When seeking a new B2B vendor, the overwhelming majority of businesses turn to online search. In fact, statistics indicate that as many as 87 percent of all B2B customers find their vendors via Google, Bing, or a comparable platform. For B2B companies, the implication here is clear: Having a robust online presence is utterly crucial for bringing in new business.
Of course, designing a strong online presence is one thing. Actually achieving it is something else altogether, requiring time, vision, and intentionality. While there’s no silver bullet to instantly boost your B2B company’s online visibility, there are some best practices that can yield real results.
Here are 10 proven strategies for small companies, particularly LLCs, that occupy the B2B space. (Also be sure to check out instructions for how to start an LLC in Texas, or the state of your choice.)
Growing Your B2B Company’s Presence Online: 10 Essential Strategies
1) Be sure your website is up to par.
Your website is the fulcrum of your online presence. It’s the thing that captures the attention of search engine users, generates leads, and ultimately nets you appointments. Naturally, you’ll want your website to be something sleek, professional, and high-performance.
It’s that last point that’s most critical: Every B2B company needs to have a website that engages the end user, providing a fluid and convenient experience and making it easy to ascertain the desired information. Simply put, a website that’s slow, confusing, or otherwise difficult to use will fail to gain search engine traction (and certainly fail to convert customers).
Some specific guidelines for your B2B company’s website:
- Be sure that it loads quickly. According to data from Hubspot, the first five seconds of your website loading can be make-or-break for your conversion rate. Test the site on a number of browser and device types to ensure it’s speedy.
- Also ensure your website is secure, especially if you’re facilitating digital transactions. Providing an SSL certificate can instill confidence in your visitors.
- Verify that your website is mobile-friendly. Again, simply check it across every possible browser and device type, confirming that the site looks good and is easy to navigate without unnecessary scrolling, zooming, squinting, etc.
- Create a series of calls to action that guide your users throughout the site, directing their next steps and enticing them through the sales funnel.
- Simplify your site architecture. Ideally, customers should be able to access whatever page they need in as few as to or three clicks.
2) Optimize for search engines.
Again, the prevalence of search engines within the B2B experience cannot be overstated. Google notes that about 71 percent of B2B relationships start out online. As such, it’s crucial that your LLC be vigilant about proper SEO.
Having a robust website is actually a great start: For instance, fast loading times and positive UX are closely linked with SEO performance. Having said that, there are a number of other steps that your company can take to fortify its position in targeted search queries.
- Make sure you have strong metadata, including meta titles and descriptions that include naturally-positioned keywords, optimizing your website for SEO for architects.
- Confirm that every page of your website has original content (that is, no duplicated content or boilerplate text across different product or service pages).
- Also pay attention to off-site SEO, seeking backlinks, listings, and citations in different directories, etc.
- Confirm that your NAP information (that is, your business name, address, and phone number) is listed consistently across all your online listings, including social media profiles.
3) Claim your Google Business Profile.
Google Business Profile or GBP, formerly known as Google My Business, are free assets provided by the search giant. They play a significant role in boosting online visibility, and as if that’s not enough, every business can claim one for free.
A well-optimized Google Business Profile will supply search engine users with basic information about your company, including website, contact information, hours of operation, and beyond. You can also use your Google Business Profile to feature images, promote new products, and aggregate your customer reviews.
Some general tips for Google Business Profile include:
- Be very careful to keep your information up to date, noting any changes to your hours of operation, contact details, etc.
- Use some of the same SEO keywords you used on your website to optimize your profile information. According to a WhiteSpark survey, the most significant ranking factor is choosing the correct GBP category.
- Take advantage of the posting abilities to highlight new services, company announcements, or special offers.
- While not a significant ranking factor, remember the importance of consistent NAP citations across all your online profiles.
4) Create plenty of excellent content.
Content marketing is an important way to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, to position yourself as an industry authority, and to earn the trust of potential B2B customers. Investing in the right content can yield some significant dividends; in fact, one study shows that 62 percent of B2B customers make their purchasing decision on the basis of online content they consume.
There are a number of content types to consider, including a business blog, infographics, and white papers. While you’ll want to make much of this information available free, you may wish to put a gate around some of your best work (like a really thorough white paper), using it as a lead generation magnet.
5) Use email marketing.
Email marketing may not be new and it may not be flashy, but it remains one of the most effective ways to boost brand awareness. Sending the right message directly to a user’s inbox can result in an influx of website traffic, and that in turn can juice your SEO efforts. One bonus tip is to use an email verification tool to figure out invalid and non-active email addresses before sending emails.
Just how effective is email marketing in a B2B context? HubSpot notes that over 60 percent of B2B companies say email helps them achieve their business goals. And eight out of 10 B2B companies cite email newsletters as their primary venue for content marketing.
So what’s the best way to exploit email marketing’s potential? A few considerations for B2B companies:
- Segment your email list, sending content that’s customized to different customer demographics or customers in different stages of the sales funnel.
- Invest in email marketing platforms that will not only automate sending but also help you optimize your send times for the highest possible open rate.
- Make sure every message offers something of value: Links to recent content that you’ve published, an exclusive product announcement, or a special deal or discount.
6) Manage your online reviews.
