Helping New Customers Find You

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How are new customers finding you? 

A survey by Clutch of 384 readers of online business content found that 87% of respondents frequently encounter business content using search engines, slightly more than the 85% who find business content through social media and 75% who encounter content most frequently on company websites.  

According to the study, B2B audiences use content to inform their purchasing decisions. The survey found that 88% of B2B audiences consume business content online at least once a week. Of those... 

  • 45% do this to stay current with industry trends;
  • 20% to make a purchasing decision;
  • 19% to research products and services; and
  • 16% to learn how to approach business challenges.

A few takeaways: 

Post product descriptions, reviews and referrals. B2B audiences that read content to further research a company's products or services or to help them make a final purchasing decision prefer product descriptions and reviews more than other forms of online content.

Encourage reviews from former clients. Maintain and populate listings on third-party directories. This helps businesses engage B2B customers at the bottom of the funnel—those who read content to make a decision about whether to purchase products or services from a business. 

Write about technology. B2B audiences consume content about technology (45%), ahead of content about small businesses (24%) or workplace/personnel (21%). "...Everybody needs technology," said Brian Carter, CEO of the Brian Carter group. "When you write stuff that's more relevant to everybody, you're going to get a wider audience and more interest."

Create a blog and post regularly. B2B audiences are most likely to consume online business-related content in a blog or article (33%). One-fourth (25%) read reviews most often. Next come product descriptions (16%), videos/webinars (9%) and case studies (7%).

Keep your website up-to-date. B2B content readers also commonly depend on company websites to read business content. Three-fourths (75%) frequently engage with business content on company websites. "Can you imagine B2B purchasers not reading a company's website at some point before buying from it?" Carter asked.

Create quizzes. A lead-generation quiz can show a customer that he/she doesn't know about a subject in your niche. Brightedge does this with SEO. "Do you think you know SEO?" they ask. "Find out now by answering these 15 questions." At the end you can see which questions you got wrong. And if you complete that form, you can download their latest research report on Google SERP Layout Changes.

Share case studies demonstrating your company's value. Case studies that show a particular success story that a customer experienced can help build more credibility among your audience. In fact, some businesses publish in-depth case studies and customer success stories as their entire lead-generation strategy.

"If you find something that works, do it again. A lot of times our own audience doesn't catch on the first couple of times we do something so why not try it a few more times. It's a bit like saying, 'tell the audience what you're going to say, say it, and then tell them what you've said.'" Similarly, if you do a website or newsletter redesign, let people know. 

"Aim at exactly who you want," said Gerrit Klein, CEO, Ebner Publishing Group. "You can't satisfy everyone, and that's okay. A magazine is a mix—one-third for Persona A, one-third for Persona B, and one-third for Persona C. Not everyone will like everything, but there's a chance that everyone likes something."

Continually evaluate your metrics. "By driving so hard to improve on existing metrics, we often fail to see how the future will be different," said Gary Satell, author of the book Mapping Innovation. "That makes it hard to adapt when the world changes and, perhaps even more importantly, it makes it harder to explore the unknown and discover new things that can help us create new markets."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…