Are you a local retailer? Or a professional services firm (Financial Planner, Solicitor, Accountant etc.) Or you sell some form of complex product or service in the B2B space?
Regardless of what business you’re in if you don’t have a website which attracts and educates your prospects regarding what it is you can do for them, I guarantee you’re missing out on business big time!
Don’t believe me? Here are some stark figures which should make you change your mind!
- 94% of your prospects will go online to research you, your company and your products and services before making a purchasing decision.
- 80-92% of senior business executives research business problems online and prefer to obtain information about your products and solutions through content such as white papers, blogs, articles, and educational materials.
- According to a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report, 83% of U.S. consumers go online to research electronics, computers, books, music and movies before buying those items in bricks-and-mortar stores. And we’re not that dissimilar!
The report, “Understanding How U.S. Online Shoppers are Reshaping the Retail Experience,” also finds that 80% of global consumers research such products online before buying in stores, and that 73% of U.S. consumers (and 60% of global consumers) go online in search of information about clothes, shoes, toys and health and beauty products before buying those items in stores.
- An offline study conducted by Nielsen, India in June 2012 showed 50% of car buyers conduct extensive research online before making a purchase.
The study sheds light on how the Internet influences the purchasing decisions of car buyers in India. Respondents reported that they used the web to research and compare prices, watch online videos and find images, do competitive analysis, find dealer contacts and read both expert and user reviews. Most car buyers also rated manufacturer’s websites as the most important and trustworthy source of information. Of the 50% respondents who went online, 42% said they used search engine as the first source of information, just behind the opinions of friends and relatives’ (47%).
(As a quick aside – I was recently looking at updating our car – and did extensive research into different makes and models. I particularly paid attention to social media and user reviews to see what people really thought about the products!)
So what does all this mean for you and your business?
First of all you must have a website which can be easily found in the major search engines. Frankly without a website, it’s as if you don’t exist and have no credibility in your marketplace.
And once they’ve found you, you need to engage your audience by giving them the information they need to move the sale forward.
And here is where you need completely different strategies depending on what sort of business you’re in.
An online retailer’s site is oriented to product/price comparison, product reviews, a shopping cart and getting the sale pretty much immediately.
However if you sell a complex product or service (Professional Services Firms, IT suppliers, Conveyancing, etc.), your goal should be to…
- Help your customer better understand their problem
- Guide their research into possible ways to solve the problem
- Shape their expectations for a solution
- Inform their evaluation process
- Position your organization as a trusted advisor
To accomplish this you need to offer your prospects educational material in the form of white paper(s), articles you’ve written, case studies that highlight your experience and how you’ve solved similar issues for other people like them.
You must capture leads so you can continue nurturing your prospects, drip feeding them with relevant information which helps them do their research before calling you.
Remember people buy when they’re ready, not when you need to make a sale. Your job is to provide them with enough information so they can make an informed decision. Then un-threateningly keep in touch on a regular basis to keep your name on top of their mind.
Our bespoke newsletter service will allow you to drip feed relevant content to your prospects (and clients) keeping your name in front of them.
We can create White Papers that will help you position yourself as the experts in your field.
And we can rewrite your website content to reflect the needs of your audience, so you get more leads.
Call us on (02) 9499-7958 to get the ball rolling.