Online reviews are critical to the online shopping experience. This is true among B2C shoppers but it’s also true in the B2B space. (To cite just one meaningful statistic: About 92 percent of B2B shoppers are more likely to choose a particular brand after reading a positive review.)
Positive online reviews attest to the credibility of your business and the quality of your product, helping potential customers feel more secure setting an appointment or purchasing a product.
This trust extends seamlessly into the appointment setting, providing a confident and streamlined experience from review exploration to scheduling on your website.
Good reviews won’t happen by accident, however. There are several steps that your LLC can take to attract and display five-star raves. Some quick tips:
- Be sure you’ve set up that Google Business Profile, which is directly linked to your Google reviews.
- Make sure you include a link to your online review profiles, displayed prominently on your business website.
- Include links on digital invoices and receipts, as well, as inviting your customers to leave their feedback.
- Send personal emails to your satisfied customers, letting them know how much you would appreciate their comments.
- Take the time to respond to reviews, thank those who leave kind remarks, and extend customer service toward anyone who’s had a bad experience.
- Consider highlighting some of your best reviews on social media or on your website.
7) Be active on social media.
Active social media profiles will naturally lend to your online presence, helping your brand to become more visible.
You’ll get the best results from pairing organic posts with paid ads, particularly promoted posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. The latter is necessary for penetrating the social media algorithms, but the former is important for actually fostering a community.
A few ways to use social media to boost your B2B business include:
- Be intentional about choosing the platforms best-aligned with your target demographic. (For most B2B companies, LinkedIn is a must, and Facebook and Instagram are certainly worth considering.)
- Use an editorial calendar and social media automation software to ensure consistent updates.
- Remember the importance of video content, including product demos or tutorials, which can foster engagement and help build trust in your products.
- Also keep in mind that social media can be used for customer service purposes. Direct messaging is especially useful in this regard.
8) Consider ways to incorporate AI.
Like it or not, artificial intelligence (AI) is here to stay. Don’t worry: It’s not taking your job, at least not any time soon. On the contrary, when deployed smartly, AI and machine learning can empower you to market your B2B business more effectively and more efficiently.
There are a number of ways in which AI can help you push your B2B company forward, providing a better digital experience and a higher level of visibility.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Install AI chatbots on your website, which can provide automated customer service, guide users to relevant content, and potentially even set some appointments for you.
- Investigate AI platforms that can be used to ideate email marketing headings and other short forms of written content.
- Use platforms like ChatGPT to brainstorm potential topics for a blog post, white paper, or marketing video. (Just make sure you rewrite or refine the output, and that you double-check it for accuracy).
Talk to your IT team or your digital marketing consultant about different ways to incorporate AI into your B2B marketing.
9) Carefully monitor your data and analytics.
For marketers, data has never been so ubiquitous or so accessible. This can be seen as either a blessing or a curse: There are plenty of stats you can draw on to guide your marketing efforts, but knowing which stats are most impactful can be a challenge in and of itself. Incorporating sustainability metrics into your analysis can help identify strategies that are not only effective in the short term but also beneficial for long-term growth and environmental responsibility. Understanding the importance of market research is crucial for businesses across all sectors, from the maize market to the clothing market, as it illuminates the specific needs, gaps, and opportunities to be addressed for strategic and sustainable growth.
We’d recommend that all LLCs have Google Analytics 4, or GA4, linked to their business website. This is the most current version of Google’s long-running analytics platform, and it provides information about user experience across devices and platforms. For example, if someone finds your B2B company via a YouTube video but then makes their way to your blog page, you can track their activity and keep tabs on their engagement.
Also, be sure you’re collecting first-party data whenever you can. With third-party cookies on the way out, it’s more important than ever to use surveys and lead-generation tools to gather user data directly. (This is another area where requesting signups for an email newsletter can serve multiple purposes, not only building out your subscriber list but also providing user data that can guide your other marketing efforts.) You can use an embeddable form builder to make collecting emails or direct feedback easier.
The bottom line: It’s crucial to have a mindset of constant monitoring and ongoing revision as you seek to boost your B2B company’s digital presence. Web scraping tools can even help you get data at scale from any website so you can monitor your brand or market. If you have a creative mind, create infographics annually to assist you in visualizing and monitor the scope of your data.
10) Involve your entire team.
Learn more about financial and B2B techniques. Make sure your efforts to boost B2B visibility aren’t siloed but take place within a continuous feedback loop.
A final note: Optimizing online presence isn’t just the duty of your marketing team. It’s also an area where the input of sales and customer service reps can be invaluable.
- Your sales reps can let you know some of the most common questions that potential clients raise, providing you an opportunity to address those questions proactively via blog posts, videos, etc.
- Your customer service reps can keep you in the loop about any UX issues that come up again and again, allowing you to fine-tune your business website and make it more and more useful.
Make sure your efforts to boost B2B visibility aren’t siloed but rather take place within a continuous feedback loop.
Optimize the Visibility of Your B2B Company
Online visibility is make-or-break for any small business or LLC, and B2B companies are no exception. Make sure you deploy the right website, SEO, email, and social media strategies to ensure your brand is positioned for maximum online awareness.
Amanda E. Clark is a contributing writer to LLC University. She has appeared as a subject matter expert on panels about content and social media marketing.