Your customers are used to making purchases online in their daily lives. And, more and more, they expect ecommerce in the working world, too. Too many distributors don’t focus enough on their B2B ecommerce – in some cases because they believe in-person field sales is their one and only go-to sales method, or because they feel they can’t compete with Amazon, so it’s pointless to invest in ecommerce. But in today’s market, you can’t afford either approach. And while it’s true you can’t beat Amazon at its own game, there are B2B marketing strategies distributors should implement to stay competitive. Here are seven:
Protect and Promote Your Brand. Your brand isn’t just a logo or a tagline. It is how customers – and your employees – view your company. And every contact a customer has with your company, whether online or in person, should reinforce your brand. Having an online presence makes your brand both more important and more vulnerable. Using the free tool Google Alerts is a good way to monitor your brand to ensure brand consistency.
Unify Marketing and Sales. Marketing and sales departments should work together as a team. That may be difficult at first, but conducting alignment meetings regularly allows both groups to develop a mutual understanding of companywide goals, and messages and strategies aligned with those goals.
Satisfy the Need for Speed. According to Hubspot, 47 percent of customers expect a webpage to load in two seconds or less. Keeping customers waiting is a sure way to convince them to take their business to Amazon. Making sure your site loads quickly is imperative for successful ecommerce. Check your site speed, and consider using Google Analytics to review its performance on an ongoing basis.
Get Mobile. According to the Boston Consulting Group, 50 percent of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones. That figure is expected to grow by 70 percent by 2020. That means your website must be mobile friendly. You don’t necessarily need an app, but you do need responsive design built into your platform so your site is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t fixing the problem, it may be as simple as switching your design.
Be Valuable. When you provide content that provides information customers need and shows them how to solve their problems, you increase your chances of getting found by customers, and becoming valuable to them. Inbound marketing is about providing value and multiple touchpoints until a customer needs you.
Get Social. Social media is important. You don’t need to be everywhere, but having a blog and LinkedIn page are great places to start. Limit your platforms by focusing on the ones that best represent your business, the content you create and your customers. Don’t simply rely on your team to post when the mood strikes. Instead, make social media a priority and budget time and dollars to it in order to create valuable content that reflects your business goals.
Measure to the Sale. B2B marketing often measures to the lead, but you need to measure to the sale. Measuring to the transaction will help you align with sales and leadership – reflecting profitability and not just the marketing effort.