B2B Search Marketers: Keep It Simple

What! No webcasts, demos or podcasts available for download on your site?

Worried you’re getting left in the dust by more savvy digital marketers? Don’t despair. Business buyers continue to show a preference for fast and simple online information.

The power of text

I’m often asked about the latest and greatest B2B online marketing techniques. Most people expect me to recommend some sort of multi-media ad format along with landing pages that offer podcasts, webinars, and video clips.

But, the truth is, the most successful B2B campaigns I’ve been involved with over the years typically involve very simple marketing channels and communication tools. What could be more basic than a text ad or a search listing driving prospects to a landing page where they can download a white paper?

While this approach might not WOW cutting edge digital marketers – it has proven to be a very effective search marketing technique, and this preference for simplicity is now supported by some recent B2B market research.

B2B research findings

Enquiro, in their 2007 Business-to-Business Survey, asked business buyers to rate the most important aspects of a website. Product information – presented in a straight forward, text format – was considered very important. In contrast, “bells and whistles” such as podcasts, webinars and multimedia presentations were rated as some of the least important items by business buyers.

Similarly, a study by KnowledgeStorm and MarketingSherpa found that nearly eighty percent of technology buyers are willing to register for a white paper, yet only thirty-eight percent will register for an online demo and only thirty-one percent for a Webcast. That’s a big difference!

Simple, fast & flexible

B2B search marketers take note. All this seems to point to the fact that business buyers prefer to receive online information in a very basic format.

In general, linear communication methods (such as pre-recorded Webinars, video clips, or podcasts) are watched, or listened to, from beginning to end, and thus require more time. In contrast, simple, text-based assets (such as White Papers, product comparison charts, or pricing tables) are fast to download, can be printed, transported and easily shared, and the content can be consumed in any order based on individual interests and needs.

My advice is—if you do offer an online demo or tour, make sure that it is quick to download and that the demo format allows prospects to move through the content in a self-directed, self-paced fashion.

Let your prospects decide As with most marketing recommendations, there are exceptions to every rule. The best solution for your company will depend on the nature of what you’re offering and your target audience. If you can’t convince your marketing department that simpler is better… run a test. Let your audience determine the most desirable format.

For example, if you manage a search advertising campaign designed to promote your firm’s research, your ads will likely drive searchers to a landing page where they can download a summary of the findings. You could offer this in three different formats – a basic white paper; a video recording; and an audio podcast.

Choices provide market insights

I’ve written in the past about the importance of offering not just format choices but also content options. This allows marketers to reach multiple types of prospects at various points in their buying process, thus widening your online lead funnel.

B2B search marketers can learn much by offering download choices on their landing pages. You’ll better understand not just what your prospects find valuable, but also how they prefer to receive the information.

When in doubt, offer valuable and unique information in multiple formats and determine if, for your customers, simple really is better.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: B2B Search Marketing Column | Channel: Search Marketing


About The Author: is president and founder of SmartSearch Marketing, a Boulder, Colorado-based search engine marketing agency. You can reach Patricia at patricia@smartsearchmarketing.com. The Strictly Business column appears Wednesdays at Search Engine Land.

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