The Complete Guide to B2B Pricing

B2B pricing

Can you believe that 80% of B2B companies feel their pricing strategy needs improvement?

We hardly could either, but it’s true. Despite the fact that just a 1% price optimization improvement can yield an 11% profit increase, many companies are admittedly not prioritizing their pricing strategy.

Our guess? The complexity of the process gets in the way. But it shouldn’t. Ineffective pricing means your company is risking lost revenue and lower customer satisfaction.

If you know your company needs a better pricing strategy and you’re not sure where to start, you came to the right place.

Read on for a complete guide to B2B pricing.

Quick Takeaways

  • Value-based, competitive, and cost-plus are the three most common B2B pricing strategies.
  • Value metrics, pricing models, and buyer personas set the framework for choosing a pricing strategy.
  • Surprise fees, low-price tunnel vision, lack of customer segmentation, and ignoring competitors are common mistakes made in the B2B pricing process.

Common B2B Pricing Strategies

First thing’s first: what even is a pricing strategy? In short, it’s the method by which you determine the price of your product or service.

There are three common pricing strategies used in B2B sales.

Value-Based Pricing

We’ll start with the most complex of the three because it’s also widely regarded as the best option — when companies are able to implement it effectively.

Value-based pricing is about the actual and perceived value of your product. This value depends on several factors, including customer segment, competitor pricing, and brand reputation in the industry.

Consider this:

A man is getting ready to buy a new car. When he gets to the dealership, he’s shown two options.

First, a used sedan that’s a few years old, has some wear and tear, but is in great driving condition. The price is a total bargain.

Next, a brand new convertible sports car. It costs more than a good down payment on a new home, but it has top-of-the-line features inside and out.

Which car will he choose?

Of course, it depends. To know the answer you’d need to ask a ton of questions about who this man is, how much money he has, and what he cares about (i.e. what he perceives as valuable).

That’s the simple foundation of value-based pricing.

In practice, things get a little more complex. Implementing a value-based pricing strategy requires significant research into your target audiences and market landscape to understand the real and perceived values of your product.

Using a data-driven approach, you’d then assign a value-based price to your offerings. But even with data to support your decision, this strategy can be quite nuanced and always a bit subjective. It takes experience and industry expertise to determine an accurate value-based price point.

There’s a lot that goes into this final determination. Take Marketing Journal’s B2B Value Pyramid, for instance, which includes 40 contributing factors to perceived value.

B2B Value Pyramid

Image Source

Competitive Pricing

Competitive pricing takes customer value out of the equation and focuses totally on the pricing of other competitors in the market.

If that sounds simple, that’s because it is.

Basically, competitive pricing is like taking a classroom full of elementary school students and telling them to line up tallest to shortest. The tallest kids get to be in the front of the line just because they’re tall, which is fine on the surface because the lineup is easy to understand and it follows a clear line of thinking.

But it doesn’t really tell you much about each student, and even their height order can’t totally be trusted.

In fact, if you took the time to line up these same students in a few months, the order might be different. Some kids might be at the front of the line right now because their growth spurt arrived earlier, but long-term their height will fall right in the middle. Some might have platform shoes on, so their position in the line isn’t even accurate.

Just like this height lineup, using a competitive pricing strategy means your place in the market is relatively straightforward and easy for customers to understand. It’s a low-risk approach and can be a good option when cost savings is the top priority for your buyers.

But it’s also potentially inaccurate. When you position your company on competitive price alone, you’re not really looking at the value comparison. You’re also trusting that the way other companies positioned themselves is accurate, when really they might just be wearing platform shoes.

Cost-Plus Pricing

Cost-plus pricing is the simplest of the three most common B2B pricing strategies.

It’s sort of like the word problems on your third-grade math test:

Suzie is selling necklaces. She wants to make a $1 profit per necklace. If it costs Suzie 75 cents to make each necklace, how much does she have to charge to make her desired profit?

If you answered $1.75 (we sure hope you did), then you understand cost-plus pricing.

But just in case: cost-plus pricing means totaling the costs of producing and delivering a product, then adding a profit margin to arrive at your final sale price.

