With more and more brick-and-mortar stores in the retail, B2C realm moving online, it’s natural to wonder whether online shopping and e-commerce sites have any value for B2Bs. E-commerce can be useful for B2B manufacturers in providing their customers with a convenient and seamless purchasing experience and differentiating themselves from their competition. Does your site need an e-commerce component?
Most obviously, a negative aspect of an e-commerce site for B2Bs is that sometimes, orders are complex. If you create custom products for each of your clients, you may not be able to take orders through a traditional e-commerce platform, as you’ll need to design and estimate the product. Additionally, B2B products often have multiple pricing tiers, depending upon size of order, client, etc., which can be difficult (though not impossible) to build into the e-commerce experience. If your B2B doesn’t offer tangible products, but services, e-commerce won’t make much sense.
There are several advantages to e-commerce sites for B2Bs. Customers can easily place orders online, eliminating the need for a sales rep or account manager to take the order and forward it to fulfillment. Recurring orders can be automated, and longtime clients can have their specific orders, payment schedules, and other specific information tied to their accounts in your e-commerce interface. Additionally, the product selection can be updated in real-time to reflect changes in inventory or product offerings.
Another benefit to incorporating e-commerce into your B2B site is that it creates a seamless buyer’s journey experience for the customer, which can result in more sales and conversions. If your e-commerce component integrates content including images and video, customer support, how-tos, specifications, articles, and other relevant information, you can funnel customers through the buyer’s journey to the purchase stage, and have that purchase made instantaneously.
B2C buying trends are increasingly influencing the wants of B2B customers, who are eager for quicker, easier, more convenient ways to make business purchases, much in the way that they make personal purchases on Amazon. For B2B manufacturers, e-commerce, if thoughtfully combined with pertinent content and information, can simplify the ordering process for both the buyer and seller.
Whether e-commerce is right for your B2B or not, if you’d like to discuss your current digital strategy, Evenbound can help. Let’s start that conversation. For more information on how our unique formula has produced unprecedented results for other B2B manufacturers, check out the following case study:
If you’re unfamiliar with marketing, terms such as digital marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, marketing automation, digital strategy, and so on can be utterly confusing and practically indistinguishable from each other. In truth, each of these terms has a specific meaning. Inbound marketing and marketing automation are two which are often confused by newbies to marketing jargon. So what’s the difference?
in•bound mar•ket•ing \ ˈin-ˌbau̇nd ˈmär-kə-tiŋ \ ▶ noun. A marketing method that uses content to attract potential customers, then convert them into leads and sales. In opposition to traditional marketing methods, which push advertising copy onto consumers through interruptive advertising (hence the term push marketing), inbound marketing seeks to pull consumers in with compelling content that speaks to their needs. Inbound marketing is therefore customer-centric, rather than marketer-centric.
Inbound marketing employs techniques such as blogging, social media promotion, gated content offers, and SEO (search engine optimization) to attract clients on platforms like search engines and social media sites, which they are already using to research products and services before they make purchase decisions.
mar•ket•ing au•to•ma•tionˌ\ ˈmär-kə-tiŋ ȯ-tə-ˈmā-shən \ ▶ noun. software which automates marketing processes. Includes email automation software (MailChimp, Aweber).
Marketing automation software is a tool, whereas inbound marketing is a methodology. In fact, marketing automation software is a tool that is extremely useful in inbound marketing. Marketing automation software can be used to capture visitors’ information when they convert to leads, and from there, these leads can be segmented based on criteria such as industry, role/position, and place in the buyer’s journey and then be delivered relevant and timely content. Rather than dumping all of your contacts into an email list and sending the same content to everyone, marketing automation allows you to target a specific group of leads or clients, ensuring that you’re not spamming those to whom the content doesn’t apply, and that leads receive content that is specific to their particular needs.
Using marketing automation software to automate some of your lead nurturing marketing processes can be a major component of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Combining compelling, engaging, and pertinent content with targeted promotion and delivery is key to reaching potential customers in the changing marketing landscape.
Want to see what inbound marketing can do for your company? Interested in how you can better use marketing automation? Let’s talk. Click the button below to schedule your free inbound marketing evaluation:
By now, you know that content marketing is an important part of any company’s inbound marketing strategy, even for B2B manufacturers who in the past may have done very little marketing at all. But it’s not enough to just do content marketing. Here are some things you should be doing to improve and simplify your content marketing strategy for success:
Create the Right Content
While it can seem like quantity is hugely important in inbound marketing, especially when it comes to SEO and generating organic search traffic—the quantity of keywords you use and the number of times you use them—but as ever, quality reigns supreme. Rather than trying to churn out as much content as possible, instead focus on creating good content that is relevant to your audience and provides value. That’s what will make a successful B2B content marketing strategy. (Here are 5 steps to successful content for industrial and manufacturing B2Bs.)
Use the Right Platforms
You can create amazing content, but if your target audience doesn’t see it, it will all be for naught. You need to meet your audience where they are, so to speak, to get your content under their noses. This means using social media advertising and promotion, and for manufacturers and other B2Bs, this will likely mean LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Not only can you connect with industry leaders and potential customers, you can use LinkedIn ads to target very specifically your ideal clients. (Read more on LinkedIn ads and B2B marketing and easy ways to make LinkedIn work for your B2B marketing strategy!)
