How a Good B2B Agency Works With Their Clients

The importance of working with the right B2B agency cannot be understated. If you live in the Austin area, there are hundreds of agencies to choose from. Literally.

It may be tempting to think that most agencies operate similarly and your results with each will be about the same. But, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. How should you know which B2B agency is right for you? Consider these three qualities:


This quality seems obvious, we know. Of course you want the people you pay to have a brain. Still, it’s important to look beyond flashy exteriors and lofty promises to discover how your chosen agency operates.

A competent B2B agency will begin any new client relationship by listening to their clients problems and researching their customers pain points.

According to survey from LinkedIn, B2B buyers are five times more likely to engage with a company who can provide new insights about their business. If your chosen agency doesn’t have a thorough understanding of your industry, how can you expect them to develop marketing material that speaks to your audience?

Once an agency understands your customers and their pain points, they should be able to educate you on best targeting practices. Since each business will have it’s own circumstances to consider, it’s imperative that an agency can determine creative solutions. Perhaps you are looking for your target audience in the wrong places, or maybe you have misidentified your target audience altogether. The agency should be considering problems like this from all angles. Once they’ve identified the core problem, their solutions should be personalized to your situation. Some audiences are more receptive to certain types of marketing, for example, so their ideas should go beyond “Let’s move adspend to PPC,” or “Let’s start a Twitter.”

Competence and knowledge are one in the same. Agencies not only need to have a knowledge of the industry, but they need to be able to prove it. When prospects contact an agency, it’s because they are ready to talk about their businesses, not the agency, and if agencies can’t do this in a constructive and candid way, they may not possess this quality.


Following competency, the most important quality in a B2B agency is creativity. This quality is not too difficult to identify — just begin by looking at the happiness of agency employees.

To be at their highest creative ability, a B2B agency need to cultivate an atmosphere of job satisfaction and happiness. According to a study produced by Social Market Foundation, happiness in the workplace increases productivity by an average of 12%, and in some cases, by as much as 20%.

In other words, if employees aren’t happy, their creativity will be stunted. That means they won’t perform best for your company.

Naturally, management will be the highest determining factor on employee happiness. Leonard Glick, Professor of management and organizational development at Boston’s Northeastern University, explains that the leadership needs to facilitate an open relationship where they communicate and keep their employees informed. If there is a lack of communication, not only will the employees feel unimportant, it will slow down the creative process and negatively impact clients.

Creative agencies will have a culture of experimentation and curiosity. Sometimes, agencies may find a formula that works well, and they stick with it, effectively barring exploration outside of this comfort zone. Glick explains that the danger in this is that employees will grow bored and burnt out doing the same thing. He recommends giving them new responsibilities to keep them engaged and challenged to devise creative solutions.

Agencies with a healthy creative atmospheres didn’t achieve that by giving their workers huge pay checks or tons of special perks (Think beer o’clock fridays or foosball tables). It’s about a collaborative environment where risks are taken, and the employees have a space to explore and innovate. If no one is smiling, then the agency will likely not deliver the creative results you desire as a client.


Agencies who can engender a prosperous agency-client relationship are arguably more valuable than even the most competent and creative agencies.

A good agency-client relationship is fostered through constant back-and-forth communication from both parties. For this to happen, your chosen B2B agency should establish a level of trust and policy with you early in the relationship.

There is a right way to do this, and then there is the wrong way.

According to Emily Belden from The Layout, a successful relationship is one with trust. You should feel that your chosen agency is accessible to you and that your feedback is received and considered. Once you feel that you can trust your project in an agency’s capable hands, you won’t feel like you need to micromanage them. Instead, you will begin to see them as a partner. On the agency side, you should feel that their top priority is keeping in contact with you and reporting updates and milestones.

Test your potential agency partners’ accessibility: tweet them. 70% of B2B buyers use social media as a research tool, so it’s a smart idea to test how well an agency can respond on social media.

It is the job of every B2B agency to make you, as the client, feel valued. They should care as much about your business as you do and be reliable and accessible sources of information and insights. Before your first meeting, you should already have the sense that they are invested in your success.

All or Nothing

These qualities are all interrelated. Cultivating and maintaining a good relationship requires competency. In order to trust an agency, they need to first prove they are knowledgeable and experienced. Creativity depends on the agency to listen and accept feedback from clients which cannot occur if there is poor client-agency communication. Competency depends on creativity for innovation and problem-solving.

This is an all or nothing scenario. If a B2B agency is missing one of these qualities, they might as well be missing them all. When you’re looking for the right people to help realize your vision and propel your business forward, just ask yourself: are they competent? Do they have happy employees? Are they accessible? If the answer to even one of these questions isn’t a resounding yes, they may not be right for you.

If you’re looking for a creative B2B agency to help out your business, Brandcave might be what you’re looking for. Decide for yourself if we meet these standards – give us a call.

Your Startup Needs to Understand the Engines of Growth

The concept of the engines of growth is the product of Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup. The engines are metrics that can help you figure out how to create sustainable growth based on customer use of your product or service. There are three engines: the sticky engine, the viral engine and the paid engine. Each engine brings a different trajectory for growth and a different kind of growth. It is a good idea to focus on just one of these engines or you will have a hard time knowing what is working and what isn’t for your startup. Which of the three engines of growth is right for you?

