April 6, 2016

Digital Marketing Best Practices for Tech Companies

Consulting & Advisory Digital Transformation Software Development

This ​year, ​we ​attended ​Digital ​Summit ​Chicago ​– ​a ​digital ​marketing ​conference ​featuring
thought ​leaders ​from ​companies ​like ​Microsoft, ​AOL, ​Pandora, ​and ​AllRecipes.com.


Below, ​we ​wrote ​up ​our ​favorite ​insights ​that ​we ​learned ​from ​this ​event. ​These ​best
practices ​can ​be ​utilized ​by ​any ​tech ​company ​to ​compliment ​their ​sales ​strategy.






B2B Marketing and Sales


The current state of B2B Marketing:


  • Control has shifted away from the salesperson, since a salesperson is no longer the sole information
    provider. Companies are not reaching out to a salesperson until they complete their own research online.
  • 71% of people say purchasing from a website is more convenient than speaking to a sales person — this went
    up 15% in last 2 years.


What B2B buyers want from their sales reps:


  • B2B buyers want a high value added interaction. Buyers have already researched the basic information on
    their own.
  • 77% want sales reps to present a solution with data that is customized for the buyer
  • 77% want sales reps to help them learn something new, show how their product / service impacts their
    business, and to pivot meetings to discuss what the buyers want to talk about.


How to engage today’s B2B buyers:


  • B2B buyers have a self-directed approach. They don’t want to be sold to. They prefer to consult with 3rd
    party experts, access social networks, and peer review sites.
  • As a seller, you have to amplify what the buyer is doing and provide them with rich, high-value content,
    rather than creating basic content that they already know.
  • You need to have ongoing education (online or in-person) for the buyer – attend a capabilities meeting and
    attend industry events.
  • Before, the product or service took center stage, but now the seller needs to take center stage and project
    a thought provoking and charismatic personality.
  • Sellers need to be:

    • Explainers ( Show me )
    • Consultants ( Enlighten me )
    • Order takers ( Serve me )
    • Navigators ( Guide me )


Why you should embrace social media marketing:


  • B2B marketers rate social media as one of the 3 most effective demand generation tactics
    ( Source: Forrester
    Research ).
  • 72% of B2B social media sellers outperform their peers who don’t use social.
  • Social is a great way to engage and build relationships directly with the customer.


The best way to succeed is to put the buyer at the core of everything you do:


  • Personalized engagement
  • Self direction
  • Ongoing education
  • Use predictive tools for targeting your customer


Content Marketing


Content​ ​creation​ ​statistics:


  • 73% ​of ​companies ​plan ​to ​produce ​more ​content ​in ​the ​next ​year.
  • 42% ​of ​companies ​plan ​to ​spend ​more ​on ​creating ​content.
  • However, ​only ​35% ​of ​companies ​say ​their ​content ​strategy ​is ​effective.


How​ ​to​ ​enhance​ ​your​ ​content​ ​strategy:


  • Everything ​your ​customer ​comes ​in ​contact ​with ​is ​considered ​branded ​content.
    Make ​sure ​you’re ​creating ​a ​seamless ​and ​worthwhile ​experience.
  • Make ​customers ​feel ​like ​they’re ​part ​of ​something ​when ​they ​engage ​with ​your
  • Rather ​than ​churning ​out ​as ​much ​content ​as ​you ​can, ​you ​need ​to ​focus ​on ​quality.
  • The ​best ​content ​is ​bigger, ​braver, ​and ​bolder. ​Tell ​a ​story ​that ​puts ​your ​business ​in
    the ​context ​of ​what ​people ​care ​about.
  • Engaging ​content ​is ​about ​brains, ​not ​budget. ​It’s ​about ​understanding ​your ​target
    customer ​and ​telling ​your ​story.
  • Smart ​companies ​don’t ​engage ​in ​conversations, ​they ​create ​them.
  • Tone ​of ​voice ​is ​a ​tool ​most ​brands ​undervalue. ​It ​can ​demonstrate:
    • Who ​you ​are
    • Why ​you ​do ​what ​you ​do
    • What ​you’re ​like ​to ​deal ​with
  • Make ​the ​ordinary ​extraordinary. ​Reexamine ​every ​part ​of ​your ​marketing. ​Look ​for
    opportunities ​to ​make ​better ​connection ​in ​untapped ​areas.
  • “If ​the ​label ​[brand] ​falls ​off, ​people ​should ​still ​know ​it’s ​yours.”
  • Every ​piece ​of ​content ​you ​create ​should ​ultimately ​help ​people ​feel ​more ​confident
    about ​spending ​their ​budget ​on ​your ​product ​or ​service.


