MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGIES

Colin Warwick shows how a B2B company makes the first page on Google

Colin_warwickColin Warwick, Signal Integrity Product Manager in the EDA Design & Simulation Software division of Agilent Technologies, is responsible for marketing software to help engineers overcome limitations in high speed digital connections.

As he was working on his marketing plans, he came to the realization that traditional business-to-business marketing like tradeshows are expensive and increasingly ineffective. He also understands the importance of the search engines for his business.

"Everyone understands Google," Colin says. "Everybody can instantly see when you enter a phrase into Google if your competitors come up and you don’t or vice versa."

The most important search term for Colin's products is signal integrity, and Agilent product information was coming up on the fifth page of results, clearly not ideal. So Colin set out to make Agilent appear at the top of the search results.

But unlike many organizations that use SEO techniques to try to creep up a few spaces in the results, Colin started writing a signal integrity blog.

Everything from the name of the blog and the URL to the excellent content was designed to appeal to the buyer personas interested in this topic and to drive solid search engine rankings.

"There are only 50,000 signal integrity engineers in the entire world and our average sale is about $10,000 with a six-month sales cycle," Colin says. "While the competitors show their brochures, we have a valuable blog. It helps a great deal to have such valuable information, both for search engine results and in the selling process."

AgilentColin says that executives at Agilent were very supportive of him starting the blog, but there were some guidelines that he had to work within. "The company said I could blog but that the IT department would not support it," he says. "So I needed to create the blog outside of the company domain. I was required to follow some very common sense rules: Don't mention the competition; link to the Agilent terms of service and privacy policy; and include a copyright notice. It has been a very good experience. Companies need to trust that employees will do the right thing and let people blog."

The results have been very encouraging. "Many customers say that they like the blog and our salespeople tell prospects about it," Colin says. "Having a blog allows me to be spontaneous. For example, I can put diagrams up very quickly and let people know valuable information. If we needed to put content on the corporate site, it would take 3 days. With the blog I can get into a conversation in just five minutes."

So what about the Google search results? On Google, for the phrase signal integrity Colin’s blog is now on the first page of results (number five position when I checked).

"Prior to starting my blog, the company products page was ranked number 44 on Google," Colin says. "That’s a huge improvement."

But there are many added benefits to having a blog that took Colin by surprise.

"Trade magazine journalists read the blog and they include links to it in their blog rolls and I am making great web connections," he says. "For example, I asked Paul Rako, an important journalist at EDN, to moderate a panel for me and he did because he knows me from the blog."

David Meerman Scott

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