Thursday, June 1, 2017


Content is King… but only with an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
 Did you know Alaskan Red King Crab fishermen can earn $60,000 in 4 weeks?  
Alaskan King Crab Fishermen
Alaskan Fisherman can earn $60,000 in one month

That’s right, they can earn an annual a salary in about one month.

Their salary reflects the risks they take - this is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.  

And they fish in extreme conditions... along the Bering Sea... in November.

But fishermen don't simply get on a boat one day and ship out to rough waters in the winter.

On the contrary, Alaskan fishermen plan systematically. When they’re out to sea for weeks, resupply presents an issue. To succeed, they follow a tested strategy supported by a systematic plan.

Similarly, your company can earn most of its annual revenues in 4 days… at your annual trade show. To succeed, you need a content marketing strategy and systematic plan.

As you know, B2B content marketing is growing quickly. Your competitors have jumped on the content bandwagon. But most B2B marketers believe their content marketing is ineffective.

Translation: More content does not mean better content. And content without direction and focus falls short of expected results.

But… with a content strategy, you can boost effectiveness by up to 600%!

How do you achieve that?

Develop a B2B Content Marketing Strategy

Trade shows result in more revenues than any other sales event. Many companies earn most of their sales during a week.

To maximize this opportunity, you’ll need professional, persuasive and potent marketing content. But content by itself won’t earn your business its annual revenues.

But… combine your content marketing strategy with trade shows and you have a winner.

With this strategy, you can catch two fish with one worm.  
Content is King with a Content Marketing Strategy

Here’s how you do that.

  • Identify the Audience (prospects and clients)
  • Identify the Purpose of your content
  • Identify the content types to be published
  • Align your audience, purpose, and content types
Let’s look at these four steps in more detail.


Identify the Audience

Anytime you write content, the first step is to single out your audience. Which clients are you targeting? Prospects, customers, both?
Know Your Audience
Know Your Audience

You’ve heard of personas, which represent the various client profiles you’re targeting.

In planning content for trade shows you have various audiences comprised of decision makers, such as CEO, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, CTOs, etc.

However, you also have an operations audience consisting of operations managers, supply chain managers, and warehouse managers. Finally, you have a technical audience of engineers, accountants, and technology specialists.

As you can see, we’ve identified three main categories for your audience, all of which consume information differently. They have different perspectives, interests, and levels and kinds of detail.

Decision makers want high-level information focused on the “Big Picture” and maybe some level of details concerning important aspects of a product or service. Technical personnel, however, want the details. They want to go into the weeds.

Next, you need to consider the purpose of your content. Specifically, what do you hope to accomplish with your marketing content?


Identify the Purpose of Your Content

When you identify the purpose of your content, you get at the specific goals and objectives you hope to achieve.

  • Lead Generation: For trade shows, you obviously want marketing content that generates leads. With about 83% of trade show attendees having influence over the buying decision, you’re operating in a target-rich environment for lead generation.
  • New Products and Services: Your purpose may be to feature a product or service that reflects the industry’s latest business practices, technologies, or products your company has to offer.
  • Branding: Additionally, with so many decision makers and influencers at trade shows, you’ll want to showcase your company’s brand. All your content should reflect your business's core message.

At this point, we’ve identified three key audience categories and three different purposes for your marketing content. Working with this mix, let’s see how to identify different content types.

Identify the Content Types to be Published
Print Content 
We’re halfway there in developing a content marketing strategy based on trade shows. Now it’s time to consider the types of content you should publish. You have many choices: text documents, graphics, video, audio.

  • Text documents: white papers, case studies, point papers, presentations
  • Graphics: company photos, infographics
  • Video: company overview by CEO, featuring of special/new products
  • Audio: Podcasts of individual products and services being featured by COO, CIO, etc.


Align Your Audience, Purpose, and Content Types

Align Your Audience, Purpose, and Content 
You can address this in two ways. First, consider the audience you’re targeting (decision makers or technicians), and how they prefer to consume their content.

  • Do your customers get their information on the web?
  • Do they want high-level or detailed data and information?

Some of this is a judgment call, but if you’re talking to your customers, you’ll have a good idea of how they prefer to consume content.

Second, in addition to providing content based on your audience’s preferences, you should consider distribution. What should you provide online and what should you provide in hard copy. And, of course, some content should be distributed both digitally and in print.

