Measuring your brand online is something B2B firms can find challenging. This is due to the fact that a brand is often perceived as something intangible that can’t be measured. Since measuring a brand requires commitment of resources and attention, many B2B small to medium sized firms pay little attention to it. In the long run, failure to measure your brand risks the implementation of the wrong branding strategies, wasted marketing investments, and reduced ROI.
How do you measure your brand?
1. Create online surveys
An easy way to measure your current brand awareness is by conducting online surveys. For example, you could have a questionnaire on your website to ask visitors how they found you, or if they had heard of you before.
2. Search Popularity
Use Google Adwords, Keyword Planner and Google Trends to see the volume of searches for your brand name. You can also use them to monitor your competitors’ brands, as well as some other top industry keywords over time to see the trends in search volumes.
3. Monitor Your Brand
Good brand management requires careful monitoring. Set a little time aside each day for checking up on your brand’s presence. You may also want to set aside a bigger block of time weekly or monthly to carry out more detailed analysis.
Tools for Monitoring Your Brand : There are many online tools you can use to measure your brand. Tools such as Social Mention and Trackur keep tabs on your online reputation for you. When your brand is mentioned, they’ll alert you and provide a link. SocialMention actually analyzes comments about your brand and shows you the overall sentiment, and you can choose to see only positive or negative listings.
Google Alerts: All of these tools are slightly different so you should spend some time finding the ones that suit you. In the meantime, Google Alerts provide the simplest and easiest system for monitoring online. You select keywords or phrases, such as your brand’s name, and then Google lets you know when something is posted online. You can choose either to be alerted immediately, or as a daily or weekly digest.
More Specialized Tools: There are also tools for specific social media sites. Twilert is a tool that works in the same way as Google Alerts but focuses on Twitter, while Hyper Alerts is a similar tool that alerts you of Facebook activity.
There are also specific analytic tools designed to help you boost your search engine rankings. Google Analytics This is a great tool to track the number of people who searched your website directly, bookmark pages on your website, or clicked a link in an untracked email or offline document. Monitoring this over a particular period of time will give you an indication of the trends in your brand awareness.
4. Unlinked Mentions
You may also want to find unlinked mentions and link them back to your site. An unlinked mention is when someone posts something about your brand online but doesn’t link back to your website. This is a lost opportunity for you. If there is a link leading back, it will bring you more traffic. Most people post content without thinking about including live links, so if you find unlinked mentions and reach out to the site owner, they’ll often be happy to link to your site. Be sure to provide the link in the email to make it easy for them to link back to your site by adding it to the appropriate page in question. You can do this simply by calling or emailing the owner of the site and explaining your objective, and also taking the opportunity to create a more formalized backlinks partnership with them.
5. Social listening
People often go online to talk about the brands they like and those they do not like. Social listening is an inexpensive way to track conversations about your brand across social media and the web. This is done by keeping track of social media shares, likes, and comments. Tools such as Oktopost and Hootsuite enable you to not only schedule social media posts, but to monitor interactions in single dashboards, while more niche tools such as Tweetreach provide advanced analytics and the ability to monitor contributor influence.
Brand and the bottom line
While these tactics will help you measure your brand to see what works and what doesn’t, a common mistake by many B2B firms is linking their brand’s success and visibility to revenue. The trick with branding is how to capitalize on it, and convert goodwill and digital interactions into future sales and satisfied clients.
Create a solid foundation for future sales by paying attention to these methods of measurement. Read more about how your audience can recognize your firm online through your voice and tone, or check out our Insights for more useful information on brand management. And if you enjoyed reading it, feel free to share this post on social media.
Twitter averages 330 million monthly active users on its platform. From a popularity and usage point of view, its usage is lower than other social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook.
However, Twitter is unique because the platform limits users’ messages to a maximum of 280 characters to stimulate concise and witty posts.
Twitter is also a powerful platform to utilize for your social media business campaigns. It also
acts as a simple medium to inform and listen to feedback from your clients. However, many B2B firms do not pay enough attention to Twitter.
If your firm already has a Twitter account set up and you are not posting relevant tweets regularly, you will miss out on the potential benefits Twitter has to offer, and risk getting overlooked and going unnoticed.