Sticky Engine

Is one of your key marketing goals to retain long term customers? If so, consider the sticky engine. This engine of growth places the focus on delighting existing customers, not attracting new ones. Ries posits that reducing churn rates are key in sustaining growth. How do you do this? By keeping your customers happy. If you aren’t helping them solve a problem or making their lives easier, changes are they will move on. Organizations such as eBay do this really well. When people began using their service, their customer experience was so rewarding (possibly, addictive?) that it invited customers to come back.

Unlike viral growth, which depends on attracting more users via the existing userbase, sticky growth is about increasing usage of the product or service. Users don’t necessarily need their friends to use the same product they use, but if it works well for them, it’s likely they’ll tell their friends about it. Dropbox, for example, used the sticky engine of growth to grow from 100,000 users to 4 million users in only 15 months. They rewarded user referrals by giving more free storage for each new account a user brought to the platform. By making their customers happy and allowing them to benefit from recommending the service, they increased signups by 60%.

To measure how many customers are “sticking,” compare the number of your product’s daily active users to the number of total users. This percentage will indicate how useful your customers find the product. You can also measure customer retention by comparing the rate of abandonment to the rate of acquisition.

Naturally, the goal is to have more customers coming in than going out. The focus, however, remains on pleasing your current customers. If they’re pleased, they’ll be willing to recommend you to others. Once you have a customer acquisition rate that is higher than your customer attrition rate, you start to grow.

Viral Engine

If the sticky engine is fueled by customer retention, the viral engine is fueled by customer referrals. Like a virus, the viral engine places the growth emphasis on increasing person-to-person transmission. It’s all about getting users. Examples of this can include, according to Ries, any product that causes new customers to sign up as a side-effect of existing customers’ usage. Companies such as PayPal, Facebook, Snapchat – basically any product or service that only works if there is a community of users – employ the viral engine of growth.

Facebook is an excellent example of viral growth. They started out slowly, only expanding their user base only after they conquered their existing one. First Harvard, then the Ivy League, then all colleges, then high schools, then Silicon valley and the general population. This slow build allowed word-of-mouth marketing to cause the momentum. This strategy made Facebook a true viral hit. We all want what we can’t have, especially when it’s a service like Facebook.

To measure the virality of your startup, compare the number of referred customers to your total number of customers. The viral engine works great for products or services that fit perfectly with the target audience already. If you’re struggling with where and who your market is, virality will be an unreliable engine of growth.

Paid Engine

The most traditional of the engines of growth, the paid engine focuses on growing your company through advertising in its various forms. Naturally, it’s the most expensive. Since you are buying leads, it’s important that each customer is substantially more profitable. This growth engine is most useful when you are able to turn a profit big enough to invest the difference back into advertising to attract more customers to your business. What you invest in is up to you; SEM, PR, traditional advertising, banner ads – all potential avenues for paid growth.

Getting paid traffic is a bidding war so you need to be able to monetize your customers better than your competitors who are bidding for the same traffic. Companies such as Amazon or Netflix have employed this model of paid growth quite successfully. One company in particular, Groupon, used the paid engine to grow 228% in one year. In a single quarter, they spent $179 million to acquire 33 million new users.

To measure how much monetary benefit each customer provides, just take the difference of the total amount earned from the customer from the cost of acquiring that customer. This can tell you if your business model is producing positive or negative growth. Paid acquisition requires a detailed plan that lays out all of your advertising channels and calculates the lifetime value of each customer against the cost of acquiring them. To use this engine of growth, make sure you’ve done your research and have the numbers to guide your strategy moving forward.

UX Drives Every Engine

The engines of growth are a simple and easy to understand methodology for jumpstarting growth in your business. When first launching a startup, sticking to just one engine is smart, but once your business begins to grow, you can experiment with different strategies. After you have some growth success, you can afford to test different hypotheses to see what the next step will be. Eventually, the engine you focused on in the beginning will stall out and you’ll have to switch tactics.

At the heart of every sustainable growth model are happy customers. No matter which of the engines of growth you decide to focus on for your startup, you first need an exceptional product that benefits your target audience. It should become an asset to their lives that either reduces their costs or risk. No matter which engine of growth you choose, if the customer leaves dissatisfied, your cycle of growth will hit a dead end and your business will stagnate.

All of the engines of growth require a sound marketing strategy and Brandcave can help you with that. Give us a call.

The Ultimate PR Tools: SEO, PPC and Social Media

In the past, public relations has been about outbound marketing techniques – and, to a large extent, it still is. But, due to the emergence of content marketing and search engine marketing, PR tools and practices have changed. Things that had once been under the purview of inbound marketers are becoming increasingly important for PR.

The goal of PR is to create narratives that advance agendas of a company. It’s a strategic communications process that increases brand awareness and strong relationships with target audiences. In the age of the internet, accomplishing these ends requires the acquisition and optimization of several PR tools.


Search engine optimization, or SEO, might seem odd to consider one of your PR tools. It’s so technical. It requires measuring analytics for keywords and understanding how the algorithms of search engines read websites. At first glance, the goals of SEO and PR don’t seem to overlap, but SEO can help you get your PR materials in front of the right people.

The process of SEO begins by discovering relevant keyword that can be used to optimize a piece of content. In the case of PR, that content might be press releases, blogs, whitepapers or social media posts. The appropriate keyword is a term or phrase that is relevant to your target audience, has a decent search volume and a difficulty level comparable to your website.

Now, incorporating SEO tactics into your PR strategy may be good for customers, but is it useful when targeting journalists? Yes! A study in 2008 put the percentage of journalists who use search engines such as Google in their job at 91%. In the last eight years, I’m willing to bet a large chunk of that remaining 9% has come around to the idea, too.

