When you're in need of a tent for the graduation party you’re hosting, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you Google “tent rental grand rapids.” Need replacement windows, a painter, a florist, a nearby Chinese restaurant, reliable PC repair? That’s right, Google.
Now what if you’re at work and you’ve been given the responsibility to purchase a new projector for the conference room, or find a dependable commercial lawn care company, or locate a pallet rack supplier for the warehouse or select a venue for the company Holiday party? Where do you turn then? Did someone just say Google?
Many businesses I’ve worked with express doubt about how online search affects them. However, it’s just as important for a B2B firm to have a compelling and a search engine optimized website as it is for B2C.
As our lives become more reliant on the Web, the most successful B2B firms will quickly recognize the importance of having a strong online presence and will use it to generate lots of revenue.
Potential customers of your company are using the Web to research suppliers, identify buying criteria, locate specifications and request proposals. If you want to be among the handful of companies selected for an in-person meeting, it’s vital to give potential clients a good reason to take the next step in doing business with you.
Step One: Be Found. Your site should be thoughtfully developed with appropriate keywords and content that will help your site appear higher in a search engine results page when buyers are looking online for what you sell. This requires a careful mix of marketing strategy and Web development. Often sites are “pretty” but not search engine friendly, or they are well optimized but simply aren’t designed well. This combination of art and science is difficult to do well, which is why firms like MINDSCAPE exist.
Step Two: Give Them What They Want. Don’t be offended, but visitors to your website don’t care as much about your mission statement as what problem you can solve for them. If your website is designed in a way that can quickly answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” you’ll have a much better chance of moving that prospect into your sales funnel.
Step Three: Give Them a Next Step. They found you. They like you. But now what? Offering your visitors a very clear next step in the buying process makes it really easy to turn them into leads for your sales staff to follow up on. Should your visitor call? Send an email? Submit an info request form? Make it easy for your site visitor to become your next new customer once they’re on your site.
Step Four: Now Follow Up! Ensure that you’re doing your part to convert leads into new customers by having your sales staff frequently check messages and promptly contact incoming leads. I know an influential business owner who, as a rule, refuses to do business with any company that doesn’t respond to his email or info request in less than two days.
Do you want to use the Web to grow your B2B firm? Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss ways MINDSCAPE can help you.
Erin Jones is a business development partner for MINDSCAPE at Hanon McKendry