4 Elements to Consider to Take a B2B Website Mobile

b2b-mobile-optimizationAt the center of your B2B marketing sits your website. Marketing your company to other businesses requires a top-notch web presence. And with the explosion of users, especially business professionals, checking their mobile devices and tablets it’s crucial to make sure features from your site run flawlessly for users on the go. Beyond the need for aesthetic appeal, your mobile website needs to function without hiccups and without interruption. Like any website venture, it’s imperative to test, test and test again. Focus on the following four elements to ensure your B2B website passes the test for prospects and customers.

1. Forms

The best way to capture information from potential customers is through landing page forms. Forms are easier to see and easier to submit contact information on desktops and laptops. Forms on mobile need simplicity. Remember, smaller screens condense the user experience. Drop down boxes are preferred for easy tap, touch and go. The more one-step procedures you can implement for a user the better. In addition, forms require a submission process. Make sure your site’s submission button is operational on mobile devices.

2. Images/Video

Optimize your images. It’s so crucial. A lot of this is taken care of prior to uploading. Images and video that aren’t properly saved for the web will turn visitors away. Long load times are inexcusable for B2B sites hoping to reel in potential customers. Web designers can balance image quality with file size, but you can’t take that for granted. Make sure you maintain quality with quick load times. Test how your images and videos load on variable services and various mobile devices.

3. Usability

Make sure to review your navigation and ease of usability for your B2B site on mobile. One way to make sure the content appears in an easy-to-navigate and visually appealing way is to build the site with responsive web design (RWD). The elements of the website adjust themselves automatically to suit the screen size of the device. RWD is important for more than just a friendly user experience. Some companies maintain two separate websites, one for desktop and another for mobile. With responsive web design that isn’t necessary because you can maintain just one website. While RWD may cost more than traditional website design, in the long run it will save you money because you won’t have to maintain duplicate sets of updates. Having just one site for your business also has a positive impact on SEO for the same reason.

4. Search Queries

Sometimes your audience may want to dig further into your site. With mobile, some users are more apt to head straight to the search bar. But beyond a functioning searching option, it’s imperative to optimize your mobile site properly in Google’s playpen. Google penalizes sites when a desktop page either redirects smartphone user to an irrelevant page or opens smartphone only errors.

Whether you’re just beginning to implement a mobile site or trying to improve your existing one, make sure you consider these elements. When in doubt, it’s best to test and retest as much as possible.

Photo credit: Flickr

B2B Mobile Tactics If You Still Have a Blackberry Audience

b2b-blackberry-demiseWith the latest news that Blackberry will be taken private and give up the consumer business to focus on the enterprise are signs that Blackberry will never recover their mobile market share, which ComScore reported at 4.3% of the US market as of July 2013. What do these events mean for B2B companies who still have a mobile strategy that is reliant on a Blackberry-using audience?

Many regulated industries like finance, health care and government have stuck with the devices due to compliance issues requiring employers access employees’ communications records. The first question you need to ask is how many of your customers and prospects still use Blackberries. Do your own research of your website with your web analytics program. Google Analytics breaks traffic down by specific devices. Under the audience tab, go to Mobile and choose Devices.
b2b-devices-Google-Analytics
When reviewing this for SocialMediaB2B.com, there was only one Blackberry model (BlackBerry 9900 Dakota) listed among the top 25 devices. Since most of the traffic comes from Apple devices and a small percentage from Samsung devices, we can choose to ignore the Blackberry. But that is our audience. If you find a large number of Blackberries accessing your web site, here are three things to do to make sure your mobile efforts reach your audience.

1. Test Your Mobile Site on a Blackberry Simulator

As more and more people access your website, blog and landing pages on mobile devices, you need to know how they look on those devices. It is never hard to come up with an iPhone, iPad or even the latest Android phones from your co-workers to view your site. Blackberries are harder to come by. But if you have determined that you need to test your site on a Blackberry and you don’t have access to a real device, install a Blackberry simulator to make sure you see what your visitors see. If you have never paid attention to these devices and your site uses incompatible technology, your response depends on how big the audience is and how broken the site is. Also see #3 below before expending significant resources in fixing these problems.