Utilizing SEO for PR requires adapting more PR-specific tactics. For instance, when you optimize your press releases for a keyword, think about individuals more than search engines. Use your chosen keyword about 2-4 times for every 500 words, and be sure that the term appears in the metadata, title and subheadings. Humans read press releases more than search engines do so it needs to be readable to an eye and not an algorithm.


PR is not advertising. However, pay per click, or PPC, can be a helpful tool to facilitate brand awareness and change narratives. Paying for an ad to appear at the top of the search results is a quick way to gain visibility and attention for your brand.

Like SEO, PPC can allow you to target specific groups of people. SEO is for organic searching, though. PPC involves paid ads. While it’s a bit different, it still requires a specific keyword targeting your ideal audience. Brand names, company names and the names of executives can be bid on to create instant visibility. For this reason, PR can use PPC as a platform for media pitching, adapting a pitch to an ad format. Interested parties can click it and be taken to a landing page that shows the pitch in full.

PPC can also help PR counter negative attention. SEO is a long term strategy for improving search results, but if your situation calls for more immediate action, you can turn to PPC. Let’s say that a business has a bad reputation and searching for the company dredges up negative search results. Implementing a PPC campaign can introduce a counterargument to any unflattering press that may show up in the search results.

To manage a crisis that a company finds themselves in, they can use PPC, targeting words relevant to the situation such as “scandal” or “review.” Then, they can direct those who click on the ad to a landing page where the company can explain the circumstances and how they are resolving the issue.

Social Media

When utilized to its full potential, social media can be one of your most valuable PR tools. 51% of journalists use social media to gather new studies (but the source has to be trusted). Do them a favor and meet them halfway. Being active on social media can build links and establish your company as a leader online, thus making you one of those trusted sources journalists and others researching your industry rely upon.

PR is about communication, and one of the things social media allows you to do is reach out directly to your audience. For this reason, executives need to be active on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. They can directly share the company’s content and be their company’s own spokesperson online.

Press releases can also be helped by social media. By adding an option to share the press release, you extend its life and virality. Because of this, it’s important to make the story you’re telling more visual and easier to share on social media. You only get 144 characters on Twitter, but an image is worth 1,000 words.

With social media, you don’t have to wait for the press release. Having an active presence means you can respond to news happening in your industry in real time, offering your expert commentary on relevant matters. By the time you get a press release out, it may be too late and you missed your window, but live tweeting ensures that you are part of the conversation. Being part of the conversation is how you get media attention and recognition.

Which PR tools are the best?

PR and marketing firms have a variety of tactics at their disposal, and no single one is more valuable than the rest. The key is coordinating PR tools such as SEO, PPC, and social media to create a cohesive campaign. This doesn’t mean that PR should move away from outbound techniques, but it does mean that PR professionals will have more tools in their toolkit to facilitate communication and engender fruitful relationships with their publics, whoever that may be.

Looking for help building your brand? Brandcave has all of these tools in their toolkit plus many more. Give us a call.

Can Inbound Marketing Services Be a Tool for Evangelism?

Last week during lunch, an interesting idea was proposed: can inbound marketing services be used for churches? The methodology has been helping businesses find success for a while, now, but could a church grow from implementing the same tools and strategies? The answer is a resounding yes.

In 2012 more than 17 million non-churchgoers visited the websites of a local places of worship, according to a study by Grey Matter Research. They visited the church websites for a variety of reasons such as checking the times of services (43%), streaming video (26%), streaming audio (26%), finding out the church’s beliefs (22%) and sending a message to church leaders (12%).

In the past, churches have mostly relied on outbound marketing techniques for growth. Ads, billboards, events, referrals and door-to-door evangelism have been some of the most used techniques. But, there is clearly an opportunity for the church to benefit from the methodologies that can be gleaned from inbound marketing services. People are already searching for churches online, so it’s up to the church to harness the power of search, social and web to meet them. To accomplish this, church leaders must understand the inbound methodology:


The first thing your church needs to do is determine the personas you are going to target. These personas are characterized by the demographics that are best suited for your church. Perhaps, one of these personas might be millennials. Maybe they are already religious or maybe they are new to faith. The personas a church targets will affect the type of content it publishes, so it is important to be clear on the target audiences before doing anything. A challenge for churches will be balancing their strategy to help both non-churchgoer personas and personas who are already members. A website should be useful for every persona.

Of the inbound marketing services, SEO and social media are the most important to attract visitors. Having your church web pages optimized for identified search terms will help you become found in the search results. When your personas reach your site, it is important to have relevant content waiting for them. Of course, you can also promote your church’s content on social media platforms. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can let members share and spread information and content to others in the local community. Google+ and Google Business is also important for SEO and showing up on maps in search results.

Speaking of content, your church should consider a variety of content strategies. Blogging has been a successful tactic for attracting visitors to businesses, and your church blog can be an opportunity to share relevant and helpful information for members and nonmembers alike. Other things for a church might consider sharing include video or sermon audio. This content gives the visitors a taste of what they will get by attending on Sundays.


Once visitors have been attracted to your church via your website, they will need to be converted into first-time visitors. The “convert” stage of an inbound marketing strategy is crucial — without it, the web traffic you generate will never become foot traffic. The entire web experience should be about them and their spiritual journey. The church website should not only let web visitors know when services are and provide directions to the church, but introduce them to the culture of the congregation.

