Is anything missing from your online B2B brand?

Last week I sat in on a great Webinar entitled “The Art of Findability” with Glenn Raines of Social Media Moves.

Hosted by the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), this informative session covered how to build a personal and business brand online using such tools as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Profiles and other tools.

Glenn knows his stuff and, thanks to him, I’m just a little more savvy about the world of social media. But it got me thinking. In the B2B marketing world, if one is successful, all these connections and all this communication ultimately includes a visit to the company Web site.

BusinessmanEven if there’s been a connection with prospects via social media, those prospects will still check out your company’s Web site. What will they find there? It’s surprising how many companies selling excellent B2B products or services through a sales force have a Web site that doesn’t hold up its end of the integrated marketing objective.

Sometimes just a few critical fixes can help. Here are a few of the more critical dos and don’ts that will help you better support your marketing and sales process:

DO
*
Provide one or more pieces of content (white papers, newsletters, Webcasts, demos, etc.) that have value to your market. Turn some of them into lead generators by requiring visitors to register to get them. These provide the opportunity to extend the relationship that may have started on social media.

* Put a strong call-to-action on every page. Tell visitors what you want them to do next from EVERY page. Make sure most pages encourage visitors to contact you. At the same time, give them an incentive to do so – such as a free assessment, personal demo, etc.

* Clearly present your product benefits in headlines, bullets — everywhere you can. Don’t assume that because your product does its job faster, that buyers will know what that means to them. Be sure to say “save time.”

* Put your contact information prominently on every page. Especially your phone number.

DON’T
* Use the word “we.” Buyers don’t care about what you think of yourself. They care about what you can do for them. Let case studies and testimonials tell how wonderful you are.

* Ask for prospects to fill out too many fields when signing up for newsletters, to access white papers or see demos. The fewer the better.

* Assume that because you’ve maintained your “visual” brand on your Web site that the site effectively supports your brand. Messaging that is too complex, too long or too self-serving ruins a great-looking site.

Social media is a powerful tool for making business connections. The company Web site is a part of the online brand. Make sure it does its job, too.

ADDED THOUGHTS

Yesterday I came across a post that covers this same subject of technology and other B2B companies having weak Web sites that do not play a productive role in the marketing and sales process. I thought I would share links to these two articles, as they provide insight into why this is so and how to avoid it. First is Tom Jacobs on TechMarketingBlog in his post “Technology Company Websites should not be driven by technology.” The second are comments by Bill Gadless on B2B Web Strategy in a post by the same name. My thanks to Tom and Bill for this insight. The conclusion, of course, is to let marketing control the creation and updates to the company Web site. That way you can make sure the site does its job.

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