2. Avoid Building Native Blackberry Apps

If you were planning on developing a Blackberry app, no matter how large your Blackberry audience, you need to stop. This audience is shrinking, and for many reasons these people will be switching to other devices. The best option now is to focus on building a mobile web-based app that takes advantage of the latest technology that is compatible with multiple devices. Blackberry provides tools to make sure HTML5 apps are compatible with their devices too.

3. Start Planning for a Move to iOS

As Blackberry stops selling devices to consumers, fewer people will have Blackberries. As more IT departments let people bring in their own devices (iPhones) or provide iPhones to them, there will be fewer Blackberries. Unless you work in an industry where the Blackberry provides something that no other device can provide, which only seems to be a physical keyboard and a blinking red notification light, the majority of your customers and prospects will no longer be using Blackberries. That means it is time to begin optimizing your mobile experience for the iOS. This doesn’t mean create an iPhone app, but test your website, blog and landing pages on an iPhone and iPad. Make sure visitors can do what you expect them to do.

Are you still paying attention to Blackberries in your B2B mobile marketing or has your audience moved on to other devices?

Even B2B Marketers Need to Follow these Internet Trends

Many B2B marketers don’t view themselves as cutting edge in the marketing world. They don’t always keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing and social media. And even when they do, there is a sense that they can’t implement the latest approaches to marketing in their organizations. B2B sales are often viewed as heavily dependent on relationships where sales people understand the prospect’s business at a deep level. Marketing must follow suit and support that approach.

But things like social media and digital marketing are not fads. These are things that have changed the way people live their lives. And conduct their business. Even buyers at B2B companies.

Mary Meeker, partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer, presents a report every year that collects a series of datapoints to show how the internet is growing. The current report (embedded below) has over 1.8 million views on Slideshare and has been the talk of the internet.

Here are some key insights from the report that are relevant to B2B marketers.

1. Internet Growth

There is not a question that internet continues to grow. The report highlights 8% year over year growth. More people spend more time looking for information on the internet. They are not just looking for restaurant reviews, but they are looking for answers to their business questions. What do they find when they come across your B2B company? Do they even come across your company? Enter your company into a search engine box? What comes up? What if you enter your most common product categories? Are you helping your prospects find their way to you with your internet presence? Compare what you are doing to what your competitors are doing for a good benchmark.

2. Social Media Growth

More people are spending time on social networks than any other activity on the internet except email. Are your prospects part of this trend? Ask your current customers. What are the sites that provide the most value in your industry? For some B2B companies the answer is LinkedIn. For others, forums still hold sway over the audience. And there are even B2B companies that are driving business from Facebook. Your audience is there. You just need to get in front of them with something that matters to them. Nearly all respondents to the survey shared in the report use Facebook.

3. Smart Phones

Penetration of smart phones continues to grow and people are using these devices for so much more than phone calls. They are still trying to solve those business problems while they wait in line, while they commute and even while they are walking through the hallways of their office to the next meeting. This means they are conducting searches, asking questions on social networks and reading blog posts. Conduct an audit of your B2B company’s mobile presences including website, blog and the things you are posting on social networks. Are you trying to capture leads with gated content? Have you tried to fill out the form on a smart phone? And if you have a cookie-based system that identifies people and automatically fills out the form or categorizes visitors as new or returning, how does that work as more and more traffic comes through smart phones?

4. Mobile

We tend to think about smart phones as the most important mobile trend, but for huge parts of the world, mobile will never mean smart phones. There are 3-4 times the number of mobile phone users compared to smartphone users worldwide. People use standard mobile phones as their connection to their families, to the world, to their money and to their business activities. Does your B2B company serve parts of the developing world where this opportunity exists? You may need to consider who your customers sell to when examining these mobile phone trends.

5. China

With the rapid technology growth in China it is hard to ignore this huge market. There are already more active Apple and Android mobile devices in China than there are in the US. The Chinese also spend more time using the internet (33% of time vs 26%) and on mobile devices (22% vs 12%), while Americans spend more time watching television (42% vs 29%). And two of the top ten technology companies in the world are based in China (Tencent and Baidu). None of this means that you should change your marketing approach and suddenly add China to the mix, but if you are a global company, or one that could serve customers in China, start exploring your options. Many Chinese social and technology platforms continue to experience significant growth.

What are other trends you see in the report below that your B2B company can respond to?

14 Tweetable B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics

Statistics are popular with B2B marketers, since they can be used for so many things. Here are some recent stats that can help your cause with your social media adoption, or to use in your next presentation. We have also made these stats easy to share with your network by including a tweet button next to each one. If there are any other recent stats that help make the case for what you are doing in social media for your B2B company, let us know in the comments below.

Marketers and Experience

1. 73% of CEOs Think Marketers Lack Business Credibility (source) Tweet This Stat

2. 53% of B2B companies have been using social media for longer than one year (source) Tweet This Stat

Budgets

3. 68% of B2B companies spend 5% or less of their revenue on marketing (source) Tweet This Stat

4. 40% of B2B companies expect their 2012 marketing budgets to increase (source) Tweet This Stat

5. Social media spending will increase 3% in the next 12 months and 9% over the next five years for B2B companies (source) Tweet This Stat

Social Media Marketing Mix

6. 66% of B2B companies use social networks in their marketing mix (source) Tweet This Stat

7. 34% of B2B companies include blogs in their marketing mix (source) Tweet This Stat

8. 58% of B2B companies using social networks are using LinkedIn (source) Tweet This Stat

9. 57% of companies have acquired a customer through LinkedIn (source) Tweet This Stat

Blogging

10. 57% of companies with a corporate blog have acquired a customer through blogging (source) Tweet This Stat

11. 72% of companies who blog weekly have acquired a customer through blogging, 78% have who blog daily. And 89% of companies who blog multiple times a day have acquired a customer through blogging. (source) Tweet This Stat

Metrics and Analytics

12. Only 28% of B2B companies calculate ROI on even some of their marketing campaigns (source) Tweet This Stat

Mobile Trends

13. 52% of BlackBerry users are planning to switch to iPhone 5 (source) Tweet This Stat

14. 59% of B2B Decision Makers Researching with Smartphones (source) Tweet This Stat

59% of B2B Decision Makers Researching with Smartphones

B2B buyers are using smartphones in greater numbers as part of the buying process. According a recent study conducted by TriComB2B and the University of Dayton School of Business Administration and shared by eMarketer, 59% of B2B purchase decision makers have used their smartphone to research products and services when they are considering purchases. This makes it critical for marketers to publish information in a mobile-friendly format, whether that is a on a mobile-optimized website or in a dedicated mobile application.

There is a huge missed opportunity by the sellers in not addressing this form of information gathering. According to June 2011 data from Google and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), only one-third of their surveyed advertisers had mobile optimized websites, and only 19% had dedicated mobile apps.

Based on this research, no matter your B2B industry, you need to begin thinking about mobile marketing to connect with your buyers. With all the information available online, including that shared through social media, buyers are more knowledgeable than ever before. This means they don’t contact your B2B company until they are further along in the buying process, or further down the funnel. If they cannot find information about your solutions in the format that is most convenient to them, they will look at your competitors.

3 Steps to Getting Started with Mobile Marketing

1. View your B2B company website or blog on a variety of mobile devices.

2. Check your website analytics to determine the current amount of mobile traffic.

3. Determine which website and blog content are most relevant to mobile users. Do this using web analytics, customer interviews and a content inventory.

What are you doing to address the growing number of B2B mobile visitors to your website?

7 Ways to Take Your B2B Marketing Mobile

Plan for Mobile MarketingWithin the last few years, the use of mobile technology in the workplace has risen dramatically. In the B2B space, professionals accessing business information and content on smartphones and tablets is impacting business operations, workflow, communications and marketing.

B2B mobile marketing spending will quadruple over the next five years, rising from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014, according to Forrester Research.

So how should your business plan for the impact of mobile on B2B marketing?

