So that’s activate your audience. The third pillar of our framework is establish authority. And really the goal there is to communicate to that buyer that now knows that you exist, that you’re qualified to solve their problem, that you want to solve their problem. The place we need to do that is on our website. And so, when you think about 2023 and planning, I would encourage everybody listening in, just go to your website and ask yourself, “Is our website set up to help buyers buy things?” Maybe even go to your website and fill out a form and see what happens or try to figure out what is the path forward? Pretend like you are your prospect and you land on the homepage. Are you giving them a clear explanation of what you do, what’s in it for them and how to take the next step? And if you aren’t, then that’s probably something you need to be thinking about in 2023. And then also this concept of just buyer enablement, right? How do we help the buyer learn more and ultimately say yes? And so that’s that third pillar, really focus on your website, improve the user experience as best you can.
And then finally, nurturing relationships, which is the last pillar. And that’s all about basically communicating with your buyer after they visit your website. What are the things you’re going to do to stay top of mind with them and continue to deliver value? And email marketing, Mike, in my opinion, is still really critical here, but we need to think a little bit differently about email marketing. And it’s not so much about here’s an offer, here’s this eBook, direct response type messaging. I want folks that are listening in as they think about their email strategy next year, to think about it as content dissemination, right? It’s, “How do I continue to deliver value to my customer in a way that doesn’t feel like we’re trying to sell them?”
And then the other part to that is, hyper-personalization. For example, with the email messages that we send out for us at Vende, and we do this for our clients as well is, we’re sending out what you would consider as drip email messages, but the receiver of those messages, it feels like it’s coming from a sales rep and it’s just, “Hey, here’s this interesting article. Here’s a tip, here’s a resource.” Maybe every now and then you throw in a call to action, but that call to action is tied to value. “Hey, would you like to sit down and have a planning session with us? It’s the end of the year, let’s think about what you’re trying to accomplish next year.”
So those are really the four pillars and the goal is, let’s get better at each of those, planning, activating our audience, establishing authority and nurturing relationships. So I think, thinking about it from a strategic perspective, Mike, those are kind of the big ones.
And by the way, everyone, if you’re enjoying what you’re hearing, you can get a daily dose of this every day on LinkedIn because Paul is very active…
… handing out information, helpful information just like this for B2B marketers, so make sure you look them up. It’s Paul, P-A-U-L Slack, S-L-A-C-K on LinkedIn. All right, Paul, let’s go under the umbrella of sales and marketing. Talk a little bit about what worked here in 2022 as far as businesses cutting through the noise and getting in front of buyers online.
A couple of things that really come to mind, and this is a theme I think you’ll hear as we talk about some of the others, but video as a way of delivering information is becoming more and more important. We’re seeing video consumption just on the rise and short video consumption being the biggest form of that. I think we can thank our short attention spans, Mike, and maybe TikTok for that, but we all want these short videos. And so, video worked well in 2022. I think it’s going to work extremely well in 2023. From a sales perspective, video is also a really important tool. So I think the sales reps that were able to send little video messages to their customers, that’s something that if you didn’t try in 2022, I’d recommend that you try in 2023. Think about all the emails that you’re getting, unsolicited emails and things like that. And then every now and then I’d get an email and it’s a little video from a person where they’ve analyzed my website or they’ve got a specific message related to me, and that catches my attention.
And that kind of ties to the next opportunity trend, if you will. And that’s just personalization. I think the more that you can deliver a message, whether it’s on the sales side or on the marketing side, that makes that recipient of that information think to themselves, “Wow, that was for me. That person spent some time sending me this email, delivering me this message on social media,” whatever the case may be. And there’s so many tools out there today, Mike, that can help us really hyper-personalize. And so one thing that I like to bring up is, these personalized content hubs. And I know a lot of businesses are taking advantage of those now, but even into 2023, if you can have a landing page on your website for each of your sales reps and have that be personalized, which you can do with marketing automation and tools like that to where when that visitor… The sales rep drops a link, “Hey, check out this content hub I’ve made that’s got all this great information to help you, Mr. Prospect.” But when they land on it, through marketing automation and personalization, it can look like it’s a customized landing page, not just for the rep, but actually for the prospect. And so those are the two biggies is, video and personalized content hubs for the sales side.
