Optimising your online presence for shorter sales cycles

jill

By Jill Riddiford, B2B Marketing Consultant at Carpe Diem Consulting

Content matching with keywords

To better engage with customers we need to reach them with the right content at the right time. Buyers use different types of language, when looking for solutions, depending on what stage they are at along the buyer journey.

Buyer journey

Businesses typically don’t have the mechanisms in place to attract prospects early in their buying journey, so using ‘late buyer journey’ tactics such as offering a ‘buy now’ incentive isn’t always appropriate. It certainly won’t help the buyer who is at the ‘search around problem’ stage and wants to first build their awareness of potential solutions to a problem.

So how do we increase the probability of buyers reaching us when they in the early stage of their buyer journey?

One of the best indicators of where someone is along the buyer journey is reviewing the types of keywords they are using within their searches – what people are searching for can provide a clue as to the type of content that could be developed.

For example the owner of a growing business wants to upgrade their phone network and types in: “upgrading small business phone system” which brings up a long list of suppliers and a few comparison sites, the “Search around problem” stage in diagram above.

The searcher takes a deep breath as he anticipates several hours of research ahead but notices on the first page of results, an article: “How to choose the right phone system for your small business.”

The article, authored by a Telco supplier, provides some useful information and the buyer is now better able to frame his requirements and the likely solution. The buyer narrows down the search to three suppliers which he then compares directly on their websites for features and prices, but he is more inclined to purchase from the supplier who provided the useful article.

Of course from the supplier’s perspective, throwing out a random ‘how to” article is not enough to ensure a high ranking in Google search results. Businesses need to build and nurture their online presence by regularly updating their website content, participating in social networks and using relevant keywords.

Using early buyer journey keywords in your website content such as white papers or blogs, means that buyers are more likely to discover you while still at the early stage of their buying cycle. At this point, buyers are unlikely to search for business names, and unless you are a major well-known brand, buyers probably don’t know who you are. But they may use generic words such as ‘review’ e.g. “cloud services review”.

However B2B buyers have become more sophisticated in their searches and are increasingly using “longer tail” keywords to enhance their SEO (search engine optimisation) process and increase the visibility of their website in organic, i.e. unpaid for search results. See example below, source: www.elliance.com

Longtail

Long tail keywords are those that have less search volume but are highly targeted, e.g. “cloud services legal firms Sydney”. You can search for long-tail keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.

Or to generate ideas for long tail keywords, simply start typing in part of your keyword phrase into Google and keyword phrases will be suggested.

The SEO process doesn’t just apply to websites. LinkedIn profiles are also searchable so be mindful of the appropriate keywords to include on this platform to highlight the value you can provide to buyers.

By helping buyers to diagnose their needs — and at the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey – businesses enhance their prospects of becoming a trusted advisor. To find out more, download our free whitepaper: Don’t let B2B buyers buy by themselves.