Different industries and verticals require different types of online marketing or SEO strategies, and growing B2B companies need to understand how to build both a plan and online sales process that meets the needs of customers.
Although B2B SEO can fall into some niche areas, there are some broad and relatively straightforward steps one can take to put an SME within the B2B market on a level playing field with larger, and greater funded, competitors.
Tackling a Crowded Market
Whether your business is a boutique SEO agency, you carry a new software or a business provides accounting to local customers – the B2B and SME markets are crowded.
A text from E-Commerce Strategy by Zheng Qin, Yang Chang and Shundong Li provides data that across the financial crisis the number of B2B websites that saw registrants grow accounted for 62% of the market, and since then an average growth rate of 12% can be seen. The greatest changes in the B2B markets were seen within the renewals of contracts or registration, with just 7% of websites showing no change in activity and 35% seeing a decrease in renewals of service. The average growth rate for renewals was 3.09%.
Although this data is old, it raises a core point – that even in a global crisis B2B services will be in demand, users will be looking for new products and there is a need to capture new customers for varying reasons.
So, how do you capture a target market online and best position your website for sales?
Within search engines this data can be used to build what are called rich snippets, and these snippets are used to present information to users searching. The most commonly used options are recipes, however Google has spent the majority of 2017 and early 2018 testing and releasing new versions of the code – many of which are suited to aspects of the B2B or SME markets.
Local business listings are available for those with a catchment area of products (such as local business accountants) and there are options available for job postings (for recruitment platforms), products, software apps, business reviews and in time it is likely establishments and courses will also form part of Google’s attempts to provide as much information as possible on their own search results pages.
As an SEO agency we would recommend building code from scratch, based on the theme of your website – however, Google does provide examples which can be modified for a more basic result.
Reputation is everything in business and the best way forward for online word of mouth is to utilise review platforms. Feefo and Trust Pilot are two review systems widely regarded across the consumer and business industries.
These systems provide would-be customers with a place to find out more about your business from third party sources, but within your website – potentially leading them closer to conversion.
Integration into a website is simple and these review systems can be included within the above snippets/JSON code, giving you a starred review in your organic search results.
Online sales processes and drip feed marketing
Perhaps most important to competing online with larger and more established B2B companies is knowing how your users are buying a product.
For example, there is a need to understand user experience (UX) on your website: is it easy to convert? Do you provide the right information?
Beyond this, you should be looking in greater detail at the process: are users searching firstly through paid search and then organic search, or is there a need to capture data and create a dripfeed marketing campaign involving email and potentially remarketing?
Based on your business the needs will change, this includes the different buyers, the different product values and the lifecycle of a product (are you offering a subscription or is this a one-off purchase).
Further, use Google’s Market Finder tool to identify areas of Interest and the Consumer Barometer Tool to determine customer interests.
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