But when we think about next year, to add to that, man, every sales rep that’s listening in or if you’re a sales leader and you’re listening in, next year is the time to turn your sales force into or help them really establish their personal brand online. I’ve got this unique situation, Mike, where I’m the chief strategist at Vende, but I’m also the chief sales guy at Vende Digital. And so, I get to play both sides of the field. And I’m telling you, the work that I do, you mentioned it already, where I’m establishing myself as the go-to resource in my industry for questions and things related to digital marketing. Every sales rep can do the same thing. And so the goal should be in 2023, how do you help your sales reps become the go-to resource for their segment of their target, your industry and give them the flexibility to not just be a distribution point? Like, “Hey, your company built this social media post and you’re just going to post it out there on Paul Slack’s LinkedIn page or Mike Boyle’s LinkedIn page. That’s not enough. You need to empower your sales reps to actually become these go-to resources and let them share observations, encourage discussion, be human.
And what I’m seeing, Mike, as I look back into 2022, is that sales reps are starting to understand LinkedIn is important, but they’re using it in not this way. They’re going to sales navigator, they’re finding a list and they’re sending out spammy direct messages. And I don’t do that at all. I spend most of my time thinking about really insightful things that I want to share with my audience on LinkedIn. And you won’t believe this, but 42% of our new logos this year, Mike, came from people direct messaging me from LinkedIn. I didn’t direct message them, Mike, they actually reached out to me and said, “Hey Paul, I’ve been following you for a while. I’m ready to rock. Let’s talk and let’s get this going.” And so that’s the opportunity that sales reps have, but it’s going to take leadership to get on board with that. And so, huge opportunity for sales in 2023 is just to get out there and become this influencer, if you will.
Another trend that I’m just seeing with sales and marketing is just AI everything. I mean, I think 2023, Mike, is going to be the year of artificial intelligence. And there’s so many ways that that’s going to be incorporated into marketing and sales from helping with copy to helping understand what customers are more in market than other customers. And so, as you’re thinking about 2023, be thinking about how to leverage AI. The caveat is, I just said AI everything, but you don’t really want AI to do everything. You just need to think about how can you leverage AI and automation to save cycles, to save time, to get to the right people faster, et cetera.
And then the last thing here just on general topics as it relates to this would be the mid-funnel, and the way that we’ve approached going after our customers in the mid-funnel is changing dramatically. And so the way that we marketers used to attack the mid-funnel was by having an eBook and then promoting it, and gating it. And the reality is, because we’re having to be digital first these days and really giving buyers what they need to make good decisions, we’re going to have to be okay with un-gating all of our content or the majority of our content and just making it available to them.
And so to win in the mid-funnel, that’s scary for folks because they’re like, “Well, I can prove that I’m doing my job because I generated all these MQLs.” And that may be going away. And so we need to come up with better solutions for engaging with our buyers in the middle of the funnel. And in my opinion, the number one way we can do that, Mike, is with community. We built a community in 2022 called the Demand Gen Jammer’s Group, and it’s a monthly jam session, which is, think of it like a webinar, but it’s also a community where we’re engaging with one another. And that’s the way that we are advising our clients to stay connected with buyers. It’s really a much more human way, if you think about it, than just getting somebody to opt into an eBook, but be thinking about how to engage in community in 2023. In fact, I just saw this morning a study from LinkedIn that said that “57% of B2B companies are going to be looking at community in 2023.” So we need to be thinking about, how can we leverage that in our business? Another way to win in the mid-funnel would be, instead of having eBooks, come up with resources and tools and useful things that are going to help that buyer in their journey.
