Personalization, blogs bolster search

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B-to-b search marketing has grown in sophistication, but there are still some basic tenets to adhere to when embarking on a search marketing strategy. Kevin Lee, executive chairman of Did-it Search Marketing, spoke with BtoB about some tips for marketers as well as a few things to avoid.

BtoB: How are marketers employing personalization in search marketing strategy?

Kevin Lee: For a lot of b-to-b marketers, it’s a little difficult to determine ahead of time whether a visitor is a b-to-b customer or a consumer who has lost their way. A lot of personalization is really about applying technology to understand and determine that difference.

We apply IP address mapping to determine whether a person is a b-to-b visitor or a b-to-c visitor. That’s one methodology we use. Another factor is looking at which IP address they are using. If they are coming in with an AOL address, they are likely consumer. On the other hand, certain ISPs tend to be more business-related than others.

You can’t personalize based on keywords. If someone types in laptop, there is no way of knowing whether that person is a consumer who wants to buy one or an IT person looking to buy 60. That’s why you need tech to help you determine whether someone is a b-to-b or consumer visitor.

BtoB: Do corporate blogs enhance a company’s search marketing strategy?

Lee: They generally do because the content that is created in the corporate blog becomes “spider food,” more information the search engines can find. It’s usually a best practice to have a corporate blog as long as you have bloggers who contribute accurate and useful information regularly to the blog.

BtoB: What are the top three things a marketer should be wary of when evaluating a search marketing strategy?

Lee: Don’t be too Web myopic. Don’t focus exclusively on Web-based leads because typically in a b-to-b environment, a prospect may choose to communicate with your company by telephone or some other channel.

Second is a failure to understand the difference in the quality of leads. Clearly not all leads are created equal in offline marketing like direct mail, and the same holds true for search. Don’t just oversimplify. Take into account the quality of the leads you are getting.

The [third] big mistake b-to-b marketers make is they don’t understand the importance of lead freshness. Particularly when they conduct a search online, customers need an immediate response. All too often, b-to-b marketers will just let that lead go into their standard response system and it can take days or weeks to respond to that person.

By the time they get around to it, it’s a stale lead, and it could mean the loss of the sale. If your competition takes 24 hours to respond and it takes you days to respond, you’re in big trouble.

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