Like competitive pricing, cost-plus pricing is easy to determine. It also covers your expenses and produces predictable revenue numbers. Cost-plus pricing is a decent option for companies who have limited resources or who are just starting out and have no customer data to lean on.

But a cost-plus pricing strategy not only leaves out customer value as a determining factor, it also ignores market competitors and can potentially result in arbitrary market positioning.

Comparing the Options

All three B2B pricing strategies have their pros and cons, and there are situations where a cost-plus or competitive strategy is the most practical option. But there’s a reason value-based strategies are generally considered the most effective.

Here’s a good overview of the benefits of a value-based strategy compared to the two simpler options:

Choosing Your Pricing Strategy

Here’s what to consider when you’re deciding which strategy is right for your company:

Know Your Value Metric

Your value metric is how you measure your product’s per-unit value, and ultimately one of the main factors in how you arrive at an actual price. If you’re selling a straightforward product — say, pencils — your value metric would be per pencil. If you’re selling a consulting service, your value metric would likely be per hour.

Decide on a Pricing Model

Value metrics also help you determine your pricing model. Your pricing model depends on whether you’ll charge one price for a product or different prices based on product packages or levels of service.

Your pencils, for instance, would likely follow a flat-rate pricing model (every pencil or pack of pencils costs the same amount). Consulting services, on the other hand, may require a tiered pricing approach where buyers can decide on the level of service they need and be priced accordingly.

Utilize Buyer Personas

Buyer personas can be used to determine the price buyers would be willing to pay for your product. A customer purchasing a high-volume of office supplies (like your pencils) is likely to have cost savings at the top of their priority list.

A large corporation purchasing an enterprise-wide software system and consulting service is likely to put more focus on value and relationships, then worry about price as one of many contributing factors.

Consider all Factors

Once you know your value metric, pricing model, and buyer persona, you have the framework in place for deciding on the pricing strategy.

Some recommendations for making a decision:

  • Decide what’s most important for your company. A value-based strategy might be considered the holy grail in the B2B world, but if your product and business model are simple, a cost-plus or competitive approach could work for your company.
  • Build a cross-functional team to contribute to the discussion. Your marketing, sales, and accounting teams are all going to have different perspectives, and the right strategy decision usually lies somewhere in the middle.
  • Be flexible. Monitor your results and adjust your pricing strategy when necessary. Don’t stick with a strategy that’s not working just because you decided on it in the past.

What Not to Do: B2B Pricing Edition

Always Aim to be the Lowest

Don’t get stuck playing price limbo with your competitors — it’s not always about how low you can go.

Competitive prices are part of a comprehensive pricing strategy, yes. But they’re not the whole story. Don’t sacrifice assigning a fair price that aligns with the value of your offerings just for the sake of landing lower on the price scale than your competition.

Instead, be compelling about the added value that comes along with the higher price so that potential buyers understand that by paying more, they’re getting more.

Fail to Segment Your Customers

B2B offerings often include a wide range of products and services, and packages differ based on individual customer needs. That means prices will vary, too.

Don’t lump all of your customers into one pricing category. Instead, consider your buyer personas, their unique needs, and their budgets. Put together packages that align with those factors and offer options to your buyers.

Ignore Competitors

Don’t ignore competitor pricing, even when you don’t think it’s critical to your pricing strategy. Instead, know their value propositions and how they stack up with yours — and that doesn’t always mean thinking in terms of better or worse.

No two companies — even those in the same industry and with very similar product offerings — are exactly alike. Find out what makes your company and your products unique, and be ready to talk about it with your potential buyers, including how those differentiators contribute to price differences.

Leave Surprises Waiting

Have you ever booked a flight with a budget airline only to arrive at check in to face exorbitant baggage charges? Before you knew it, your extra carry-on bag cost about as much as the more comfortable plane ticket you passed up in the name of getting a bargain. It’s annoying!

Nobody likes surprises when it comes to making a purchase. When you tack on additional fees later in the buying process without mentioning them first or being clear about what they’re for, you show poor transparency and a lack of respect for your customers.

When you’re pricing your products, don’t leave surprises waiting for buyers after they decide to make a purchase. Include everything in your original quote and be honest.

