All we talk about as marketers in the media industry is integrating digital strategies, the power of mobile, the online buyer’s journey, and everything in between. We tell our advertisers how important an online marketing strategy is in conjunction with their TV or Radio campaigns, and why taking ownership of your online presence is absolutely critical. We even teach our salespeople the power of social selling and personal branding in the increasingly digital world.
So, why is it that most media companies only have websites for their radio or TV stations?
Why is it that many of us in the media industry are completely ignoring the shift in the B2B buyer’s journey and their need for information, just like every other buyer out there?
Sure, in the last few years I’ve seen more and more media companies starting to pay attention to the evolving advertising decision-maker’s needs. Sometimes this includes a new, shiny website, but oftentimes it just includes a section on your station website aimed to engage with bottom of the funnel leads ready to talk to sales, or a couple social media pages that simply promote your latest award or event.
Of course, the clients we work with at LeadG2 have taken an online presence one step further with a lead generation strategy using inbound marketing methodologies… but that’s not what this post is about.
I’m writing this post today to convince you of the ONE thing you must do—no exceptions—which is to create an online B2B presence for your company. A place where prospects, partners, and customers can find what they need when they need it. If you keep relying on the old way of selling (where the salesperson tries to hold all of the information and power) then you're going to see the repercussions of that… if you aren’t already.
If you’re not convinced yet, here are 10 reasons why your media company needs a B2B website:
1) The buyer’s journey is happening online. Not just for B2C, but for B2B too.
It’s likely that you’ve had an advertising client without a website and thought they are kind of crazy to not have one in this day and age. For some reason, those of us in the B2B space are lagging a bit behind. I never really liked the whole “business-to-business” categorization anyway, because isn’t all selling person to person? Yes, it’s B2B but a human researches their options, a human’s job or income is on the line when they make a marketing decision, and a human makes the final decision and signs the dotted line.
2) 54% of B2B buyers begin the buying process with informal research around business challenges, and 78% of the time they use the internet to initiate that research. Just in case you’re a numbers person, you don’t have to just take my word for it.
→ We’ve got some other great stats about B2B companies and content marketing here.
3) If you don’t educate them, someone else will.
Buyers have the power. They can get so much information at their fingertips any hour of the day, and if you aren’t the one providing it, someone else will… maybe even your competitor. Having a website with helpful and educational resources, information on your products, and easy ways to contact you is essential.
And on that note, your prospects shouldn’t have to search for advertising information on your station site (usually hidden in the footer and requiring multiple clicks and little relevant information). It should be easy for them to learn about your company, your services, and to contact you when they are ready.
4) They are seeking out content and resources to help them make the right decision.
Forrester reports that “today’s B2B buyer will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver.” As mentioned above, if you don’t have a website and online channels for sharing custom content then they’ll find it somewhere else.
5) You’ll still be ahead of the curve.
Here’s the thing, look around in your market. Look at your competitors. Who has a professional, branded, informative, and responsive B2B website? Likely not many of your competitors do yet (except the digital marketing companies of course). This gives you a chance to not only do it first, but to also do it better. And you definitely don’t want to be the last one.
6) It’s a selling tool for your salespeople.
Having a place that your salespeople can easily send prospects and customers to for more information (as opposed to sending an outdated PDF one sheet every time they get a request) is something that will take your sales process to the next level. This is why having detailed station and product information, along with anything else you think a prospect would need to know about your advertising assets, company, and areas of expertise, is of the utmost importance to compete in today’s marketplace.
→ Learn more here about how to use content as a powerful way to engage with prospects.
7) It CAN BE a powerful, automated selling tool for your salespeople.
Okay so yes, it will be a great tool as mentioned above for sharing content and product information. But we suggest you take it one step further and utilize some type of website content optimization system (COS) that has analytics and tools to help you sell better. There are a variety of marketing automation platforms (including HubSpot) that can turn your website into a lead generating machine that also pumps out invaluable lead intelligence about what prospects and customers are doing, reading, and searching for… and when.
8) A (good!) website will help you establish credibility and showcase your expertise.
A good website won’t just talk about what you sell and how great you are. A good (and truly great) website will answer the questions of your prospects, educate advertisers in your market, and work to establish your brand and your salespeople as thought leaders, experts, and valued partners.
9) You MUST lead by example.
As marketing experts, media strategists, digital marketers, and every other role you serve to help your clients grow their businesses, you MUST be able to show them that you eat your own dog food. If you are telling them they should have an online presence, that they should invest in marketing, that they should have a website and digital strategy, and that they should be smart, cutting-edge marketers -- then shouldn’t you be all of that too?
10) Your own website will allow for market specific content and optimization.
Having a corporate B2B website can be beneficial, and most of you have that, but having a local, market-specific site is where you’re really going to see the return on investment. Your ideal customers are local business owners. They are searching for reports, resources, and information based on their unique needs in New Orleans, or Dallas, or Boise. A localized site will allow you to be more easily found online when potential advertisers are searching for more information, and allow you to showcase your expertise on a local level.
There you have it, 10 reasons why you should not wait another minute to get your B2B brand online. One final tip… remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can launch a new website and build upon what you have as you better uncover your needs and the needs of your prospects and clients. Don’t delay and obsess over every single detail. Come up with a plan and just ship it. It’s time.