I’ve been doing web marketing for several years. By now, most companies “get it”. At the same time, I’ve noticed some businesses have some lingering reservations. This is especially true when it comes to manufacturers.
If you’ve heard your boss make one of these statements (or made them, yourself) let me give you a hand. Give me the opportunity to show you how you’re wrong. Or, let me help you convince your boss that they are wrong.
Myth: Web marketing is only for companies selling to consumers
This is simply untrue. If you’re a business, looking for supplies or services to help you, to whom are you going to turn? Are you going to ask referrals? Perhaps but what if what you’re looking for is too unique? Are you going to turn to the yellow pages? You won’t find what you need there, either (do they even print this anymore, anyway?).
According to Google 71% of b2b researchers start their research with a generic search.
Your customers are turning to the web to find the products or services their business needs. That means you need a website. Of course, just having a website isn’t enough- you have to promote that website. That’s where web marketing helps. You need search engine optimization (SEO) to help the search engines serve your site to them. It might mean you need to do Paid Search (such as AdWords) to show up to potential customers. It might even mean a social media campaign, to get in front of potential clients. My point: you need to have a presence where your customers are looking for you.
Myth: Nobody will buy my products online
57% of B2B Vendors believe sales are shifting from offline to online and self-service.
This might be true but some products are not easy to sell- online or otherwise. Some are expensive: nobody is going to buy a $45,000 generator through an online store. In the same way, some products have many variations or customizations to sell online. Some products are so custom, that you couldn’t list all the variations on a website. In other cases, too many people to weigh-in on the purchase to make an online sale. Are you going to gather your shipping, sales and IT team in one room to make an online purchase?
If your company is selling products like this, web marketing can still help. Think about using a website to generate leads, rather than sales. This will bring in more leads for your salesmen to pursue. It is cheaper than a catalog or a trip to a trade conference. It is more effective than cold-calling. One of the most successful campaigns I’ve seen was industrial adhesive machinery company. They used their website to generate leads, rather than sales. Your company could do the same.
Myth: Web marketing is only for businesses that exist online
Some companies think that online marketing is only for businesses that exist online. Instead of building a website and then marketing it, they spend thousands of dollars each year to send salespeople to trade shows. Or, worse, they make their salespeople sit at a desk all day and make cold-calls.
There’s nothing wrong with trade shows. Although I don’t like to do them, sometimes you need to make a cold-call. If you do web marketing, you can attract those sales leads at a much less expensive rate. Let people, who are looking for your products and service, find you. Rather than seeking sales leads, use a website to generate your own leads. Now your salesperson is taking calls, rather than making them. I guarantee you the close-rate on someone calling you is much better than a cold-call, any day!
Besides web-based inbound marketing is significantly cheaper than outbound marketing efforts.
Myth: You can’t prove that marketing works
I was born to be an engineer. My dad was an electrical engineer. I started college as an engineering student and in Calculus 2. Despite doing well in those classes, I didn’t want to become an engineer, so I changed majors. I still had to spend my remaining 3 years living with engineering students.
I empathize with engineers. I think like an engineer. When I went into marketing, I knew exactly how poorly my engineering friends thought of me. I know how (and why) engineers distrust marketers.
This is why I specialized in web marketing rather than traditional marketing. Traditional marketing efforts rely on emotional manipulation and speculation for success. Web marketing can quantify the results of my efforts. I know exactly how many people came to a website, through my marketing efforts. I know exactly how many potential leads or sales my marketing efforts have generated. Web marketing, unlike traditional efforts, is much more scientific, mathematical and measurable.
So, when you engage in a web marketing campaign, you will know exactly what you are getting. The goal: make more than you’re spending. If that’s the case, even someone who only took one semester of Calculus for engineers can tell you: keep at that effort, and continue to make a profit.
So, consider using web marketing to grow your business. It might work better than you’d expect.