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This Week’s Most Popular News Stories

See below the top stories on B2B marketing as voted for by our followers on Twitter.

1. How Your Startup Can Attract More Media Attention

Attracting the attention of the media is a seductive proposition for many startups. From the outside looking in, media coverage is a way to stand out from the crowd, attract customers and revel in the glow of the spotlight. In some respects, media coverage is viewed as a cure for all ills. While this is a dramatic over-statement, there are many positives about media coverage. The problem, however, is many other startups are scrambling for media attention as well. So how does a startup get media coverage?

2. 6 Alternatives to Email Marketing

The smartphone explosion has created a number of ways for digital marketers to reach out to potential customers. And while email marketing was once an effective—and cutting-edge—way for marketers to deliver their messages, things are rapidly changing. The rapid shift of mobile users away from email to other communications platforms calls for digital marketers to use new avenues in order to stay in front of their audiences.

3. 5 Top UK Tech Startup Clusters Outside London

London’s Tech City and “Silicon Roundabout” has long been a contender in the global race for startups and technology innovation. But more recently, the government-backed organisation Tech City UK has moved towards promoting the entire UK, rather than just the Tech City in the capital. But can tech startups exist outside of London? Tech City UK certainly seems to think so. CEO Gerard Grech told Computer Weekly: “London is obviously an international city, but I think there is so much else going on outside London.”

Look out for next week’s most popular – bought to you by Klaxon!

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

Fulfilling Employees Needs: The Psychological Approach

People need to feel wanted and appreciated. It’s only human nature. 

Fact – without marketing you would not have prospects or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy your closing rate would be substantially lower (and quite depressing). Marketing and sales departments have very different responsibilities on a day-to-day basis but both of these departments have very similar employee needs.

Technology advancements are changing the way we do marketing and so a new era of modern marketing is here. In response to this, the sales and marketing functions are required to adapt their daily work activities to match the requirements of the modern marketing world. With this change brings a shift in employee needs – needs which arguably not all organisations are recognising.

Delving a little deeper.. Maslow wanted to understand what motivates people. He believed that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires. In 1943, Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs; when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfil the next one and so on.

The most widespread version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs included five motivational needs, depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs could be suggested as being a little too basic in terms of dealing with the needs of the modern day sales and marketing team. In fact Maslow’s hierarchy of needs requires an update to match the modern day worlds of sales and marketing, wouldn’t you agree?

We propose the following update to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Self Actualisation

Provide opportunities for personal growth as well as departmental growth for example through training workshops to enhance skill sets; this will help employees to realise their true potential and encourage them to seek self-fulfilment through the work projects provided. A self-fulfilled employee contributes towards a self-fulfilled cooperation.

Mastery

A contribution to self-esteem, self-confidence and to prestige-generating skills. A motive to solve complex problems is likely to facilitate the attainment of status and others’ esteem, with consequent implications for reproductive fitness. The sales and marketing team should demonstrate a sense of ‘healthy’ competition towards one another through their work.

Esteem

Praise achievements; if an employee has performed well reward them! This will encourage the individual to continue striving towards success; they will have gained respect from others as well as status merit among the functional departments, ultimately sky-rocketing their own self esteem levels!

Social

These needs differ from physiological and safety need in that they are not absolutely necessary for personal survival. However, human beings are exquisitely sensitive to cues of social rejection. Thus encouraging regular team building events to build rapport between departments will improve social motivations. This will enable a mutual understanding of one another’s responsibilities in the workplace (it may even result in friendships in the workplace developing!). Consequently communication between the functional departments will become more efficient and effective in nature.

Safety

By introducing/updating current SLA’s the responsibilities of the sales and marketing teams will be clarified. Thus creating order and stability; both teams will be protected if one of the two department fails in meeting its objectives. There will be a freedom from fear.

Physiological 

Provide a working environment that meets the physiological needs of employees. If employees are content within their working environment, work output will be far more efficient because their most basic set of needs will have been met.

Modern day businesses need to actively listen to their employees; the needs of employees must be met. After all if the needs of employees are overlooked, work output will ultimately suffer.

In general terms all employees require the following for their basic needs to be met:

1. Purpose – providing an accurate job description clarifies the employee’s role, the company’s expectations and the requisite skills and qualifications the employee needs to be successful in the role.

2. Feedback – employee-supervision is an effective means to providing feedback; employees need to know that they are performing their job duties according to the employer’s expectation.

3. Equality – employers need to demonstrate alignment with fair employment laws to assure workers that they are entitled to fair treatment in the workplace; this can help improve employees ‘faith’ in the company.

Following on from the topic under discussion in Klaxon’s previous blog post ‘Ending the Feud Between Marketing and Sales Departments’, it is paramount that the needs of the marketing and sales departments are fully understood prior to the implementation of changes to help align the two departments.