A powerful tool for converting your web traffic into foot traffic is the strategic uses of calls to action, or CTAs. A CTA for a church can be very similar to one for a business. It can give them the chance to subscribe to your email list and learn about an upcoming event. It could even present opportunities to serve or give financially.

The wording on CTAs are important. A subscription form might contain the value proposition, “Subscribe and Receive Our Newest eBook Free” or “The First One Hundred People to Sign Up for VBS Will Get 50% Off”. It’s a simple formula; just make sure there’s an incentive for converting. Use action words such as start, stop, build, get, learn, join, discover or save.

Every CTA your church creates should take users to a landing page with a conversion form. On landing pages, you should never ask for more information than necessary. An email address and a name is the most important — and is likely the only content you’ll be able to receive from web visitors that are only slightly interested in visiting the church. But, with this information, you can begin converting invisible web traffic into leads that can be nurtured and converted into a church members.


How does an online visitor become a church member? It is no small feat. With a steady stream of web leads in hand, however, it becomes much easier to create new opportunities to close the gap between web visitor and church visitor.

Of the many inbound marketing services offered, email automation will help the most in this stage. In a basic inbound marketing strategy, email automation presents a wonderful opportunity to keep your organization top of mind by sending new resources to potential church goers. Email automation begins by creating a succession of email campaigns that are triggered after a visitor completes a landing form. Perhaps the first email campaign offers a free eBook from your church. Maybe the second campaign invites them to join your church’s “first time visitor” meeting. It might even include a letter from the pastor with a direct line to ask questions about the church.


Inbound marketing services only work for businesses when they are focused on the user’s experience, and the same is true for churches. I think any pastor or church leader would agree that it’s not enough to get people to come to church, they need to have a desire to continue going. “Delight” is the final step of any inbound marketing strategy, and when you delight churchgoers, you are focused on retaining their attention throughout the week.

Delighting members is about integrating your Sunday morning services into your web and social presence Monday through Saturday. This integrated approach to church retension pairs the Sunday morning experience with substantive, poignant content that provides mileage to the message. It is about giving everyone a reason to continue communicating on social media or using the website and remain active within the church. When you delight your members, they will be more loyal and faithful to your organization.

Inbound marketing services can be tailored for practically any business model, from the fortune 500 to the car dealership and worship hall. Brandcave can help you with any and all aspects of developing a strategy. Give us a call.

3 Great Examples of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a hard thing to get right. It’s among several tactics you can use to attract potential buyers and grow your business. However, it’s not as simple as putting a billboard up on the side of the highway. In fact, showing may be better than telling in this case. Having some real examples of content marketing can help make the concept less nebulous. Before I get to those examples though, it will be helpful to have some foreknowledge on what content marketing is supposed to do and how to do it.

What it is:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach aimed at making and delivering valuable and relevant content to your target audience. In fact, according to a LinkedIn poll of more than 600 marketers that ranked what makes content effective, audience relevance and engaging storytelling ranked the highest at 58% and 57% respectively. Triggering an action or response came in behind them at 54%. It should be clear then that the goal of any piece of content is to inform potential buyers and not sell to them.

“Content” can really be anything from videos, infographics, newsletters, case studies or social media. The most popular format is blogging though. 65% of those aforementioned marketers are include blogging routinely in their content marketing strategy.

No matter how your content is packaged, you need to be able to market it to your target audience via a variety of channels in order to draw buyers to your business. We have a blog that explains which social media channels will be best for your business here.

How it’s done:

You might think you can just jump ahead to the examples of content marketing, but you need to map out a strategy first. 80% of B2B marketers have one, documented or not, so not having one puts you at a disadvantage with your competitors. When you are forming your strategy, here are some things to keep in mind.

Know your audience: You have to make your content with an idea of who’s going to be consuming it. With this in mind, buyer personas are extremely important. How old are they? Will they get your Star Wars references? What social media platforms do they tend to be on?

Know your competitors: If you want to be the best, you have to know who the best is first. Learn from their successes and their mistakes. Being the best doesn’t necessarily mean your content is the most novel and innovative. It can be as simple as having the cleanest UI or posting consistently on social media.

Focus on the entire sales funnel: Buyers can happen upon you at any point during the conversion process. Have content ready for every occasion.

Consistency: This may not seem too important, but your audience needs to know what they will be getting from keeping up with you. If you say you are going to post a blog every Thursday and then don’t, they’ll find more reliable sources of information. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is – whether it’s twice a week or once a month – just don’t be flaky.

Experiment: In order to figure out what your audience wants from you, you need to test and collect data. What types of your content get shared the most? What channels are the most fruitful? Once you’ve analyzed the feedback and learned what works, deliver more of the same.

Quality over quantity: Remember what I said earlier about sticking to a schedule? Make sure that schedule is manageable. Potential buyers will take one well-constructed, engaging article over three articles you grind out at the eleventh hour. Give yourself the time to put in the effort needed to make great content.

Have an editorial calendar: This might be the most important out of everything. Plan your content creation for the next month. Plan your content promotion on social media. Plan, plan, plan. Document everything. Focus on optimizing your strategy for the best ROI instead of what to make the blog post for tomorrow about. I planned to write this blog a month ago, for instance.

Examples of Content Marketing:

Community-Driven Content Marketing: Convert and Grow proves the benefits of knowing your target audience and community engagement. It’s one thing to drive traffic to your site with great content, but if they aren’t potential buyers, then it’s wasted effort.

