Question one: Does your company have a website?
And if so,
Question two: Do you update it regularly with helpful information?
How so? Because B2B technology buyers no longer look for solutions in a phone book. They rarely call in response to an ad or flyer or something they saw at an event. Instead, they are more likely to do research online first – before contacting you.
Indeed, CEB’s 2012 “Digital Evolution in B2B Buyer study” found that, on average, they were 57% of the way to making a purchase decision before contacting a supplier.
Today, people are even more reliant on the Internet for getting answers to questions; everything from where to find a good restaurant, to health concerns, to trivia that comes up in conversations.
B2B buyers go online for the same reasons. To get quick, helpful answers to whatever challenge or problem they are currently tackling. They know how invaluable up-front research is to getting the best solution for their needs.
What sources of information do B2B Buyers use?
According to a study by Google and Millward Brown Digital, B2B buyers rely on digital sources for product and solution research, here are the top five sources:
- Search Engines
- Manufacturer sites
- Peers or colleagues
- Online reviews
- Technology media sites
This does not mean that traditional marketing and advertising no longer matters. It does mean, however, that a user-friendly, up-to-date website is vital, so you need to consider prioritizing investments accordingly.
Trick Question – What is your homepage?
If I asked you what your company home page is, you would most likely say it’s ‘mycompanyname.com’. However, think about where B2B buyer research starts. It starts with search, and when it comes to search, Google gets nearly 70% of monthly search shares. So perhaps today, the right answer is ‘Google.com’.
Getting noticed by search engines
Getting your business to rise to the top of search rankings is an art as much of a science. At the very least, it is essential that you have valuable “organic” content for visitors.
In plain English that means when a user enters “How can I reduce printing costs?” Google and other search engines will find your site because you have helpful, informative content that answers that specific question.
Getting better results in Google
There are reputedly over 200 “signals” that Google takes into account when deciding which site to list first on the Search Engine Results Page – a bewildering amount for anyone. However, by creating some basic “signposts” to your site, you can help search engines find you. Here are the basics:
- Google My Business Online address listing that includes a link to your website
- Website SEO The keywords, phrases, and metadata used to help search engines index your site
- Blog SEO The keywords, phrases, and metadata used in articles
- Search Advertising Paying for inbound links from searches and banner ads
- Social Media Links to your website pages from social media posts
- Directory listings Yell.com and other directories allow you to list your website
Start with Google My Business. Once you have signed up, anyone searching for your business name and address on Google will find your contact information, links to your site and, if you have them, reviews. Best of all it is 100% FREE!
What else is important?
With respect to your website, there are many factors to take into account – including making sure that is it mobile friendly, but consider this variation of a popular saying:
Your website will never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
No one will stick around for more than a few clicks if your site is hard to understand and use, so it’s critical that you have the pages and features that B2B buyers have come to expect.
If you haven’t assessed your website recently, and by ‘recently’ I mean this month, there’s a good chance that you’re missing learning opportunities for improvement.
Your vendors can help
Most channel partners have limited marketing resources, so getting this right can be a daunting task. The good news is that your vendor(s) should be able to do much of this for you. Ask them if they provide any of these:
- Web syndication tools to help get you started quickly or to create showcase pages for their products.
- Product feeds that you can use to import into your product catalog
- Access to guides and resources for your in-house marketing managers
- A list of third party agencies that understand the vendor’s brand guidelines and can build a site to your specifications, or provide you with a way to easily update your site
- Website assessments that can help you pinpoint where you need to focus your attention
Don’t wait until it’s too late
If you get it right, by the time a prospect calls you, you’re more than halfway to a sale. Get it wrong and your competitor gets the call. That’s why we believe that today, your website is your most important business asset. Don’t leave it four years before you make your next update!
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