6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely

Remote Team Rhythm Image

In these unconventional times, many work teams are grappling with an unconventional dynamic: fully distributed personnel and remote collaboration. This setup presents a number of challenges, but thankfully we live in a time where technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected and tightly aligned on our work.

For B2B agencies like TopRank Marketing, this has always been a point of emphasis. In servicing clients from around the globe, we’re accustomed to communicating across distances, borders, and time zones. We occasionally have our own team members work from home, and in fact, we have a few who do so full-time.

While having everyone in the organization work remotely is uncharted territory for us, our built-in comfort with digital collaboration gives us a head-start, and has allowed us to hit the ground running with minimal disruption to our programs and workflows.

To help other remote teams that might be trying to find the right rhythm and maximize their collective productivity, I thought I’d share a few practices and discoveries that are helping us stay close virtually, even as the circumstances of life push us apart.

How Team TopRank Maintains Tight Collaboration Remotely

Tailor Your Toolset to Your Team

As mentioned, there is a wide range of different tools and software available to power remote collaboration. Some of the common mainstays, like Slack* and Zoom, need no introduction. There are plenty of others out there with specific capabilities that might be suited to your team’s needs. Here’s a list from ProofHub arranged into several different functional categories.

Above all, I encourage business leaders to solicit input and feedback in making these selections. The biggest key is identifying tools that people actually like using. Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.

Unsolicited plugs for a couple of our clients, whose offerings can be very useful at a time like this:

  • Sococo provides a “virtual office” platform that recreates the dynamic of happenstance workplace encounters and productive chats at the water cooler.
  • monday.com is a highly visual and intuitive work operating system, which employees tend to really enjoy using. As mentioned, that’s critical.

[bctt tweet=”“Review the usage rates for your existing tech stack. If certain software isn’t being uniformly engaged with, or is surfacing a lot of frustration, there’s no better time to step back and reevaluate.” @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

Focus on Details and Documentation

Not only is it important that your tools get used, but right now it’s vital they get used to the fullest. At TopRank, our work runs through a project management system, and I’ve noticed teammates making concerted efforts to attach client docs, source materials, and comprehensive information into the tasks themselves. As a content writer, it makes a big difference when I can find everything I need in one place, because it’s no longer as simple as walking to an account manager’s desk 10 feet away to ask a question.

Jump on the Phone Post-Meeting

While technology makes it easier to communicate and collaborate from afar, there are certain subtleties and productive habits that can be overlooked in the transition. As one example, when teammates and I hold a client meeting in the office, we’ll almost always stay in the room to debrief afterward, discussing takeaways and next steps.

One way we’ve replicated this action remotely is by using the Slack Call functionality, which enables you to quickly spark an impromptu conference call straight out of the Slack app. Since we already have our client teams arranged into channels on Slack, all it takes is one click to get all relevant parties on the line for a quick post-meeting rundown.

Rely On One Another for Knowledge-Sharing and News Updates

If you find yourself constantly distracted by scanning headlines and refreshing your preferred news websites, you are not alone. Being in the midst of an ongoing global health crisis adds a unique disruption factor to the situation at hand.

One way we’ve countered this at TopRank is by creating a #covid-news channel in Slack, where teammates can share updates they come across about the pandemic and its ripples that might impact our lives, our clients, or the business world at large. Knowing that I’ll get a notification whenever something new gets posted on that channel makes it easier for me to unplug from the Google News feed and stay focused on my work.

Get Faces On-Screen

It’s easy enough to hold conference calls when people are working remotely, but I highly recommend using apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts with video-conferencing capabilities, and urging everyone on the team to turn on their cameras. Seeing the faces of my coworkers really helps diminish feelings of isolation and disconnection that can be inherent in a scenario such as this.

Don’t Forget About Team-Building and Socialization

I’ve talked a lot here about ways we stay centered on our work, and that’s of course very important. But don’t let recreational team experiences fall by the wayside. Strengthening the overall cohesiveness of your various people through bonding exercises is maybe more essential than ever.

Virtual happy hours are gaining a lot of popularity as a way for folks to ramp down and relax together after working all day. Consider also scheduling some fun and leisurely team activities during work hours here and there. There are plenty of games that can be played remotely while creating a feeling of togetherness. I recommend the Jackbox Party Pack series, which features all sorts of fun mini-games and allows everyone to participate from their own device. Our team delved into a round of Quiplash during a recent Friday meeting, and we all enjoyed several laughs while getting a chance to appreciate the creativity and cleverness our colleagues bring to the table.

Go the Distance with Remote Collaboration

It’s all too natural to get caught up in the stress, anxiety, and overall downside of what’s taking place in the world right now. Because of this, I find myself striving to find positives and silver linings. They really do exist. If we can all find ways to stay connected and collaborative during these challenging times, I know we’ll be able work together — with clients, colleagues, and peers — more effectively than ever once things return to a state of normalcy. We might even find ourselves with a few newfound efficiencies that stick.