The target audience you select affects everything from what you make your content about to where you distribute it online. Finding your audience online requires genuine research, but once you locate them, they will be crucial to disseminating your content – both in core and secondary channels.

Central to the success of their marketing strategy is community engagement. You should offer your own expertise and be a contributive member of the group before you start posting your own content there. When they used this strategy, they accumulated 32,977 users in about five months.

Email-Driven Content Marketing: MarketDoc lays out a strategy complete with data, analytics and prices. Content marketing isn’t free, after all. They begin by researching other highly shared content for a good topic. Then they recommend hiring a guest blogger or someone to upgrade content. This costs money, of course, so you may or may not want to do that.

Email outreach is the crux of the strategy. You can generate email addresses using whichever online tool you prefer, and begin cold emailing. This can be a cost effective way to grow your email list and establish yourself in the community of your target audience.

Using this thorough breakdown of steps for content creation and content promotion, MarketDoc generated 167 email subscribers and 1,300 shares from just one blog post.

Game of Thrones: By far the coolest of the examples of content marketing, SEO Travel used content marketing to promote an awesome piece of content for any GOT fan – a map of all the filming locations used throughout the series. Their strategy shows the value of being in the right place at the right time, and that can only happen with research and planning. They do a good job of breaking down the preparation, production and promotion stages. None of these stages is more important than the others.

Relevance cannot be overstated in a successful content marketing campaign. The season finale of GOT was coming up when they published their map. At other times in the year, this would probably still be something fans would love to see, but at this time particularly, GOT was on the mind, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

SEO Travel’s uncomplicated strategy of prep, produce, promote and follow-up resulted in a 245% increase in referral traffic over the previous year and 111 linking domains acquired.

How can these examples of content marketing help you?

At the center of all of these examples of content marketing is a good idea. While it’s true that just having good content is not enough, having a good marketing strategy without the content to back it up is also not enough. Invest the time and brainpower needed to create something awesome.

A successful content marketing strategy requires a formula that’s right for you. Brandcave can help you find your business’s formula. Give us a call.

Is Social Media Necessary for B2B Lead Generation?

When you think of B2B lead generation, your mind probably doesn’t go straight to social media. Yes, it’s a great tool to increase website traffic and communicate with potential customers, but because of its neutrality, it can also be a great tool for generating leads. Social media can be a neutral environment for one company to learn about another without feeling like they’re being handled. Being discovered in a neutral place also gives your brand legitimacy and credibility. It gives you the opportunity to insert yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

Then there’s the low cost of implementing a social media strategy. Using the platform itself is free and every platform has its own advertising service that you can use to target your ideal personas. In fact, revenue increased for 24% of businesses who used social media for lead generation.

Have I sold you on the idea yet? Good. That leaves one important question: which channel is right for your company?

B2B Lead Generation on Twitter

Twitter as a platform is optimized for succinct communication. With only 144 characters, you don’t have room to be long winded about your business or product. That’s probably for the best. Twitter allows you to stay up to date with the conversations happening in your industry and provides an outlet to inject your own two cents.

Because of this emphasis on communication, Twitter actually has the lowest success rate for B2B lead generation at 30%. It does, however, let you connect with influential business leaders in your targeted demographic. If the content you share is good enough, you may even become one of those leaders.

There are mixed reviews on the success of lead generation via Twitter. A case study from Twitter for Business claimed a 996% acceleration in lead acquisition using Promoted Tweets with Lead Generation Cards. Others, such as Jeremy Smith from The Daily Egg swear to its ineffectiveness. At the very least, Twitter presents an opportunity to be a voice in a community and perhaps generate some organic leads. 70% B2B employees will also use your Twitter presence to determine your business’s credibility. Therefore, while it might not be the best platform for generating leads directly, Twitter can still be a meaningful part of your social media strategy.

B2B Lead Generation on Facebook

Facebook is not just for B2C marketing. Users get on Twitter for communication and information and users get on LinkedIn for their careers and businesses, but users get on Facebook because it’s a distraction. Liking and sharing things makes them feel good in an otherwise stressful day. Capitalize on their moment of bliss.

If your strategy includes Facebook for B2B lead generation, it will probably mean you will be using their paid Facebook Ads service. Fortunately, Facebook Ads are inexpensive. They have the lowest cost per click over Google Adwords and even LinkedIn Ads. They also reward you for testing more ads and different targets. Remember that even B2B marketers use Facebook for leisure so it pays more to value entertainment over serious sales content.

At its core, Facebook is still a place where people go to stalk the lives of their friends and family. At least, that’s how I use it. And, it’s not the most ideal place for businesses to interact with other businesses. Nonetheless, B2B marketers have found success generating leads on this very forward-facing platform. Marketo had success using Sponsored Stories and promoted posts, and other marketers have reported success using a social media strategy that included Facebook. However, there aren’t a lot of studies out there that include solid statistics. Take that to mean whatever you want.

B2B Lead Generation on LinkedIn

As far as social media platforms go, LinkedIn is the most business-friendly. Most users who visit the site do so for business-related reasons. Because of it’s high population of c-level executives, it’s an excellent platform for B2B lead generation.

According to Hubspot, LinkedIn has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate of any social media channel at 2.74% for both B2B and B2C. That’s higher than both Twitter and Facebook.