Here are a few examples:



Blog
Social Media
Video
Audio
White Papers
Brochures
Case Studies
Digital
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Print
X
X
X

This only represents a sampling, as you have more content types from which to choose like data sheets, spreadsheets, direct mail, press releases, web content and landing pages. In any case, you should take the time to consider your audience’s preferences and the type of data/information being conveyed.  


Assessing Your Trade Show Content Marketing Strategy

Now it’s time to review what you’ve done and assess it in terms of your overall content marketing strategy. To quickly recap, you’ve identified your audience, your purpose, your and content types, and you've aligned them.

When you've completed this process, whether you realize it or not, you’ve just built a solid foundation for your overall content marketing strategy.  

Why?

Some companies realize up to 80% of annual sales at trade shows. So, if you plan and prepare a content marketing strategy focused on your annual trade show, you’re also developing your overall content marketing strategy.


Conclusion

This blog post lays out a different approach to developing a content marketing strategy based on your annual trade show. It maximizes time and effort spent on what’s important. It represents a disciplined approach that easy to implement if you plan.

You’ll be surprised at the difference this approach makes compared to leads generated last year. Your ROI will improve as well as your sales and revenues.

Try it and let me know how it worked out for you.

Alex Milo, CSCP, CPL
B2B Copywriter
Phone: 256-886-4684
Email: amilo@b2bcopywriting-alexmilo.com
http://www.b2bcopywriting-alexmilo.com

P.S. Here's a link to a presentation on this using trade shows as a content marketing strategy: Perfect Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy with Trade Shows





Sunday, August 30, 2015

How to Generate Leads, Build Trust, and Win Customers Easily

Are you having trouble breaking through the noise to get your message out?

Does your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) resonate with your prospects?

Are you missing opportunities to showcase your strengths?

Marketing Strategy
Marketing Strategy
Logistics companies that excel at risk management build trusting relationships through mutual benefit. As logistics companies prosper, so will their clients.

As a marketing manager, you have a stake in building relationships. You have a tough job. On the surface, logistics is complex. It’s full of technical jargon. And some say, it’s boring.

I beg to differ. Let’s look at a recent current event that splashed on the pages of newspapers and social media sites.

Massive Explosion Rocks Tianjin, China

On August 12, 2015, a massive, chemical explosion – equal to 21 tons of TNT – rocked the Port of Tianjin, China.
One hundred thirty-nine people were killed, over 700 were injured, 1,500 cars were burned, and hundreds of houses were destroyed.
How did this happen? It looks like bribery and corruption.
Now Ruihai Logistics is under investigation for its storage and handling of hazardous chemicals.
The destruction of this shocking incident emphasizes the fragility of supply chains. They are global, complex, and potentially dangerous. 

Your Shortcut to Building Your Brand: Promote Your Strengths


Risk management and logistics go hand-in-hand. It’s all about Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong it will.”

Then it makes sense to market your company’s risk management as a core competency.
How do you do that?

You can develop an entire marketing campaign around this theme. But for now, let’s focus on white papers that feature risk management as your USP.

Market Industry Thought Leadership with White Papers: Focus on Your Unique Experience and Expertise


You can stand out from the competition with white papers written on all aspects of risk management. Here are four examples.

Risk Management
Risk Management as a USP

Reveal your Experience and Expertise in Identifying Risk

You can write a white paper that discusses how to identify risk. Explain your specific processes in detail. 

Supply chains come loaded with many types of risks: internal, external, operational, financial, social and political. Simply lay out your process for identifying and categorizing risk.

More important, explain how your process leads to viable mitigation strategies and tactics. Inform and impress prospects with your detailed analysis and careful planning. 

This helps build loyalty with customers who value risk management. Leverage white papers to reveal your depth of awareness, experience, and expertise in dealing with uncertainty.

Feature Your Proven Risk Mitigation Process

Another white paper can focus exclusively on your time-tested risk mitigation process. Describe how your company reduces, avoids, or eliminates risk. List the preventive steps to mitigate avoid, or eliminate risk. 

Then highlight your ability to respond to a risk that has occurred. And discuss your preparedness to handle the foreseen and unforeseen. As you underscore your experience and expertise, you’ll foster trust.

