Establishing a B2B Brand In the United States

Brian Bluff co-founded Site-Seeker with his brother Eddie in 2003. He received his degree in micro-electronic engineering from RIT and later served in the United States Navy.

At first glance, it would appear that in order to sell successfully in the United States would only require positioning the company’s products and services in the path of prospects when they have a problem these solutions can solve. If this were the case, then simply building a website and positioning that site on the search engines in response to searches for important search terms would be sufficient to successfully generate enough leads to enable the company to meet its US growth objectives.

This post is part of a series of B2B branding related posts. See these if you’d like to read more:

However, because many foreign companies entering the United States (and many new companies too) are unknown here, driving even the best qualified traffic to their website without a parallel effort to establish the brand as a credible solutions provider will result in a much less effective outcome. Our experience tells us that the conversion rate of website visitors to leads will be significantly lower without simultaneously developing the brand. The result of not performing a parallel branding effort would be significantly greater long-term costs as company would have to fight harder to gain the trust of the market over a period of years. Developing the brand means establishing trust within the United States that the company is capable of solving customer problems, a provider of high quality solutions at a fair price, and a low-risk, innovative, high-ROI option. In other words, branding reduces the friction that lesser known companies experience when selling non-commoditized products and services. Branding is the intangible that causes prospects to choose one option over the other assuming that all else is equal.

Why Market Via Multiple Sources – Search, Social, Traditional Media, Etc.?

The 2014 Edleman Trust Barometer, once again validated the value of diversified channel engagement strategies utilizing multiple sources of trusted information. Traditional media and online search engines are the most trusted sources (63% and 65% ) followed by hybrid, social and owned media that are also highly rated. Edleman points out that a multi-channel approach helps to build trust by making information more accessible. Edleman says “This increases the likelihood of stakeholders hearing stories three to five times, the number of times needed for most stakeholders to believe information to be true.” See http://www.edelman.com/ for more information. 

Typical B2B Branding Strategy

The Site-Seeker multi-channel approach establishes the brand and positions the website in the path of visitors when they have a need for the company’s solutions. An example of a high-level timetable is included below.

Item

Month

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Online

Buyer Persona (research and learning – customers, offering, industry competition)

x

x

Website Design and Development

x

x

x

x

SEO Effort

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

PPC Effort

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Social Media Effort

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Email Marketing Program

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Public Relations

Pitching and Media Relations

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Event/Award Assistance

x

x

x

x

Contributed Written Content

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Press Releases

x

x

x

x

x

x

Traditional

Corporate Identity

x

x

Sell Sheets

x

x

Product/Capabilities Video

x

x

Photography

x

x

Content Marketing Closes The Gap Between The Buying and Selling Process

The B2B selling process is long and expensive and requires buy in from multiple people in order to make a sale. Further, there is a gap between the beginning of the buying process and the beginning of the selling process. Prospective customers begin the buying process long before sellers are aware that they have a need. During this “gap” period, buyers first identify their need and work to become educated about the various solutions. To do this, buyers access numerous sources of information including search engines, traditional media, social media and various consultants. It is only when buyers enter the evaluate vendors stage that a lead is generated and buyers first contact sellers.

The terminology buyers use to describe their problems, differs from that which sellers use to describe their products and services. Sellers that take the time to create content around problem-based keywords rank better in the search engines for these terms and earn a head start in the selling process. Conversely, sellers not creating problem-based content are all but invisible online. Site-Seeker has termed the phenomenon of ranking well for problem-based keywords “fishing upstream”. We have shown time and time again that a good multi-channel content marketing strategy enables sellers to engage earlier in the buying process and persuade buyers with the advantages of their solution thus steering prospects toward their offering where they are more likely to engage.

Site-Seeker’s B2B Marketing Experience

The evidence supporting the implementation of a multi-channel approach that both builds the brand and positions the company in the path of prospective customers at the exact moment they have a need for the company’s products and services is overwhelmingly positive. Site-Seeker has been in the B2B marketing arena for over a decade. During this time, we have seen countless examples of B2B manufacturers, distributors, and service providers using multi-channel content marketing efforts to establish their brand and grow their business.

  • On Site-Seeker’s own website for example, our blog generates that vast majority of traffic. This expert content builds our brand as a thought leader in our field, which in turn attracts serious prospects and fuels our growth. This content makes our website our number one lead generation source. As we do on behalf of clients, we distribute our expert content social media.  As a testament to the effectiveness of this approach, in a recent campaign Site-Seeker generated 12 leads from LinkedIn in a one-month period. This is significant given the fact that the content already existed and the effort to distribute the content took less than 15 minutes.
  • On a manufacturer’s (electrical equipment) website, case studies alone drive approximately 700 visitors per month. These visitors are more engaged than normal visitors as demonstrated by the fact that 72% of these visitors stay on the website after viewing a case study, while only 52% of all visitors remain on the site.
  • Another manufacturer’s (electronic products) YouTube Channel, has driven over 71K video views since 2007. This manufacturer is so well known for its engaging video, that the company was approached countless times at a recent trade show in China by its target market – Engineers.
  • In a recent experiment, Site-Seeker demonstrated the effectiveness of Twitter advertising to attract and engage with a manufacturer’s target audience. In this 18-day test, Site-Seeker was able to generate 174 Twitter followers classified into one of the following persona categories. The average cost per follower was $0.88.
Group

Total Follows

Daily Average

End Users

105

5.6

Engineers

34

1.7

Business/Other

25

1.4

Facility Management

11

0.6

Total

174

9.7

These are but a few of examples demonstrating the value of Content Marketing (branding) and distributing content via search and social that Site-Seeker has encountered in our ten year history. Tell me about your experience growing your brand/sales in the USA.

This post is part of a series of B2B branding related posts. See these if you’d like to read more: