July 31, 2013: When building out a distinctive B2B brand message, one of the questions branding experts might ask is, “What are the current perceptions and attitudes about your brand?”. We all have our own perceptions, but nothing compares better than how others perceive or associate your message. While the easiest and most direct way to obtain this answer is to actually ask the customer(s), there are reasons why this might not be possible.
First, customers are busy and it can be difficult to get their time for such an exercise, especially for such a potentially penetrating question. Second, because of the sensitive nature this infers, customers may be reluctant to speak candidly (this is why branding experts would often want to interview customers separately).
Fortunately there are internet marketing related reports and resources that provide immediate insight into how well your B2B brand message resonates with target audiences. Here are five examples to consider.
Keyword Referral Reports
Thorough review of keyword referral reports help B2B marketers understand the types of words and phrases visitors used to find content through search engines. This helps determine how closely your brand communications are inline with the type of phrases people used to find your organizations material.
Even though “not provided” search percentages have had an adverse impact on this type of analysis, keyword traffic reports still provide the most accurate picture of the words and phrases used and the quality of those visits. Keywords help uncover onsite content visitors find of value and provide clues to the type of content to continue developing or expanding upon in the future.
Webmaster Tools Search Query Reports
While keyword referral reports tell the story about what happens when a visitor gets to the B2B website, search query reports provide broader visibility into how relevant the site is for all searchers and prospective visitors.
Google Webmaster Tools search query report let’s B2B marketers know how well aligned their organization’s website message is in Google search results. Reporting data provides insight into the types of search queries website content has been visible for.
B2B marketers can better understand where they need to shift content development and incorporate better messaging alignment. In addition, B2B marketers may also find opportunities for leveraging different terminology that resonates well with the existing search engine landscape.
Webmaster Tools Inbound Link Reports
Google and Bing Webmaster Tools inbound link report illustrates how well content assets created perform across third party websites, by way of inbound links acquired. The key question answered is how well content marketing initiatives resonate with targeted audiences and communities.
Are you obtaining links in the right locations and visibility with the right audiences? Inbound link reports help B2B marketers understand what types of content generated acquire links and provide insight into the audiences and site owners created those links.
When Twitter lists were first announced there was an immediate influx of list collections, list building services, and listing requests, all meant to jump on what marketers hoped would be a signal of relevance in Twitter and broader internet marketing fame.
Fortunately the hype died down quite a bit and what has subtly arose is an interesting way to determine whether your organization’s (or personal) twitter profile resonates with the types of industry classifications, groups, and keyword themes desired.
I recommend reviewing the lists your Twitter profiles are associated with and determining whether those lists support your brand message. If they don’t, consider how you can realign communication in this medium. Make sure to look at competitors and known industry influencers, in an effort to find good list targets and list creators / curators to connect with as well.
LinkedIn Skills & Expertise
While you can’t tag organizations with specific skills and expertise (yet), LinkedIn’s use of tagging for individual profiles can be an invaluable way to determine how your professional network views your expertise, and the expertise of key leaders and public figures in your B2B organization.
Are the right skills, capabilities, and themes being conveyed by members of each individual’s applicable LinkedIn networks? If not, perhaps greater alignment in association with content marketing and industry / organizational association needs to be made and developed.
Building a distinctive brand message for your B2B organization is challenging. Ensuring that that message resonates with your target audiences is even more difficult. And while the best recommendation is to obtain feedback from customers and trusted partners, there are methods online which provide clues and insight into whether you’re on the right track or need to adjust course, in the effectiveness of your B2B brand communication.
What resources and tools, offline and online, do you use in evaluating how well your organization’s message is understood and believed by target audiences? I would love to read your perspective and feedback via comments below.