Online paper discusses the issues on how to establish a solid online marketing presence for both B2B and B2C websites.
by: James A. Warholic
- Marketing Performance Evaluation
- Understanding the Business (B2B or B2C)
- Identifying the Customer Base
- Incorporate Relevant Content Into the Website
- Keywords and Key Word Phrases Analysis
- Online Content Updates
- Building Good Trust Relationships with Customers
- Understanding the Various Marketing and Advertising Channels
Marketing a B2B and B2C website requires a performance evaluation, a thorough understanding of the business being marketed, identifying the customer base, incorporating pertinent content with the keywords properly included, updating the content on a regular basis, establishing a foundation of trust with customers, and an understanding of the marketing channels available on the Internet.
Marketing Performance Evaluation
- Where is the traffic flowing from?
- What types of visitors (qualified leads or random hits) are coming to the website?
- What type of online presence does a particular business have?
In order to establish what type of online presence a business currently has if no website analytics are presently installed, may require some in-depth research into what the business sells or what services are provided in order to understand and identify the keywords or key phrases which are currently used for being found on the search engines. For a quick evaluation see the information on Web marketing B2B and B2C. Though to really have a thorough investigation of any business’s market reach online would require more detailed analysis of the online traffic by analyzing the website server log files of a particular business and implementation of analytics software that can be used to provide ongoing analysis for a number of other important online market penetration details.
Additional factors to be addressed include such items as understanding the competitors’ vulnerabilities, partnerships, niche target markets, knowledge and experience of the management, and a host of other strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for the business being evaluated. See: Strategic Marketing From an Internet Perspective
Understanding the Business (B2B or B2C)
Unfortunately, it is all too often company management employs a nonchalant attitude to picking a website team that has no idea what the customer does but simply has been sold a bill of goods based on little more than establishing how much does the website cost to build. A website is just a design to them with no thought placed into improving what is said or the marketing information that is presented on the site. Sometimes company management thinks that all they need is a fresh face on a website and that will make the difference for them in the way of web traffic and lead generation. In fact, quite a few of these businesses have invested significantly in taking this approach and have seen very little improvements in their online presence with little or no new customer conversions. Some have even undoubtedly suffered with this approach due to changing a site’s structure from one that had copy text to another that was only graphics. For example: an all Flash site will be an impediment to obtaining higher rankings in the search engine results pages (SERP). There must be a design balance between design graphics, versus actual body text in either a B2B site or a B2C site.
For implementing best practices in website design the basic needs are to have body text within the website itself. Written body text is what search engine spiders crawl and catalog. If the entire site is built with nothing more than flash graphics, then this is starting from a position of search weakness. While search engines have the capability to catalog all flash graphics websites, that will not however provide the same detailed search information online that can only be generated by physical body text. There are even some consumer devices today that do not support flash graphics. Because more of these devices are being used in large numbers for browsing the Internet, considerations for online marketing for how a website is displayed must now include these new technology devices into the mix. Portable devices such as the Apple iPad does not nativity support Adobe Flash, and the all Flash website will not display properly on this device. In essence, the web visitor using one of these devices would not be able to read the information from an all Flash website.
Because text information is considerably one of the most important items to be included on any website, this is the reason that careful considerations should be given by the website team as to the technical nature of the business being marketed. By developing a complete understanding of the business, a website team can then implement a successful strategy for developing and targeting the website to potential online customers and for properly marketing the company’s brand on the Internet.
Identifying the Customer Base
In the process of developing a good marketing strategy, considerations need to be given to the business’s customer base. Identifying who the customers are is very important for any successful Internet marketing strategy. A few questions should be asked and answered. Is the customer base B2B or B2C? Once it is established if the customer base is mainly B2B or B2C, then answer the following question. Does the site need to speak to engineers or only the general populace? Sometimes a site needs to be developed that must meet the needs of both the engineers in the form of technical documentation for the questions being asked and one that has a more general overview, written in more general tone and less of a technical nature.
Successful Internet marketing campaigns for targeting a company website online must also involve an understanding of the customer for that company just as much as having the detailed knowledge of the business. It is important to target the customer based on the customer’s online search terms and other search habits. With out taking the customer into consideration or by not applying this into the written words on the website, and failure of not having a targeted marketing and advertising plan geared toward the customer, will most likely result in an online presence failure for the company website.
Incorporate Relevant Content Into the Website
Including relevant content is the most important part in marketing a business on the Internet. Without relevant content nothing else will matter. While certainly content is king and is the most important part of the equation, it is probably the least area of improvement for most businesses on the Web. Good content requires knowledge of the business and the customer base. It requires time to write and edit.