Your buyers might ultimately pay the extra fees you add on (just like you paid for your extra carry-on bag) but they’ll likely lose some trust in your company, too — a loss more impactful in the long term than that small bump in profit.

via The Complete Guide to B2B Pricing

 

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9 Best Marketing Channels For Your Small Business In 2021

9 Best Marketing Channels For Your Small Business In 202

The last few years have seen a huge increase in internet penetration and web technologies worldwide. Consequently, the marketing landscape has evolved to give us bigger and better marketing channels to reach the right audience at the right time.

However, not all marketing channels are well-suited for a small business. For example, if you’re a local eatery, you wouldn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a nationwide TV commercial.

As such, you must be aware of the small business marketing channels most likely to make a positive impact on your specific product or service.

Best marketing channels for small business

Here’s my list of the best channels to consider when promoting your small business. I’ll walk you through a brief explanation of each channel, why it matters, and how to get started.

#1. Email Marketing

Despite being an old channel in terms of internet years, email still has the potential to reach 3.9 billion people as of 2020, and this number is expected to touch 4.3 billion users in 2023.

This makes email marketing an ideal way to drive leads and conversions for your small business.

Email marketing can not just reach a wide audience, but also delivers the best returns. As per an industry census, 73% of people ranked email as an excellent marketing channel.

SaleCycle

Image Source: SaleCycle.com

Plus, DMA states that every $1 spent on email marketing leads to a $42 average return on investment.

Writing a series of emails and sending it to potential customers based on a carefully planned timeline can help you establish a relationship, build trust and make them interested in your product or service.

To get started with email marketing, you’ll need a way to build an email list and send emails to your contacts at regular intervals. That’s where an email marketing software like Mailchimp can help.

It will allow you to capture email addresses through your website, social media accounts, marketing events, and other avenues. In addition, you’ll be able to create a series of emails, along with an automation workflow, to send these emails to your contact list.

#2. Organic Search

According to Bright Edge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Whether it’s for research, entertainment, or shopping, a search engine is the first place most people start with. And then they’ll click one of the top results that show up on the first page of organic search engine results.

This is what makes organic search another effective marketing channel for a small business.

Bright-Edge

Image Source: BrightEdge

When a customer searches for a query related to your product or service, the goal is to get the pages from your website to rank higher than those of competitors. Doing this will ensure a consistent stream of traffic and leads into your sales funnel.

The process of getting listed and strengthening your website’s presence in organic search engine result pages (SERPs) is known as SEO. It will involve researching the best keywords you want to rank for, and then optimizing the pages on your website for your selected keywords.

#3. Mobile Devices

Mobile usage has been on the rise for many years now, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. 50.88% of online traffic in 2020 came from mobile devices.

Desktop-VS-Mobile-Internet-Usage-Statistics-In-2020

Image Source: High-Speed Internet

Customers prefer businesses that can provide the information and communication they need through SMS, WhatsApp, and other mobile apps.

So it only makes sense to promote your small business to users of mobile and tablet devices.

There are a number of ways to capitalize on the mobile trend, the most prominent of which is having a mobile-responsive website. It’s no longer acceptable to have an outdated website that doesn’t adapt to different screen sizes.

#4. Word-of-Mouth Marketing

It’s no surprise that people trust other customers over you and your marketing team.

Marketers usually have an agenda, but a customer will spread the word about a brand, whether online or offline, only if the brand has truly delighted them. That’s why 9 out of 10 customers read reviews when considering a purchase.

There’s no shortcut to using this marketing channel for your benefit. You will really need to put in the work to ensure a great customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey.

Then set up email automation to reach out to customers to ask for feedback on their experience, and if they’re happy with your product or service, request a testimonial.

#5. Video Marketing

If you haven’t yet jumped on the video bandwagon, there’s no better time to do so.

When asked how they prefer to learn more about a product or service, 69% of people in a survey mentioned watching a video.

If you run a small business, you don’t need a big production team to start video marketing. It’s possible to create videos affordably. For instance, you use a camcorder to record videos that answer customer questions, introduce your team, or showcase customer testimonials.

These videos may not be as polished, but they can still win over your audience with their authentic look and feel.

#6. Business Blog

A blog is a must-have marketing channel for your small business. With a business blog, you get a dedicated platform to educate current and potential customers on the topics related to your niche.

