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8 BBQ Ingredients for Writing a Blog Post That Sizzles

Posted by Oren Smith on June 29, 2015

School’s out, the graduation ceremonies are over, and your elusive ol’ pal Spring Cleaning finally managed to make his way over to your house for a weekend visit. Not to mention you’ve just returned from traveling all over the place to witness about half of your friends and relatives get married over the past few weeks. The crazy, busy life you lead seems to finally be winding down, if only for a couple months (you know, before the other half gets hitched in the fall).

You’re so ready for a well-deserved break, and you might have even opened up the pool! At last, it feels like summer, doesn’t it? And you know what that means… it’s time for SUMMER BARBECUES.

Sure, your best friend might have already thrown a Memorial Day extravaganza to end all other extravaganzas. But that doesn’t count! (Or at least for the sake of this article, it doesn’t.) We’re talking about firing up the grill with all your favorite summer ingredients – and then firing up your blog posts in EXACTLY the same way. In fact, 9 out of 10 inbound marketing specialists agree that B2B business blogging and barbecuing are, indeed, bound together by natural laws. It’s science. Tweet this stat! ;-)  So right here… right now… we’re throwing a blogbecue (oh yes, this metaphor is going full throttle).

According to the 2015 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, 80% of B2B firms surveyed deployed blogging as a content marketing tactic (up from 76% in 2014). Blogging won’t be taking a hiatus anytime soon, so if you haven’t joined the partay already, it’s high time you showed up. Need help cooking up content? Start by revving up your B2B BBQ with these 8 fixings for writing a blog post that will not disappoint…

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Topics: Content Marketing, Blogging

Clear Calls-to-Action Get Results

Posted by Maureen Condon on June 23, 2015

Summer in New England serves as a reminder of how precious time is. Pools and beaches are bustling, air conditioners and fans are powered up, and entertainment means baseball games, bestsellers and blockbusters. But before we know it, the chill in the air will return. Now is the time to savor moments, not waste them away.

I’m guilty of wasting time now and then, and I get over the guilt pretty quickly – we all need to be useless and unproductive occasionally, like when there’s a sappy Lifetime movie on television and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the fridge. I also know I’m not alone in time wasting.

According to a newly released Salary.com study, 89% of U.S. employees report they waste time at work on a daily basis. The top three time-wasting activities? Browsing the Internet/Facebook, having too many meetings and conference calls, and “dealing with annoying coworkers.” Moreover, 4% of people surveyed waste at least half the average workday on tasks unrelated to their jobs.

Apparently, we all enjoy wasting time now and then. But when someone else wastes our time, most of us are not so forgiving. When you’re communicating to a group of employees, prospects, clients or colleagues, it’s important to demonstrate that you value their time. Salespeople who drone on during a presentation, bosses who hold endlessly long meetings and colleagues who include irrelevant stories and background facts during project updates are inefficient and ineffective. This means that you have to get to the point quickly and deliver a clear Call-to-Action.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Sales

Copywriting Techniques: Using Your Words to Boost Business

Posted by Maureen Condon on June 19, 2015

If you’ve set a goal for 2015 that involves starting or growing a business or making more money, it’s time to consider the words you’ll use to accomplish your goal. For salespeople, entrepreneurs and professionals who are focused on achieving financial success, a good plan will always include these three objectives: (1) Attract new clients, (2) Leverage relationships with existing clients and (3) Become known as a trusted, credible expert in your industry.

Each of these pieces requires compelling, consistent communication. You have a choice about what types of communication you’ll use – website content and blogs, ads, brochures, sales letters, direct mail, eNewsletters, etc. But regardless of the medium you select, your copy is critical.

Here’s a breakdown of your three goals and the kind of copywriting techniques you’ll need to apply in order to reach them.

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Topics: Content Marketing

B2B Content Marketing: Tougher than Shopping for Your Dad

Posted by Liz O'Neill on June 18, 2015

Well, it’s almost Father’s Day again, which means most of us will spend our Saturday wandering around Home Depot, looking for something—anything— we haven’t seen in Dad’s garage yet. Why the procrastination? Why the lack of imagination? Because shopping for Dad is tough.

…Almost as tough as B2B content marketing, and for some strikingly similar reasons. For example:

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Content Marketing

4 Graceful Exit Strategies to Use When "Divorcing" a Client

Posted by Susan LaPlante-Dube on June 17, 2015

Let's face it. Not all client relationships are matches made in heaven. When you find yourself in a situation like this, you have two choices: stick with it until the project or contract has ended (which could mean months) or find a way to leave the engagement gracefully while keeping your dignity and company's reputation intact. Divorcing a client is never easy – but sometimes it's necessary. Follow these four graceful exit strategies to make the transition as smooth as possible.

