Your small to medium-sized business doesn’t have an excuse anymore.
We’ve all been living in a digital world for more than two decades now. Your customers are all online and expect you to have a digital presence. And you probably do too.
But does it really work for you? And more important does it work for your customers?
Your company’s digital presence shouldn’t be passive. It needs to be channels of interaction with your customers. You need to create a two-way experience for them, just like you would at a trade show or a customer appreciation event. And it better be personal.
According to a Salesforce.com survey, 89% of business buyers say they expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. 66% of consumers are likely to switch brands if they feel treated like a number, not an individual.
Thankfully, there are several fairly simple things you can undertake to bolster your company’s digital experience. We’ve pulled together some tips to help you get started.
Build an Experience, Not a Website
For too long, marketers have lumped their messaging into two distinct categories: B2C and B2B. The touchy-feely and the down-to-business. That line has blurred. Now smart B2B marketers are engaging customers on a personal level and are speaking less about the things their company does and more about what their customers want.
The story has become important. Consumers are more likely to engage with a brand that answers Simon Sinek’s “WHY”. If your brand has a story, customers are more likely to read it and align with it.
Make that story come through on your website. Let visitors know your WHY and how your WHY can help them with their problems. Even better, start a conversation by asking them their WHY. If there is synergy, then maybe there will be chemistry.
Once you have your story down, consider how it’s being received. Is it interesting? Or is it just you shouting on a page? Make the experience less about what you do and more about how you can help your potential clients and customers reach their goals. Chest-thumping is yesterday’s business.
Optimize Your Digital Experience
Keep track of how people are using your website and what pages are most popular so that you can improve the user experience one step at a time. Make sure your story comes through on those popular pages and that there are opportunities to start a conversation wherever prudent.
Engage. Engage. Engage. Employ high-interest tactics like video, infographics and success metrics to grab attention and start or continue the conversation. Make sure any calls to action are prominent and clear.
Make it convenient. Use analytics to determine what visitors are searching for most and make that information easily accessible. If visitors have to dig for what they want, they’ll leave.
Integrate your social media channels. Demonstrate to potential customers that you know what’s going on in their industry and have useful opinions and ideas about it.
Ensure that your mobile site is efficient in every way. When people access it from their mobile devices, they should get what they are looking for quickly and without any confusion. No unnecessary clicks. No unnecessary content. And make sure it loads at warp speed.
See how an established commercial landscaping firm generated a 50% increase in proposal requests by optimizing their digital brand experience.
Be a thought leader. All too often, your super smart people are super silent. You need to let the world know that you have the genius necessary to help them with their problems. But you can’t just tell them. Show them. Publish content that addresses the issues that are important in your customers’ world and show them how you think and how you can be an invaluable partner.
Put your thoughts down in a blog post. Or an email. Or even better, a video. According to a video marketing statistics survey by Wyzowl – 87% of marketers who use video say video has increased traffic to their website, and 83% of them claim video has helped increase lead generation.
- 95% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service.
- 80% say it helped them increase sales.
- 84% of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
Set aside some money in your budget this year for a professionally produced corporate video. Give us a call; we can help.
Check out this video for FleetPride®. It was part of a successful event that helped move the company culture forward.
Host a Webinar or Build a Podcast
This may not be the easiest for a small business to do, but it’s certainly worth your while. Consider building a forum where leaders can come together to discuss the state of the industry and where it’s headed.
Better yet, create a series of curated or moderated discussions in the form of a podcast.
Podcasts are enjoying tremendous success. Don’t be afraid to build a long-form discussion of a subject that could impact your customers’ worlds and release it section by section to create a longer-term engagement. It’s perfect for those with camera shyness. And it can be a way to include other thought leaders in the discussion to build a robust community, with your name front and center.
Social Media – Use it
Leverage the content you create for your website on your social media channels. Post links to specific chunks, pages, articles or blog posts. Don’t be shy. But first, make sure your customers are there. Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as these are the most used by marketers. But maybe think about channels like Pinterest, TikTok or WhatsApp — less competition. The key is to make sure you know which channels your customers are using; otherwise you’re just wasting your time and money.
While you’re posting links to your dynamic web content on social media, why not create a few engagements while you’re there? Publish your opinions, create polls, post videos. Prove to your customers that your company is eager to interact and make sure to listen as well as you talk. This creates long-term brand ambassadors who are more likely to engage and, more important, link you to other potential customers.
Encourage likes. In the B2C world, brands covet positive reinforcement from their customers. The B2B world isn’t far behind.
Speaking of likes, ask for a review from your customers. 92% of online consumers look at reviews before purchasing. The same applies to the B2B world. Third-party endorsements are a powerful confirmation that you know what you are doing and can help.
Testimonials are a powerful tool. Ask your current clients for a recommendation or testimonial to post on your site or social channel (or both). If they balk, show them an example to let them see it’s not that difficult or time-consuming. And while you’re at it, write one for your client. They may find it flattering and/or helpful enough to respond in kind.
Search for data. There’s lots out there on the web about the ROI of marketing. Use that data to reinforce the effectiveness of what you can offer your potential clients and customers.
Email is still one of the most effective ways for small and medium-sized businesses to reach their customers. 93% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. Email is also one of the most effective means of ROI, with $38 generated per $1 spent.
So, you better make sure your emails reach the target — and are opened. Spend time, money and effort to create emails that are relevant, interesting and that break through.
- Be creative with subject lines – 56% of brands using an emoji in their email subject line had a higher open rate than those that did not.
- Leverage dynamic content – include links to your videos, links to industry leaders, or even better, content you’ve created.
- Make sure your CTAs are clear, concise and easy to identify.
- Clean up and stay on top of your email lists. Make sure you add and cull on a regular basis.
Test & Track
This is one of the most overlooked activities by digital B2B marketers. So much messaging, email, content, etc. is released into the wild and never tracked. Build tracking and testing into your digital communication plans. Create versions of emails and different landing pages and track to see which ones perform better — and then adjust. The digital world was built to be a fluid medium.
Like we said earlier, track activity on your website. Serve up the most sought-after information up top. Too many clicks means too many missed opportunities.
Keep track of activity on your social media channels. See which post, or type of post, performs best and serve up more of it. Use it to test posts and see what type of information or what format does best — infographics versus video, links to an article versus new content. It’s easy and (mostly) free.
Find a Like-Minded Partner
Building an engaging and high-performing digital presence takes time and resources — two things that are in short supply in your company. So, think about outsourcing it. But don’t just pick anyone. There are a lot of branding and marketing companies that prefer to treat a relationship as a series of projects and aren’t interested in looking at the big picture in order to build a long-term trajectory of success. Which is fine but illustrates the point that you need to find a partner that is aligned with your business and personal goals and is eager to help you grow your business. Let’s grab a cup of coffee and talk about building your brand’s digital experience. We’ll help give you something valuable to offer your client, instead of excuses.
Is your company marketing itself the best it can?