Six out of ten buyers say that blog posts are valuable at the start of their purchase journey.

Oberlo

Image Source: Oberlo

A business blog is like a central content hub that attracts prospects, helps you turn visitors into leads, and strengthens your online presence on other marketing channels.

With several intuitive blogging platforms available online, starting a business blog these days is relatively easy. All you need is a domain name, hosting, and content management system, the most popular being WordPress.

#7. Social Media

Next up on our list is Social Media. 72% of US adults say that they use at least one social media website.

Pew-Research

Image Source: Pew Research

Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more allow your small business to build rapport with your audience.

When you interact with your customers at the same place where their friends are, your business becomes a part of their personal network.

Plus, social media posts are easy to share, leading to word-of-mouth opportunities.

To get started with social media marketing, pick the social media platforms where your target customers are the most active and work on building an active presence.

#8. Paid Search (Pay-Per-Click Ads)

Paid Search refers to advertising your website near the top of search engine result pages, instead of getting found organically.

Order-Online

You are required to pay only when a user clicks on your ad, which is why another name for paid search is PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising.

This is a drastically different model from traditional outdoor advertising, in which you pay for your ads to be displayed, regardless of whether they trigger any action from the viewer.

Paid search ads may cost more than some of the other marketing channels on our list. However, they offer a unique benefit that no other channel can – the potential to generate results fast. In fact, 66% of CMOs expect to increase spend on paid search in 2021.

The most common way to get started with paid search is to create a Google Ads account and launch a search engine advertising campaign.

#9. Display Advertising

Display ads allow you to use image banners and videos to show an offer to your target audience on the websites they are likely to visit. Here’s an example:

Dropbox-For-Business

Google’s Display Network, for instance, allows you to create display ads with the potential to reach 90% of internet users worldwide.

These ads can also be shown on email platforms, social media, and other digital channels that provide ad placements.

You can use them in isolation, but the real game-changer with these types of ads is targeting people who have already visited your website or opted into your email newsletter. This is referred to as remarketing.

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7 Strategies for Bulletproof SEO Content

Content is the backbone of an effective SEO strategy. Search engines like Google aim to give searchers the best experience. Without quality content, it is next to impossible to earn high rankings.

Many factors come into play when creating optimized content. In this post, I share seven practical steps to boost the performance of your quality content in search.

1. Optimize for answer box

The Google answer box or featured snippet is a unique result that stands out among the other listings on the search engine results page. It generally appears at the top of the page with a bit of text and a link to the website:

Image showing the featured snippet for “What is a Google Answer Box?”

Google provides the answer box to help searchers find the answer to their question immediately – without needing to click on the result. The text varies in formats, including lists, tables, or one paragraph.

Focus on two things when optimizing your content for the answer box – answers to questions people are asking and properly formatted listicles.

2 #SEO tips for Google’s answer box: Answer questions people are asking and properly format your listicles, says @reliablesoftnet via @CMIContent @semrush.Click To Tweet

Answer specific questions

First, you must know the questions to answer. Not all searches trigger a featured snippet. Many answer boxes appear when searches include question-related words – who, what, where, when, why, and how, often at the beginning of the query.

With proper keyword research, you can see what questions your audience is asking. Once you find those relevant inquisitive searches, you can create your content to answer those questions.

You want to give thorough answers, but you need to be concise. The featured snippet is a brief space to answer the searcher’s question.

To answer why- and what-type questions, include a summarized answer at the beginning or end of your content.

Optimize list content

Listicles are popular and an effective way of earning the answer box.

The featured snippets for listicles show a bulleted or numbered list on the results page. They are great for “best” and “how-to” searches. With a list, searchers get a quick and easy-to-understand answer.

For example, here is a post that contains a bulleted list of digital marketing certifications:

Image showing a bulleted list of the top digital marketing certifications of 2021.

Some simple structure techniques optimized the post to help it appear as a featured snippet. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use proper headings and formatting: The H1 tag for the title should describe what the article is about and ideally match the target query as much as possible. Each step in the list should have an H2 tag.
  • Use the HTML list element: In this case, make the list title an H2 and each list item an H3. Wrap your list items using the HTML list element (UL).
  • Use the list element and named anchors: Expand on the above technique by adding anchor links to each list item.
  • Use how-to schema: A how-to schema is a form of structured data that explicitly tells Google that your content contains a list. It also lets you specify what the steps are.

