The 8 key analytics metrics all b2b companies should focus on

Using analytics software to make better marketing and business decisions should be a key consideration in all companies, but it is amazing how mention of Google Analytics can strike fear into the minds of business owners and team leaders.

During our popular Google Analytics courses we dispel lots of common myths to cut through and provide an actionable set of recommendations to help businesses understand more about their website visitors.

Google Analytics provides brilliant insight into the behaviour of website visitors and can help determine what you need to focus on in order to tighten up your conversion to sales.

There is an incredible wealth of data available without even customising any of the standard dashboards or reports.

In this post we look at the 8 key analytics metrics all b2b companies should focus on.

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It’s only remarketing but we like it: Three essential entry points for b2b remarketing campaigns

Ever browsed online and placed an item in your basket and then left the site without completing the purchase – only for that product to then begin to chase you around the web?

The brand in question placed tracking code on the web page you visited and set up a campaign through the Google Display Network to then drop a reminder in front of you a little time later whilst you were doing something else on the Internet.

This is the essence of remarketing – taking a second chance at conversion.
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Creating a strong visual brand: Creating your own images with your own technology

We talked in our last post about how to treat stock images to tailor them for your own brand communications. This will help you achieve some measure of ‘stand out’ when using images secured from free or paid stock image libraries.

In this post, and in advance of our next course on ‘Photo and video for the web’ course, we are offering some tips on trading up in your visual marketing strategy; and on using your own technology to create and add your own images to your portfolio.

Creating your own images and manipulating them further has never been easier, now we have genuine pocket-sized, high-resolution cameras packed into our phones. The ability to snap and share with minimal editing and cleansing has led to scores of companies opting to go down this route, especially in giving their social media a boost.

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Creating a strong visual brand: Working with stock photography

There is no denying the importance of your visual brand. The images and photography you use, in your marketing material and online, say as much about you as any words you employ.

We’re exploring a number of aspects of visual branding as we count down to our next course on ‘Photo and video for the web’ course. This post offers guidance on getting the most out of stock photography.

At a base level, using stock photography (from free or paid sources such as Pixabay, Shutterstock or Getty Images) is undoubtedly a quick way to bring your content to life. But it is also risky as images are likely to have been used elsewhere – and how and where they were used may impact negatively on your brand. This can be especially damaging if you are claiming to be creative or innovative.

If you do have to rely on stock images because of budget, time or resource, then consider these tricks to help you at least do something more interesting with them.

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B2B SEO vs. B2C SEO

An agency must handle B2B and B2C SEO campaigns differently, and adapt to a much more complex sales process than in B2C. The difference between the two sectors can be found in the sales funnel and the purchase process, and the relationship between product and customer.

To deliver the best SEO service an agency must therefore have a deep understanding of the way business-to-business sales work.

Keith Hodges, head of SEO at POLARIS, summarises the core differences between B2B and B2C SEO strategies.
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How to sell more online: Ecommerce best practice for b2b marketers

The buying motivations and complicated decision making processes involved in many business purchases mean most business-to-business companies find it hard to apply retail thinking to their online and ecommerce operations.

But in reviewing some of the most successful online ecommerce businesses and taking our own personal buying experiences into account, there are lots of little amendments we can make to give online sales a boost.

Here are five areas that we think represent the best places to start. (All are covered in our upcoming ‘Online Selling’ course in Birmingham).

1. Understand the mindset of your customer

What is your best (or target) customer really in the market for – and what benefit does your product bring?

Understanding pain/pressure points – and desirable drivers too – can bring tremendous insight to your attempts to sell the right thing to the right person at the right time.

If in doubt, you can uncover more about buying behaviour by reviewing website analytics and their motivations by surveying them directly. Are business buyers browsing in office hours or not? Are they coming to the site organically or through ads or content? What content are they more interested in?
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Five trends that make ERP and cloud more accessible to b2b companies in 2016

More and more businesses are becoming attuned to the benefits technology and specifically integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning). Whether it is in providing greater visibility of the new business pipeline, managing operations, production and delivery or facilitating financial and human resources management, ERP is an industry that is constantly changing.

In a period where we’ve seen a huge variety of new product offerings introduced and become mainstream in the SME space, we’ve also seen product innovation help integrate functionality to remove barriers to entry and stimulate trial.

We’ve looked at the market and at what some of the major players and major commentators are saying to give you five ways ERP is more accessible for your business.

1. You don’t need £1million (or a Tier 1 solution)

Whilst Tier 1 products like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics (previously the domain for large, even multi-national enterprises) have become mainstream, they have also spawned a huge number of accessible “me too’s”.

Emerging mid-priced SaaS solutions have succeeded in helping SMEs compete, taking away the moving first mover advantage that enterprises with large budgets historically had. Now the market has evolved, the skill is in selecting the right ERP for your business.
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ISO27001 information security standard. Statement of credibility?

ISO27001 may not mean that much to you at the moment but it is rapidly becoming a “badge of honour” for organisations that manage or have access to confidential client data.

Martin King-Turner, Director at The National B2B Centre, reveals why he believes that ISO27001 accreditation will become a required entry on your proposal or tender in the near future.

Consider the phrase “organisations that manage or have access to confidential client data.”

What’s really interesting is how many organisations fit that description without realising it. It’s not just about hospitals or social media companies. How about business travel agents, locksmiths, bailiffs, accountants, printers and recruiters?

These aren’t vast bureaucracies but often ordinary businesses or organisations that have recognised that they have access, quite reasonably, to important, private business or personal information. They know that they have legal, financial and ethical responsibility to ensure that they handle that data as carefully as they can. What they have also seen is that taking the right approach to data security is also a great opportunity to generate more business. And ISO27001 provides a route towards achieving those additional rewards.

So what is ISO27001 and what will it do for you?
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8 winning ideas for your social media content

People’s initial barrier to social media success is usually perceived as using the tools themselves. Once they have realised that that’s the easy part, the next obstacle is knowing what to say.

Gareth Edwards, associate eMarketing consultant at the National B2B Centre, highlights 8 ideas that can get your creative juices flowing.

Picture the scene. You have just attended a social media training course, seen an inspiring blog post or noticed that one of you competitors is picking up fans on Facebook. So you want to get going with your own campaign.

You sit down in front of an empty screen or a blank piece of paper and don’t know what to say.

It’s really frustrating and some people go off social media at this point but my advice is to relax. Everybody, and I repeat everybody, has lots of interesting themes and topics just ready to generate an article, blog, Facebook post or Tweets; or inspire you to create photos, videos or graphics.

This article is going to make it easy for you by providing some ready-made headings to get you going.
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Six Top Tips for Successful ERP Upgrades

Major ERP software upgrades are often seen as a long, arduous process.  So how can companies ensure success without disrupting users’ comfort with their current system?

Martin King-Turner, Director at The National B2B Centre, shares six of his top tips to help you steer clear of common project pitfalls.

1. Explain what a new system means to users before starting the project

If you want to doom an upgrade project, keep the users in the dark.

The one thing that always separates successful projects from the not-so-successful ones is communication with the users. Companies that explain the business case for upgrading, the benefits to the company and employees, and any changes to the way users will use the system are the most successful. Why? The software will work, the hardware will work, but it doesn’t matter unless the users buy in. If users decide the system doesn’t work, it won’t.

2. Take testing seriously

A software upgrade will affect many – and quite possibly all – parts of your ERP system.  It is essential to thoroughly understand the changes that the upgrade will bring and test every business process, even those that you believe won’t be affected. First impressions count. You should do everything possible to ensure users have a positive first experience of the upgraded system.
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