How to use online PR effectively to increase sales

hands-1167619_1280The discipline of public relations (PR) is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing.  PR is essentially managing the flow of information and news between a person or organization and its various publics such as customers, partners, employees, bloggers, journalists, and others.  There is a lot to like about PR, particularly when brands can tell their stories in far greater detail and at a fraction of the cost of a typical advertising campaign.

A well executed public relations program has many benefits—from an implied third party endorsement of a company to enhanced customer relationships and industry reputation.  The end result is an accelerated buying process, moving leads deeper and faster into the sales funnel towards conversion. Continue reading

How to Integrate Social Media into B2B Marketing

. SantiMB . / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I came across some interesting peer research on recommended best practices in social media  integration for B2B marketers. The  study was conducted by the ITSMA (Information Technology Services Marketing Association) in 2011 but is still relevant today.

The research found B2B marketing campaigns are most successful when social media is integrated into the overall marketing strategy; emphasis is placed on customer relationships; and when social media is used to drive traffic to traditional marketing channels such as websites and events.

Read the excellent study findings and suggestions on how marketers can transform B2B marketing and social media within a larger, integrated marketing strategy  focused on customer relationships: Continue reading

Content Marketing is a Top Piority for B2B Marketers

I’ve spent the last few months talking with many B2B marketers and the number one priority I hear is content marketing.  Marketers want to use content to educate and better engage with prospective customers.

The Content Marketing Institute offers an excellent definition:

“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Through engaging content, B2B marketers have better brand control and can more fully express their key messaging.  Interestingly, the marketing role has evolved into content publishing—online and print publishers no longer have exclusivity.  This is the appeal of what is termed “owned media” (besides content, owned media includes websites, newsletters, and whitepapers) which is the new mantra for B2B marketers.

Good content marketing techniques address a customer’s business and operational issues, as well as align with the entire buyer journey. Brand advocates are created who can increase audience reach dramatically via their social channels.  It’s a wonderful amplification of a brand’s story touching many additional potential customers—the end result includes more conversions, leads, and sales.