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Posted 02 September 2011 - 10:18 PM
This is probably a silly question buuuuuuuuut...
I'm a fairly young naive fellow that works in business development for a fairly large engineering company that is interested in taking some of its marketing efforts to the online landscape. I usually think that this is a good direction for any company to head in, in this day and age, but with its clients - even larger mining companies - I fear that this effort will get lost as most 'marketing' and business development is usually done at conferences, social functions and the like.
Also, a lot of the company representatives are conservative old dinosaurs.
So essentially I was wondering what are the possibilities for large business in the online B2B landscape.
Thanks for your thoughts..
Posted 23 September 2011 - 10:32 AM
That said, unless you can clearly demonstrate that a lot of your customers are already there on Twitter/Facebook/Google+/where ever -- which seems unlikely -- social media is probably not suitable for you right now.
However, a company blog would probably be a good idea. According to Hubspot's 2011 "State of Inbound Marketing" report, 65% of companies (among those who responded to their survey) have a corporate blog. And of those who have a blog, over half said they could directly attribute at least one customer acquisition to the blog -- and that the blog is cheaper to maintain than traditional forms of outreach such as tradeshows and direct mail. (Full Survey)
Beyond that, a blog works as a passive inbound marketing channel. Publishing articles about industry trends, news about company allows your company to demonstrate their expertise. You can optimize these articles for search terms that people are using related to your business -- look especially for "what is" or "how to" kinds of terms -- and use the articles to show how your business's offerings are preferable to the alternatives. So the blog can generate leads all on its own. (Just make sure you make it as easy as possible for people reading a blog post to contact you if they're interested in what you offer. There should be a contact form link on every page, for instance.)
If your company doesn't have a blog, start one. If they have one, get more active with it. Another thing the Hubspot survey (and other studies) show is that the more active your blog is, the more likely it is to bring in business.
Don't overlook search engine optimization. If your website has never been optimized, you should tackle that -- or get some money budgeted to hire someone to tackle it for you. While the dinosaurs may think tradeshows and personal contact are the only ways to get more business contacts, the fact is, B2B buyers overwhelmingly search online for product specs and company information. You want to be sure your site shows up when they search for the stuff you do.
Don't just focus on the "big ticket" phrases -- and be sure you research how your customers refer to your products/services -- or you'll be missing out on a lot of opportunities. Often the customer's terminology is very different from the terminology you use internally. Sadly, too many B2B sites focus on their internal terminology and miss out on a lot of traffic from prospects who are searching for exactly what they offer, just using different words. This may require editing existing pages and/or creating new site content to target these alternative descriptions of your stuff. (This is where blog articles can come in handy...)
An example: if awhile back you asked the people at my company how to refer to one of our products, they would probably have given you maybe three or four phrases. Since then, I've identified over 1,000 different phrases searchers can (and do) use when searching for exactly the thing we offer. And the one phrase they use most often would not have even been on the list for most of the people who work here.
Also, if you're not doing any pay-per-click advertising, you might want to consider allocating at least a bit of budget for that. Helps you target even more phrases, gives you some great real-world data about what phrases your prospects are actually searching on, helps insulate you against search engine algorithm changes and rankings "hiccups," and may even help convince more people to click on your organic search listings.
Which, if you accomplish all of this, will keep you plenty busy for the foreseeable future...
Posted 02 October 2011 - 01:08 PM
To begin with, you can let them know it their website is like having an online brochure (and more) that you do not have to pay the extra printing fees on, or the postage to send it out. It is always online, available for anyone to check out at any time. Of course a website is much more than that, but that could be a way to use marketing terminology they can relate to.
It's a place they can post what trade shows, conferences and social events they will be attending, or even hosting. It can help cut down time spent on the phone answering simple questions or even giving directions, all of which can be posted online. It's a chance to explain the services or products you have to offer.
It's also a good place to showcase any awards or recognition the company has received, to post information about the founders and/or those running the company. You can get a lot more out of a website than you can a brochure or fliers given out at shows.
This is so important! Business owners and marketers overlook so many variations of the terms they should be researching into and including in their sites, choosing to focus on only a small set of terms they want to show up for, thinking they are most important.
You will be surprised at the number of terms visitors search with for products/services similar to yours.
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