These simple B2B Twitter tips will help you to grow your followers, generate leads, and gain
1. Edit the URL name and use a main keyword which best describes your company
From the default URL assigned to your profile by Twitter, edit it into something like
2. Regularly post (relevant) news and events
If you leave your Twitter account unattended, people will unfollow your business. And even if
they do not unfollow you, they might stop checking your posts if the account remains dormant for too long.
3. Follow groups, organizations, companies, and individuals which you believe are connected to your company or industry in some way.
Follow Twitter accounts that are related to the nature of your B2B firm. This will increase your
exposure to more Twitter users.
4. Avoid posting Tweets on other’s profiles
This is to maintain a professional position. Remember, this is a company account not a personal account.
5. Avoid using your company Twitter account for personal business
If you like a certain celebrity or you like to make comments about some current events that are completely unrelated to your business, you should follow them using your own personal
account. Business and personal opinions should not be mixed together.
6. Advertise your Twitter account on your other social media accounts
If you have a Facebook or LinkedIn account, tell your subscribers that you also have a Twitter account. This way, both your accounts will cross-pollinate and show more subscribers.
7. Be wary of Hashtags
Social media language has evolved considerably and hashtags are a huge part of this evolution. If you’re not using hashtags followed by a keyword, your content will get lost in an ocean of tweets.
However, if you’re trying to drive traffic to your website, do not use hashtags in your ads. A recent study shows that posts that used hashtags are actually 5% less efficient at attracting users, particularly when overused.
If you must use a hashtag, search for the hashtag on Twitter. You want to make sure no one
else is using the same hashtag as you and that it is not associated with anything outside your brand or anything negative.
8. Do not follow more people than you need to
One way to get other people to follow you is by following them. That doesn’t mean you should just follow anyone on Twitter. You want to keep your entire profile professional, and only follow those individuals and companies that are conducive to your professional image and represent personas you are interested in.
9. Use geo-location to find your local target niche
This feature is very useful for internet marketing and will help you locate your target clients
10. Focus more on your advocates than your influencers
Influencers are only likely to mention you once or twice, after which you are not really
connected with them. But advocates are different. They are potentially long-term partners with long term benefits. Invest time on them.
11. Your Tweets should be in harmony with your posts on other social media sites
Make sure that any company news, articles, events, and promotions you Tweet are aligned with those you post on across other channels to ensure brand consistency.
Of course, like other social media platforms, using Twitter requires a fair amount of
experimentation with your content to see what works and what doesn’t. Learn more about
how to build an effective online presence for B2B firms here. You can also follow us on Twitter for more B2B Twitter tips. And if you found this post helpful, feel free to like and share on social media.
Social media has leveled the playing field and bridged the gap between large B2B consulting firms and small ones. These platforms provide an excellent way to reach out to your target audience, engage with them, and show them what makes you different from the competition.
Many B2B consulting firms ignore what other brands are saying and doing on social media platforms. This does not help your brand.
If you continue to ignore your competition, you will miss out on a lot of valuable information that you can use to your advantage.
How B2B Consulting Firms Can Tame the Competition
Before you start checking what your competition is doing on social media, you need to develop your own unique strategies for your brand.
1. Delivering Your Messages in a Unique Way
You can use either of the following ways or a combination of them.
I. Use PowerPoint presentations.
Tired of old-school paragraph posts? Many of our B2B consulting clients have found success creating powerful presentations instead, and adding some exciting designs and animations.
II. Use images.
You can also make a graphic art of what you want to say. Research shows that people are drawn to images more than text.
III. Use video clips.
This can be made like a PowerPoint presentation or using live-action video. Video is one of the most important types of content for social media. Choosing to ignore video in your social strategy will make you irrelevant.
IV. Use voice clips.
Try something new once in a while and convey your message through a recorded voice. This is actually an effective marketing strategy because a voice can be more encouraging than written words.
V. Combine all of the above.
All the tactics above can be used at the same time. This will make for a unique and effective way of communicating with your subscribers.
VI. Use lists and bullet points.
A long paragraph is tiring to read. Make it easier for your subscribers to read by making a list instead.