TopRank Marketing’s Social & Content Manager, Lane R. Ellis, is one of the aforementioned agency team members who works remote full-time, hailing from the northern reaches of Minnesota. He shared with me this sentiment that, I think, encapsulates the upside of a tough situation:

“I think if we’re open to it, our shared pandemic experience offers up a sizable opportunity in our lives — to reflect on what is truly important to us and how we work, to make positive changes that may until now have been perennially postponed, and to grow both our capabilities and our compassion in business and in personal life. It’s also a time to listen, and to be especially sensitive to your professional associates, your business teammates, and most of all to your family and friends.”

Well said, sir.

For more insight about navigating this unprecedented event as a marketer, check out my recent post on how authentic content can build brand trust during uncertain times.

The post 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

5 Simple Conversion Optimization Mistakes That Could Be Costing You

5 Simple Conversion Optimization Mistakes That Could Be Costing You

Do you feel like your website is converting as much Traffic into customers as it could be?

Conversion optimization or conversion rate optimization (CRO) could really take your website to the next level. It’s truly amazing how just a few small tweaks to your website can 10x your results from the same Traffic numbers.

Despite how simple and easy it may sound,
there are a lot of websites trying to achieve good results following the basic
steps towards conversion optimization. Yet, many fail miserably, because, when
it comes to conversion optimization, the devil really is in the details.

In order for you to apply CRO principles, you first need to understand where you already stand in terms of your Traffic (opens in a new tab)">website Traffic, what is working for you and what is not.

While the general guidelines can be accessed anywhere, it takes more than that to achieve true success with CRO. If this wasn’t the case, everyone would have done it by now.

Having worked with many websites on CRO, it is safe to say that there is no universal method for it. If you’re a website owner that is trying to optimize your content, you need to understand, in great detail, your strengths, and your weaknesses in order to make the best of CRO and get results quickly. This is exactly the reason why there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Here are 5 things many websites get wrong about CRO and how to change it for better results.

#1. Knowing what CRO actually means

Databox website do you know your <a href=business performed today For conversion optimization" class="wp-image-73076" />

You’ve heard the term, you know about its importance, but you would be surprised by how many website owners have no clue what CRO actually means. CRO is a crucial tool for keeping your business alive and thriving. CRO specialists can take your business and increase the revenue, the clicks, basically whatever you’re looking for in a matter of weeks.

For those still confused about the definition,
CRO is a system that helps your website to increase the number of visitors that
actually take the desired action on your webpage. This may sound like the
easiest thing, but clearly that is not the case.

The definition is pretty simple, that much is
true, but the countless ways to achieve what the CRO specialists try to do with
websites is extremely complicated and requires more than a basic understanding
of how the marketing works.

We all want to maximize the number of people
who actually take action when visiting our websites. The same goes for any
business. We want to maximize the engagement, but also to achieve maximum
productive engagement. We want to increase the percentage of people who, upon
visiting our website, do the desirable action we’ve set out for them, be that
subscribe to the weekly emails, purchase the product you’re offering or click
on the desired link.

The mission of every CRO specialist is not to increase the number of visitors you get but to increase the ratio of those who actually purchase or click on your product. Conversion is a word used to describe the number of desirable actions, it doesn’t necessarily mean the inflow of money.

It could mean people visiting and liking your page, taking the time to click a link and learn more about your services. It does not have to be focused around a financial goal, but more often than not it should at least lead to one.

#2. Optimizing for mobile devices

Databox website do you know your <a href=business performed today For conversion optimization" class="wp-image-73077" width="270" height="578" />

You would think that every business wanting to achieve long-lasting success would make sure that the mobile-friendliness of their website is among their first priorities.

But even the most successful companies in the
world often neglect the mobile versions of their websites, driving away
thousands of clicks and purchases by inconvenient setups. The importance of
mobile devices is no big news, but somehow big companies still manage to
prioritize the desktop optimized versions over the mobile ones.

This is one of the worst things you can do for your business and it could cost you many opportunities. It’s understandable why so many companies neglect it because they think that it won’t make the actual difference when the company is just starting up, so they often save the mobile update for later when their business is much more stable. In reality, this approach completely neglects the importance of mobile devices.

A consumer’s tolerance for inconvenience has significantly dropped in the last few years. If your website isn’t accommodating the customer, no matter which device they might be using, you are way more likely to get them to click away and lose a customer.

Not optimizing your website for tablets and phones means that the customer will need much more time for the page to load, increasing the likelihood of them abandoning your website pretty early on. This is why it is crucial to have mobile-friendly versions, even if you’re not getting as much Traffic as you would like. Creating a mobile-friendly version is an investment you make towards your business, that over time could even bring you more than 50% of your sales.

