Just in case you were unaware – many companies involved in B2B marketing are officially online now!  It all started with companies scrambling to have their own websites and domains.  Surprisingly, the results of a recent study by 1&1 Internet Inc., stated that 2 out of 5 SMBs (Small- to Medium-Sized Businesses) do not have an online presence.  Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 Internet Inc., said, “While many small companies today leverage the Web with increasing proficiency, too many businesses remain excluded from the online world.”  These companies may still be having success through direct B2B marketing techniques, but I personally think they may find themselves being left behind. This will especially be the case as the majority of  their competitors continue to learn about the potential benefits that engaging online in B2B marketing has to offer.  Not only do the forward-thinking companies have websites, they are mastering the tools that are useful in drawing people to their websites – social media and blogging.

Why do we want people to visit our websites?  Because websites are where you can provide more information online about the solutions and offerings your company provides.  The hope is that the visitors to your website will (1) be enticed to learn more about you and your company; (2) be converted into qualified leads; and (3) ultimately become your client.  Drawing potential clients to your B2B website can sometimes seem like an arduous and daunting task.  There are many conversations about terms such as SEO (search engine optimization), link building, long tail keywords, and Penguins & Pandas (not the kinds at zoos, either), just to name a few.  I will be honest and admit I understand very little about any of these things.  However, I do understand the importance of engaging online in B2B marketing.  I mentioned in a recent blog post that it is important to remember that “businesses are human, too,” and businesses – or the people behind them – would like to be engaged by those with whom they hope to do future business.

How are businesses currently engaging online within the B2B marketing arena?  Here are two simple ways that are yielding success for many companies:

1.  Social Media

FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn are the most common social media platforms for businesses to start with.  These platforms provide easy ways to give followers enough information about your company and direct them to your website from there.  As well, the platforms automatically lend to engaging online  – via sharing posts, pictures, and videos.  Engaging with your followers – whether they have positive or negative comments – shows that your company provides the “human” element that companies desire when they seek to do business with other businesses.

2.  Your Company Blog

This is your company’s opportunity to tell its visitors – and even the whole world – what your company is all about.  Here is the chance for your blogger(s) to write about your company – its solutions and offerings, the company culture, the people behind the business – almost anything goes.  Your company blog can provide the opportunity to establish a strong online presence as well.  Using your social media channels to broadcast your blog will increase your company’s reach.  The results are reflected in the additional number of views of your website and ultimately, higher rates of lead conversions.  As well, the opportunity exists to further engage online with others in B2B marketing, as well as potential clients, when you open your blog up to comments.  Replying to those who leave comments on your blog posts will help your company to be seen as a credible and knowledgeable group – one in which they would most likely prefer to do business with in the long run.

How is your company engaging online?  I would be glad to hear your success stories and am certainly open to suggestions!

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