2. Improve internal linking of your important pages

Internal links play a big role in SEO and the user experience. They establish a hierarchy for the website, help visitors navigate the site, and spread link juice among your pages. Descriptive anchor texts and internal links can help Google better understand what a page is about.

Internal links also help show the contextual relationship between two pages. Search engines begin to understand page one is related to page two. That establishes page relevancy.

You want to create a strategy for adding contextual links to your most important pages – the pages on your site targeting your primary keywords. They often have the highest number of backlinks from external sites.

Adding contextual internal links to your most important pages helps search crawlers understand how your pages are related, says @reliablesoftnet via @CMIContent @semrush. #SEOClick To Tweet

Make a list of the top pages based on your strategic priorities. Then, create topic clusters by identifying related content. You want to have the assortment of related content all link back to the main page. This indicates the main page is the most authoritative.

An efficient way to track and manage your internal links is to use the links report within Google Search Console. It tells the total number of internal links and the top internally linked pages. If you’re executing your strategy, your most important pages will be at the top. When you click on a page you can drill down into a list of all the other pages linking to it.

3. Check for orphaned content

Orphaned content is a page that doesn’t have any internal contextual links from your other pages. Search engines have difficulty finding orphaned content. It may be accessible through the sitemap but not when the search engines crawl the site.

As a result, orphaned pages typically do not rank very well. They also are more difficult for visitors to find and get less engagement overall.

You can check for orphaned content using a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs. If you have any orphaned content, find the most appropriate pages to link from and add a few links.

Don’t let your #content be orphaned. Add links to newly published posts in your older content, advises @reliablesoftnet via @CMIContent @semrush.Click To Tweet

Going forward, make it part of your content creation process to add links to your new posts immediately upon publishing. When you publish a post, add that link to some older posts to ensure it is not orphaned.


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4. Add alt text and captions to images

Optimizing your images can go a long way in strengthening your SEO performance. Google looks at a variety of factors to understand an image’s subject matter and the role it plays in the content. One of the most important variables to the image alt text.

Alt text is a written description of an image designed to assist people who cannot see the visual. Google uses alt text to better understand your images and the related keywords. Used properly, alt text can help your images rank in Google Images, bringing quality traffic to your website.

See below some examples – good and bad – from Google:

Image showing good and bad examples of alt text.

Notice how the bad image examples omit the alt text or go overboard stuffing keywords into it. The better example clearly identifies the image subject matter while the best example uses relevant keywords and describes the action.

While captions don’t get as much attention, include them for all images. They don’t directly impact SEO, but they help improve the visitor experience. And when customers spend more time on your site, that signals to Google that your content is valuable.

Plus, search engines crawl captions, presenting another opportunity to include your target keywords to make the image more relevant to priority search terms.

5. Use keywords strategically

Google relies on the included keywords to determine if your content is relevant to a query. The most important places to include your keywords are titles and headings. If possible, include them in the first couple hundred words. Many SEO experts believe Google weighs the beginning of content more heavily. (That makes sense, given readers do too.)

Your content should include a healthy mix of the primary term, secondary keywords, and any related keywords. The primary keyword is the main focus of the content. Secondary keywords are variations of the primary keywords. Related keywords are the terms contextually relevant to the content. For example, if you wrote a post targeting the phrase “how does baseball work,” the terms baseball glove, batter, and pitcher would be related keywords.

6. Enable comments

Many people forego allowing comments because they think they offer little to no SEO value. Others want to avoid having to moderate the comments, including spam.

I do not recommend forgoing comments for a couple of reasons. First, Google employees themselves have stated comments can have a positive impact on SEO, as shown this tweet from Google’s Gary Illyes:

Tweet from Google’s Gary Illyes regarding comments: If we see there’s a healthy, thriving community on a site, that can help a lot.

It makes sense. When people engage in the comments, it increases the average time on site, signaling to Google that they enjoy the content and find it valuable.