Even if investing time and energy into developing a mobile-friendly version seems like a waste of time, when you’re in the beginning stages look at it as a separate avenue for you to grow your business in.

#3. Understanding the 4Ws of conversion

When trying to increase the number of people who engage in meaningful activity on your website, besides offering convenient web design, you should also consider a different branding strategy. Now, I don’t mean hiring a new marketing team or spending too much money on additional ads. The whole point of conversion optimization is not to increase your visibility necessarily, but to increase the number of visitors who will actually take the desired action.

The percentage of people who purchase or click a link won’t change by much by just increasing the visibility of the product or a website. What needs to change is not the number of people who visit, but the amount of those who take action.

Here are the 4 questions your website should give a clear answer to if you want more meaningful engagement from your visitors: What do you do? Why should I care? Why should I believe you? Where do we begin?

When you don’t provide the most sought after information, in the most visible place at your website, you’re greatly lowering your chances for those looking for the answer to stick around.

As mentioned above, consumers don’t have the patience to spend too much time looking for the answers about the website or the service, they would rather engage with a company that gives them everything they need to know, and easily.

You need to play to your strength on your website as well. You need to analyze what people are looking for and put it at an easy to find place, more so, make it the most visible part of your website. This is one of the top priority things you should be doing to increase meaningful engagement.

Any CRO specialist will tell you that in order to increase your conversions, without necessarily turning the whole website upside down, you just need to prioritize the things that are working for you and to make them the focal point of your business and website. This does not mean that you will only focus on that specific aspect of your business, but it will become the reason why people who visit your website will also stay engaged and actually click on something you want them to.

This is the easiest and probably the cheapest way to get the results that you want. This is why knowing your audience is so crucial to increasing conversions because it allows you to know just what is working for you and what you should be focusing on less.

When it comes to why someone visiting should stay at your page or purchase something, you have to make it very clear upon the entrance. Consumers need to understand what you are offering, what is unique about it that they won’t find anywhere else, and why they should trust you with their time and money. People should have a very clear idea of what sets your product apart, and why they should make the purchase on your website and not somewhere else.

This is also a relatively cheap way to
increase your conversions since, as a website owner, you should know better
than anyone what your strengths are and why they matter. Don’t shy away from
building your website off of your best features and focusing as much as
possible on their unique characteristics.

#4. Focusing on legitimacy

Trustpilot main page website's focus on legitimacy for conversion optimization

This is more geared towards the websites that are less known and are just starting out since larger companies have already earned the trust of their customers. But if the opposite is the case, you should be placing your legitimacy as a high priority message that you need to deliver to your customers.

It is one of the four fundamental questions
that you need to answer as a client, when it comes to your website. There is no
shortage of scammers and stories about them so when a new visitor enters your
website, they are much likely to think of you as illegitimate than to trust you
instantly, because that’s just common sense at this point.

Make sure that you work on conveying the message that your website is to be trusted, but keep the middle ground as to avoid looking more like a scammer. Create a sense of security on your webpage that won’t take away from the fun and engaging parts of it. You don’t have to make it the centerpiece of your website, but make sure that the consumer can easily be assured that the website is safe.

#5. Creating a sense of urgency

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book
and we’ve seen it a lot within the cosmetic industry. The story goes something
like this: you launch a product, you advertise it heavily, make sure that as
many people know about it as possible, but when the product actually launches,
you announce that it has sold out within an hour, or a day, whichever seems
more realistic.

This technique creates a certain type of urgency in the customers like they absolutely need to have it since it seems to be selling like hotcakes.

HollywoodLife Beauty news Kylie Jenner wearing 'Truebrown' for conversion optimization

So by the next time the company announces a
restock there’s a high chance that they will actually sell out of the product.
This is a marketing technique that isn’t too complicated and there are many
ways to do this right.

When we create a sense of urgency by exploring how badly the customer actually needs a product we increase our chances of making a sale. This is for the website and business owners alike to create a sense of necessity around this product even if it is something as unnecessary as makeup. You need to make sure that the visitors know just how valuable the product is, and it’s not that you need them but in fact, they need you.

Make sure that you make that clear from the
very first second the client lands on your website so that your efforts don’t
go to waste if the visitor only lingers for a few seconds before closing the
page. That way you get to immediately not only let them know what you are
selling but why the visitor should make the purchase while there is still time.

Conclusion

CRO is easy to understand but can sometimes be hard to achieve. With these tips, you now know the basics and where to start for your website.

The good thing about CRO is that you can actually do it yourself. With the general knowledge of your audience and what they respond to you can make it much easier while maximizing the number of people taking meaningful action on your website.