1. Provide mobile-friendly marketing content
Optimization of your web site, emails, blog and other marketing content for mobile devices should be a top priority for your development team. Don’t simply re-purpose existing content. Design and create specifically for the mobile environment.

2. Consider mobile users when creating content
As the use of mobile increases, short form marketing content may generate more impact than long form content. Blog posts and short videos may provide more long-term B2B marketing value than not-so-mobile-friendly content like whitepapers and webinars.

3. Centralize content
You may need to re-consider the source of your business marketing content. Instead of publishing it in a specific channel, you may want to put it in a central location (web site, database, etc.) and then point your channels to that content or broadcast it from that content source. That way you can announce or display the content in your various marketing channels such as email campaigns, social networks, mobile apps, blogs, text messages, etc. Recipients will either access the content directly or pull it through the interface or channel of their choice.

4. Choose mobile-friendly technologies
When creating content, consider the channel or service you’ll be using and determine if it’ll work well in the mobile environment. Certain tools and services will work better for videos, animations, blogs, etc.

5. Mobile app vs. mobile site
With the abundance of apps proliferating the app stores, many marketers are considering if the time and expense of creating apps is worth the effort. Can a mobile site offer a better experience and broader reach? Is there additional branding and marketing value in having an app available in an app store? Consider the short term and long term value of both options to see which may be a better fit for your intended audience.

6. Review your analytics
Understand if mobile is impacting your marketing and make decisions based on analytics. Make sure you are set up to be able to determine the mobile audience for your web site, blogs, email campaigns and social channels wherever it is possible to do so. Use that information to make the decision on the importance of preparing a mobile strategy for that channel.

7. Test emerging marketing strategies
Because many businesses are still determining the potential of mobile marketing, testing and refining their mobile marketing process and choices are an ongoing process. But by doing so, marketers will identify the mobile opportunities that will create business value. Testing now can lead to significant long term mobile marketing success.

If you remember to keep your target in mind and consider the impact of mobile marketing on near and long term goals, you’ll likely find a way to use mobile to create value for your customer and your business.

For more great B2B mobile information, be sure to check our our previous post The B2B Mobile Revolution is Here and download The Mobile Revolution & B2B (PDF) by CK.

The B2B Mobile Revolution is Here

There is no doubt that B2B marketers need to learn more about mobile, so they can reach their already mobile audience. This is not a coming revolution, it is already here and you need to catch up. Rather than have five posts about mobile, we have links to two posts and one big link to the awesome site B2B Mobile Revolution. Our friend CK makes the following case for B2B mobile marketing on her microsite. And there’s absolutely a mobile version.

B2B companies have been slow to move into mobile. And the irony is stark, given that mobile is the one set of media that is most used by their target audiences. With 72% of the U.S. workforce already mobile, 64% of B2B decision makers currently reading their email via mobile devices, and more than 70% of executives under 40 considering mobile their primary communications tool, it’s clear: professionals view their mobile devices as veritable “lifelines to their livelihoods.”

Mobile Revolution and B2BSo definitely check out the site, as there is lots of great information, but the centerpiece is the downloadable PDF The Mobile Revolution & B2B: Why Mobile Ignites A Revolution And The Marketing Imperatives For Today’s B2Bs, which includes a business case for B2B mobile integration, a 5-point framework of marketing imperatives, mobile statistics, 10 B2B mobile examples and 7 video clips.

More Mobile Posts
10 Best Tips for Creating a Mobile Site
from Social Media Today
With ComScore reporting that in January 2011, over 89 million people in the U.S. accessed the Internet from their mobile device, nearly 40% of all mobile subscribers, mobiles sites are becoming a must-have for any businesses. Here are the 10 best tips for creating a successful mobile site.
Continue reading

The ABC’s of Mobile Marketing
from Mailprint Blog
The mobile marketing industry is filled with more than its fair share of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Here’s a quick primer on the shortened vocabulary of mobile marketing.
Continue reading

Where does mobile fit into your B2B marketing plans?