With comments enabled, you must take on the responsibility of moderating. Avoid publishing spammy or useless comments and reply to almost every comment your visitors leave.

With comments enabled, you must moderate. Avoid publishing useless comments and reply to comments, says @reliablesoftnet via @CMIContent @semrush. #SEOClick To Tweet

7. Improve readability and usability

If your content is difficult to read, it is unlikely many people will stick with it. You can avoid this by optimizing for readability. Communicates ideas concisely and in an easy-to-understand way. Here are some simple ways to do it:

  • Use short words: Words with fewer syllables are easier to read.
  • Use short sentences: Like words, longer sentences are harder to read. Break up longer ideas into several shorter sentences. Keep sentences to no more than one idea.
  • Use clear language: Avoid jargon. Choose words and phrases that an uninitiated person will understand.

Today, a lot of readability evaluators are available to score your content based on how easy your text is to read. Some highlight the difficult areas so you can quickly improve the quality of your text.

Along with readability, you want to optimize your website’s usability. Visitors should be able to clearly see and navigate your content on any device. Make good use of elements like headers, images, bold text, short paragraphs, and bullet points.

A quick way to check the usability of your pages is to review your site’s Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console. Each URL is given a rating of poor, needs improvement, or good for both desktop and mobile.

Google also provides the steps to take to resolve trouble spots. Once you’ve made the changes, you can ask Google to validate the fixes and verify the issues are resolved.

Optimize for the search and visitor experience

By following these seven tips, your quality content is more likely to get found by Google and clicked by searchers. But it requires ongoing work, whether that’s moderating your comments section or adding alt text and captions to every image, you must be committed for it to pay off in higher rankings.

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How to Build a Content Optimization Process [Video Series]

About 2,7000 years ago, people began to optimize content so it could be discovered.

How? They built libraries.

Libraries gave people an organized archive they could search for answers to their questions.

About 2,300 years ago, the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt had a famous librarian, Callimachus, one of the most renowned Greek poets and scholars.

But Callimachus’ fame didn’t come from his storytelling. No, he introduced the first topical catalog of the library’s holdings. He ostensibly built the first Google of the world.

In this month’s Marketing Makers episode, I explore the evolution of content optimization, then leap ahead to the challenges of optimizing content in 2021. Watch the full episode here, or skip ahead to the segment where I show you a content optimization model for the future that takes into account all the ways people look for information today.

A modern content optimization framework

To meet audience needs now, you have to optimize your content for search engines, social channels, vertical channels, industry channels, and even your own channels.

I developed a framework to help you think about each attribute of today’s content optimization model:

In this segment of Marketing Makers, I explain how this model helps you optimize content to be found on the dizzying array of channels where your audience looks for information.

It all starts with optimizing for humans.


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Intent

Understand what your audience is looking for when they come to your content. Strive to understand their intent even better than they do.

The goal should be to make the information that matches their intent easy to find. This is the heart of search engine optimization.

The heart of #SEO is making the information that matches their intent easy to find, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #MarketingMakersClick To Tweet

Authority

When you develop your content – no matter if you are educating, inspiring, entertaining, or simply providing directions – authority matters. Details matter. Depth matters.

Authority is not delivered in a single piece of content. It’s communicated through your library of content. These attributes include linking, attaching, and serving relevant details and more in-depth content, so your content consumer never needs to go anywhere else.

Internal context

In a word, the internal context attribute is about meaning. It might be your point of view. It might be a unique take or solution to a problem. It might be the information you choose to provide in proximity to other information.

A clear, consistent, and differentiated point of view and/or meaning in your content is what makes it stand out when people are searching for answers. How it’s displayed also communicates a context, which can deepen the engagement.

A clear, consistent, differentiated point of view or meaning can make your #content stand out when people search for answers, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrapClick To Tweet

I call this the settle-the-bar-bet problem. Someone at a bar says, “What’s the answer to that question?” You answer. They search and find the answer to confirm what you provided.

Usually, the questioner simply nods, puts their phone in their pocket, and moves on.

But what if your answer sparked further interest. It intrigued them, so they read it aloud to their friend, “Did you also know that …” And maybe they even bookmark it for future reading. That’s the internal context you want to achieve.

