For years, brands have been focusing on creating targeted content like articles and webinars to drive awareness and help inform buyers. Now B2B organizations have been moving toward leveraging content for commerce, where experiences are personalized for their buyers, in which the right content is surfaced at the right time based on the buyer’s profile segment, behaviors, and where they are in their decision journey.
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The fact is: Buyers have an unparalleled level of access to information online; they can browse and research multiple solutions, be marketed to, compare costs and purchase virtually anything from anywhere. We’re in an era where brands continue to compete on customer experience.
Brands need to rely on content to inspire, inform and connect with customers. Lack of transparency or friction in the buying process creates purchase anxiety, often frustrating buyers who will quickly abandon a brand for a better alternative.
Organizations that don’t deliver on a great experience risk falling behind the competition. But luckily, merchants and marketers can be strategic in their use of content for commerce to engage B2B buyers.
Here are three easy ways to use content to combat B2B purchasing anxiety.
1. Make Content Easy to Find & Consume
If your online visitor doesn’t see or can’t find relevant information immediately, it might as well not exist. Very few will take the time to hunt for information, or worse; stumble their way through bad navigation or a site that doesn’t perform.
Customers today expect brands to do the work for them, and a big part of that is having access to the right content, at the right time in the right place (no matter the device or channel).
Part of the role of online merchants and marketers is to create an environment that makes learning about the company, getting information on products and solutions, and understanding use cases and benefits easy for our audiences.
Content must be easy to find so that it can fulfill its purpose; to inspire, educate and make your buyer feel confident in their decision.
First you need to build your content library. Write regularly on your blog. Create long-form assets like articles, ebooks, and whitepapers.
Keep product descriptions up to date. Once you’ve built up your content, some simple ways to help your customers find what they are looking for include creating a resources center, organizing your content by category, and tagging each piece of content based on keywords.
The next step to take that same content inventory and use personalization technology to surface or recommend the right content at the right time, based on what your buyers are interested in. It’s all about the right fit, form, and function, showing that you as the brand care about your consumer.
2. Inform & Delight Buyers With Rich Media & Virtual Reality
Nowadays, rich media – images, video, even VR – is everything. Rich media is being used much more and there are good reasons why; it’s easy to consume; you can quickly grab your audience's attention; you can get useful information across easily; and it’s just plain fun.
Rich media provides the perfect form for content to inspire, or delight customers as well as inform them. Sharing your brand story through rich content (like showing how products are made and the quality of the materials), helps a buyer connect with your brand in a more meaningful way. This kind of content goes beyond the typical transactional elements like product description, dimensions and price. Mobile applications also open up a new breadth of innovation in commerce and opportunity to influence buyers through the use of interaction or virtual reality.
Mix up the type of content to stand out and drive engagement from your buyers. Not all of your buyers will have time to read an ebook or technical white paper about your solution; consider embedding rich media into a landing page as a first touchpoint to draw in your visitors. For example, you can use a two minutes video to convey information about your product, create a tutorial to show how it works, or provide a glimpse into the benefits of your solution post-sale. What does your offering include, how much set up time is there, and s this a straightforward process? How soon can your buyer expect to yield the maximum benefits? It’s all about creating an emotional connection with your buyers, establishing trust and shared value to delight them; and ultimately drive brand loyalty.
3. Use Guided Selling for B2B Marketing and Commerce
Some B2B organizations make the mistake of assuming their audiences know their brand or have domain expertise in the solution they’re looking to buy. In many cases, this is not true. You may have a first-time buyer who has minimal knowledge of the product capabilities.
Your buyers may spend a lot of time researching or browsing information on the site to get a better idea of the solution, and whether or not it will solve their challenges. They may feel very overwhelmed by all of the options available.
To overcome this buyer anxiety, brands have started leveraging guided selling to differentiate and connect with buyers. Offering guided selling experiences are great for first time buyers or for those who don’t fully understand the capabilities of the offerings they’re evaluating.
An example of guided selling could be a tool on your website that asks your buyers a few simple questions of what their goals are, their challenges, and approach.
Based on the buyer’s responses, your organization can understand their needs, and present a narrowed set of results or targeted content that matches those needs.
Guided configuration is another type of guided selling that’s more solutions and products orientated. We do this on our own site, allowing our visitors to select the capabilities they need for their project to configure the solution that best fits their needs.
Then we at Acquia are able to review the configuration and get back to the buyer with the right information. Guided selling helps create differentiation; a brand that has a guiding selling tool versus one that doesn’t, creates a lot of incremental value to the consumer.
The possibilities to improve your customer experience, build brand trust and use content for commerce in a meaningful way to combat purchasing anxiety are endless.
As your brand evaluates and iterates on its content for commerce strategy, we hope these best practices will get you on the right track to delivering the best experience for your customers.
For more B2B best practices, check out The B2B Commerce Best Practices Book from our friends at Magento Commerce. This is a guide packed with the latest digital commerce best practices to help you transform your B2B business.
Meagan WhiteSENIOR PRODUCT MARKETING MANAGERAcquia, Inc.
Meagan White is a senior manager of product marketing at Acquia, where she helps organizations digitally transform their business and customer experiences. She is passionate about helping brands maximize their digital efforts by crafting thoughtful, creative marketing strategies and campaigns that help them connect with their audiences in new ways. Her professional experience includes the creation and management of brand, storytelling, and digital marketing strategies for several startups and Fortune 1000 companies across a wide range of verticals.
Prior to Acquia, Meagan managed social media, content, and digital strategies for a content marketing agency. Later she joined Intralinks, a software-as-a-service provider, where she led global social media efforts, content, and corporate communications programs.