For the longest time at Intergage, we have been advising our customers to not just talk about themselves in their marketing and, in particular, on their websites.
Nothing has changed and, yet, everything has changed
Nothing has changed because the very latest Inbound Marketing methodology is based around doing exactly that. Everything has changed because over time, with easy access to the internet, buyer behaviour has changed as our customers now have the world at their fingertips.
It’s a simple message, but easy to forget: write for your website visitor. When you write content to attract people to your website, write about what they care about, in a language that they understand and in a way that enhances their world.
If the only messages from your blog (you have one – right?) and your website are that you provide great products and services, then you have a problem on your hands…
Modern Inbound Marketing is all about anticipating your customers’ needs. What don’t they understand? How can you help them? Can you show them other people (just like them) who you have helped?
Imagine we bump into each other at a networking event and you tell me you may need some help with your marketing.
If my response is to tell you that Intergage does marketing and we're very good at it; we’ve won awards, there’s lots of different types of marketing that we do and we’ve got lots of customers – you’d probably think me pretty dull. Sadly this is what many business websites do.
Imagine instead if I responded with a few questions about what exactly you might need help with.
As you begin to tell me, I point out that the law has recently changed which could affect you, and that, although you might never have considered Facebook advertising, I can show you an example of a B2B business like yours which is getting some great results.
We might even have a more interesting conversation.
Buyer Behaviour Has Changed
The way that people buy has changed. The power is with the seller now to do their own research. Gartner tells us that 57% of the buying decision is made before a customer ever contacts a supplier.
So, if we want our potential customers on our side then we need to help them with their research. If they are searching for a solution to a problem, then we need to show them that we understand the problem and that we can point to some solutions – and not just our own.
As a self-confessed Middle Aged Man in Lycra (MAMIL), the way I buy bikes has changed (I only have five, and that’s counting the tandem).
Ten years ago, I walked down to my local bike store, compared a couple of models and bought one. This year I spent time researching bikes from all over the planet. Then I watched video reviews comparing the top ten bikes this year and narrowed it down to just five.
As a chunkier cyclist I have also found stopping quickly to be an issue, so I researched disk brakes for road bikes.
So before I made my buying decision I was fully armed with the entire specification: Cannondale CAAD12 (bike of the year 2016!), 56cm frame with disk brakes in matt black with blue trim – so smart.
The Cannondale CAAD12 – Shimano 105 with disk brakes
There were three online shops that sold it. So I chose the best price from a Cannondale distributor in Swansea - and I didn’t speak to a single person.
It's All About Research
The important thing is that I was able to do a huge amount of research before I went looking for a supplier. I had access to a wealth of information and spent much more time researching than I would have done in my local shop speaking to someone.
We need to recognise that this is true of our potential customers too. So how are we helping them when they go looking for solutions to their problems?
As marketers, let’s recognise that, when we write content for our websites and blogs, we should keep in mind the website visitor and what their needs are. It’s not about us, it’s about them.
Oh, and did I mention that we should split them all up into different personas? Well, let’s save that for another time.