External context

Now, tech and automation solutions enter the optimization framework to assist with conditional contexts – how content appears in mobile vs. desktop or which viewing formats will prompt pop-up screens.

You determine how first-party data such as location, buying history, content consumption, device type, etc., inform your displayed content.

Also, use this data to decide which content to put into social media, vertical sites, and other interfaces where you don’t control the display.

Use your first-party data to decide which content to put into social media, vertical sites, etc., says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #WeeklyWrapClick To Tweet

Described

At this point in the framework, you create content that describes your content – to help machines categorize, measure, personalize, and activate content. This content usually falls into three categories:

  • Descriptive metadata – categorical terms about the piece of content. These could be the audience persona, the buyer’s journey phase, the author, or the product category it supports.
  • Administrative metadata – content management elements such as publication dates, expiration dates, rights management, legal or compliance categorization, etc.
  • Structural metadata – details that help connect one content asset to others. It could be a set of data that reacts to a prompt such as “If you like this, you might like this too.”

Technical

At this last point in the framework, optimize for the search tech that gets it in front of your audiences. For example, make sure your website loads quickly and your content is optimized for mobile viewing.

Templatize blocks of content that will be reused, such as standard brand language, product descriptions, and legal footers.

Go forth like Callimachus

This optimization framework can help you organize your thoughts to always deliver the best experience to your audiences.

Start with optimizing for humans. When you understand your audience and their intent, you can optimize the content for findability. Once you create in-depth, valuable, informative, and engaging content with authority, you can bring out the best meaning in your content and drive better internal context.

With that achieved (or in progress), you can move onto the tech side of optimization with external contexts, such as mobile, search, social, etc. You can describe that content so machines can understand and do more with it and use technical solutions to present it optimally.

via How to Build a Content Optimization Process That Goes Way Beyond SEO [Video Series]

 

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The two key business questions every website must answer

The two key business questions every website must answer

 

I have this place on my website where anyone can sign up for an hour of my time. It’s a lot of fun because I get to meet people from all around the world and help them solve their business problems.

A high percentage of the time, I discover that the underlying problem is FOCUS. My client is having a hard time defining exactly what they do and why they matter. This may seem like a pretty basic issue, but believe me, I have hundreds of data points to prove this is a prevalent issue!

Today I will share the biggest idea I can give you to provide focus to your life, business, and website.

The two key business questions

When I visit a website, I often find it difficult to tell what the darn business does! One person last week spent 30 minutes in conversation explaining her business and I still didn’t understand it. No wonder her website is confusing!

My advice to fix this problem is simple. When I come to a website, I want to see the answer to two key business questions:

  • What problem do we solve?

  • How do we uniquely solve it?

That’s it.

If you can answer those two key business questions, you’ll provide focus and something a potential customer can understand. with abundant clarity. When I visit a website, I should see the answers to those questions immediately without scrolling or moving to another page.

Although the advice I provide is simple, figuring out the answers to those questions can be more difficult.

Here’s what I’ve learned after consulting with hundreds of executives and business owners — They usually KNOW the answers but they’re not listening to their own wisdom. It takes some digging, but we can always unearth the truth. And if we can’t address those key business questions easily … well, maybe there’s not a real business there after all.

Answering the key business questions

Here’s a short example of how this works.

I was helping a chief marketing officer who had been working at a company for about 10 years. He was completely stuck on how to explain the company through his marketing messaging. He could not answer these two key business questions because over time, his company had grown and morphed into so many new areas that he couldn’t bring it together in one statement.

He told me that his company was a marketing agency, based in a major U.S. city.

I asked him, where are you getting most of your revenue?

“We’ve developed apps that help doctors visualize complicated patient data. We’ve also helped medical centers with new administrative software.”

Hmmmm. That does not sound like a marketing agency to me! I continued to probe. It became clear that the company had grown in so many new directions since he had joined the company that it was something beyond a mere marketing agency. They were a software company creating custom solutions for the healthcare industry.

This executive was explaining this to me but just couldn’t hear himself say it. Once I pointed it out, his direction and focus became crystal clear. He was relieved and we were able to start a discussion on an exciting new strategy highlighting their unique capabilities. All w had to do was answer those two questions.

via The two key business questions every website must answer

 

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