The internet has profoundly changed business. It wasn’t long ago that B2B buyers had to rely on salespeople for product information, pricing, and availability. While sales staffs will always play a role, today’s B2B buyers have reams of data about industries, goods, and companies at their fingertips via the internet.
That’s why the Corporate Executive Board reported more than three-fourths of B2B buyers said they wouldn’t engage with a salesperson until they had conducted their research. It’s why Lori Wizdo of Forrester Analytics said customers control the buying cycle much more than sellers control their funnel — in fact, they are 66 to 90 percent through the research process before they even contact a sales rep.
Every Stage of the Buying Cycle
Because buyers are using the internet at every stage of the buying cycle, your company must be visible all along the way. To do so, you must do as marketer Robert Collier suggested years ago: “Join the conversation already going on in their mind.” In other words, think of the questions they have about your company and services. Determine what they want to know, and create content that answers their questions. Now you are part of the buying conversation.
3 Steps to influence B2B buyers using SEO
1. Detail the Buyer’s Journey
Reflect on the challenges, questions, and perceptions buyers have about your product.
- Why are they looking at this solution?
- What type of content do they prefer — text, video, or podcasts?
- What is the most important buying criteria — lowest price, best service or fastest delivery?
2. Research Keywords
Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes: What keywords would you use to research your products? Your goal is to discover the intent associated with the keywords.
- What actions will they take based on the result of their search?
- Are they gathering information, checking out government regulations, looking at safety features, or getting ready to buy?
In the beginning, buyers are looking for general information on a topic. Later, they want information about specific product features and benefits.
3. Build A Content Databank
With the buying cycle mapped, build useful content that addresses their challenges. Create fresh content that focuses on new issues or tackles old questions you haven’t answered yet. Consider repurposing some of your existing content to become more customer-focused. Remember to make sure your site is easy to read on mobile devices.
By mapping your content to the buyer’s journey, you’ll have “top of mind awareness” at every stage, ultimately helping make your product or service a top candidate in the buying decision.