I think I bought my first MarketingSherpa handbook in 2004. I bet customer records at Sherpa show exactly when it was. But whatever the date, I recall being floored. I used up a sticky pad entering placeholders, and used up a highlighter marking key points. And when I'd absorbed it's content, I started viewing some of my pre-Sherpa work with chagrin.
Why Marketing Sherpa for b2b marketing advice
Since those earlier days, I’ve frequently referred to — and at least tried to apply — Sherpa advice in the context of every marketing campaign. I’ve used the Landing Page Handbook practically every week since I laid hands on it. I steer each team member to relevant Sherpa guidance during campaigns and projects. And I often ask clients to review specific pages of Sherpa content before I come onsite to guide them through marketing planning.
In 2007, my team started preparing for a 2008 relaunch of the Business Communications Group website. This wasn’t just a refresh. We were moving to a new domain, www.b2bcommunications.com, new site architecture, new keywords, new design, and new search-optimized content.
Throughout the project team members traded references to sections of the Search Marketing Benchmark Guide and Business Technology Marketing Benchmark Guide, in an effort to avoid any blunders called out in those pages.
Those were not our only sources of advice on what works – there were many others. Planet Ocean was another big one. But Sherpa was a major resource – a major influence.
Our site relaunched in Feb 2008. And, while it’s far from perfect (oh let me count the flaws and loose ends…), it’s risen in organic Google rankings (the free ones on the left of the results) to top 5 ranking for our top keywords. Today (8/29/08) we are #1 out of 290,000 sites for ”B2B marketing consulting company”. On 7/18/08, for the phrase “B2B marketing communications” we were sandwiched among some of my heros: Dianna Huff, BtoB magazine, and Mac MacIntosh. We were ranked #5 out of over 3 million.
But what about really moving the needle? We’ve seen 500% growth in warm unsolicited inbound qualified leads. And those leads are converting more quickly to sales than before the site relaunch. In one case, we got a project request call from a big 5 consulting firm after they googled the phrase “B2B marcom firms,” followed our link, and were engaged by our site.
If I consider just what we’ve invested in Sherpa benchmark guides, handbooks, and the value of business won since June ‘08 from web-generated leads, I’d say we have 9800 % ROI.
Special thanks to Cris Rominger for applying to the project her bleeding-edge expertise on today’s best practices in B2B website architecture, usability, optimization, content management, and submission to key engines. Thanks to Chris Roebuck Lee for generating excellent design comps and patiently adapting and tweaking until we arrived at the winner. Thanks to Robert Celaschi for supplying what I view as perhaps the crispest marketing communications copy on the planet. Thanks to Min Davis for supplying a dynamite new business identity system earlier this year, including the logo you see on our site and coordinated suite of materials. There will be more of his work going up on the site soon.