To begin, you need a presence on LinkedIn so you can begin generating leads. It pays to make your company page look jazzy: optimize it for industry keywords, add tabs for your products/services and include informative media. Be sure to post often to establish a presence on the site and gain followers. The content you post will depend on the audience. Test your posts to decide what works and what doesn’t and don’t pass up an opportunity for a call to action.

Once you have a following, you can begin using Sponsored Updates. This feature allows you to put paid promotions behind status updates. The coolest thing about this is that you can target users based on criteria such as location, job title, LinkedIn Group associations or company name.

LinkedIn Ads are another option. They are similar to Sponsored Updates but LinkedIn Ads give you the ability to customize your ad. You can choose to add an image or video and not just include text. According to LinkedIn, adding an image can increase clicks by 20%. And 20% goes a long way.

Similar to Facebook Ad impressions, LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily charge you the full amount of your campaign budget per day, either. You are only charged for the actual amount of activity your campaign receives.

Not All Platforms Are Right For You

No matter which social media platforms you elect to use in your marketing strategy, make sure not to stretch yourself too thin.

You don’t need to be on every platform. Pick what’s right for your budget and your buyer personas. Twitter is good for sharing information and joining the conversation. Facebook is good for fun, entertaining and easily sharable content. LinkedIn is a good environment for showcasing your company and making business connections. Consider what you will be doing on each platform and what content you have at your disposal.

A good social media strategy requires juggling a number of things: SEO, content marketing, testing and analysis. Luckily, Brandcave knows about all of them. Give us a call. We’re excellent jugglers.

B2B Marketing Ideas: The Skyscraper Technique

There are so many B2B marketing ideas floating around the internet. Some are passing trends and others are evergreen methodologies. One particularly well known strategy, which comes from Backlinko’s Brian Dean, is called the Skyscraper Technique. You may have heard of the Skyscraper Technique before; SEO professionals and inbound marketers often praise its effectiveness. Dean claims his search engine traffic increased 110% after only two weeks after implementing this strategy. Like many B2B marketing ideas, it’s no silver bullet, but is it worth considering for your company?

The Skyscraper Technique is no marketing secret. You might already be doing a similar strategy already. If you have never heard of the strategy, however, here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Lay a Strong Foundation

To start off, you’re going to need to find content worth reading. Begin by finding an article in your industry that has already shown to be buzzworthy. You’re looking for content that has generated social media attention, comments, shares and generally high rankings in Google.

The article you select should cover a popular topic in your industry, but it should also 1) allow you to optimize for a search term your website can reasonably rank for and 2) be a topic you can reasonably approve upon.

Step 2: Build it Tall

Once you’ve found a solid, buzzworthy article, you’ll need to write a better version of it. The Skyscraper Technique is like building a skyscraper: you’ll want to build a taller one than your neighbors.

Make it better. Make it longer. Make it more encompassing. Make it prettier. Make it more current. Make it all-around more impressive than the other articles already available on the web.

Step 3: Have a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Unfortunately, good content is not enough. Now, the right people need to see it. To begin, you’ll need to identify the industry bloggers, media outlets, customers and aggregate outlets that may be interested in your new article. You’ll also want to make sure they’ve linked to similar content already. The key is finding a primed audience.

Once your media list has been identified, now comes the fun part: content marketing. The success of the Skyscraper Technique comes from pitching to your targeted audience that your new content is worth sharing. When you email these individuals, be sure to ask them to link to your content if they enjoy it.

Dean claims to have an 11% success rate from his email outreach. While that may be a small return, he suggests they were all quality links.

Is it a solid strategy?

Taking existing content, making it better and reaching out to the right people – a simple strategy that any company, big or small, can utilize. Right?

The effectiveness of most B2B marketing ideas is contested widely on the web, and this one is no exception. Some marketers will swear by this technique. Several case studies have even shown better results than Dean’s. However, the technique is not without its critics. It’s up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.


You’ve made better content. Even if nothing else worked, you still have something better than your competitors — and that helps position you as a thought leader in your industry. Besides that, fresh content will always be beneficial for your SEO.

You’ve also made new contacts in your industry. Compiling your media list definitely ate up some time but, whether they respond positively or not, you still have the excuse of your content to make contact with other industry influencers. At the end of the day, your network is still your networth. Am I right?


The Skyscraper Technique might not work so great for fledgling sites. According to Dale Cudmore from Ahrefs and our friends from, this strategy worked well for Dean because he had a considerable advantage prior to beginning the technique. His site, Backlinko, has a domain authority of 76. That’s more than most of us can say.

Competing against high domain authority sites can be difficult. If you’re expecting to be on the coveted first page of search results, you will likely be disappointed. High difficulty keywords will still play a major role in your site’s ability to rank. If your site is smaller, consider practicing this strategy on a search term with low difficulty.

Of course, the Skyscraper Technique is not the only SEO strategy you can be using. Other B2B marketing ideas also have the potential to increase search visibility and domain authority. If SEO and content marketing is something your company has been struggling with, give us a call. Brandcave can help improve your rankings and many other aspects of your inbound marketing strategy.

SMarketing: The Marriage of Sales and Marketing

A couple years ago, HubSpot coined a new word: smarketing. It’s a combination of the words sales and marketing and it is endlessly fun to inject into any conversation — yet very difficult to take seriously. Sorry, Hubspot, but it just sounds obnoxious. For employees working in sales and marketing, however, understanding the concept behind this ridiculous phrase can provide valuable insight into improving cohesion and increasing revenue — as much as 20%!

Why SMarketing?

