In the e-commerce space where billions of sites compete for similar consumer archetypes,a strong brand presence is everything! Daily,two kinds of businesses make their entry into the market.There are service providers that can only scale online, and those that emerge from brick & mortar shops seeking access to a wider segment.Inasmuch as the rate at which e-businesses spring-up is ever-increasing,potential users only grow by relatively smaller increments.This imbalance leaves prospects with options and hence the need for online traders to keenly maintain their user-base.”Customer maintenance” has become necessary because there is the proclivity for modern consumers, to switch products more frequently in response to changing tastes.
Most start-ups seeking to penetrate however, often ask “How can we go viral?”This article suggests eight strategies for B2B’s in response to the question.
1. Online forums
Forums are socially-driven online spaces that serve as a platform for individuals of similar interests to discuss specific issues of concern. They operate as a medium for the transfer of knowledge resource through inquiries, support, debates, and discussions. Thus, online forums are common grounds for collaborative learning between experts and rookies in a particular corporate discipline through member posts and responses. Professional forums however, are e-communities where people of similar product or career interests interact. While there are web forums for varying dicussants, professional (business-oriented) forums are efficient channels on which B2B’s can leverage to improve their site traffic and send out word about their offerings. An online forum has become one of the cost-effective means of target marketing especially for most enterprises with a B2B model.
2. Incentivised Prospect Engagement
Prospects are potential clients, who may consider a business relationship with a company.
Individuals or company representatives who visit a website may have done so deliberately (typing site url in browser), as a search recommendation, or as a “stumble-upon”. These visits to the main site or an affiliate page give an indication that the company’s service or product has some relation to the visitor’s need. Displaying an offer such as a free e-book or a gift voucher is a good way to gain visitors’ attention,and to encourage downloads in the case of a SaaS. While many may not read the e-book, people generally like freebies however simple they may be.
3. Blogs and RSS feeds
RSS is a stress-free means of driving new sustainable traffic to a business blog that makes posts about the latest product developments. It is also a great way of engaging existing users of a company’s service. RSS is “Really Simple Syndication”. A significant proportion of the web community has interest in websites with non-static content; sites whose content change within short time intervals. Blogs, information aggregators (especially news sites) and product information pages are examples of sites characterized by regular updates. A B2B in this category has to provide frequent customer alerts of new product arrivals or upgrades as soon as possible. As compared to email notifications which are often mistaken for spam, RSS is a more convenient way of undertaking data dispatch campaigns for businesses. It helps save time in disseminating relevant information to a wider segment of the e-public.
4. Backlinks (Getting sites with high traffic to link to the B2B- site)
Backlinks primarily allow bloggers or website owners to track webpages that link to their posts. Otherwise referred to as inbound links, backlinks are termed as trackbacks on WordPress.Platforms that focus on creating informative anchor-texts (backlinks) have a high probability of online visibility, which further improves site visits, brand awareness, subscriptions and conversion rates. The anchor text is displayed as a hyperlink to help search engines determine what the page being linked is all about.
5. Video e-Marketing
Grabbing the attention of site visitors, to ensure that a company’s marketing message is heard and understood is key to its survival. Videos unlike texts leave less to the wonder of the viewer, and lower the risks of non-clarity and uncertainty. Since videos leave a lasting impression, brief professional videos that emphasize a major value proposition is a good way to demonstrate a B2B’s credibility.
6. Video Email Marketing/Target-based referral program
What happens to the video afterwards? Most companies may upload it on YouTube or embed it into their website, hoping that internet users may land on those pages and view it.While those are cool channels, businesses can be more proactive by presenting their videos to the very eyes of prospects. Not only can the B2B grow its traction by sending video emails to existing and prospective customers.There is also a high probability that these recipients will forward them to others they feel might benefit from the service. This way one video serves two purposes – as a manual for existing clients and a reference tool for acquiring new customers.
For online businesses, search results are a critical success factor. One critical growth factor for B2B models is to ensure that its website fulfills the requirements for higher web ranking. A few ways to optimize searches include word utility, titling, links and credibility. These are explained as follows:
Keywords or tags account for every page on the internet. They enable search engines to narrow down their results to only include web pages that pertain to a particular tag.
Titles also influence the e-rankings for B2B’s immensely. Each page on the web has a technical title which is invisible because it is encoded. Search engines recognize these titles in the page’s source file, interpret, and display pages related to the site’s title. It’s therefore imperative for developers to ensure brief-but-descriptive titling of B2B sites for optimum web appearances.
On the other hand, the role of links between websites cannot be overemphasized. When a web page links to another, it acts as an implicit recommendation telling readers that a site has good information. A web page that attracts lots of links often appeals much to search engines.
Finally, the number of related links incorporated into web texts can make a great difference in the publicity of B2B’s. If a web page writes,”eBay offers cool stuff” and the word cool is linked to http://www.ebay.com, search engines will establish that ebay is related to word cool. This way when a search is made for cool (whether or not the linked word relates to the B2B’s core operations), the B2B site will rank atop as it leverages on eBay’s traffic.
8. Creating a simple e-course programme.
Although they are often overlooked, e-courses are among the most engaging ways of drawing large following to a B2B’s products or services. Although they must be informative (preferably videos), e-courses need not be very in-depth or technical.
A good way to design a user-appealing e-course is to identify some of the major challenges that industry clients and
prospects face,and offer some general guidelines in distinct sessions or series. These courses may be reviewed anytime between six months through a year, although this exercise is non-mandatory.
Whether they are one-time tutorial or a series, a B2B can use ecourses to establish a reputation as an industry expert. This way, the staff can easily position the company as a consultancy with an efficient internal infrastructure to address clients’ concerns. Remember it’s an e-course – a how to video, not a sales pitch!
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