The highest ROI B2B online marketing tactic

I’ve been training B2B marketing professionals and consulting to technological companies for over four years now. I teach social media management, competitive intelligence and content – strategy, tactics and operation, including copywriting and writing for many formats. I’ve consulted to many companies in various industries. By now, I’ve become an analyst although I don’t write as one – maybe a little in Hebrew – I just don’t have the time.

Why am I mentioning all this? to make you understand that the advice here presented, comes from a deep well of field proven knowledge. Take it, use it, it’s given out of good intention – to help you improve your work and gain better results.

Get your keywords list straight

With a good list of keywords, everything you do online multiplies its impact. Use them for research, competitive intelligence efforts, writing PRs, articles, blogs, statuses, tweets, videos and  presentations headlines, captions, blurbs and tags. A good list can serve for reports and showing how the work is evolving, it’s also part of your developing brand narrative space.

Building a good list for a middle size B2B company, takes around 15 hours. Most companies usually include the brand name, competitors, some products and large projects names, some people like CEOs or leading scientists. The more sophisticated marketers know you need to get ‘the problem’ in there too – the language people searching the web, use to describe what they are looking for – which can be very different from how you call your offerings. Too often I see wicked competition and very high bids placed on keywords few are actually typing into search boxes.

Three tips

#1 15 hours. Meaning – you really want to dig in. This is so worth your while, that when people ask me about the single best tactic in online marketing I’d recommend for companies with very few resources, I answer with no hesitation – a good keywords list and knowing how to use it.

#2 Look for the language people use along the marketing funnel and even before that – figure out who those people might be in a B2B company. Say your company sells accounting software – who on the other end has an issue you can solve with your software? who’s looking? they most probably already have a solution, so what are they looking for? one possibility can be – better integration with other software systems they are using. There are other reasons too. So what would they write in a search engine’s search box?

In what marketers call ‘the educational phase’ or ‘creating awareness’, the person on the other end is using very general terms, like “accounting software integration”. Later on down their research, they will use terms that indicate they are looking for information that will help them understand possible solutions and get some recommendations, like in “the best accounting software integration systems”. Closer to the possibility of purchase, you’ll get searches seeking information that supports decision making like prices, specs, comparison charts and so forth.

#3 Use more than one tool and not only tools ‘officially’ made for the purpose of generating keywords. Look at category names and tags on websites and blogs, use filters in search engines and other tools, look at feeds and communities where conversations are taking place.

And the really helpful one…

When you have a list, get those words onto an Excel file, vertically, one word per row. Name one of the columns “purchase intention” and tag each word as ‘low’ ‘medium’ or ‘high’. When you use a filter on that column, you’ll be able to see what words indicate a low purchase intention although relevant, what words demonstrate a medium intention and what words indicate “close to becoming a lead”. Send the file to the people who write your material – to keep.

From then on, every time you need them to prepare a piece of content, tell them what level of “purchase intention” along the marketing funnel that piece is for. They will filter the list and know what words to incorporate in the text – which are exactly the words people on that level of search are using.  That way, the content will meet the people actually looking for it.

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