*Autumn Leads – As summer becomes fall, generating and nurturing B2B leads becomes more important. The effort now pays off when buyers have budget surpluses in the winter and begin making purchases for the New Year. In this blog series, we look at how to generate and nurture B2B leads, with special consideration for the longer B2B sales cycle.
A lot of blood, sweat, and data has been spilled trying to determine what B2B prospects and customers want. It’s a seemingly endless battle to figure out what content they want to see when they arrive at your e-commerce website. And once in a while, a brave soul ventures forth with the idea: “Why don’t we ask them?”
In the first annual B2B Website Usability Report from KoMarketing Associates, the firm went straight to the source and asked B2B web buyers what exactly they want. According to the report, B2B buyers demand that the online sales process be made easy. Ease-of-use includes navigation of the site, finding relevant information, and reaching out to the vendor. If your e-commerce site doesn’t make it easy for your prospects, then they’re onto the next site.
B2B prospects and customers start out their journey very goal-oriented. They’re on a mission to qualify a vendor and move towards a purchase. Like the “B” in B2B, your customers are all business. And where do they go first? To your products and services pages.
Product and services information ranked highest (90%) in the types of pages and content deemed important by survey respondents. This makes sense given the focus on fastidiously qualifying vendors and then moving ahead. Prospects want to know if this is a journey worth making.
Because the potential customer’s initial attention is given to the product pages, we recommend using high-quality images and rich descriptions for each offering. Visually dynamic and evocative images (like 360 degree views) go a long way towards instantly grabbing a visitor’s attention. Video content also allows you to demonstrate complex and technical products. If you neglect your product pages, your customers may never reach your other content.
After your product and services info, 61% of B2B prospects and customers find the “About” page to be important. Many B2B buyers don’t just look to buy products. They look to enter long-lasting relationships. Your own company info, such as what your values are and who works there, go a long way to proving that you’re worth the time investment.
The next part of your website that B2B buyers consider important (37%) is your marketing collateral. After your website guests confirm interest in you and your products, the next step is research. This is where you impress them with your unique value proposition, your special knowledge of the industry, and a one-of-a-kind viewpoint. Your marketing materials are how you make your case and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
The desired marketing materials on your website include case studies, white papers, articles, and blog posts. Articles and blogs are great for education and continued engagement, while whitepapers and case studies are more in-depth content useful for capturing leads via specialized landing pages and lead forms. According to the survey, B2B prospects and customers find that these four types of content are consistently lacking from B2B e-commerce sites.
Case studies, whitepapers, articles, and blogs also make the “must-have content” list for B2B buyers. Other “must-have content” from the study includes pricing info, technical details, and shipping information. These three types of information reflect the goal-oriented nature of B2B shoppers.
Asking B2B buyers directly what they want reveals a lot about their behavior. According to this research, they go straight from the product pages. Then when the product is right, they want to learn about the company and brand behind the solution. When both of those check out, B2B buyers look to the marketing collateral for convincing. So if you want to impress your online visitors, stand above your competition, and increase sales, then optimize your content for all three of these stages. That’s straight from the source.