CRO can be the final step towards launching your website to a higher level of success and to achieve the engagement that most companies can’t even dream of. It might seem like a daunting process if you’re unfamiliar with it, but when you get started, as long as you know your business well, you should be able to set out a successful plan of action.

Guest author: Konstantin has been in marketing and advertising since 2011. After leading marketing efforts of one of the largest financial brokerages and an innovative b2b fintech company, he decided to go solo and is now focusing on consulting financial companies on how to drive the best results from their digital marketing efforts. Next to this, Konstantin has been showing interest in the recent regulation of the most competitive industries – finance and iGaming. Stalk him on Quora or connect via LinkedIn to learn more. 

The post 5 Simple Conversion Optimization Mistakes That Could Be Costing You appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

Four Opportunities for Focus to Improve B2B Marketing

Opportunities to Improve B2B Marketing

Opportunities to Improve B2B Marketing

While uncertainty can be distraction, now is a time for focus in the B2B marketing world. Beyond figuring out the new logistics and operations of remote work, paused marketing efforts and the urgent need to keep employees, customers and community safe and healthy, there’s still a need for marketing. In fact, the areas of focus below are relevant in any time but are worth considering over the coming weeks and months.

Align content strategy with the entire marketing funnel.  
Successful business marketers are doing more than ever to understand the customer journey and realize that in today’s environment, buyers are pulling themselves through 60-80% of the funnel with information they find on their own before ever contacting a vendor. Without real-world events and interactions, the current focus on digital engagement pushes that percentage even higher.

During that self directed information gathering process, marketers have an opportunity to create content experiences that engages with prospects and earns their trust. Providing what we call best answer content to questions buyers have at each stage of the funnel builds a connection early and can last all the way to the decision making stage.

B2B marketing likes acronyms so here are a few that represent how B2B companies are focusing on each buyer stage:

  • TOFU – Top of funnel content emphasizes broad topics, empathy with understanding the problem and building credibility
  • MOFU – Middle of funnel content helps provide answers to more practical questions about how solutions can solve the problem specifically for a company in a given industry. Case studies and testimonials build confidence in the solution.
  • BOFU – Bottom of funnel content provides even more specific information about implementation, support, costs and gives evidence of success. Scoping tools and calculators are helpful for prospects to scope the solution.

With a shift from demand gen to branding during COVID-19, lead gen is still needed, but how?  
In a time when push marketing and advertising can be seen as tone-deaf and opportunistic, pull marketing methods like SEO enables B2B brands to attract customers on their own terms. While building brand credibility through thought leadership is very different than most SEO efforts, prominent search visibility adds credibility to a brand, especially for category level search topics.

Branding content should focus on articulating the unique value of the business and build credibility with support from internal and industry experts, industry media and credible content like research. Brand content can and should also be optimized for search visibility.

There are many specialist articles on SEO and experts who can help with this (including TopRank Marketing), but at a high level, B2B content marketers can optimize for better organic search visibility through a mix of technical optimization (page speed, markup and structured data, mobile friendly, etc), on page content quality and ability to engage, as well as 3rd party references to brand content. Check out this video from Moz’s Britney Muller for where to focus on SEO in 2020.

B2B Needs to Learn Communication Lessons from B2C
You may be familiar with the expression that the B’s in B2B are people too. That means empathizing with business buyers as people, not just as corporations can result in content that is more consumer friendly, yet topically relevant for business.

Over the past few years there’s been a trend in the consumerization of business software where business users expect a consumer like experience when using enterprise software. That same set of expectations is showing up for business solution buyers and the content experiences that B2B marketers create to attract and engage them.

An example would be an unboxing video featuring a commercial class server that is done somewhat in the style of consumer electronics unboxing videos which get incredible Traffic. A 4 hour server unboxing and configuration video in the style of the latest iphone unboxing my not appeal to a consumer, but the details, questions and actual example is very appealing to those in the market to purchase that kind of hardware. Plus it can be infotaining.

Take a look at top consumer video channels from influencers and brands alike for inspiration to create more entertaining, yet informative content for B2B audiences.

Creating experiential content is a key differentiator for B2B brands and podcasts are a great place to start.
Podcasts are hot and the reason is, they are a format that is easy for customers to subscribe to and consume during their commutes or even listen to during work. Well-done podcasts can feel like a one to one communication and build a connection with the audience in a way that text does not.

In the current environment without real world conferences, alternative formats like virtual events, webinars, video livestreaming and podcasts can serve as an effective format to deliver useful content in a way that feels personal.

Ultimately, a focus on the customer will drive the relevant areas of focus for B2B marketers. That opportunity for focus is true whether it means full funnel alignment with content strategy, creating more engaging content experiences like video or audio, or optimizing brand and lead gen content for questions buyers want answered vs. pushing tone-deaf brand messages.

The post Four Opportunities for Focus to Improve B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.