In any industry today, companies need a robust, full-featured Web site complete with intuitive navigation, detailed product information, up-to-date content, and offers that help them capture qualified leads. It’s a basic requirement in this digital age. Yet having a great Web site isn’t enough. By itself, a Web site will not lift you above competitors and connect you with potential customers. Why not?
Because your target audience and customers use a variety of online sources to seek out services, products and information. Yes, your company website is one of those sources — and an important source — but it’s not the only one, and usually not the first source potential customers find.
The Buy Cycle Determines Information Sources
According to the our survey, supplier Web sites are the least used information source during the early stages of the buy cycle, when buyers are defining their requirements, conducting research, and identifying vendors who might be able to meet their needs.
During these early stages, consumers use a wide range of information sources including general search engines, online catalogs, e-newsletters, social media, and others. It’s only in the later stages of the buy cycle when consumers are comparing vendors and making their final purchase decision, that Web sites become an important information source.
Build Your Online Presence
The conclusion to draw is that you need a broad, yet focused online presence to be found in the early stages of the consumer buy cycle; otherwise, your company will not make a consumer’s short list in the later stages of the cycle and you could miss an opportunity to win new business.
A broad presence means you can be found in a variety of information sources. A focused presence means these information sources are used by the target audience you are trying to connect with.
Consider, for example, these marketing ideas for 2012:
Each of these tactics can help expand your online presence, which will increase your opportunities to be in front of consumers during the early stages of the buy cycle. Then, once you are found, you can drive qualified traffic to your Web site and wow prospects with the breadth and depth of the information and offers you make available to them. But remember, they won’t come to your Web site unless you help get them there.