How often do your colleagues complain about your company’s website? Like many website managers of B2B companies, you’ve probably had conversations with people who are reluctant to use it in their daily business. It could be that it doesn’t truly reflect the company today. Or maybe the content doesn’t support the negotiations salespeople have with customers and the conversations Executive Management have with key stakeholders.
But that’s not how it’s meant to be. At the very least, the website needs to support the business; at best, it should drive business opportunities. So how can you achieve that?
As with any marketing or communications initiative, website planning involves some level of strategic planning. But rather than being an academic exercise, it must be a targeted, pragmatic approach that aligns your online presence with the company’s strategy, brand, offerings and value propositions – what I’ll call the four strategic pillars of the B2B company website.
Long before even beginning to consider a website structure and content, these four strategic pillars need to be defined and documented. Don’t leave a strategic stone unturned until you’re sure. Not only will you save time creating and building your website, but you’ll be confident that you’re making good decisions about architecture, design, usability and content. Indeed, this strategic planning will be the foundation for the website’s success.
How often have you read a B2B case story and thought that you’d seen it before, just from another supplier? Same old, same old.
I’ve seen it often. You realize that what you’re reading is another product brochure disguised as a customer case story.
I was recently involved in what could have been a very interesting story, covering the journey traveled by the company and customer. It was a journey describing a strong, long-standing relationship and the use of market-leading technology (sorry about the propaganda), careful attention to detail, and excellent customer service.
But, most interestingly, it also covered how the company solved unexpected challenges that arose during the implementation of the solution. Continue reading
“Don’t rock the boat” seems to be an unshakeable rule in many B2B companies. Strangely enough, companies who adhere to the status quo are often the ones to be left behind when the boat is rocking at industry level. Ask Nokia or Sony Ericsson, for example, why Apple was able to not just rock but almost overturn their boats… Continue reading
It’s not that hard to write a blog post, a Tweet or an article, right?
All you have to do is think about what you want to say, structure it, then start tapping away at the keyboard. At least, that’s pretty much true if you’re a good writer and English is your native language!
Our Danish-based B2B clients, on the other hand, have an added challenge in comparison with competitors from English-speaking regions: producing high-quality English texts when English is their second (or even third) language.
Like all relationships between people, B2B relationships require trust and credibility to work.
In fact, we could liken a prospective B2B buyer to a sophisticated partner who is well-educated, has high expectations and is generally intolerant of mistakes. And like in all relationships, there are certain behaviours that strengthen bonds, and critical mistakes that turn people off.
Take your website, for example. In B2B, missteps can sow enough seeds of doubt in the minds of potential or existing customers to make them lose faith in your brand, question your professionalism, or simply click away from your site. Once you lose that credibility, it can be as hard to get back as convincing a cheated-on lover to trust you again. And the result of lost credibility? Lost sales.
So what can you do to make sure you hang onto B2B prospects?
Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, British comedian John Cleese owes a small part of his fame to the phrase: “Don’t mention the war”. And I’m reminded of that phrase every time I hear a B2B marketing or communication department agonizing over what should or shouldn’t be said in the public arena.
Recently, while visiting one of our customers in the UK, I saw a fascinating sign on a building next door to the customer’s own offices. I was struck by the boldness of the claim – particularly given how unimpressive the sign’s visual idea and execution was. The effect, in my mind, was to create something academics call cognitive dissonance. And that’s a certain something many B2B companies do all too often.
Company magazines continue to consume a significant proportion of many B2B marketing budgets. Understandably so, as magazines can be a great way to profile the company’s achievements, internally and externally. But many companies have a long way to go before their content can easily be found and consumed online – that is, read, watched, listened to, or clicked on. No wonder it’s easy to question the business case for a magazine. Is it worth applying so much time and budget to a magazine if its long-term reach and impact is limited? Continue reading
Considering the rate at which technology is advancing, it’s a fool’s errand to try to stay in front of the latest developments. Most marketers are more concerned with staying on board with the latest, but that can be pretty confusing too when there are so many concerns on the table. A vocabulary rich in buzzwords won’t get the job done, nor will a whole suite of sophisticated marketing tools that nobody knows how to use properly.
So, for the small- to medium-size business with limited marketing resources, what are some concerns to focus on? Continue reading
Mark Hanley, president of Massachusetts-based consulting house I.T. Strategies, recently asked me for my opinion on the state of the market for printed brochures. Do printed sales materials have a future or are they on their way out? It’s a great question, and one which is brought up time and time again by marketers in meetings I attend.