Want to succeed in today’s business-to-business (B2B) technology market? As we noted in our , you’ll need to step up your digital marketing game. But where should you start?
Digital marketing is more than just shifting dollars from offline to online tactics. It represents a fundamental change in the way you nurture, foster and generate relationships with prospects. No longer are you just selling features; you’re selling your expertise. You’re educating. You’re providing new insights into topics customers care about and demonstrating your deep knowledge along the way.
When looking for the best place to start making that shift, try your digital home base: your company’s website. If you haven’t thought seriously about how your site fits into your digital marketing strategy, there’s a good chance it doesn’t. You may be wasting money on digital real estate that’s not delivering much of a return. In the worst cases, a bad website can actually undermine your business. It’s time for an extreme makeover: website edition.
According to a, 92 percent of B2B purchases start with search—and 68 percent of purchasers prefer to research online, on their own, before they ever speak with a seller. That means for more than two thirds of prospective customers, your website will be their first—in some cases, only—impression of your business.
If you’re ambitious, you might look at your website as a demand-generation tool, and it can be. But before you get there, it must be a reputation preservation tool. You’re in the business of selling technology. If the digital face you show the world is outdated or nonfunctional, no one will believe in your expertise. A well-designed, well-functioning website should not be aspirational in the B2B technology market circa 2019; it’s table stakes.
A website that functions as a slick digital brochure is better than nothing. But companies using their sites to drive real demand go farther.
Start by thinking about your web content through the lens of the consumer marketplace, rather than traditional B2B. Consumers interact with websites daily, and when they visit one for work, their expectations are naturally fueled by the leading consumer-facing web properties. You’re not going to replicate Amazon or Facebook. But you should be looking to provide a more exciting, informative experience that visitors can connect with, not just a boring online brochure.
Remember, the goal is to educate, to position yourself as an expert in subjects that prospective customers care about. To do that, you need to host informative, interesting—and regularly updated—content. That can be blogs, white papers, links to relevant news or videos or slide-shares. Sellers with more advanced web strategies will even display dynamic content that changes based on the profile of the buyer landing on that page.
Considering all these elements, how would you rate your website right now? Here are some key questions to ask:
Think of your website like a digital living room. You’re welcoming people you don’t know into your home, so it needs to look clean, well-organized and inviting. You want people to be comfortable hanging out there. But how do you get people to show up at your door in the first place? Remember, if you don’t have a good website in B2B technology sales, you might as well not be in business. But if you build a great website and don’t do anything to drive traffic to it, you just wasted your money.
Traffic can come from multiple sources. Your website should be surrounded by a larger digital marketing strategy: search engine optimization, social media, inbound and outbound marketing tactics and more. And you should be using tools like Google analytics to be able to see where your traffic is coming from and experiment with different strategies to see what resonates.
If you’re comparing your current website with the growing list of things you ought to be doing, and you’re starting to sweat, it’s OK. You don’t have to take all of this on yourself. This year, we’re making big investments in digital marketing support for our partners.
For the best place to start your website refresh—and to kick your overall digital marketing strategy into gear—check out our Partner Kickstart. You’ll learn the latest techniques from digital experts to help you market like a pro. Upcoming webinars cover topics like:
So, if your website needs a makeover—and if you’re ready to start building stronger customer relationships and driving demand—take the next step in your digital marketing journey. We’re ready to help you succeed. You can find details about all of the upcoming Partner Kickstart webinars.