The Digital World We Live In…
…where it’s commonplace for everyone to carry a smartphone everywhere they go and use the internet for just about everything – has completely changed the world of business-to-business marketing for small to midsized businesses. It used to be that every sale required human interaction, but today, it’s far more common for the entire sales process to take place via the internet – from research to relationship building to the final moment when the customer clicks the “buy now” button on a website. How can a small business with limited marketing funds and time get noticed among all of the competition found online? Successful B2B marketing online starts with your website.
Your Website Better Be More Than a Business Card…
The website is the central hub for all of your online marketing activities in the digital world. The trouble is, many managed services providers and IT companies use their website as if it was simply a digital representation of their business card or brochure. Describing your services in technical terms is not going to help business owners and decision makers understand how you can help solve the problems they’re facing. If they knew what the solution was, they would just buy it and set it up! They need experts like you to suggest solutions to their challenges to make them more efficient. Use your website to address commonly experienced business problems and present solutions in terms of benefits to the customer. How do you do this? Through story telling.
Learn how to Tell the Story in Different Formats…
One of the most common mistakes businesses make when marketing their services online is to present information in the standard format of explaining what they do. When it comes to managed services providers, this is often explained in highly technical terms, listing specific hardware and software that makes up a solution. The average business owner or decision maker simply doesn’t understand what those things are at the level that would allow them to connect the dots and turn that information into how that particular solution benefits their organization. You will want to create a variety of content, from blog posts to videos to infographics that tell the story and paint the picture for your prospective customers in terms of how it actually helps them. What problems can you solve? If you can use real-life testimonials and case studies from customers you’ve already helped – even better!
Turn Your Website into a Lead Generation Engine…
The primary goal of any website is to generate leads for prospective customers. The first step in getting leads from a website is to make sure your website is found in the search engines. You’re going to need to do a few things to make that happen, but the efforts are rewarded with new people finding your website when searching for the solutions you can provide them, including:
- Post new content to your website regularly, whether it is updating the pages of your website, adding new blog posts, or uploading resources
- Fine tune your website content to be a good mix of relevant information your customers are looking for, keywords, and interactive content to keep people coming back to your site
- Use social media to share content from your website
- Allow website visitors to interact with your website by including informational videos, downloadable assets, and a newsletter subscription option
Consider Paid Media Opportunities…
For a few dollars per day, you can use advertising platforms on social media sites or Google AdWords to deliver prospective customers directly to your website. The trick to making your visitors convert is to tailor your advertisements to specific keywords that your typical client is searching for online, and to create a landing page that addresses that particular topic. The better you are at showing your prospects you can solve their problems, the more likely you will turn these new website visitors into paying customers.
Leverage Your Content in Multiple Ways to Reach More People…
Every time you create some content, you probably post it and then forget about it. What you want to do is reuse each piece of content in a variety of ways to increase your visibility to potential customers and expand your reach. If you have a blog post that you spent a lot of time researching and writing, why not turn it into other forms of content as well and post to other places to reach new customers? For example, turn your blog post into:
- A slide show or presentation
- A video for YouTube
- An infographic
- Republish the article on LinkedIn
- Send a Tweet with a link to the article
- Post the article to Facebook
- Expand the article to a full whitepaper, case study, or data sheet
- Syndicate the content to other sources in the industry
Engage, Interact and Create Conversations…
Like it or not, we live in a digital world. People expect to interact with other people and businesses online. Your ability to engage current and prospective customers, interact with them, and create conversations with them online will directly translate to your ability to generate sales and customer retention.
Competing in the digital world can be overwhelming, but if you put your focus in the areas that matter you can succeed, grow, and gain more visibility for your business than you could ever accomplish through traditional, offline marketing methods.