What Business Searchers Are Looking For…. Might Suprise You
Business buyers use search engines throughout the entire research and buying process. For this reason, most B2B marketers utilize search marketing as a cost-effective
way to build brand awareness, engage prospects, and generate leads. In terms of lead gen, a potential buyer is typically required to complete an online
registration form in exchange for… what?
The value vs. hassle equation
Getting the “what” right is a crucial part of any successful B2B search
marketing program. Marketers must truly understand what their buyers are
looking for in order to offer something of value. And more importantly,
the perceived value of what is being offered must be greater than the time,
effort and risk associated with the act of completing the registration form.
I’m sure you have personally experienced a situation where this isn’t the case.
Have you ever been asked to complete a long, complex registration form just
to access a mere marketing brochure? I bet you bailed before you hit the
download button! Not surprisingly, these types of programs have very low
conversion rates because the value of what’s offered doesn’t justify the effort
What are business buyers looking for?
So, what do business buyers want when they go online? According to a B2B survey conducted by Enquiro and Marketing Sherpa, buyers are primarily looking
- Pricing information
- Product information
- Reviews and comparisons
B2B marketers should:
- Evaluate your website
- Review your search ads and landing
Most importantly, you should take a look at the information and assets you’re offering behind your registration forms. Are you giving prospects what they’re
actually looking for?
Sharing pricing information online
I realize that many B2B firms do not provide prices online. This is especially true of companies selling complex, high-consideration, expensive
products and services. Even so, don’t ignore prospects’ needs altogether. Ask yourself: What information can we share? Ideas include:
- A summary of your company’s pricing methodology
- Information on general service/product packages and price ranges
- A comparison chart showing how your pricing approach stacks up against the competition
Prospects appreciate any type of helpful information, especially related to pricing, as they explore options and evaluate vendors.
Value varies by phase
What searchers find valuable varies depending upon where they are in the buying process.
In the early (awareness) phase, buyers are looking for insightful, educational
information. Downloadable assets such as a market overview, a summary of emerging
market trends, and industry research are very helpful.
As buyers move into the research and comparison phases, they start to formalize their
needs and evaluate alternatives. Product information related to features and
functionality, technical spec sheets, buyer guides and comparison charts are valuable.
Finally, in the negotiation and purchase phases buyers are analyzing their specific
choices and evaluating risks and consequences. At this point, purchase check-lists,
pricing information, and service agreements are useful.
What?! You’re going to contact me?
Your prospects may not be as naïve as you think. Based on a study by Google and TechTarget many IT buyers realize that companies they register
with will likely be contacting them.
- 25% of online registrants expect to be contacted by a sales person via email
- 14% are expecting a sales-related phone call.
Why is this significant? Marketers must ensure that what is offered in exchange for contact information is unique, valuable and (in the registrant’s mind)
worth the perceived value or inconvenience of a probable sales contact. Searchers will be thinking, “Is this white paper worth a sales call?”
Think like your customer
To ensure success, B2B search marketers must understand customers’ needs and
give prospects exactly what they’re looking for online. Provide valuable
information and assets that are aligned with buyers’ needs at each phase of
the purchase process, and keep the complexity of registration forms reasonable
based on the perceived value received.
Think like a customer! And then directly align your search marketing program
with their needs.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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