Tip #2: Search is How They Find You
How you reach new prospects is the eternal question for B2B marketers. In traditional marketing, reach and acquisition relies on cold calling, direct mail, and other forms of lead prospecting. Online, it’s tempting to replace some or all of these activities with advertising, specifically pay-per-click (PPC) advertising where you can narrowly target likely customers.
The problem with online advertising, especially for B2B companies, is that it’s not very effective. Even with narrowly targeted PPC ads, you don’t get a great response. For whatever reason, response rates for B2B ads are lower than those for B2C ads, which aren’t that great to begin with. My guess is that it’s too easy to business buyers to ignore ads online; maybe they’re just getting jaded about online advertising in general.
In any case, you should budget for online advertising in moderation only, and with caution. You’ll get much more bang for your buck with search engine marketing – in particular, optimizing your website to that it appears higher on Google and other search engines.
You see, when it comes to getting the attention of potential customers (that’s the reach portion of the B2B buying continuum), nothing is more effective than good placement on your friendly neighborhood search engine. More B2B customers start the purchasing process by searching than by using any other online marketing vehicle.
So while you can purchase PPC ads, seed influential blogs, and send out large email blasts, more new prospects will find you because they're searching for a product or service, and your site came up in the search results. That makes it essential for you to optimize your site for search.
This brings us to the process of search engine optimization (SEO). In general, SEO requires you to focus the content of your site to best match the terms or keywords that your desired customers are searching for, and draw the search engines’ attention to that content.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend big bucks to optimize your site for search; in the SEO world, it’s better to be smart than to be rich. That means any company, even a small B2B firm, can achieve good results with minimal investment. Follow the SEO rules – starting with superior site content – and results will follow.