How do you achieve this? 

1. Provide regular training workshops to ensure employees are up-to-date and have a clear understanding of new ventures; for example advancements in technology that will affect the work they complete on a daily basis. Cooperations should encourage career development and progression.

2. Organise quarterly team-building events to encourage the different departments to openly communicate with one another. Encouraging the development of a positive rapport between departments will support efficient work performance in the workplace.

3. Reinforce the importance of annual appraisal schemes; departmental and individual employee reviews are beneficial in realigning the focus and targets in place for the next quarter. Issues will be highlighted during the review sessions which may not have been previously obvious to management. Measures can then be put in place to deal with the issues.

4. Provide incentives for all employees, regardless of the department they work within; hard work and successful work performance should be rewarded. Through acknowledging hard work, employees will be more likely to actively engage in further activity which will benefit the organisation as a whole in the future.

The people need to be a part of the equation. It is not a trivial task.

If you have any questions, want to suggest a post, or are interested in how Klaxon can support your business, you can contact me here, on twitter @lauren_klaxon, or in the comments below.

Klaxon Christmas Opening hours

It’s been a great year at Klaxon. We’ve brought on new staff, achieved goals for new clients and had great business opportunities; now it’s time for a well-deserved break.

We’re going to be closed from… 5pm today (December 23rd) until 9am January 5th, in which time calls and emails will not be answered. If you have an urgent technical issues on a service provided by Klaxon, please email support@klaxonmarketing.co.uk, and it will be dealt with as swiftly as possible. Please note that it is the Christmas period, and requests may take slightly longer than usual to resolve.

Most importantly, everyone in the Klaxon teams wishes you a wonderful Christmas, a Happy New Year and a great 2015.

 

London Bloggers Talk Fashion Blogging

Last night saw the latest edition of our London Bloggers Meetup taking place in Kings Cross. We had approximately 40 bloggers join us for an interesting talk about ‘Fashion Blogging’.

Anoushka Probyn and Jess Debrah, who made up the speaking panel, both talked about how they became to be fashion bloggers and the different platforms they utilise to proactively engage their audiences. How to manage the challenges of such a highly saturated market and tips for helping to make your blog stand out from the crowd were topics also up for discussion. Thank you to both Anoushka and Jess for the talk and for fielding questions for over 30 minutes. Below is a snippet of the Q&A session.

1. You previously said that fashion blogging is a very saturated market can you elaborate please?

Jess: Fashion blogging is not an easy task. I struggle mostly with the competition because I have very little knowledge with regard to SEO and driving traffic to my blog; to be noticed you do have to go ‘above and beyond’ and attempt to find away around your weaknesses.

2. Which platforms would you advise a startup blogger use?

Anoushka: You definitely need to choose certain channels; I mean you can’t use them all that’s for sure. At the moment Vlogging is huge. You also have the more generic platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. I don’t think it really matters which platforms you choose to use as long as your content is personable; readers want to know the story behind a blog entry so let them in be it through pictures, videos or text.

3. What advice would you give with regard to working with brands?

Jess: I think you need to choose where you want to be positioned in the market; personally I only accept brand offers from brands that I want to work with, ones that reflect me as a person. Thus the content I produce when collaborating with the brand will be believable.

Overall a really interesting evening with some brilliant bloggers in attendance. It really was brilliant to meet such a mixture of people blogging about so many different things, ranging from Technology to Cake Baking, from Fashion to Environmental Concerns. We look forward to more conversations with exciting bloggers!

If you are a blogger and would like to know more, visit the London Bloggers Meetup page.

Happy Diwali

Wishing all of our friends and colleagues around the world a Happy and Prosperous Diwali.

Diwali Greeting

Image credit: Abhinaba Basu

SEO is Dead, Long Live SEO

I recently spoke at London Bloggers Meetup: SEO Edition with the goal of helping bloggers to better understand their relationship with search and how to improve their ranking. You can find a transcript of the talk below, where I cover three fundamental elements of Search Engine Optimisation in 2014;

1. speed

2. user experience

3. authority and trust

You can also see a slideshare of mine and the two other speakers below too.

I welcome your feedback in the comments below. I’m a big believer that SEO as we know it is evolving into a respectable and strategic marketing tactic, something that is going to become a mainstream skill for any marketer. But what do you think…

Hi,

I’m Yiannis, and I’m here to convince you that SEO doesn’t really matter.

I’m here to give you a bit of background as to why optimising your website for search, isn’t the same game we played 5 years ago.

Google or Bing or Yahoo don’t care about your content or your code (and yes, I can feel you all screaming at me saying, “but that’s what I’ve been told SEO is”). Well, search engines just care about your users. Or more importantly your shared users.