VII. Use highlighting if your social media blog allows this feature.
Adding a colored highlight to a word will probably make it stand out even more. Unfortunately, not all social media sites offer the option.
VIII. Know the proper use of the opening word “ATTENTION!”
Sometimes, you can simply start a paragraph with “ATTENTION!” Use this sparingly. And make sure that the message is really worth the opening.
2. Check the social media sites of your competitor
When developing a social media strategy for your B2B consulting firm, always check the social media profiles of your competition. For example, do they use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter? Does their staff associate with the brand?
Observe your competition. Who knows? Your competitor might have come up with a cool new way to present ideas. Looking at the pages of your competitor will give you inspiration and an understanding of trends when you’re stumped for ideas. Check out 11 best Twitter tips for professional service firms, put together by our B2B consulting practice, for more tactics.
3. Mimic what works
Once you’ve identified the specific tactics your competitors are using that are earning them long-term benefits, implement them in your own social media campaign. However, do not copy everything. Otherwise, you’ll end up as white noise. Your followers look to you for insightful and valuable content – the value is lost if you’re just repeating what someone else said.
Instead, observe on a conceptual level how and why their strategies work, then apply those concepts or something similar to your own brand. For example, do they seem to experience higher engagement when linking to videos? Did they gain new followers by posting an editorial piece? Perhaps you could do the same for your own brand.
4. Check the number of hits your competitors have
This will let you know how well your competitor is doing compared to your firm. This will tell you if you need to improve your performance.
5. Avoid throwing out negativity
Do not throw shade at your competitor. If you do this, it can backfire and you might never recover. Brands have faced negative criticisms due to a single Tweet.
On the other hand, if your competitor chooses to make negative remarks or comments about your services or brand, do not engage on this level. Rather, posts facts and social proof (such as testimonials) that prove otherwise.
With any luck, your satisfied clients and supporters will step in on your behalf.
Instead of arguing, perhaps try turning a negative Tweet or post about your brand or services into a joke. If you found this blog post helpful, feel free to share on social media.
Brand management for B2B firms is more important than ever before due to digitization and social media proliferation and the subsequent need for consistent and relevant marketing messaging.
What’s in a Brand?
Your brand defines who you are and what you do, while also setting you apart from others like you. It emphasizes the unique value that your professional service or B2B business offers your clients. It’s the reason they choose to work with you and not another company. Your brand is communicated through everything your company does, from its design motifs and logo to the services and promotions it offers.
Online Brand Management
It takes a great deal of effort to maintain an online presence but the branding benefits are well worth it. You need to know what’s going on with your brand and use the internet to leverage the exposure it offers.
Branding is the process of building your brand, while brand management is the process of monitoring and maintaining it. Brand management helps those in the B2B industry to build a good corporate image and position in the market. Without proper brand management not only will your brand lose its value but you will lose clients to popular competitors.
Search engine optimization is important for online branding. You need to make sure that your website and social media profiles come up in searches related to your service. When people encounter your brand, whether in print or in person, they’re going to head straight to Google and see what else they can find out about you. Put a proactive SEO strategy into place and make sure you’re ranking for relevant keywords.
Email is Still Number One
Although there are now many ways to communicate online, email is still the main mode of communication for professional service firms. It’s good to build an email list and market directly to your list members’ inboxes. This is a good way to enhance your branding and the personal nature of email makes it excellent for creating an emotional bond.
The World of Social Media
We touched social media earlier, but don’t forget that social media is much more than just Facebook and Twitter. It includes video sharing sites like YouTube, blogs, industry specific social networking sites, online forums and more.
It’s especially important to leverage the power of review sites like LinkedIn groups and professional directories?. Join as many of these groups as possible and manage them well. Encourage your clients to leave good reviews and watch for bad reviews so that you can respond to them in a timely manner.
Content marketing is a critical component of brand building. Content marketing is a strategy in which you regularly publish articles, blog posts, videos or other content that helps your target market. It’s a great way to gain exposure and communicate your brand message. Remember that content should be timely, relevant, and valuable to your audience.