Sales and marketing have had a notoriously rocky relationship.

“You send us the worst leads!” Sales professionals will say to their marketing teams.

“It’s not our fault you can’t close any deals. Your jobs aren’t that hard.” The marketing team retorts.

“Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time on social media and more time giving us good leads, we could do our jobs.”

“Maybe if you fully understood what you’re even trying to sell, you wouldn’t suck so much.” In marriages, this kind of negative back and forth is called the crazy cycle and it certainly applies here. If sales and marketing are going to make this relationship work, they are going to have to start doing things differently. Any good relationship has reciprocation and cooperation, and that’s what these guys need too. But, how?

How to SMark

What do sales and marketing want from each other? If the answers that come from sales and marketing are different, then they are not aligned for success.

The marriage of sales and marketing, like any marriage, will require several important milestones. Eloping may seem like the simplest and fastest way to achieve your goals, but don’t do it. Spur of the moment decisions never pan out, and no couple ever solved their problems by jumping into a situation they weren’t prepared for. Instead, follow these steps to build a strong relationship that can pass the stress test.


Like engagement, the first step of Smarketing is agreeing on the foundation of the relationship. Common definitions of terms and practices should be shared by both parties. Buyer personas, messaging and lead qualifications should be agreed on prior to anything else.

Sales teams often complain that marketers do not provide the good leads they need to do their job successfully. Clarifying the definition of a good lead can eliminate this particular issue. Like communication in marriage, there can never be too much clarification.

Each company will have their own unique obstacles to achieving Smarketing alignment, but the more specific both sides are in defining their needs, the better partners they will be to one another.


After sales and marketing have built a strong foundation, they need to make a commitment to one another. Creating a joint strategy together can protect the relationship from potential breakups in the future. This commitment should come in the form of service level agreements (SLAs).

Again, these vows are particular to the company and the roles marketing and sales have agreed upon but, generally speaking, these vows should concern the care of something both sides value, such as leads. For instance, marketing vows to give sales X number of quality leads per month, sales vows to contact those leads in X amount of time and follow up with marketing and both have one revenue target. An important feature of SLAs is that when marketing and sales have a joint strategy in place, it reduces the need of the two to compete against another.

Making a commitment like the one stated above, on the other hand, encourages collaboration and accountability.

After the Honeymoon

That feeling of satisfaction and delight doesn’t last long after the SLA has been put into place, and soon, reality sets in. It isn’t just an idea anymore; the guidelines of the SLA have to be implemented, now, and this may be the hardest part.

During this time, it’s important that both sides be honest and transparent with each other. If marketing feels its contributions are being under-appreciated and if sales feels the leads they were given were not good enough, this needs to be addressed, preferably on a daily basis.

Marketers need to know what delivers the best leads and sales needs to know how leads get to them in the first place so they can offer better insights. It’s also not as easy to measure the success of a good marketing strategy like it is to measure the success of a good sales strategy. Sales might start thinking that marketing is just there to support them, but they are independent parties working together for a common goal. Regular, transparent communication will help them come to this conclusion. Like the saying goes: a couple that shares data stays together. Am I right?

Vow Renewal

Every relationship is a journey and one as complex and important as sales and marketing will always require hard work and patience. Coming back every month or so to reaffirm their commitment to each other and remember what they’re fighting for — company revenue growth — is important to the success of any smarketing strategy. This reaffirmation ceremony also provides an opportunity for everybody to celebrate what their teamwork has accomplished.

Does sales understand the job of marketers better now? Does marketing receive feedback on what generates the best leads now? Do they appreciate each other’s contributions now? If the answer’s yes to questions like these, then smarketing, no matter how infuriating the word may be, has been a success.

Looking for someone to officiate this marriage? Brandcave is ordained in inbound marketing and would love to help you align your marketing and sales strategies. Give us a call.

The Importance of Content Marketing

With 67% of B2B buyers relying on digital content to research and make purchasing decisions, the importance of content marketing seems like a no brainer. Like a dealership without a car salesman, content marketing produces the kind of marketing material that buyers want: entertaining, educational and largely non-branded.

Content marketing can be tailored for any part of the buyer’s journey. Here are some key ways content marketing can be important to your B2B marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Can Entertain

Let’s say you’re a B2B marketer. Your services are great and now you have an eCommerce website to show prospects all the different services you can do. The problem is, so do hundreds of other B2B marketers. How do you make them aware of you? And, more importantly, how do you make them remember you? The first step may be producing entertaining content.

The key to entertaining your audience is to appeal to their emotions. Make them curious, laugh or even cry (cue Sarah McLachlan). As a marketer, you might produce a new video such as “The Top 10 Dumbest Terms our Industry Created This Year” or an article such as “B2B Marketing Tips You Need to Stop Following.” Whatever you decide to do, make it worth watching, reading and sharing. On this note, your website’s content needs to be easily shared. When your prospects share your content, they generate awareness and virality. It’s a sales funnel and not a sales tube, after all.

Content Marketing Can Educate

Educational content can often work hand-in-hand with entertaining content. And, while it can be entertaining, educational content has the primary role of informing your audience about your product, services or industry. It is great for prospects at the top of the sales funnel as they are researching information about companies like yours.

Educational content takes on many forms. In your company, you might provide a helpful guide to your prospects on determining which social media platforms are right for their businesses or provide information on how to craft the perfect LinkedIn profile. It’s important that educational content represents a learning opportunity for your prospects because, while it grabs those prospects at the awareness stage, it also guides others further down the funnel. Making them laugh at this point won’t help you much – they’re already interested – and now they’re thinking.