[VIDEO] 11 Predictions for B2B Social Media in 2011

I recently had the opportunity to share the screen with David B. Thomas (@davidbthomas) of New Marketing Labs and discuss my predictions for B2B Social Media for 2011. Even though you may have read the predictions, watch the video to hear us talk about them. Dave brings additional perspective to the conversation with his experience working with enterprise level companies using social media.

11 Predictions for B2B Social Media in 2011
1. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
2. Open APIs Support Information Portability
3. Collect, Analyze and Visualize Data
4. Share Compelling Stories
5. Continued Growth of Social Search
6. Expanded Forums of Social Communications
7. The Year of Conversions
8. Customer Service is More Social Than Marketing
9. Daily Deals and Group Buying Change Pricing Models
10. Social Media will be More Accepted in the Enterprise
11. Companies with Limited Results Pull Back from Social Media

Reviewing Our 2010 B2B Social Media Predictions

Before we start looking forward with predictions for 2011 in B2B social media, we thought we would look back at our predictions for 2010. It is worth looking at these predictions not to determine our skill at predicting the future, but to see how quickly or slowly various aspects of social media were adopted or ignored by B2B companies.

1. Sales Staff Get Social Media Savvy
This is something that definitely started to happen in 2010, but not to the extent that we might have thought. The first steps of this occurred, which are the education and awareness of the benefits of social media to a sales force, and a big part of that is through the growing online conversation about sales 2.0 and social CRM.

2. Inbound Marketing Gets Cash
Spending is definitely increasing around areas that bring customers to online destinations, including social media. According to the CMO Survey, social media spend is expected to be around 10% of the marketing budget for B2B companies within one year, and up to 18% within five years.

3. Location-Based Fills In The Gaps
Location did not happen for B2B companies in 2010. The value of the check-in, and even the growth of location-based coupons, did not adapt well to the complex relationship-building process for B2B social media. Even Foursquare, the leader in location-based applications, acknowledges a consumer retail focus and prevents non-retail businesses from claiming their venue on the site by stating “we’re trying to limit foursquare specials to places where people meet, socialize and linger. Think: cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, theaters, etc.” This limits experimentation of non-traditional approaches of checking in.

4. Social Media Lead Generation Becomes Common Place
While social media lead generation is definitely happening across multiple platforms, this is not a common occurrence. Many B2B companies are still challenged how to move beyond engagement to lead generation.

5. Social Media Publishing Gets More Multi-Media
The growth of audio and video content has been huge in 2010. While every successful campaign like the Old Spice Guy encourages clients and bosses to ask for viral videos, causing marketers to cringe (because you don’t make viral, it happens), they do increase the awareness of video as compelling online medium.

6. Influencer Marketing Gets Even More Important
With the decline of traditional media, marketers are looking for other ways to share their messages, and influencer outreach is definitely a growing approach. With sites like Klout to measure online influence, as well as other determinations based on site page rank or offline industry influence, many in the B2B space are learning who to reach out to.

7. Mobile Can No Longer Be Ignored
It is hard to find any statistics that don’t point to the growth of mobile in the US and around the world. Look at growth of smartphones, sales of iPhones, the growing Android platform and even a Gartner report from earlier this year that says the number of mobile phones that can access the web will exceed the number of PCs by 2013. More B2B marketers are understanding the importance of a mobile experience, especially as it relates to communicating on social networks and driving traffic back to their content.

8. Corporate Web Sites Get Social
Some B2B companies who understand the importance of connections through social media have made corporate web sites more social. This is not something that has gotten very pervasive, but there has been a large adoption of social media follow badges and share buttons across many B2B sites.

9. Social and Real-Time Search Drive B2B Social Media Adoption
More B2B communicators became aware of the importance of real-time information and the required response using social media and other outlets. Google, Twitter and even Facebook pushed the notion of real-time to the top of their platforms, which helps B2B companies see the importance of social media adoption.

10. B2B Gets Smart About Social Data
Most B2B companies are still overwhelmed with the amount of user generated content created around their customers, prospects and industries, and there just have not been good solutions for mining this data for actionable information. The beginnings of this are happening with social CRM platforms, but it is very early in that space.