Technical writing is important when it comes to addressing the needs of an engineer. For some B2B companies this requires providing engineering data in a variety of forms. There are times where a picture tells a thousand words but once again the picture better have some text to go along with it for the search engines to catalog. While B2B companies may have these technical information requirements, B2C would most likely need to explain things from a layman’s terms; but once again, copy text is important.
Update the content on a regular basis. Include new information that would be helpful to a customer or a potential customer. This is also helpful from an Internet marketing standpoint because new information is being cataloged by the search engines and placed into the search engine results pages, which results in the potential to provide multiple pages and entry points to a website.
Some owners of their business wrongly make the mistake of thinking potential customers only come into the website from the front page. It is important to understand that the home page is not necessarily the main entry door or the only door of most sites. There can be hundreds or thousands of entry points to a website. In fact, it is quite difficult to cover all areas of some businesses only from the home page. Because a business may have a diverse presence on the web and can have a presence in different market segments for products sold and services provided, there would most likely be multiple entry points with significantly different information on the various pages of the site.
Think of a site as a scroll that is connected on both ends with see through doors, windows, and links. In this analogy there is no beginning or ending point to the website. Each door or window provides a small amount of information included in the entire scroll. Search engines read and catalog the information from various pages in the site. It sees the information through the doors and windows and catalogs it, updating the search database for future inquiries. Now along comes a potential customer that is searching for a key phrase at one of the search engines. He then travels on the Internet super highway and comes into a site through one of the doors available to him in the search results. Through navigation links provided in the site itself, a customer can certainly explore more details of any particular website. In all likelihood a visitor would cross back and forth from various doors, windows and information links that are of interest to him. Search engines catalog the pages of a site in a similar way, by following the links and gathering the information within the website itself.
Keywords and Keyword Phrases Analysis
It is important to identify the keywords and key phrases intrinsic to the business being promoted for Internet marketing and search engine optimization “SEO” purposes. By incorporating the key words and keyword phrases (which applies to the respective business) in the body copy, is the way in which search engines would key upon the text for cataloging it and placing the data into their search engine results pages “SERP” subsequently displayed to the online searcher. There are a large number of additional variables taken into account by the search engine algorithms for establishing what a website is about. For example: the website theme (essence of what the website subject matter is), links from other websites, keyword text from other sites, and category directory placements are just to name a few of the variables used by the search engines.
As businesses evolve, with the development of new intellectual property, products and services provided, so do their keywords and keyword phrases used by them and their customers. It is important for ongoing website marketing improvements to continually evaluate the differences in the words being used to identify the products or services for a particular company and potential expand market reach into horizontal and vertical market segments.
Online Content Updates
Updating the content on a regular basis is just as important as adding new content. It is important that the information be kept up to date. Not only does it demonstrate to customers that a house is in order, but it also helps when it comes to the search engines. Search engine spiders or robots (software programs developed by the search engines to automatically catalog the Internet) tend to come and visit a site more often that is adding or updating content on a regular basis. This then provides current information in the SERP which is then presented to the online searcher. Having current information in the SERP is important from a business marketing standpoint. Information is displayed in snippets in the SERP. Each snippet displayed is grabbed by the search engine which surrounds or are adjacent to the key words being searched for. Pages that are being updated often will have new SERP snippets in the areas that are being changed.
Sometimes the SERP snippet that is being displayed is not exactly the way a customer would like their page to be displayed in the search results. In this case, some editing and or creative writing would be required to improve the marketing message being presented for the business. In other cases, where the page is really out of whack, it might take a whole rewrite and/or new copy writing to bring the information up to date.
Building Good B2C Trust Relationships with Customers
Understanding the Various Marketing and Advertising Channels Online
There are a number of ways to reach a new customer but the one that will work 24 x 7 is the website. If the website has a good foundation structure it can support all the other marketing channels available to businesses today, i.e. direct marketing campaigns, online advertising, targeted email marketing campaigns, plus the mainstream media outlets such as radio, magazine, and television advertising. Besides supporting the marketing channels, the website can directly support your marketing and advertising departments too. Sales people can use it for direct linking to specific pages when emailing potential clients about products and services being sold. So, spend the time and money necessary to make improvements in the website area and the payback will be worth it.
As the Internet continues to grow, it will provide a fertile ground for the development and deployment of new technology, ideas, products, and services. How well those new technology, ideas, products, and services reach the customer online is dependent on the marketing
know-how and implementation of the above.
Now is the time to contact us for a free initial Internet marketing consultation with your questions, comments, or help improve ROI with your website or online advertising campaigns. Learn how Professional Web Services can gain you more online customers, quality lead generation, and increase your company’s sales volume today.
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- Developing Effective Multi-Channel Marketing Strategies, Direct Marketing Association, Feb. 04, white paper PDF format
- Conceptualizing B2C Businesses as Services, 2002, by: N. Dholakia, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (USA) A. Pandya, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL (USA),
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