Also, prospects want to know the costs related to your response. Do the benefits exceed the cost of your plan? Show the built-in due diligence of your business practices. A white paper helps you cost and prioritize risks with a best-cost analysis. Highlighting your financial implications and your prospects’, promotes transparency and builds trust.

Detail Your Distinctive Risk Response Planning

The two examples above take a micro view of your risk management processes. Taking another approach you can publish a macro white paper. Since contingency planning is broader, a discussion of your overall process would be useful.

Describe how your business benchmarks its business practices against ISO 31000 for risk management. Do this in detail. You’ll attract prospects because they’ll see an effective, efficient, standards-based process. And that saves clients time and money. That’s not boring.

In an InboundLogistics article (July 2015), Ann Christopher, vice president and corporate counsel of 3PL company, Kenco, stated it is important to understand liabilities and obligations upfront. She suggests developing a program template to lay out all the scenarios in dealing with unexpected events. That sets the stage for collaboration with your client.

From a marketing view, a white paper on holistic risk management strategies helps as a starting point in relationship building. Take your prospect behind the scenes. Map out your proven strategies and techniques. Explain your operational and financial controls. Stress your rigorous standards and commitment to quality. A methodical and collaborative approach engenders trust.

Shamelessly Promote Your Record

Legal and Regulatory Compliance
If you’re fairly accomplished at risk management, you’ve likely been in business for a while. 
More important, you’re not a fly-by-night operation. You know that, but you need to prove that to future customers.


Then it makes sense to tell your customers your risk management story. Reinforce past success stories with compelling facts and figures. 

Show prospects your record in property losses averted. Show them the total dollar value saved. Make the benefits crystal clear.


Feature your record of compliance with import and export laws and regulations. And show prospects your history in preventing losses from lawsuits. A white paper focused on past results resonates with prospects and customers alike.


When your white papers are relevant, you’ll engage prospects and build relationships.

Conclusion

Risk and logistics are – and always will be – intertwined. The recent Tianjin explosion serves as a stark reminder. Disruptions can occur anytime, anywhere, without warning.

White papers allow you to differentiate your business. So sell your risk management capabilities as your USP. And further build your brand and establish your thought leader credentials.

You’ll build lasting relationships based on mutual trust and understanding gained from collaboration, transparency, and a win-win business model.

When you tell your story with in-depth white papers, you’ll break through the noise. 
Don’t overlook the opportunity to showcase your strengths.

If you have any questions, contact me by phone or email. I’d like to know what you think.

Alex Milo
B2B Copywriter and Consultant
“Helping Transportation and Logistics Companies Generate Leads with Compelling Content” 
Phone: 256-886-4684
Email: amilo@b2bcopywriting-alexmilo.com


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Marketing with Visuals and Video: The Suitability of Pinterest and YouTube for B2B

I’ve been writing about the benefits of including social media in your B2B marketing mix. This week I‘m covering Pinterest and YouTube.
Specifically, I’m focusing on B2B transportation and logistics companies in the space.
Unlike the other social media platforms covered, Pinterest and YouTube focus on visual and video marketing.
You Tube Video Marketing
B2B Video Marketing
Pinterest Visual Marketing for B2B
Visual Marketing for B2B

Both Pinterest and YouTube offer opportunities to broaden your exposure and increase and enhance customer engagement.
Given these advantages, you’ll want to integrate visual and video into your overall content marketing strategy.



According to a 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner, visual and video marketing are growing.
  • 57% of marketers use video marketing today
  • 73% of marketers plan to increase their use of visuals
  • 72% plan increase their use of video marketing

As the popularity of visual and video increases, you’ll want to select the platforms that best meet your needs.
This post will help you decide whether Pinterest and/or YouTube may work for you.
Let’s first look at what Pinterest offers. Then we’ll explore YouTube.
Should B2B Marketers Consider Pinterest
Pinterest took social media by storm in 2010. It was one of the fastest growing social sites, growing to over 70 million active users.

Its founder, Ben Silberman, calls it a social discovery tool. It uses photos, videos, and now has a messaging capability similar to email.

As of May 2015, women make up 85% of all users. And their primary interests are fashion, d├ęcor, recipes, weddings, and babies.

You might say, this sounds this sounds a lot like B2C. And you’d be right. It’s turning into an effective B2C e-commerce site. But it B2B companies also use Pinterest. About 33% of Fortune 500 companies maintain a presence.