Online Reputation Brand Management
It’s possible that someone is going to say something bad about your company online and it’s inevitable that many others will see it. This is why you need reputation management protocols in place. When a complaint or negative comment is posted about your brand, you need to swing into action and handle it with the best approach possible.
A proactive method of protecting your reputation online is to encourage good reviews and positive comments. When you have a great number of good reviews on a site like platform like Facebook, or Google, a few bad ones aren’t so damaging.
Whenever responding to negative comments, remember to stay “on-brand.” Never get angry. Your handling of the situation should give others who see the interaction the right brand message. How you respond to these situations is as much a part of your brand marketing as any other activities you engage in.
Reviews are essential in the B2B industry. Any professional service or technology firm needs social proof in order to gain new clients. Form relationships with reviewers and review websites and encourage your clients to leave reviews. As briefly mentioned already, word of mouth is the best possible branding you could hope for.
Learn more about brand marketing strategies and feel free to share this post if you find it helpful.
How to Create an Effective Online Presence for a Professional Service Firm
There are now new and improved ways of engaging with clients. Professional service firms need to accept that the business environment has dramatically changed. It’s now characterized by crowded marketplaces, eroding client trust, and increased complexity.
Modern-day professional service buyers have access to more information about products and services. They no longer depend on outbound marketing channels (think broadcast TV, prints, radio, etc.) for advertisements. They consider them intrusive.
Social technologies have also made it easier for them to showcase their own opinions of a particular brand, and as a result, their buying decisions are influenced by their peers. That has resulted in more complex client journeys.
The implication is you need to adapt to the digital age or risk a stagnating brand. You can’t deny that competition is set to come thick and fast, especially when a Professional Services Market Global Report by The Business Research Company, forecasts a 5.4% growth rate from 2016 to 2020.
So how can you maintain a competitive advantage in today’s complex business environment?
By building a meaningful business brand that screams digital. Numbers from a global study by Havas Media of over 300,000 people and 1,500 brands show that significant brands outperform others on the stock market by 206% over a ten-year period.
Through this primer, we will discuss some of the ways a professional service firm can use to create an active online presence, which will, in effect, turn it into a meaningful brand.
Creating an Effective Online Presence
An active online presence means that a professional service firm can target prospective clients with content that has greater relevance to the audience via digital platforms where they spend significant time.
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can go about achieving this.
Have the Right Logo
Did you know that it only takes professional service buyers 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for them to recognize the logo?
The point here is that you need to choose your logo correctly. Let’s look at some of the qualities of an excellent professional services logo:
- Simplicity– Simple logos are memorable. The easier it is for your target audience to remember your logo, the better your brand awareness will be.
- Targeted– Your logo needs to appeal to the individuals you are trying to focus on. A creative agency, for instance, will have a much different look and feel compared to a law firm.
- Versatility– You can’t argue with the fact that the best logos look fabulous, no matter where they’re found. Regardless of its size, or if it is in print, digital, or other media, a great logo makes a strong impression.
- Appropriate– Does the logo reinforce your value proposition? Does it reflect the tone, style, and colors that you want your clients to see?
- Timeless– Is the logo timeless? Will some of the graphics be outdated a few years from now?
- Memorable and Professional– Make sure that you have a famous logo, one that is different than your competitors. Your logo should convey a clear message of your brand and your professional services.
Use the Right Color Scheme
Statistics show that the right color can improve readership by 40% by making messaging more natural to read and more visually appealing.
You need to think carefully about the color scheme you choose for your logo. Blue and green are often the most frequently used colors for professional service firms. Blue offers some additional benefits, which include:
- Pretty much everyone can see blue, while red/green color blindness is relatively standard.
- Blue is the most common favorite color for both men and women in the United States.
- Blue is psychologically associated with trust and confidence.
Make sure you use color purposefully as it accentuates your company logo and your corporate color palette. Also, make sure that the palette is consistent across all of your media, and it will appeal to the personas you are targeting.
The bottom line here is that it is safer to use colors that appeal to your professional service buyers and differentiate using your value proposition, content, and design.
Choose a Proper Website Theme
Although designers would prefer otherwise, most professional service firms do not need a custom developed website. Over 25% of the millions of sites that are online use the WordPress platform.