Content Marketing to Persuade and Convert

Only after you have both thoroughly entertained and educated your audience have you earned the right to discuss your product or service offerings. Now, you can begin persuading them to convert into customers. A call to action, or CTA, can be a very persuasive piece of content to have alongside a video or blog post if you do it right. Depending on their place in the sales funnel, you might ask them to subscribe to your email list or download your eBook. Just be sure that your prospects know what they will be receiving and that it will be worth receiving.

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for: tell them about you. What services do you offer? How are they unique from your competitors? How do they improve compliance? How do they minimize risk? This content needs to pull your prospects the rest of the way through the funnel. To convert them into customers, they need to be informed and ready to make a purchasing decision.

A good content marketing strategy should curb the sales pitch, engage your audience and guide potential customers through the conversion process. But, at the heart of this strategy is a need for great content. If you can create things that entertain, educate, persuade and convert your prospects, they just might come out the other side as brand new customers.

Now that you understand the importance of content marketing for your company, join the 80% of B2B marketers that have a content marketing strategy and start converting leads. A content marketing strategy is more than just a regularly updated blog, a popular video or a social media presence – it’s all of that and more. Brandcave does an excellent job of tailoring the perfect strategy to meet your needs. If you’re curious to learn more about how our team can create relevant and engaging content for your business or service, give us a call.

Online Advertising Manager, Here’s How to Maximize Your PPC Budget

At the center of the internet, several companies vie for your attention. Among them, it’s no surprise that Google reigns supreme. From NFL season tickets to news on the latest political scandal, we’ve grown to rely on the Google curation algorithms for anything and everything.

For this reason, companies want a good relationship with Google. Top keyword positions are some of the most highly coveted plots of digital real estate available. And, when companies cannot rank for those keywords organically, they buy Google ads. Lots of them.

When companies cannot rank for those keywords organically, they buy Google ads. Lots of them.

The ability to purchase ads on Google comes via their Adwords platform. It’s called PPC, or pay-per-click advertising. If you serve as your company’s online advertising manager, you already know this. What you might not know, however, is how to maximize the effectiveness of your ad spend. Want the number one tip on maximizing your PPC budget? Here it is:

Only Invest in Keywords With Commercial Intent

When your target audience loads up Google, what keyword phrases are they going to search before they purchase a product or service like yours? That’s a trick question. Chances are, you don’t know them as well as you think you do.

The problem is, you’re probably too smart. You have considerable domain knowledge about your industry. You use jargon that your audience might not normally use. This is especially true in B2B technology. And, while the terms you use to describe your company might be valid, they might also have little-to-no commercial intent.

Commercial intent is the key to maximizing your PPC advertising budget. When it comes to choosing keywords, commercial intent is more important than search volume. It’s the difference between higher web traffic and higher-converting web traffic.

Commercial intent is more important than search volume.

How do you determine which keywords have commercial intent? Look for the keyword’s competition and the suggested ad bid.

Look for the Suggested Bid and Competition Rating

As you’re already aware, Google’s Keyword Planner allows you to analyze relevant search data. It provides keyword information on average monthly searches, competition and, most importantly, the Adwords suggested bid.

That suggested bid (or cost per click), is the easiest way to understand how valuable traffic from a keyword actually is. If a keyword’s suggested bid is high, there is a better chance advertisers have found value in it. If it’s low, that’s because advertisers probably have not found it to convert well. In other words, the more people bid on a keyword, the more lucrative you can expect it to be.

Additionally, the keyword competition column in Keyword Planner is a nice complement to the Adwords Suggested Bid. The competition rating is based on how many advertisers bid on that particular keyword in Adwords. It simplifies the keyword’s commercial intent into three categories: low, medium and high.

Determining Commercial Intent for New Markets

If your product or service is in an existing market, it’s not difficult to determine which keywords have commercial intent. Your audience is already familiar with the industry terms. But, if your company is in a new market, you may have to get creative — there may not be many search terms with commercial intent that directly fit your company.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Brandcave recently helped a new fintech startup launch their website. When discussing key messaging for their product, the startup founder described it as an automated point-of-sale digital loan processing engine. Now, can you guess how many financial institutions are searching for a solution like an automated point-of-sale digital loan processing engine? They would definitely be interested in one, but they probably don’t know that such a product exists.

At least, they’re not using those search terms to find it.

In new markets, your customers often do not realize they need a product like yours until they see it. In other words, new market products need to position themselves next to similar, existing market products to be found.

In other words, new market products need to position themselves next to similar, existing market products to be found.

In the case of this fintech startup, their product wasn’t a loan origination system, but it did aid in loan origination. In fact, it purported to extend the power of existing loan origination systems. So, Brandcave helped position this new market product next to an age-old market, loan origination software. And, their audience, who was originally looking for loan origination software, became introduced to a new kind of loan origination product.

Maximize Your Budget by Spending on the Right Terms

Knowing your audience is the first step toward targeting the right kind of search traffic. When you know the language they’re using to find you, you can tune your strategy and advertise accordingly.

When you only target keywords with commercial intent, you save money. Instead of simply boosting your web traffic from ads, your ads boost higher-converting web traffic.

TL;DR: Only target keywords with commercial intent. When you limit your PPC advertising to “bottom of the funnel” search terms, you decrease the amount of money spent on ad spend in lower converting search terms.