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
- 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.
- B2B buyers want a high value added interaction. Buyers have already researched the basic information on
- 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.
- 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 )
- B2B marketers rate social media as one of the 3 most effective demand generation tactics
( Source: Forrester
- 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.
- Personalized engagement
- Self direction
- Ongoing education
- Use predictive tools for targeting your customer
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 75% of people say the “from” name has the highest impact on their open rate.
- 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
( 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
- Example of how to increase your open rate:
Questions increase open rates.
Questions that start with “can’t” and “won’t” do better than questions that
start with “will” or “who.”
- Questions that start with “can’t” and “won’t” do better than questions that
Use punctuation to your advantage.
- Your punctuation should sound like a natural speaking voice
- Over 56% of people open their email using a mobile phone. Optimizing your design
for mobile is no longer optional, it’s essential.
- 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 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
- “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
- If you don’t have anything to give away, a simple welcome message from your CEO
can help secure customer trust.
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)
- You can “give more” content in these emails since you know they are more
- 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
- 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”)
Front end is what the browser works with
Back end generates the page for the browser
- Integrating database content and displaying in the browser
- 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
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
- It takes some time to build brand recognition and trust
- Therefore, customers don’t always engage the first time they see social
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),