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Topics: Relationship Marketing, Relationship-building

Why We Love HubSpot Analytics (Part 1) – The HubSpot Sources Report

Posted by Susan LaPlante-Dube on May 29, 2015

HubSpot has been a game changer for us and for our clients. Becoming a Partner Agency and working with the HubSpot software has not only pumped up our efficiency when delivering marketing services but has also increased transparency across all of our programs. As effectively understanding analytics is a critical requirement for marketers today, HubSpot has made gathering the information so much easier. Yes, you still need to be smart about the numbers – and the story those numbers tell, but the range and depth of information available to you will absolutely change the way you market.

Because this topic is so rich, we’d like to take the time to outline the various data analytics components offered, as well as share how to use them to make better practical business decisions. This post marks the beginning of a series dedicated to HubSpot analytics, and as we add posts focusing on different metrics and tools, we will be sure to link each entry to one another so you end up with a complete view of how to apply the data you collect to your B2B marketing strategy.

So let’s get started! We begin with the Sources Report – the “crown jewel” of HubSpot analytics.

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Topics: Measuring Marketing Results, HubSpot, Inbound Marketing

Close That Loop! Sales and Marketing Alignment Must Do's

Posted by Oren Smith on May 28, 2015

When it comes to managing a successful business, interdepartmental communication and data sharing may seem like a no-brainer. Yet so many B2B companies are not hitting their revenue targets because they haven’t integrated deliberate Sales and Marketing alignment mechanisms into their business strategy. In fact, lost sales productivity coupled with a wasted marketing budget costs companies at least $1 trillion per year*, while B2B organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing operations reportedly achieve 24% faster three-year revenue growth, and 27% faster three-year profit growth!**

Though the spotlight has been on this issue for a relatively long time, misalignment is still plaguing so many companies today. According to the CMO Council, only 30% of CMOs have a clear process or program to make sales and marketing alignment a priority. And as providers of outsourced marketing services, we know how important it is to create and maintain this collaboration.

So what’s the first step you can take towards aligning these two groups? To implement what is known as closed-loop marketing.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Measuring Marketing Results, Sales

The Website Redesign Checklist: What Is Your Site Aesthetic Missing?

Posted by Oren Smith on May 27, 2015

Your company’s website is a window into your business. It’s what creates a first and typically lasting impression of your organization’s identity and brand positioning. Consider the stats below:

  • Websites with dark color schemes experience a 2% growth rate in traffic, as opposed to only 1.3% for sites with lighter color schemes. (Source: Instant Shift)
  • 48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. (Source: Ironpaper)
  • 70% of people read bulleted lists (like this one…), while only 55% read lists without bullets. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Naturally, you’d like your website to be easy on the eyes, but assessing your design and aesthetic is more than just making everything oh so pretty. Even with all the creative license in the world, graphic designers still need a plan of action. The following 7 website redesign checklist questions will lead you into the creative process, framing that right-brain artistry with some left-brain logic!

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Topics: Website Design

4 Essential Content Marketing Tips for Industrial Manufacturers

Posted by Denise Locke on May 22, 2015

Many B2B manufacturers struggle with making their businesses appear interesting or inviting to particular segments of their target audience. More often than not, the industrial products these companies produce (you know… plastic bearings, shipping containers, and other items we’ve helped our clients market) do not just sell themselves; they need a little oomph! That’s where content marketing comes to the rescue – to liven up your brand and help educate potential buyers about trending industry topics so they are more informed when the time comes for them to make a purchasing decision.

An important first step to successfully creating content is to identify your buyer personas. Once you take care of this strategic component, you can start with some brainstorming and research to help you better understand your audience and determine how to capture their attention. Here are 4 content marketing tips to get you started:

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Content Marketing, Industrial Marketing

How to Delight Your Customers: 7 Easy B2B Marketing Ideas

Posted by Oren Smith on May 21, 2015

In the B2B world, it’s no secret that the process of selling your product or service typically takes a longer time to complete. In fact, the average sales cycle has increased by 22% over the past 5 years due to an increase in the number of decision makers involved in the buying process. Consequently, in order to seal the deal, a hefty chunk of your marketing efforts must be devoted to building and maintaining relationships with your target prospects and customers.

But B2B marketing doesn’t stop once you close a new customer! It’s an ongoing process. In order to create a lasting positive impression with your clients, you need to absolutely delight them. By making your current clients really happy, you are giving yourself the opportunity to cross-sell and upsell your services. After all, most businesses spend more money to acquire a new customer than to retain an older one, right?

Ultimately, you want your current clients to become evangelists who promote your services on your behalf. Yes, meeting deadlines, communicating effectively, and delivering the goods is obviously vital to your success. But sometimes, the ways you can really wow your clients are manifested in the little things. Check out these 7 simple B2B marketing ideas you can leverage to continually convey value to your current clients – and impress them time and time again.

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Topics: B2B Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Relationship Marketing

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