 

Rand in sheer shock:

Plus really, who could resist having this right outside the window:

The only downside to getting a new office is that now we all have this silly dress code.

Wonder Twins… Activate!

If you’re going to be in town for SMX Advanced, we’ll have a few office tours set up. The dates/times will be announced soon, and we’d love to show you around in person!

Thanks to my husband, Rudy Lopez who provided the amazing photos (all except the obvious snapshots).

 

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3 Secrets to Addictive Digital Platforms

TechCrunch Disrupt, a conference that gathers web innovators in social media, mobile devices, and smart applications, hosted a compelling panel about the shift from traditional print to online media.

The panelists included prominent figures from the media world:

The grounds of the discussion revolved around the transformation from conventional methods of reaching consumers to modern platforms that actually interact with users. Gone are the days where static media effectively delivered messages to consumers. Social media sites have dominated the playing field, where consumers choose what they want to view and who they want to engage with.

Here are 3 key secrets revealed about addictive digital platforms:

1. Users define content creation and content consumption. Digital platforms such as YouTube and DailyBooth make it super-easy to upload videos and pictures and share them with friends. These can soon become addictive and viral as people consume content and pass it along further. Businesses can take advantage of this by opening up content creation to users, such as GE’s crowd-sourcing effort.

2. Visual content is universal.

Brian Pokorny explains that “…you can talk in different ways through just visual imagery. Text is less of the focus now with both videos and photos, which can transcend languages, borders, and cultures.” Three of the panelists founded sites where visual imagery was dominant, and demonstrated the effectiveness of such sites in reducing boundaries in today’s global marketplace.

3. Digital platforms cultivate brand building.

GE has always been known as one of the traditional marketing giants that garners the use of customary marketing techniques. However, Judy Hu, GE’s Global Executive Director for Advertising and Branding, explains that using social media can help “extend the brand and make it iconic. [GE] wants to build their brand and get their key message across to everyone.” Digital platforms can help small and large businesses alike expand their company to different demographics and distinguish their corporate image.

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