With buyers becoming more digitally-savvy, it is crucial to effectively communicate with target audiences online. Prospects are beginning their buyer’s journey by using the internet to find potential product and service providers, then evaluating those choices through online research. As a result, businesses need to make sure their online presence satisfies the informational needs, and makes emotional connections with, prospective buyers.
A website is at the heart of your online marketing presence. It’s often the first point of interaction between you and potential customers, and is where they will form a first impression about your business. It’s a resource prospects are counting on to help them make informed buying decisions. In this day and age, your website is a critical sales tool that can encourage someone to do business with you or that drives them away.
You are in complete control of your website’s structure and content, so you need to make sure it’s perceived as a valuable resource. And yet, according to a recent study conducted by Forrester Research that evaluated 60 B2B websites across 12 industries, “almost all of them scored poorly, because they fail to engage and produce content that buyers find compelling.”
The main reason cited in the report was simple. It’s “largely because the content focused only on companies’ capabilities, rather than their customers’ needs.” In other words, most businesses still take an “inside-out” versus an “outside-in” approach when developing their website. There is too much “this is us, and this is what we do”, too many meaningless platitudes and too much vague product and service-centric focused content.
What You Should Do
Business’s need to make sure their websites deliver relevant content that truly focuses on prospect hot buttons and decision facilitating information. This immediately creates value, and drives emotional and meaningful connections.
Forrester’s Laura Ramos likens this interaction and the effort that goes into attracting a prospect to dating. In a post-study article on the Forrester website, Ramos writes:
“If you talked about yourself the whole time, did little to relate to or engage with your date, and shared long, boring stories about what you do and what you think . . . it’s guaranteed that you would never see that person again. So why would a prospect revisit your website if it behaves the same way?”
Ramos suggests focusing on the prospect and having empathy for the challenges associated with making buying decisions.
- Know as much as you can about your prospects. Make an effort to truly understand their hot buttons, problems, and informational needs. Knowing why prospects are visiting your site will help you in offering insights regarding their concerns and issues. Remember, it’s about them.
- Provide your prospects with answers before trying to sell to them. Once you know the problems they are trying to solve, share your subject matter expertise with the purpose of helping them make an informed decision.
- Create content that positions you as a thought leader. This will instill confidence by making it obvious you’re a source of valuable knowledge that is pertinent to them. This is how you establish yourself as an authority and subject matter expert, and how you build credibility and trust.
- Learn and adjust as you go. Your website must be living and breathing and should be adjusted based on analytics insights with respect to how visitors are behaving.
It’s more valuable to have a conversation with prospective customers rather than talking at them. If you instill this philosophy in your website content (copy, graphics, images, videos, case studies, etc.) the connections you create will be meaningful and real.
If you are building a new site, or are planning to overhaul your current site, do so from an outside-in perspective; through the eyes of your target audience. Plan on making on-going changes. A website must be a living and breathing entity that needs to be nurtured and updated to eliminate friction that is caused by not meeting a prospect’s expectations.
Your website’s main job is to convert. This will only happen if it is built with “them” in mind.
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