Blue​ ​Bottle​ ​Coffee​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:


  • Michael ​Phillips ​2010 ​world ​barista ​champion ​and ​director ​of ​training ​for ​Blue ​Bottle
    Coffee, ​created ​a ​“Secret ​to ​Brewing ​Amazing ​Coffee” ​video ​that ​added ​value
    because ​of ​his ​world ​class ​expertise.
  • Michael ​wasn’t ​a ​professional ​speaker ​or ​host, ​therefore ​his ​authentic ​personality
    and ​stream ​of ​consciousness ​shined ​through ​when ​he ​spoke.
  • Providing ​deep ​content ​value ​that ​comes ​from ​an ​authentic ​place, ​creates ​smarter
    customers ​who ​can ​appreciate ​the ​intricacies ​of ​your ​product.
  • Blue ​Bottle’s ​strategic ​use ​of ​their ​employee’s ​expertise ​made ​customers ​feel ​like
    they ​were ​a ​part ​of ​the ​company’s ​vision ​to ​brew ​world ​class ​coffee.


Humane​ ​Society​ ​Silicon​ ​Valley​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:


  • Pet ​shelters ​typically ​make ​you ​feel ​guilty ​in ​their ​commercials ​(i.e., ​Sarah ​Mclachlan
    commercials ​with ​sad ​animal ​faces).
  • However, ​this ​Humane ​Society ​disrupted ​industry ​clichés ​by ​using ​humor ​and
    animal ​memes.
  • They ​also ​talked ​about ​how ​donating ​to ​shelter ​helps ​not ​just ​animals ​but ​people
  • Youtube video example – a rescue dog helped a man lose weight and build his self-esteem:


Levenfeld​ ​Pearlstein​ ​LLC​ ​–​ ​Case​ ​Study:


  • This ​law ​firm ​noticed ​that ​attorney ​profiles ​were ​the ​most ​viewed ​part ​of ​their
  • So, ​they ​hired ​a ​video ​crew ​to ​interview ​their ​attorneys ​and ​ask ​them ​deep ​life
    questions ​(what ​did ​you ​want ​to ​be, ​most ​prized ​possession ​in ​office, ​if ​you ​could
    time ​travel ​where ​would ​you ​go).
  • This ​showed ​in ​depth ​who ​they ​were ​as ​people, ​not ​just ​lawyers ​(a ​big ​contrast ​to
    the ​competition’s ​bios).
  • This ​content ​engaged ​viewers ​and ​boosted ​their ​business.






Email​ ​Marketing


The​ ​current​ ​state​ ​of​ ​email​ ​Marketing:


  • 80% ​of ​people ​only ​“scan” ​emails.
  • 58% ​of ​adults ​check ​their ​email ​first ​thing ​in ​the ​morning.
  • Receiving ​too ​many ​emails ​is ​the ​#1 ​reason ​people ​unsubscribe.
  • Adding ​video ​to ​your ​email ​campaigns ​can ​increase ​engagement ​and ​click ​rates ​by
  • GIFs ​increase ​engagement ​and ​click ​rates ​by ​42%, ​conversion ​rates ​by ​103%, ​and
    revenue ​generation ​by ​109%.
  • Email ​conversion ​rates ​are ​40 ​times ​that ​of ​Facebook ​and ​Twitter ​conversion ​rates.
  • 58% ​of ​marketers ​plan ​to ​increase ​spending ​on ​emails ​in ​the ​next ​year ​(more ​than
    any ​other ​channel).
  • Nurtured ​leads ​through ​email ​( ​multiple ​email ​touches ​) ​make ​47% ​larger ​purchases
    than ​non-nurtured ​leads.


