In B2B marketing, slow and steady tortoise-like activity may achieve results in social media, but a business marketer must be quick to respond to trends and market fluctuations resulting from online research. At our B2B marketing agency, we often hear from our clients and prospects, ”Our audience is not online; they’re in the field,” or ”Our customer base could care less about search, so we don’t need to be there.” In reality, according to Google, search queries from B2B buyers are increasing at a greater rate than those consumers seeking real estate information. In fact, the volume of B2B research queries is on par with travel and auto searches. More than 80% of B2B buyers research the Internet for answers about products and services. Even out in the field, decision makers and influencers now have access to the same information on their mobile phones or tablets.*
Back in the day, if a B2B buyer had questions about a product or service, they’d call and talk to a sales rep, who would then adapt the discussion to each prospect. It was a slower-paced consultative process. But now, prospects are much more likely to seek the answers on their own on the web. Decision makers are substantially more informed before choosing their purchases well before they ever talk to the company sales rep. This shift has changed the pace of the game.
Knowing all of this, what must a B2B marketer do to respond quickly to the research habits of these information-seeking influencers, decision makers and buyers?
- Accept that the Internet is now an essential resource for gathering business intelligence for purchases, large and small.
- Engage with your audience in quick research opportunities with easily accessible information about what your company sells.
- Drive prospective customers to your brand by speaking directly to them precisely when they’re showing interest in your category online.
- Consider quick media like videos or podcasts for brand messaging, tutorials or demos. B2B buyers are watching and listening for information, too.
- Know what’s on their minds by using tools like Google Trends and Yahoo’s Trending Now list. Both are good indicators of what’s top-of-mind among searchers.
- Stay aware of what your market is buzzing about by monitoring your keyword search feeds from Twitter search, LinkedIn Answers, and Google Alerts.
- Act fast to stay current with new findings and market fluctuations. Inertia can be a detriment to B2B marketers in this digital age. The advantage often goes to the marketer who moves first.
- Develop new content that includes information based on actual search query results or keyword volume. Keep it human, helpful, honest and above all, fresh.
To be successful at B2B marketing, you must keep pace with your prospects and customers who use the Internet for research within your industry. With a never quit learning mindset, use social media, blogging and other forms of inbound marketing to work together to convert researching visitors into customers. Above all, answer those questions quickly and respond nimbly to keep up with the rabbits who are looking for the solutions you provide.