I ran across a great post by Seth Godin about B2B Marketing. I am a big fan of Seth’s and his thinking about permission marketing, but sadly he doesn’t talk specifically about B2B marketing very often (by my count fewer than 2% of his posts mention B2B). I think he makes a terrific point in this post:“I just went through the hassle of trying to get some B2B firms the details needed to give me an informed quote on a project. I visited eight sites. Six of them hide their email address. They use forms of one sort of another. One firm refused to accept more than 500 characters in the “how can we help you” box, while three of them wanted to know what state I was in, etc.”
Here are 7 B2B Marketing Best Practice tips to help make Seth Godin a happier B2B customer
1. Put your contact information on the top of every page of your site and include your phone number. For some customers your website is your directory listing in that great phone book called the web. And if they want to talk to you, you should really want to talk to them!
2. Put a quick email address on every page of your site. Some customers (like Seth) often prefer email. Make it easy.
3. Put your street address or a link to all your corporate locations in the footer of every page of your site. In the world of digital it can help a customer trust you if they know that you really exist – somewhere.
4. Put your contact info on the top and bottom of every page. Some customers look at the top and others look at the bottom. It should be their choice, not yours.
5. Use a contact us button to make sure they can’t miss how to get a hold of you. Ours is the green circle top right. And make sure that they know a real person will get back to them right away!
5. Make it easy to opt-in. Add RSS feeds, twitter links, newsletter subscriptions, or sharing buttons. As Seth says, earn your permission by letting your customers opt-in and connect with you on their terms. And you can only earn that trust if you can connect with them. It is okay to start slow. They key is to make sure you are always building and engaging your contact list.
6. Keep your forms short and easy. Test just one field on your forms: an email opt-in (with opt-in control of what the customer will be sent, see the picture below for our opt-in list). If you are feeling sure try capturing name and company. But remember every additional field of data you ask for will suppress your response rate and scare away a potential customer. And always include links to an email preferences center. Finally use a good marketing automation system that lets you implement rolling or progressive forms and capture more information each time your customer comes back. There are lots out there but here is a quick link to one we like called Pardot.
7. Use an email signature with your contact info. Email Scott Armstrong and I will show you mine. And make that a best practice for everyone in your company. Back to the rule that if a customer wants to reach– you you want to make finding you easy. And often customers will check the last email you sent for your contact info. Make how they contact you their choice –there is lots of room in the signature so include all your numbers, street address, LinkedIn profile, twitter, even your favorite watering hole. (Of course, with all these customers calling you won’t have time for that!)
Did we miss a B2B best practice? Add it to our list in the comments or email Scott Armstrong, call me at 416 900 3310 or visit us at 386 Huron St, Toronto, ON, Canada.