Importance​ ​of​ ​having​ ​the​ ​email​ ​addressed​ ​from​ ​a​ ​person: 


  • 75% ​of ​people ​say ​the ​“from” ​name ​has ​the ​highest ​impact ​on ​their ​open ​rate.


Importance​ ​of​ ​Subject​ ​Lines:


  • 68% ​of ​people ​say ​the ​subject ​line ​has ​the ​highest ​impact ​on ​their ​open ​rate.
  • Character ​count ​doesn’t ​matter, ​choice ​of ​words ​matters ​more.

    • But ​keep ​in ​mind ​that ​iPhones ​cut ​off ​subject ​lines ​after ​32 ​characters
  • Superlatives ​can ​affect ​the ​open ​rates. ​However, ​you ​need ​to ​choose ​words ​that
    add ​value ​
    ( ​instead ​of ​generic ​words ​).

    • Example ​of ​how ​to ​increase ​your ​open ​rate:

      • Use ​“Special”, ​“brand ​new”, ​“latest”, ​“exciting.”
    • Example ​of ​how ​to ​decrease ​your ​open ​rate:

      • Use ​“Good” ​or ​other ​generic ​adjectives
  • Questions ​increase ​open ​rates.

    • Questions ​that ​start ​with ​“can’t” ​and ​“won’t” ​do ​better ​than ​questions ​that
      start ​with ​“will” ​or ​“who.”
  • Use ​punctuation ​to ​your ​advantage.

    • Your ​punctuation ​should ​sound ​like ​a ​natural ​speaking ​voice


Importance​ ​of​ ​design:


  • Over ​56% ​of ​people ​open ​their ​email ​using ​a ​mobile ​phone. ​Optimizing ​your ​design
    for ​mobile ​is ​no ​longer ​optional, ​it’s ​essential.


Importance​ ​of​ ​targeting:


  • Personalizing ​your ​email ​by ​using ​the ​target ​customer’s ​first ​name ​can ​raise ​open
    rates ​by ​26%.
  • If ​you ​use ​targeting ​data ​to ​segment ​your ​campaigns ​(age, ​location, ​interests, ​etc),
    you ​can ​increase ​your ​revenue ​by ​up ​to ​760%.
  • 90% ​of ​consumers ​find ​custom ​email ​content ​useful


Email​ ​automation​ ​tips:


  • Email ​1    Say ​thank ​you ​and ​make ​a ​good ​first ​impression
  • Email ​2    Use ​a ​case ​study ​or ​some ​other ​social ​proof
  • Email ​3    Provide ​high ​performing ​content ​and ​profile ​of ​new ​subscribers
  • Email ​4    Be ​bolder ​and ​ask ​specifically ​for ​a ​CTA


Increase​ ​engagement​ ​with​ ​“welcome”​ ​email​ ​campaigns:


  • “Welcome” ​emails ​are ​typically ​sent ​automatically ​after ​the ​customer ​makes ​a
    purchase ​from ​you ​or ​signs ​up ​for ​your ​mailing ​list. ​It’s ​important ​to ​give ​your
    audience ​a ​next ​step ​for ​doing ​business ​with ​you.
  • “Welcome” ​campaigns ​have ​a:

    • 4x ​higher ​open ​rate ​than ​other ​campaigns
    • 5x ​higher ​click ​through ​rate ​than ​other ​campaigns
    • 33% ​increase ​in ​long-term ​engagement ​than ​other ​campaigns
    • 57% ​of ​companies ​do ​welcome ​campaigns
  • The ​best ​time ​to ​send ​these ​is ​as ​soon ​as ​possible. ​Real-time ​welcome ​emails ​are
    most ​effective.
  • If ​you ​don’t ​have ​anything ​to ​give ​away, ​a ​simple ​welcome ​message ​from ​your ​CEO
    can ​help ​secure ​customer ​trust.