Only 39% of B2B marketers use Pinterest compared to 49% B2C marketers. (2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.)

However, whether Pinterest is right for you, depends on your social media expectations. If gaining exposure through increased distribution is important, Pinterest might fit the bill.

Additionally, if you’re interested in improving engagement, then Pinterest might work. Pinterest scores high on engagement due to its unique layout. Its design transforms how information gets organized on the web. The heavy use of photos is a game-changer.

Its layout looks like a storefront. Ben Silberman wanted people to intuitively discover information on the web. And the browser experience does that, resulting in increased engagement.

That’s important because the average order value of a Pinterest user is much higher than that of Facebook and Twitter.

Pinterest also works well with mobile devices such as the iPad and Apple and Android smart phones. This bodes well for the future, as we trend away from desktop use.

Clearly, Pinterest offers some unique features and benefits.

Now, let’s explore YouTube.

YouTube – A Proven Social Media Powerhouse

According to Alexa, YouTube has over 1 billion users. As a website, it ranks third behind Google (1) and Facebook (2).  

Its size makes it a favorite among B2B marketers. According to the Center for Marketing Research, 67% of Fortune 500 companies have a YouTube channel.

You can find YouTube in 75 countries. With so many people in so many countries on YouTube, gaining exposure comes easily.

Moreover, 66% of marketers say they plan to increase their use of YouTube. Fifty-five percent of both B2B and B2C marketers use YouTube. (2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.)

Also, video helps improve customer engagement by creating an experience. According to Google, hundreds of millions of people watch YouTube monthly. And, compared to last year, the number of hours watched monthly YouTube has increased by 50%.

YouTube offers major benefits for B2B marketers.

Now, let’s uncover some key trends for both sites.

B2B Social Media Trends for Pinterest+ and YouTube


Based on the 2015 Social Media Marketing Report, YouTube and Pinterest are the fifth and sixth most commonly used social media platforms, following Facebook (1), Twitter (2), LinkedIn (3) and Google+ (4).

Use of Pinterest, meanwhile, is not far behind. Fifty-one percent of marketers indicate they plan to increase their use of Pinterest. However, only 42% of those represent B2B marketers.

The same study highlights three emerging social media trends:  
  •  Increased use of visual marketing 
  • Increased use of video marketing
  • Expansion of mobile computing

Content marketing is growing and changing. It’s becoming a core competency, as some companies move to self-publishing.

Besides that, content marketing is becoming more customer-focused. That translates into story telling marketing, which naturally enhances engagement. If you don’t grab your customer’s attention, your content will fail.

But that’s not all.

Content must also reside where your customers hang out. So it’s important to post and distribute content where it will be read. Otherwise, if no one reads it, your content is D.O.A.

Both Pinterest and YouTube are riding the wave of the future.

Conclusion


When it comes to choosing a social media platform, there is no “right” answer.
You can make any social media platform work to satisfy our needs. And both Pinterest and YouTube show great promise for the future.

That leads to the question: “Which one should you use”?

Even though Pinterest can be made to work… its user base and market opportunities favor B2C marketers. Presently, it’s simply more suitable for retail.

All things considered, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use YouTube. You can use YouTube either as a stand-alone channel or you can integrate it with your blog, articles, and website content. 

Integrating YouTube into your marketing mix will help you increase distribution and enhance customer engagement. It achieves both easily, making YouTube a clear choice for any B2B marketer.

If you have any questions, you may contact me by phone or email. I’d like to know what you think. Leave your comments directly on my blog.

Check out these links for more detailed information.

Social Media Trends: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-trends-gaining-traction-in-2015-new-research/

5 Great Pinterest B2B Accounts: http://blog.tailwindapp.com/great-pinterest-b2b/

5 Ways to Take Your Pinterest Marketing to the Next Level: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/pinterest-marketing-next-level/

For Better B2B Video Marketing, Check out the Top B2B Companies on YouTube: http://www.toprankblog.com/2012/07/need-better-better-video-marketing-check-out-the-top-b2b-companies-on-youtube/



Thanks and have a great week!

Alex Milo
B2B Copywriter and Consultant
“Helping Transportation and Logistics Companies Generate Leads with Compelling Content” 
Phone: 256-886-4684
Email: amilo@b2bcopywriting-alexmilo.com