Picture this: It’s a crisp, 40-degree (Fahrenheit!) night in New York City. You wander along the storefronts, looking into every single window to see various products among the snow-covered holiday decor. Whether you realize it or not, this simple interaction has left an impact and you now have formed an association and appreciation for this store, and in some way have built a form of trust between you and them.
You do the same when online shopping. Sure, it might not be the extravagant window display you saw before, but the concept is still there. The brand is telling a story that gives you a sense of who they are and what they have to offer. It helps give the brand more legitimacy. Would you have that same feeling if you went to look up something and couldn’t find a website? No branding? No story?
Your Website IS Your Storefront
In the B2B space, your website is your storefront. It’s the only ‘visual’ a consumer will have of your brand so it makes it that much more important to have one. Like most people, we do our research into new things, whether it be a brand, product, or service. Consumers go looking online to see what sort of trust and story they can piece together. A perfect example of this is Amazon, a company that dominates the online retail world. They’ve built an undeniable level of trust with customers through various efforts of quick shipping, free and easy returns, and reliable customer service. Without a website for your company, consumers may feel like your brand is illegitimate.
Truthfully, all of this goes beyond just having your website ‘storefront’. Functionality, speed, and branding also play key roles in making sure your website is not only eye-catching but provides the consumer with enough information and trust that they are willing to either research further or convert. Your website is supposed to be the display window that makes consumers think to enter the store and purchase something. When you don’t see what deals this store has or have any sort of indication of what might be inside, you have no desire to dig deeper and will just keep walking. Consumers will do the same to your website.
Direct & Reliable Communication
Question: What’s the best way to communicate with those looking into your brand?
Answer: Providing the information directly from the source!
When you advertise your product/service, you are hoping that the person reading it will click and further explore your brand and your story and eventually become a customer. Making sure that the process of doing so is easy for the consumer is key. You want them to stay on your site for as long as possible, reading and researching your brand right from the source. It also helps the consumer feel at ease that all of the questions they might be asking are answered automatically by the business itself, giving peace of mind that they are in touch with their customers and their needs.
This doesn’t mean you are limited to just things about your brand. You’ll often see B2B companies sharing blogs (similar to what you’re reading now..) or creating other forms of content that help prove they are the best choice. For example, we at OM like to create content that helps show our expertise in our field to share with consumers and marketers alike through video and other long-form content pieces.
Build Out The Full Story
As we round out another year, it’s hard to deny we now live in a fully digital world. If something or someone isn’t online, we tend to think that the brand or company is inexperienced or illegitimate. That’s why it is so important to make sure your story is online. Consumers love to see when advertising comes full circle with the brand they are looking into. That’s why we push our clients to the next level to make sure that the full story is built out right in front of them.
For example, you start to see an ad come up more and more in your feed. The ad captures your interest, but not enough to click or convert. A few days later, you see an ad for the same brand, but they show you the next piece of the puzzle from the ad before. Now your interest has peaked, you recall the ad you saw previously and are curious to see how the rest of the story unfolds.
You click the ad and are brought to a page that reflects the ads you saw but in a bigger format, with tons of additional information. While you might not acknowledge it outright, subconsciously your brain is piecing together this entire story. “Oh, I’ve seen this brand before. This does seem like a product/service I would use, let me look into their story a bit more.” A few days ago you got the intro, and now you are in the thick of the plot.
But it doesn’t stop there; as marketers we obviously want you to convert! We retarget you and serve what we call our bottom-funnel ads, which give you all the solutions to your problems, thus rounding out the story. You now have this complete picture with intro points, bigger plot lines with issues, and finally your solution. The end result is that you found the product/service you were looking for.
Marketing in general can be scary, especially when you first start out and have no idea what direction to head with your story and brand. On top of it all, the digital world moves so quickly that it can seem like by the time your idea comes to life, the world has moved on and a different tactic works better.
But one thing in this digital world is for sure: it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Create your digital presence, and the rest will follow.