11. The Firewalls Start To Come Down
Many B2B companies started 2010 by blocking access to social sites on their corporate networks. Not much has changed in those instances, but as social media matures, B2B companies will start to understand the business value of employees accessing sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. If companies are worried about employee productivity or inappropriate online comments if employees have access to social media sites, that is an employee problem, not a social media problem. And with the continuing growth of mobile, employees will bypass corporate networks entirely when searching social sites for business recommendations or polling their networks for information.

How does this compare to what you have seen in 2010 in your B2B companies? Let us know in the comments below. And look for our 2011 predictions next month.

The Best Free iPad Apps for B2B Marketers

Now that Apple has sold 3 million iPads, the platform is worth looking at for B2B marketers. As I have written before about the iPad, in my initial use of the device, it is not a laptop replacement. It is much more of a consuming device, rather than a creating device. This post will focus on the best free apps to use on the iPad. A future post will look at paid apps. These apps take advantage of its compactness and portability and its touch screen. It is a great device for travel, providing you don’t have heavy duty document creation requirements on the trip. I am basing this on my personal experience with the iPad, even though I have talked to others who do more with their iPad than I do with mine.

Nothing below is so compelling that it will make you rush out and buy an iPad tomorrow, but there are some neat apps available, and when you start to consider the 2nd generation iPad (that’s the one that’s coming with a camera, maybe available this fall), you’ll have a head start on some free apps to look download.


Dropbox (iTunes link) is the best way to sync documents between multiple devices, not just a way to get files, photos and presentations on your iPad without using iTuens. It requires an online repository for your documents, which is free for up to 2GB of space. If you are using an iPad for sales presentations and to share other product materials, this is best way to make sure those out in the field always have the latest versions. Someone back at the office can manage the Dropbox account, which is loaded on each iPad, and each time the Dropbox app is opened, it syncs the latest documents. Other popular programs that sync documents on multiple devices are Evernote (iTunes link) and Box.net (iTunes link).


Feeddler RSS Reader (iTunes link) is the best approach to keeping up with your RSS reader. An important part of marketing today involves reading the latest blog posts and articles to stay current and share these finds with your network. Fill your Google Reader with blogs and fly through with the touch of your finger. This app won’t make you read faster, but it will help you navigate faster and easier. If you don’t currently use Google Reader, create an account just to add this list of 330 B2B Marketing and Sales Blogs and keep up with the latest ideas and trends. One complaint is that the free version does not allow you to post to Twitter. You need to upgrade to the Pro version for $4.99. That is definitely worth it if this keeps you on top of your reader.


If you are looking for a more magazine-like experience in your daily reading, try Flipboard (iTunes link). This new app is all the rage among iPad owners. It connects to your social graph and presents articles that those in your network have shared. There are lots of options for curated content as well. It has a very intuitive and touch friendly interface and content is sharable on Twitter and Facebook, depending on the source.


Dragon Dictation (iTunes link) is a well-known iPhone app that transcribes speech and lets you post updates to Twitter or send emails. If you speak slowly and clearly, it works pretty well. There is also a keyboard for correcting any mistakes before sending your messages.


Both WebEx (iTunes link) and GoToMeeting (iTunes link) have apps for the iPad, bringing the the most common, online collaboration platforms to this portable device. All the functions you are used to from both of them programs are included. It’s good that both platforms are available since most marketers do not pick which of these programs to use. As many webinars use these programs, you can easily join in from outside your office, or even from a conference room without your laptop. As companies continue to explore online options in place of travel, these types of programs will continue to grow in use.


Remote Desktop Lite (iTunes link) is a way to log in to your Windows desktop and access all your files directly from your iPad. I have not used this program, as I don’t have a Windows desktop, but now that Microsoft has released Windows 7, the remote desktop functionality is pretty mature, and the app is tapping into that. This is a good app if you are traveling without your laptop and you forgot to save files in a syncing folder. Bring them up just like you are sitting at your desk. You computer does need to on for these types of programs to work. There is also a full version available for $5.99, but even the developers encourage everyone to try the free version first.

If you have an iPad, what free apps have you found most helpful? If you are still looking at an iPad, what are functions that your would expect apps to provide?