What are B2B buyers looking for when they start their search for products or services—and how can you attract them? A recent report by Pardot has some useful insights.
First, the vast majority of B2B buyers do extensive online research. For nearly three-quarters (72 percent), the research begins by searching on Google. Other places where B2B buyers search for information include personal networks (15.5 percent), Yahoo (5.5 percent), Bing (2.7 percent) and LinkedIn (2.5 percent).
Besides that initial search, seven in 10 buyers go online two to three times to do more research. In fact, 12 percent go online to research more than three times.
While they are researching, 76% of B2B buyers say they prefer different types of content at each stage. In general, however, buyers prefer shorter content: 70 percent say written content such as case studies or white papers should be 5 pages or less. Just 2 percent prefer content longer than 5 pages. However, 28 percent say the content should be as long as it needs to be to be informative.
The more expensive the product or service they are purchasing, the more likely B2B buyers are to research online multiple times. In addition, as they come closer to making a purchase, their search terms become more specific.
What do these results mean to your business?
- Make sure your business has a strong presence on Google. If you have a physical location, claim your listing on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places) and make sure it’s optimized with current, detailed information and a link to your website. Also use SEO to make sure your website comes up high in search results when B2B buyers search for what you sell. Yes, buyers do search some other places, but Google is far and away the main starting point, so put your focus there.
- Develop multipurpose content that can be tailored for each stage of the research process. For the beginning stages, develop general content that gives an overview of your products or services, and that uses more general keywords people in the early stage of research might use. Then develop more specific pieces of content that go into more detail for users seeking more in-depth information.
- Repurpose content in different ways. You could break down an e-book or whitepaper into shorter pieces to use as blog posts or incorporate into product copy; then use key stats from these shorter pieces in social media.
- Don’t forget the visual. Video is becoming more important to B2B shoppers, so consider recording a longer video and breaking it down into shorter pieces, similar to what you do with written content. Again, use keywords targeted to different stages of the purchasing process to attract searching prospects.
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