And I would just put one stamp on this at the end just to remind leadership, invest in the automation, invest in the AI, because those tools are going to help with everything that Paul was just talking about for sales and marketers. Let’s move on to one that I think, Paul, is very painful for a lot of companies and that’s SEO, search engine optimization. What do you think worked in 2022 for companies with their SEO initiatives?
SEO is such a moving target and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Mike, it changes all over again. And so, 2022 was an interesting year. In 2021, just backing up, Google made a big announcement about making sure that your website was technically sound, would load fast, and that was a big deal. And so, what worked well in 2022 was just making sure your website was meeting all the technical standards that Google was looking for. So it would load fast, it was easy to crawl and there’s tools that Google even makes available.
And there’s lots of agencies that are out there that can help you make your website more search engine friendly. It’s amazing, Mike, how many websites out there aren’t search engine friendly even today. So you can have optimized copy on your website, but if your website’s not crawlable or it’s not loading fast enough and you’re not meeting those technical SEO benchmarks, it’s not going to matter. And so that was the big thing, is really focusing on making your website findable and easy to crawl.
And another thing that’s working well that will continue to work well into 2023 is a hub and spoke strategy or having a content hub strategy where you focus on three to five content pillars that really matter to your customers that align with your unique selling proposition and building your content strategy around those pillars. So you write articles as it relates to those pillars and then you interlink those together. That’s a really key way of optimizing your website in 2022 that will continue into 2023 because of the big shift that happened about two months ago, Mike, or three months ago now, which was the Google helpful content update, which took the industry by surprise. It was a really interesting announcement that they hadn’t talked much about, but really it was designed by Google to try to fight a big challenge that they’re having.
It’s really two challenges that Google’s dealing with right now that are related to what you need to think about next year. One is, and this blows my mind, I’m 55-years-old Mike, so I’m having a hard time with this one, but Google is old school now. So for the generations that are younger than you and me, Mike, social is the new search engine. Can you believe that? So Google is mom and dad’s search engine, but TikTok is my search engine and that’s scaring Google quite a bit. What they’re having to do is try to improve the search results. So getting more people to want to use the search results where they trust and believe that the information’s going to be accurate and helpful. And so thus, the Google helpful content update.
And so next year, if you’ve done a good job this year of making your website technically sound and loading fast, all those things I just talked about, next year you really need to focus on establishing really awesome content that’s tied to your content pillars where you’re calling out your niche. So don’t just write… We’re a B2B digital marketing agency, Mike, I know you know that, but you’ll notice if you go to our website and read any of our content, we are talking exclusively to B2B marketers or B2B marketing leaders. B2B is all over our content. And we’re doing that, not only because we want our audience to know, “Hey, this was written for you,” as I mentioned earlier. But it’s also part of our optimization strategy, letting Google know that we have a niche, that we’re writing to that niche, that we’re providing useful information for that niche.
The other thing we need to think about when we’re building content for 2023 is, we cannot write a blog or an article, or a webpage and hope that we’re going to rank well, because that’s a key phrase that’s important for us. We’ve got to write content that answers the query of the user. So Google’s really looking at, did that user click over to your website? Did they hit the back button and go to another page because they didn’t get their answer on your page? That’s going to have a big impact. So when you write content in 2023, make sure you’re answering the user intent. And then the last thing for SEO is, just make sure you’ve got multimedia on there. So for example, audio or video or stats, things like that, that are going to really help the user along the way.
Last thing I wanted to bring up today to get your feedback on is social media. And not quite as bad as SEO, companies do struggle with social media as well. So what do you see going into 2023? What should people be paying attention to and doing social media wise?