The benefits of using WordPress include:
- Thousands of professional service themes allow you to launch and change the design of your website quickly. There are thousands of themes available for WordPress.
- Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your WordPress site without knowing how to program. There are over 10,000 plugins available that help you add all kinds of functionality to your sites, like social media sharing, SEO, security, and much more.
- They are easy to update. Once it is set up, you can update it anytime you want, and that is important for engagement with your clients and the search engines.
- Google loves WordPress sites. Because they are updated more frequently, and the content tends to be structured well, you can get a WordPress site ranking very quickly compared to a static website.
- A thriving, engaged community supports WordPress. You can find a WordPress designer anywhere, and if you provide them the appropriate guidance, you can save thousands of dollars.
Include Best-in-Class Design Features
Numbers from research by Econsultancy show that 95% of professional service buyers believe that positive user experience is the most crucial factor when they visit a website.
Another study by Forrester highlights that a proper design could increase your website’s conversion rate by 200 to 400%.
Although there are exceptions, we recommend that most professional service firms follow some simple best practices:
- Avoid clip art, use a lot of pictures, preferably not stock photos.
- If you have a process or system, highlight it; it helps you stand out and builds credibility.
- Make sure you use a variety of media if possible –e.g., icons, pictures, video.
- Use sub-tabs, so your menu does not look so overwhelming, try to avoid more than six main level tabs.
- Use a consistent template format for navigation, headers, text, typography, and hyperlinks.
- Make sure content flows from one block to another without overwhelming the visitor. Give users a clear and consistent structure they can follow.
- Make sure you provide enough white space throughout the design. White space not only helps reduce the cognitive load of visitors, but it also makes it much easier for users to segment and digest the information presented.
- Think through your desired visitor path and present a clear call to action to guide them along the way. Plan on these early in the development process so they can be included in the design in a cohesive and non-obstructive manner.
- Check Browser Rendering –Does your browser perform well across all major browsers and operating systems? A cross-browser check is worth the time, as many browsers do render the website differently.
Content is King!
I know you agree with the phrase- content is “king!” You also agree with the fact that it’s hard for targeted audiences to react to your content promptly, especially when you consider that prospective clients are being exposed to so many brand messages.
Professional service buyers’ attention spans have shortened. They are subject to more information than ever before; they consume so many inbound marketing messages every day, and as a result, this makes it harder to cut through.
So, how can your professional service firm stand above the rest and deliver content that outplays the hundreds of other competing messages? Here’s how:
- In inbound marketing, content is vital. Ensure that you post top-notch/high-quality industry content as it will set you apart from other professional service firms you compete with and help you to earn the trust of prospective clients.
- Ensure that your content (think blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, infographics, etc.) reinforces your value proposition and sets the right tone for the persona you have developed.
- Ensure that your website content is free of spelling errors, properly edited, and written in the author’s native language.
- Ensure that your content is simple enough, so a majority of the target audience can easily understand it and thus stay longer on your site.
- Ensure that you consistently create and publish new content, as this will keep prospects coming for more. The best way to achieve this is to set publishing goals and execute them.
- Ensure that you cover topics that are relevant to your professional service firm and your target market; to research on topic ideas you can look at industry conferences agenda or LinkedIn groups your clients are on, or share use cases on how you solve clients’ problems.
- Remember to write for your humans and not the search engines – though you cannot ignore keywords.
- As a professional service firm, you are selling the expertise of your people; therefore, make sure you have stable bios for your key staff. You can also use testimonials and case studies to demonstrate your knowledge.
- Keep in mind that professional service buyers buy based on outcomes and not processes, so if you have “proof statements” that demonstrate the value you add, use them. For instance, a marketing firm may say- “through our efforts, we were able to demonstrate 60% more qualified leads.”
Leverage Social Media
To grow and scale your business in today’s competitive business environment, you need to keep your existing and prospective clients happy and engaged.
Enter social media.
A social media strategy can enable your professional service firm to adopt a client-centric culture, an agile mindset, and also be able to respond and execute on client feedback continually.
As a result, your firm, and more so your employees, can adopt an iterative, test, and lean approach that will enhance product development and client experience based on feedback and data from your social media platforms.
