The old saying is true now more than ever: first impressions count. The rise of the social buyer means your customer is spending more time online researching products before purchase, buyers are using social media platforms and mobile devices to research products, your content must speak directly to your customers’ pain points. If you can’t be found for your expertise, for the products you sell or the problems you solve, buyers instead will click the first results in the search engines, your competition.
B2B buyers are getting more social
There’s a new breed of B2B buyer emerging: 40-something senior executives who spend more time (6.5 hours per week) consuming content than their more traditional B2B buyer counterpart (4.3 hours per week). Both groups are online, of course, but B2B social buyers are more likely to do their reading, listening, and watching on mobile devices. Research shows that only 46% of Canadian companies are using social media to connect with consumers. However, B2B social buyers are more likely to turn to their social media networks than traditional buyers and rank research reports as their preferred type of content.
Marketers must identify and target each buying influence with messaging that resonates with each B2B buyer persona. While knowing and understanding who your target market is takes time and skill to execute, it creates an opportunity to out-market companies who focus solely on their own products, features, and services—rather than focusing on their customers’ pain points.
Research starts online
This shouldn’t come as any surprise, but plenty of research confirms it: if your buyer isn’t familiar with your organization, they will look for you via search engines, find you through social media, or look to engage with your content across the web. In fact, research tells us that 94% of B2B buyers research their options on the Web before ever contacting a vendor.
Most of a buyer’s decision-making process doesn’t include you
A 2015 study showed that business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until nearly 70% of the purchase process is complete. That means for nearly two-thirds of the buying process, your customers are forming opinions, learning technical specifications, building requirement lists, and narrowing down their options – all on their own, with minimal influence from you.
Think of the buying process as a complex one that can be complicated, frustrating, and tedious for buyers. The more your company can do to facilitate a convenient and smooth buying process for the customer, the better. You are the expert, but if you’re not creating informative and engaging content, sharing your content on the web and connecting with customers via social media platforms, no one will find you.
A properly executed web presence strategy ensures that your brand appears where your customer is searching online. Consider trying our web presence assessment tool to see how you’re ranking.