I recently posted a brief article on my blog about the importance of organic search marketing budgets as part of the entire B2B marketing budget. As search crosses the chasm and search generates more interest from the C-level, you can bet that marketing budgets will shift from traditional mediums to search. Search marketing is a seven billion dollar/yr industry and experts predict that by 2010 search marketing will be a twelve billion dollar/yr industry. While most of the online marketing budgets are directed towards sponsored campaigns, the importance of organic search engine marketing and proper analytics for tracking success is a recipe for any successful online marketing campaign.

For successful B2B marketing in 2007, there are three “ingredients” to keep in mind:

  • Paradigm shifts in the planning of marketing strategies and budgets (search engine marketing anyone?)
  • Establishing proper metrics to track
  • Studying analytics as part of the lead generation process

Paradigm Shifts in the Planning of Marketing Strategies and Budgets

I’ve already touched on this, but as B2B marketers we need to take advantage of online opportunities. A well rounded search marketing strategy involves a sponsored and organic component. Part of your marketing budget should be directed at search marketing (whether you will be outsourcing or performing it in-house). Organically speaking a site that is well optimized and ranking in the search engines can prove very effective as organic results are longer lasting. With the B2B arena involving a much more complex web of interactions between prospects and vendors, having your organization represented in the prime real estate of a search engine results page will help ensure that you are on the list of potential vendors during the selection process. The point is planning of a dedicated search marketing budget is becoming more important that ever. Still not sold on a dedicated search marketing budget? Well you can bet that your competition is doing is as search continues to gain popularity and enter the mainstream.

Establishing Proper Metrics to Track

Another key in B2B marketing in 2007 is establishing the proper metrics to track. With B2B marketing, the actual transaction represents only a small part of the entire purchase process. As a result, establishing proper metrics to track along the way is key to determining your success. These metrics can be established from:

a) Your Organization’s KPIs – the key performance indicators for your company as a whole can help determine the proper metrics that you should be tracking. Lead generation sites may have different KPIs than would an information type site.

b) Online Goals – may or may not be the same as your organization’s goals. You may have an online goal to increase traffic to your site by 20% every quarter for two years. In order to measure your site’s success, you may want to use online goals such as these to determine if your SEM strategies are returning the results that you expected.

c) Competition – Know your competition and visit their websites. They may disclose some information as to how they are measuring their success. From here you may be able to establish key metrics that you should be tracking as well.

If you are unsure whether you are tracking the proper metrics for your online success you may want to revisit the metrics and evaluate your analytics to determine if improvements are necessary.

Studying Analytics as part of the Lead Generation Process

With B2B companies, lead generation is a vital cog in the wheel that turns. It’s no secret that B2B transactions have a longer selling cycle and usually involve a higher end purchase. The amount of time a potential client researches a solution for their need can take weeks, months and even years. Therefore studying analytics as part of the lead generation process may help uncover areas of improvement for your lead generation process. Analytics can offer a wealth of knowledge providing you take time to ensure that your analytics is set up correctly and is tracking proper metrics. With proper analytics you can review items such as:

  • Number of repeat visitors to conversion pages
  • Sponsored search cost - broken down by products/services, keyword, source and campaign
  • Length of time spent on site
  • Where search visitors go on your site after leaving the ‘landing’ page or your site entirely
  • Search visitor form requests drop-out behavior and rates
  • Path analysis as an indication where potential leads are leaving the site
  • Geo region where the majority of site visitors are coming from (this can help you define new markets to enter or existing markets to focus on)

There is so much more that you can track though your analytics providing that you have an analytics package that is robust enough to measure what you need to measure. That in itself is the trick, “measure what you need to measure.”

This recipe may not guarantee success but it will sure contribute to it. I see B2B marketing in 2007 incorporating the use of search marketing as not only a tool for promotion, but as a necessary means to improve ROI.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

November 20, 2006

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Search Engine Guide > Jody Nimetz > B2B Marketing in 2007