Let me put this in context, in 2013 93 percent of Google’s overall revenue was linked to advertising. Which means, the directors at Google, probably looked something like this.

Over 90 per cent of Google’s multi billion dollar business came from matching users with what they want. At it’s heart, that it’s all that search is, matching people with the information they’re looking for. Whether that be shoes or stationary.

So how does that affect your website. Well, whether you get 200 users per month or you’re Huffington Post, everything comes down to providing the best experience for Google’s users, making sure they’re happy, satisfied, and most importantly, that they come back. Ensuring that you are the correct fit for the person searching, is all that should matter.

I’m going to cover three main areas. The speed at which your website loads, the experience of using your website, and how much trust and authority you’ve gained.

So… first let’s start with speed.

Speed matters. Speed matters a lot. 45 per cent of your users will leave if a page takes more than four seconds to load. Just 1 2 3 4 seconds and 45 out of 100 people have left the room.

And if people are leaving your site from search you can bet that search engines are keeping track of it, as well as over 200 points of data about your site and how it’s used.

In SEO circles, we call that jumping back to the search page behaviour, pogo sticking, and pogo sticking is bad news for your ranking. It means that people aren’t finding what they want, and that directly contradicts the purpose of search.

Second is User Experience

This could be a two hour long talk in it’s own right.

We could talk about usability for hours focusing on; less able users, user experience design, mobile experience, user journeys, attention, or a thousand other design tidbits, but for you guys I bet keeping users who have come in from search is a massive priority.

Be honest with me. How many people know what bounce rate is? Raise your hand if you do. /raise hand/

For all that don’t, it’s a measure of how many users only visit one page on your site, then leave.

Ok then, how many of you know your bounce rate? Abs where to find out?

Generally, if you’re at under 60% for your website, you’re doing well.

Now, how many of you know your bounce rate from search?

Really? That few? Well done you though.

Bounce from search really matters. Not only is pogo sticking bad. But it has so many other side-effects other than just your posts not getting read. If users aren’t staying on your site, then they’re not truly interacting with your content. Which means they’re not sharing your posts. Which means they’re likely reading posts from other sites which have a better user experience than yours .

On the highest level, user experience for your website is all about understanding what makes your users tick.

Understand why they want to read you, what’s in it for them, and what will keep them interested again and again. You should make keeping your users happy top priority, because as your website grows, this initial core-group are vital to give your website authority and trust.

Trust and Authority are the third factor…

Again, let me provide a bit of context.

Pre 2011 SEO involved a lot of link chasing. The most important factor for ranking in your chosen keyword was links, ideally thousands of them.

A lot has changed since then, at least with Google. Now what matters is authority and trust, which, at least in my mind is a far better metric than just farming links.

Just like offline, authority and trust are not things which you can manipulate independently. It’s almost better to call them proving your worth and getting recognised for it.

Authority is an amalgamation of the quality, diversity, when, where you get links from other websites. It used to be the case that you could just buy a few links and bob’s your uncle. A high ranking domain.

But now search is closer to an interaction you and I would have with an interviewer, with the interviewer being Google.  They would want to check your past roles, that you haven’t been doing the same job for 20 years, where you worked, and what results it had before you’re offered a position in search.

Trust, on the other hand, is the follow up interview. A more in depth look at who links to you. Google looks at how many links you are from a major source of trust, think along the lines of the BBC or respected centres of government, or education.

Google also looks at the experience your users are receiving as a measurement of trust. Core metrics such as time on site, pages viewed or bounce-rate all play into Google’s measure of trust.

And that’s when it all comes back to user experience.

Think of it like this. You shouldn’t be optimising your site for search, for most of your websites, this will come with time, if you create conversation around your website, continue to write focused, eloquent, posts and take actions which give your site more authority.

What you should invest as much time doing, is making sure that your users come back again and again, share and link to your posts and have a great experience using your site.

I know I haven’t had time to go in depth about specific tactics you can use to gain rankings in search. But what I really want to hammer home is this. All google wants to do is keep their users happy, they want them to find the right information, and know that they will always find what they want from Google.

So remember;

  1. Make your website fast,

  2. Make every page enjoyable and informative to be on,

  3. Give your users an opportunity to help you, by using, sharing and most importantly, coming back to your site.

 

3 Tips to Help You Build Quality Curated Content

We all know the importance of quality content marketing, but how can you do it without investing huge amounts of time and budget?

The answer of course is content curation, a process defined by wikipedia as:

Content curation is the process of collecting, organising and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.

But is it as simple as it first sounds. Well, yes and no.