To create a solid social media strategy, consider the following tips:
- Integrate social media buttons on your website- social channels allow for a more luxurious client experience; these social platforms allow professional service buyers to interact directly with businesses and brands, thus creating a dialogue with them. Make sure the icons are easily identifiable, and that they link to your social media accounts, as well as traditional sharing icons on posts so content can be quickly shared across social media networks.
- Use the right social media accounts- There are many social media platforms that you can choose from (think Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). You need to understand the nature of each channel to be able to use it appropriately. Ask yourself where do most of your prospective clients spend their time? Well, LinkedIn leads the way as it is the largest professional social network. Consider creating a LinkedIn account.
- Once you’ve leveraged the right social media channels, ensure that you provide content regularly. You can use some of the automation tools (think Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.) available on the market to help you and your workforce automate otherwise complex social media processes, thereby driving greater efficiencies from your social channels.
- Make sure that the content you share is relevant and resonates emotionally with your client base as this will increase the likelihood of people sharing your content or talking about it with their network.
- Social activity influences organic search, so share your content regularly and encourage others to do so as well. You can also take it a notch higher and design a brand advocacy program that will promote sharing and reward brand advocates.
- And finally, remember that social media is about interaction, which means you must actively connect with your followers, share third-party content, and communicate via tweets, likes, comments, etc. Ensure that you address not only positive comments but also negative ones.
Always Include Call-to-Actions
Studies show that 90% of people who look at your website will read your CTAs, and if they are embedded in your text, your conversion rate will increase by over 120%.
Therefore, as prospective clients come to your website, ensure you have a clear call to action for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
A typical buyer’s journey takes the following format typically:
- Awareness– a professional service buyer becomes aware of your site and your expertise.
- Interaction– a professional service buyer enjoys your blog, so they sign up for your newsletter.
- Value-added giveaway– trust begins to develop, and they are willing to provide you some information about their firm in exchange for some value-added information that highlights your firm’s expertise.
- Action– you have demonstrated you are a trusted advisor to the professional service buyer.
- Client– a client buys your services.
Professional service firms need to recognize that the business landscape is fast-changing, and consequently, client expectations are continually evolving.
They need to reposition their brands as a result of these changes and understand that the true value of a professional service firm is determined by a number of factors from the quality of the service and customer service through to its online presence.
A well-developed online presence can help a professional service firm differentiate its services, create and maintain a competitive edge, and build client loyalty.
The strategies mentioned above will go a long way in helping you create an active online presence that will ensure that your services, and also client experiences deliver clear and consistent expressions of your professional service firm’s brand.
Your website is an extension of your firm. When prospects come to your site, they will begin to decide as to whether or not they want to engage you. Are you leaving them with the right impression?
Get the FREE audit of your website today so you can start gaining more clients tomorrow.
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Scarcity is a technique used by professional services marketers to boost sales. It’s not a comprehensive method by itself. All of the other elements of good marketing need to be in place first. It won’t sell your service for you, but it will increase your sales by urging your clients to act now.
What is Marketing Scarcity?
There are two types of scarcity used by marketers: limited quantity and limited time. Limited quantity means that there are only a certain number of units for sale, and only a few left. This is not very relevant for most professional service firms.
Instead, time scarcity is a tactic that may be used by some professional service companies. An example of time limits would be to offer a discount on your services, at last years rates(if you are entering a new year). Once that deadline comes, the deal is off. Again, the client knows that they need to act fast in order to get the benefits of your services at a discounted price. This tactic works well on any potential client who has been on the fence about using your service, or who really wants to utilize your service but is worried about the cost. It also reminds the client that your rates typically go up every year.
Using Scarcity Effectively
There are a few basic guidelines for using scarcity well. One is to actually follow through on your limit. If the deal is only good for one month, stick to only one month. Don’t make exceptions, or else the tactic won’t work as well next time.
Try using scarcity at the end of your sales funnel. Pre-qualify your clients and get them interested before you tell them there is a time-sensitive deal going on right now.
To learn more about effective selling techniques for your professional service company, read the full report titled, Persuasive Selling.