B2B Search Engine Marketing: Goals for 2011

With the New Year finally upon us, it's time to start focusing on those goals and objectives we promised as 2011 budgets were approved. But similar to our resolutions for eating healthier and getting back to the gym, achieving measurable results with B2B search engine marketing will undoubtedly be challenging.

Here is a look at the key B2B search engine marketing resolutions that will help you achieve your marketing goals in the New Year.

An Investment in Content Marketing

Quality content fuels almost every B2B search engine marketing strategy. But investing in content development is difficult when resources are tight and sales pressure looms.

Instead of getting overwhelmed with production volume, consider developing a handful of high quality pieces (white papers, research, etc.) and using that material as the basis for shorter articles, blog posts, podcasts, etc. One high quality white paper can lead to a half dozen supporting pieces that can be optimized for additional (but related) keyword strategies.

Connect the Dots Between Online & Offline Marketing Strategy

In a recent study by Fusion B2B, Internet marketing and social media didn't actually rank as a top priority (although they were key tactics for accomplishing goals). Lead generation and measurement of marketing strategies are key priorities.

Top B2B Marketing Priorities 2011

What is the takeaway? B2B marketers are concerned with strategies that impact the bottom line. Period. The preferred channel of choice is the channel that is most effective in generating quality leads for the organization.

Explaining how search engine marketing can enhance or be a component of almost every B2B marketing initiative is critical, from leveraging PPC for driving awareness to an event to the acquisition of links in coordination with sponsorship initiatives.

Focus on the B2B Sales Cycle

The B2B sales cycle is different than for B2B companies. B2B prospects send multiple levels of the organization to evaluate a solution. More than one visit to the website is almost always a certainty.

Understanding the intent of a keyword strategy and the content required to support that strategy needs to be considered. For example, it's less likely a solutions page will rank well for a keyword query implying the need for information gathering and research as oppose to a product evaluation or comparisons.

Get Your Head Around Technology Solutions

Technological advancements enhance how B2B marketers develop their programs and evaluate the results of efforts. Not only are tools getting better at providing the data necessary for benchmarking performance, but it seems like every week a new technology is being developed that needs evaluation.

One example is how marketing automation tools are becoming much more predominant in the B2B space for evaluating lead quality, understanding the types of content prospects find of value, and determining the effectiveness of a marketing channel. Another is that as mobile marketing evolves, tools like QR codes are rapidly being adopted for campaign development and site visibility.

The point is that B2B search engine marketers need to be ahead of the game when it pertains to how new technology advancements can be leveraged for managing an SEM program.

Mobile Marketing on the Horizon

The growth in the adoption of smart phones, tablet computers, and other mobile devices cannot be ignored. In the video below, Mary Meeker indicates that smart phones will eclipse PC sales in 2012.

As the enterprise organization considers private and hybrid cloud computing services for information exchange and storage, mobile computing could explode.

To this end, consideration has to be made for how content, web pages, and specific marketing messaging is displayed to the mobile user. A better understanding of how users search with these devices will also be important.

Develop Your Social Community

This could be a long shot, but while you know your customers are in places like Facebook and LinkedIn, the B2B marketer wants more control of the medium. To that extent, consider building your organization's social community in places you run and own, in addition to the popular social networks of today.

While social media certainly isn't going away, the applications and platforms we use will change, advance, and/or become obsolete. If your organization is delivering real value, the target market should follow you no matter what the platform.

Achieving Your B2B Search Engine Marketing Goals in 2011

Will 2011 be a walk in the park? Probably not (just like every year for the B2B search engine marketer). But new challenges bring new opportunities. With the right strategies in mind, here's hoping your search engine marketing resolutions help you accomplish your overall B2B marketing goals in 2011.

What do you think? What did I miss? I'd love to hear in your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.