“If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.”
Which is likely to generate the most B2B leads for your business?
your company website – or – a social networking website like YouTube or Facebook?
Until a few years ago, I would have come down in favour of the former. A well-constructed website combined with a solid flow of traffic is a potent selling tool and remains hard to beat.
But there is without doubt a change taking place: people no longer trust our word in isolation. And why should they? Let’s say you’re looking for a new server solution for your business. And let’s say you’re undecided between HP, IBM and Dell. Visit any of their corporate websites and you’re likely to come away non-the wiser as to which server to choose. Why should you? After all, they’re all going to tell you pretty much the same thing – theirs is the best! But do a quick Google search for the make and model you’re considering buying and it’s likely to reveal any number of forums, blogs, chat rooms and social networking sites featuring impartial reviews and discussions. Balance these findings with the claims made by the various manufacturers and in all likelihood you’ll have begun to solve your problem.
By definition, the typical corporate B2B website is little more than a well-crafted showcase for selling products. They may well feature testimonials and case studies from satisfied clients, but however sincere and factually accurate these may be, clearly they’re only going to show the ones they want you to see and disregard the rest. B2C vendors circumvent this problem by featuring impartial ‘warts and all’ customer reviews on their own websites, such as provided by Reevoo.com, among others.
But while this may work for comparing multiple brand white goods and consumer electronics, etc, all offered by a single vendor, it is unlikely to work effectively in a B2B scenario.
No, the only way you’re going to get a truly balanced overview of a B2B vendor is to ask people who’ve purchased their products about their experience.
The fact is B2B consumers are relying increasingly on the opinions and recommendations of their business peers when deciding on new products and services. All the evidence shows that social media websites are surpassing corporate websites as the place buyers search for product information prior to making a decision.
So how best to take advantage of this shift in buyer behaviour? The answer is to share your knowledge at street level – peer to peer.
Your first step is to research where your prospects are going online to gather information. Search for blogs discussing topics that your target key decision makers may be reading. Participate in these discussions and share the depth of your knowledge, not as a business, but as a peer.
The next step is to create some valuable and compelling content that is likely to be helpful and informative to the prospects you’re targeting. One effective method is to post video tutorials and product tips and advice on sites like YouTube. Try doing a search now. Visit YouTube and search on key words that relate to your industry. Do any of your competitors show up? I f so, join them. If not, dive in anyway. You could well be the first person in your niche to break the mould.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and, as ever, your comments and ideas are very welcome.
And always to a higher response!