To deliver an effective content curation engine you must commit yourself by carving out a block of time every morning to read through the latest articles, social posts and related content to determine what is share worthy. But this can be time consuming, so to avoid spending the entirety of your day generating content, below are three platforms to help you source quality and relevant content quickly.

1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts will flag and email to you any articles that relate to a set of keywords and phrases you have define. A very simple way to keep an eye on the web for content of interest and value to your audience without the need to spend the entire time glued to your screen.

Although sifting emails and reading through articles can be timely, Google Alerts does take a lot of the legwork out of content curation. Not only that, you can use it for monitoring your competition and mentions of your brand too.

Jeff Bullas notes “alerts from Google give you a fantastic sense of when and how your brand is mentioned, relevant news stories and blog posts, and information on your competition.”

2. Social Networks

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are all platforms that can provide you with a wealth of content to distribute across your own social networks.

Leveraging platforms such as Commun.it will help you to target relevant influencers to build a network around. By following and engaging with key influencers you will be able to identify topics of interest that are spurring conversation and generating buzz.

You can retweet these conversations to your own following and thus contribute quality and relevant content. Furthermore, by identifying and interacting with key influencers, you will build credibility as a contributor of content in this space.

When using social media, you must be aware of and avoid falling into the trap of just “retweeting” or sharing content without adding your own insight, to provide further value. Jeff Bullas stresses that adding your own comments will help to differentiate yourself from everyone else who shared that content.

Using curation engines will be another efficient way to help you sift through the mass amounts of volume that social platforms produce.

3. Curation Engines

Hootsuite is a social media management system for brand management. By entering targeted keywords and hash tags, the platform will monitor and curate all social content with those identified words in their posts and display it in a stream for you to peruse. You can then share at your convenience through your social channels.

Oktopost is a social media management platform for b2b  marketers. It provides tools for marketing teams to schedule campaigns, engage with prospects and generate leads from social media. It also has a content curation engine which skims the web and recommends content based on the number of clicks and converted leads generated by content you have previous shared. It is particularly strong in creating opportunities to share content through Linkedin.

Curata is another software as a service tool that enables marketers to curate relevant and quality content. The only downside is it isn’t free unlike the other platforms. However it may be a worthwhile solution if mass amounts of content curation are required.

If you take advantage of the content curation platforms at your disposal, and are careful to use them properly, there should be no reason why you can’t produce quality and relevant content everyday to share with your current and prospective clients.

Of course the real value in content marketing comes when you share your own, original content. But faced with budget and time constraints, content curation is a great way of keeping a pulse running through your social channels and your target audience aware of your existence.

Just for Laughs

Did you know it has been scientifically proven that laughter enhances your quality of life?

Whether it’s helping to lower blood pressure, increasing vascular blood flow and oxygenation levels in your blood, reducing certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, giving you a great abdominal workout, or just improving your mood, laughing can always benefit you in someway.

When you are having a challenging day, maybe you didn’t get enough sleep the night before, or you are worrying about an upcoming deadline, nervous about a meeting or presentation, life at home is stressful, it is raining outside or you are just having a “terrible, horrible, no good very bad day” watching a short clip that can draw a laugh out of you could be just what the doctor ordered.

At Klaxon we frequently will send one another little clips and they have always improved my day. Here are a few favourites to help improve your day.

1. Robin Williams’s “Golf”

Robin Williams stand up about the origins of the game of golf is at the top of the list, not least because his recent departure made us all at Klaxon (and around the world) feel extremely sad. This comedic genius has been the cause of out bursts of laughter in our office and it must be said that his Scottish accent impersonation is top notch.

2. Micky Flanagan’s “Peeping”

Neighbourly behaviour is something everyone is familiar with and as we all live on top of each other in London it’s quite an important part of our day.

3. Peter Kay’s One Liners

Peter Kay’s use of one liners are ingenious and guaranteed to bring at least a smile to your face.

4. George Carlin’s “Stuff”

George Carlin’s explanation about how people have so much stuff is spot on.

5. Stewart Francis’ “Stereotypes”

Everyone loves a stereotype and Stewart nails it from my home country Canada.

So marketers. If you’ve been having a bad day, or this week just needs closing off with a bang, we hope you have (or are about to enjoy) some of these great comedy sketches.

Happy Chinese New Year

To all our friends and colleagues from China, may 2014 bring you health, happiness and prosperity.

Happy Chinese New Year of the Horse

10 Critical Success Factors for B2B Event Marketing

As we kick off 2014 I wanted to share with you our presentation on the 10 Critical Success Factors for B2B Event Marketing.

I’m confident events will be in many a b2b marketers comms mix in the immediate future so hopefully these will help. Get in touch if you need any assistance.

 

Let me know your top tips for successful b2b event marketing in the comments below.