Overall, just humanizing your content. So social media has the word social in it, right, Mike? It’s social, media. And so we need to think about, how do we humanize our content more? And so just like I mentioned earlier, getting your sales reps to start becoming go-to resources, I’m going to extend that to just everybody in your company. Turn your employees into ambassadors and humanizing your message. And don’t worry so much about being on brand. Yes, we want to be on brand and the things we post on our company pages need to be more on brand, but let your people get out there and show their personality, let their hair down a little bit. A great company to follow is a company called, Stored. If you want to see kind of how they’re doing it, I feel like they’re doing a great job of humanizing their content.
One piece to that, Mike, is man, get your founder involved, right? Founder branding and getting that head of your company, and making him the face of your company in social media, I think is going to be really helpful next year. And then when you think about advertising on social, if you haven’t thought about advertising, you absolutely need to, but think about it as a way of getting your best content in front of your ideal customers. So it’s not about direct response, Mike, it’s about content consumption and content distribution and then leveraging what we call smart retargeting. So once people engage with your content, we love LinkedIn retargeting because we can take website visitors that might have come from search or some other place, we can overlay firmographic data and send ads to those people on LinkedIn that are more mid-funnel type ads, getting them to do something we want them to do. And so that’s a really big one.
And then last little bonus is, when you think about content for social, think about delivering the information in the feed without a click. So it’s not just throwing a blog out there with the hopes that people are going to click over to your blog, take the essence of that blog, the key tips that are in that blog, the key takeaways, and actually put that in the social post. And then drop a link to the blog if they want to read the whole thing, but realize that less than half percent of the folks are actually clicking. That’s not what they want to do. They didn’t go to LinkedIn to click over to your site, give them the information in the feed.
Good advice. Paul, this has been great. I really appreciate you coming back again. Hope you never get tired of us calling on you to talk about B2B marketing.
Mike, this is one of my favorite podcasts, so you can invite me anytime, I’m happy to come on. And always enjoy our conversation.
You talked a little bit, Paul, about the LinkedIn Demand Gen Jammers Group that you host. So folks can just go to LinkedIn, look that up and join the group?
Yeah, we would love for anybody listening in to join the group. On LinkedIn, it’s the Demand Gen Jammers Group. We have a group. You can just do a search, like you said, Mike, and find it, and you have to request to get in, I’ll let you in. And then every month we do a jam session, which is like a webcast where everybody comes together. It’s a really awesome forum. We have a lot of fun with that.
And you’ve been very gracious to offer to the folks listening today a little something that we’re going to put a link to in the show notes. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that offering?
Yeah, thank you for reminding me, Mike. I was going to actually talk about it in the SEO section and I got rambling there. So we’ve got a great little resource. I mentioned the Google helpful content update, which was a big change that’s going to happen and already starting to impact search results. We’ve got a checklist and some tips on what you can do to really audit your website, make sure it’s ready for this big update, and then tips on what you need to do with your content to really maximize the search results. And so it’s a little PDF. Mike, we’ll send that over to you guys. Feel free to add it to the show notes and hopefully you guys will find that useful.
Count on it. And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about what Paul and his team do at Vende Digital, you just visit Vende Digital. That’s V-E-N-D-E digital.com and you’ll be able to contact Paul there directly or reach out to Paul on LinkedIn as we’ve talked about here. Paul, again, thanks so much. Look forward to having you back again.
Thanks, Mike. Have a great day.
Hey, if this is the first time you’re listening to our Salesforce Simplified podcast and you like what you heard, make sure that you follow us on your favorite podcast channel. You can get all the past episodes too, get all caught up there. Additionally, if you happen to be a podcaster and you’re looking for guests who can talk about all things Salesforce or MuleSoft, just contact us here at Ad Vic and we’ll hook you up with one of our experts, and I’ll put a contact link in this show’s notes for you to do that. I’m Mike Boyle from Ad Vic, thank you for joining us for our latest Salesforce Simplified podcast. And as always, our next episode is just around the corner.
You’ve been listening to Salesforce Simplified, the podcast from Ad Victoriam Solutions.