According to a survey conducted by MarketingSherpa and Enquiro, 93.4% of B2B buyers use the Internet during their buying process to find and research products and services.
Additionally, a recent study conducted by the CMO Council and KnoledgeStorm found that 68.5% of technology buyers begin their online research for technology products through search engines and directories.
For technology marketers, these findings underscore two key points:
First, it is critical your website be optimized for keywords your potential prospects actually use to find solutions like yours (the subject of a future article).
Second, once they find your website,
* Quickly grab their attention
* Make sure you clearly communicate your value proposition
* Instill credibility
* Overcome initial objections
* Offer quality content they can print or download
* Make this content easy to find
Fact is, buyers are much more informed and more savvy than ever before. They know what information they’re looking for -- and they know how and where to find it. At the same time, they are getting bombarded with more marketing messages than ever before, and are being solicited by an increasing number of vendors.
This has led to an environment where buyers shield themselves from vendors, opting to make critical purchasing decision behind closed doors. And if they even know about your company and your products, all they may have during the early stages of the buying cycle are your marketing materials and your online content.
Think about it. Your success as a marketing and sales organization will often hinge on what these materials say about your business and your offerings. If the copy or content doesn’t quickly resonate with the buyer, you risk being eliminated from the running -- and you’ll never even know it (if they didn’t call you before, they’re not going to call you now with the bad news).
From a marketing standpoint, this means your collaterals, online content and white papers need to work harder for you. In a way, these are you “salespeople” during the early stages of a sales cycle; sometimes the only representative a buyer will invite to pitch your product or service.
How important is this content? Well, that same CMO Council and KnowledgeStorm study found that 33.1% of respondents considered online content to have a major impact on technology vendor preferences and selection within their organization. 55.9% considered it to have at least a moderate impact.
That’s a total of 89% who consider your online content to play a moderate to major role in their overall purchasing decision.
Improving Your Odds
Here are a few tips to help make your copy and your online content stronger:
(1) Look at your website (especially your home page). Does it quickly and clearly convey your message, value proposition, positioning, differentiators?
(2) Are you positioning your offerings in a way most potential buyers can easily understand?
(3) If your products or services are new -- or if they require a more elaborate explanation than a web page allows -- do you have white papers that can better explain their value? Are they ea
sily available for download?
(4) Is it easy for a prospect to find the information he/she needs on your site?
(5) Do you have enough credibility builders throughout your site (whatever may be appropriate for your business, such as: testimonials, industry analyst reviews, financial information, years in business, number of customers, and so on)?
(6) If your company had no sales force, and your website was “it,” could your content alone help you to make a buyer’s first cut (everything else being equal)?
(7) If you only had just a few minutes to convince a prospect to consider you further, what would you say? How would you say it? What tone would you use? And what would you tell him to help add credibility to these claims?
Marketing to today’s savvy, resourceful audience in a competitive environment is no easy task. As buyers continue to do more of their research online, you need to first ensure your website is optimized for the search engines so they can easily find you. And once your prospects land on your site, you need to address their needs and concerns, give them the information they want, and convince them you have the solution to their problems.
Ed Gandia is a freelance copywriter specializing in the software industry. A 10-year sales veteran, Ed has had great success turning around struggling sales territories through his hard-hitting copy and focused lead generation methodology. Check out his website at www.edgandia.com