Additional​ ​effective​ ​email​ ​campaigns: 


  • Pre- ​and ​post- ​tradeshow ​emails ​are ​a ​great ​way ​to ​keep ​in ​touch ​with ​your audience

    • Pre-tradeshow ​emails ​can ​include ​directions ​to ​get ​to ​the ​event, ​parking ​tips, etc
    • Post-tradeshow ​emails ​can ​include ​“thanks ​for ​stopping ​by ​our ​booth.”
  • Transactional ​emails ​and ​receipts ​are ​8x ​more ​likely ​to ​be ​read

    • You ​can ​“give ​more” ​content ​in ​these ​emails ​since ​you ​know ​they ​are ​more
      likely ​to ​be ​opened ​(i.e., ​information ​about ​a ​later ​sale, ​tips ​and ​best ​practices
      for ​using ​a ​product)


SEO​ ​Strategies


Optimizing​ ​your​ ​website​ ​for​ ​SEO:


  • You ​Need ​to ​build ​a ​solid ​foundation ​first. ​It’s ​not ​worth ​your ​time ​to ​optimize ​a
    website ​for ​SEO ​that ​is ​currently ​built ​poorly. ​Clearly ​define ​your ​target ​personas
  • Things ​to ​avoid ​when ​designing ​your ​website

    • Non-indexed ​pages
    • Slow ​page ​load ​time
    • Duplicate ​content
    • Broken ​links
    • 404 ​errors
    • Redirects ​other ​than ​301s
    • Excessive ​URL ​parameters
    • Poor ​use ​of ​keyword ​density
    • Poor ​implementation ​of ​user ​intent ​( ​what ​is ​the ​user ​trying ​to ​find ​on ​each
      page? ​)
    • Poor ​use ​of ​themes
    • Poor ​variety ​of ​content
    • Duplicate ​or ​missing ​title ​tags
    • Duplicate ​or ​missing ​meta ​description ​tags
    • Cluttered ​or ​inefficient ​code
    • Poor ​mobile ​optimization
    • Large ​image ​files

      • You ​must ​optimize ​images
      • Smoosh ​is ​a ​great ​plug-in ​for ​downsizing ​pictures ​for ​file ​size
    • Faulty ​redirects
    • Not ​using ​tags ​correctly ​( ​rel=“alternate” ​and ​rel=“canonical”)


Your​ ​website​ ​must​ ​be​ ​optimized​ ​for​ ​both​ ​front​ ​and​ ​back​ ​end​ ​optimization: 


  • Front end is what the browser works with

    • HTML, ​CSS, ​JavaScript, ​media ​( ​images, ​video, ​etc.. ​)
  • Back ​end ​generates ​the ​page ​for ​the ​browser

    • Integrating ​database ​content ​and ​displaying ​in ​the ​browser


Questions​ ​to​ ​answer​ ​when​ ​creating​ ​personas​ ​for​ ​your​ ​website:


  • What ​are ​the ​words ​that ​your ​personas ​use?
  • What ​are ​their ​questions ​and ​concerns?
  • What ​websites ​do ​they ​frequent?
  • What ​is ​the ​best ​way ​to ​communicate ​and ​reach ​them?
  • What ​does ​the ​perfect ​persona ​profile ​look ​like?

    • What ​are ​their ​pains ​and ​fears?
    • What ​are ​their ​barriers ​to ​adoption?


Creating and Targeting Paid Ads


The​ ​psychology​ ​of​ ​today’s​ ​customer: 


  • It ​takes ​28 ​interactions ​with ​a ​brand ​for ​consumers ​to ​feel ​comfortable ​choosing them

    • Therefore, ​customers ​don’t ​always ​engage ​the ​first ​time ​they ​see ​social
      media ​ads.
    • It ​takes ​some ​time ​to ​build ​brand ​recognition ​and ​trust
  • In ​the ​year ​2000 ​the ​average ​attention ​span ​was ​12 ​seconds, ​today ​it’s ​dropped ​to ​8

    • Comparatively: ​the ​average ​attention ​span ​of ​goldfish ​is ​9 ​seconds
  • In ​the ​automotive ​industry, ​3 ​out ​of ​4 ​consumers ​change ​their ​mind ​from ​what ​they
    initially ​set ​out ​to ​purchase.

    • These ​metrics ​are ​similar ​in ​other ​fields ​– ​it’s ​very ​easy ​to ​influence ​buyers





*Sources: ​Ann ​Handley ​(MarketingProfs), ​Mary ​Shea ​(Forrester), ​Hannah ​McNaughton ​(Metric ​Marketing),
​Jeremy ​Hudgens
(Genius ​Monkey)

Consulting & Advisory Digital Transformation Software Development

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