Video is one of the most compelling media, especially when one considers how we consume media daily: in quick snippets, on smartphones. For a B2B content marketing strategy, video is a way to demonstrate your capabilities. Sure, your product may not be more exciting than it is practical, but what your product does or enables or how it’s made can be fascinating and compelling to engineers and your potential customers.
Have a Plan
Don’t just write content willy-nilly and think that you’ll start attracting tons of new visitors to your site and acquiring new leads. Content marketing isn’t about attrition, it’s about strategy. It’s about creating the right content (see above) at the right time, promoting that on the best platform, integrating the right keywords, and more. And those things aren’t happy accidents. Performing research on the keywords and topics that will interest your target audience and that audience’s needs and behaviors is critical, and your B2B content marketing strategy should be using that information to ensure your content and delivery are as effective as possible.
A well-planned B2B content marketing strategy that is based on extensive research and combines compelling content with targeted promotion can enhance your marketing efforts manifold. If you want to improve upon your existing content marketing efforts, we should talk.
Regularly updating your B2B website is necessary to keep up with changes to the Google algorithm, as well as web design best practices. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your site for optimum performance (an issue may B2Bs have), you risk not being found by potential customers. Here are a few tips to revamping your website to maximize good traffic.
Mobile Responsive Design
If your B2B website isn’t mobile responsive (i.e., viewable on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and adaptable to any screen size), it should be. With most consumers using their smartphones for web browsing and online research, a mobile responsive site is crucial to reaching your potential customers, especially B2B customers, who may be doing their research on their phones quickly between meetings or sales calls.
If you’re using a WordPress site, you can easily find templates that are mobile responsive; entirely custom websites are trickier, and require testing to ensure that they appear and function as you intend on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Accurate metadata is critical for being indexed by search engines. Metadata, if you’re not familiar, describes the individual pages on your B2B website. Title metadata affects how titles appear in browser windows; meta descriptions are the text that shows up on search engine results pages, and keyword metadata designates a specific keyword for the page. Ensure that you have custom meta descriptions, a keyword designated, and appropriate title metadata for each page of your website, or search engines, and the potential clients using those search engines, won’t find your site.
Fix Broken Links and Redirects
Broken links annoy site visitors and can lower your search engine rankings. Luckily, they’re easy to fix. You can go through all of the links and all of the pages to ensure that they work, or you could use a tool like Check My Links. If you find broken links or 404 errors, you can resolve the issue by updating the link, if possible, or using a 301 redirect, which will help you maintain the original ranking power of the page, as well as the original keywords and metadata, while still helping visitors find the what they’re looking for.
Get Rid of Pop-Ups
Google has started penalizing certain kinds of pop-ups, called intrusive mobile interstitials, which your current site may be using. If your B2B website has a pop-up message that viewers have to dismiss before they can view the page content on a mobile device (aka a standalone interstitial), a layout where the top portion of the page looks like a standalone interstitial, or a pop-up that covers the main content of the page while they are looking through the page Google will penalize your site, as these types of pop-ups are intrusive and affect the viewer accessibility of content on mobile devices.
Completing these quick checkups on your B2B website can make all the difference in your search engine ranking and site performance, driving more qualified traffic to your site. For more on revamping your site to enhance SEO, check out our SEO Site Checkup. If you have questions on how to improve your B2B site’s SEO, get in touch. Our SEO experts can help you achieve excellent site rankings and implement SEO best practices.
For attorneys, blogging can seem like a slippery slope; after all, you don’t want to offer free legal advice. Your knowledge and expertise are your services, and you don’t want to be just giving that away. It’s important to know that blogging isn’t just free info, it’s a crucial tool for building your credibility and attracting leads online
There are two major reasons why your site should have a blog: 1) it is a way to increase your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) and 2) blogging allows you to demonstrate your expertise. Since blogs are regularly updated (or should be, at least once per month), they’re a great way to add to and refresh your website’s content. Blog content uses relevant keywords in unique contexts (good for SEO) and the addition of new content means that search engines will crawl it.
By blogging, you’re also able to answer your potential clients’ questions, without charging them or obligating them—they feel like they’re getting free legal advice, and see that you know your stuff. When potential clients think you’re knowledgeable and credible, they’re more likely to want to work with you.
How Should You Blog?
Post at least once a month on topics relevant to your potential clients’ situations and your practice and specialization areas. To avoid falling into a trap of giving free legal advice, address topics that are general, and might come up before a client’s first consultation, for instance, “How do I know I have a case?”, “What is medical malpractice?”, or “How to find the right attorney”. Frequently asked questions are often a goldmine for blog topics; blogging on them can even save you from having to answer them time and time again.
Your blogs should also contain calls-to-action, phrasing that directs the reader to connect with you in some way, whether it is to send you a message, provide their contact information, or schedule a consultation. When readers, upon reading your post, decide that it’s time to speak with a lawyer or find that they have questions, they’ll contact you, potentially turning into clients.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Promoting your blog posts is just as important as writing them. If you’re just publishing them on your blog, even with the best keyword integration and catchiest title, it still might go unread. Promote your posts on social media and on other platforms to ensure that the content is reaching your potential clients.
If you’re looking to boost your firm’s credibility and attract new clients by incorporating blogging into your digital strategy, talk to us.