B2B Digital Marketing Tips
According to a study completed by the CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council, today’s B2B purchasers do not contact suppliers directly until 57% of the purchase process is complete. Based on this survey of 1,500 business leaders who were recently involved in major purchases for large B2B organizations, a new trend in the B2B purchasing process is taking hold. Purchasers are becoming more educated: forming opinions, learning technical specifications, building requirements lists and narrowing down their options before they ever contact a sales rep.
So what does this new trend mean to you, the B2B marketer?
This new trend means that the time has come to place a new focus on your digital marketing efforts. Purchasers are turning to the internet to learn and research at the start of their buying process. It is now becoming Marketing’s job to influence the first 57% of the process and help facilitate sales contact.
Influencing purchasers online can be a tough task without the right knowledge and tools at your disposal. This article will help you sharpen the tools in your bag of tricks by highlighting three key areas on which to focus to create a B2B digital presence that will work for you.
1. IA is an important step that should not be overlooked.
Information Architecture, or IA, is the process of organizing and labeling the pages of a website in a manner that supports the findability of content. This process is important because it creates a clear navigation path for a user to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. When it comes to developing an IA strategy for a B2B site, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Create multiple pathways that get users to the same end point.
B2B websites serve multiple types of users, all at different knowledge levels and at different stages in the purchasing process. It is important to provide content paths for each type of user that ultimately lead to the same end point.
Keep important information within 3 clicks of the homepage.
It is important to get information to a user as quickly as possible and eliminate the need for them to have to click through multiple pages. The IA strategy should be organized in a way that groups relevant content together, while keeping the main pages of the site close to the root level.
Don’t use internal terminology in your navigation
Sometimes companies like to give their products and solutions fancy names to stand out in the marketplace. While this can be a good marketing approach, it can also make information hard to find online. It is important to use standard industry terms in your navigation so that users can logically navigate your site to find what they are looking for.
2. Create content that engages and educates users.
With nearly two thirds of users learning and forming opinions on their own, it is more vital than ever to be part of the research process from the start. Creating good content is only half the battle though; you must also ensure that you are providing the type of information users want. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing your content strategy.
Give them what they want.
The Field of Dreams mantra “If you build it, they will come,” does not apply to the digital world. Why invent topics that nobody is looking for when there are tools that will let you know what users are already searching for online? A tool like the Google Keyword Research Tool allows you to research terms and phrases users are actively searching for so you can create optimized content around those terms and phrases. This allows you to create content targeted at an existing customer base that is looking for the information already.
Be a key figure in the learning process.
Since B2B purchasers are turning to the Internet to learn and research, you have the chance to be the resource they are turning to. It is more important than ever to build learning resources into your site that provide useful, relevant information that educates the user. This approach allows you to look like the expert in your field and be top of mind when it’s time for them to buy.
Build credibility through successes.
Building your credibility through your website is an important step in turning a visitor into a prospect. There are multiple approaches that can help you achieve this, such as testimonials, case studies, white papers and promoting achievements. All of these items show the user that you are experienced and have developed successful solutions for other clients.
3. Use analytics to analyze and test your website.
Web analytics, such as Google Analytics, provides great insight into your website; telling you how users got there and what they did while they were there. There are also little nuggets within analytics that can be used to help the sales process, if you know where to look. In order to truly tap in to the full power of analytics, there is some setup you should do to provide further insights that you can base decisions off of.
Set up goals to track conversion points.
It is important to set up goals for all of the conversion points of the site, such as lead generation forms, distributor finders and contact us forms. Setting up good goals gives you a way of measuring the success of each marketing channel based on users reaching the goals.
Set up event tracking for downloads and videos.
Much like goals, event tracking allows you to track when users complete specific actions on your site. Some actions, such as downloading a PDF and Word document or watching a video, cannot be tracked within the traditional setup of analytics. This means you may not get a full view of what users are doing. Event tracking can be used in these situations. Special code can be applied to the download links or video play buttons that allows you to push custom information back to the analytics and track when a user clicks.
Use analytics as a sales tool.
There is a little known and underutilized area of Google Analytics that can give you insight into the companies that are viewing your site. This area is especially useful for B2B companies because it provides you with the name of the companies whose users are visiting your site. Under the Network area in Google Analytics, you can view the name of the Service Provider associated with the external IP address of users that are visiting your site. Often, large companies have their own external IP address. Their business name will show up as the Service Provider in this list. Once you find a potential prospect in this list, you can click through and apply secondary dimension items to gain further insight into the country and state of the user, how they got to the site, what pages they viewed and much more. Analyzing this information will allow you to build a profile of where the user is in the sales process; whether they are learning, researching or ready to buy. Once you have a better understanding of the prospect, the information can be utilized by Sales and Marketing to reach out to the prospective company with an on-topic message.
Now that you have learned a few new tricks, it’s time to start your website working for you.
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