Comparing yourself to your competitors as part of your marketing content is a path which few B2B companies seem to be brave enough to go down. There are good reasons for this, although the traditional one from the sales director is a bad one: “We don’t want to alert our customers to the competition’s existence”. Oh puh-lease. Go and Google the types of products you sell, which is exactly what your website visitors have done. The competitors are all there. Your prospects aren’t daft. They know who’s competing for their business.
So why should you compare yourself to the competition?
Simple. Your prospects will be making that comparison anyway, and if you do it for them, you show them the favourable features on which to make that comparison.
OK, so maybe there’s no way you’re going to be able to name your competitors on your website, the MD just won’t stand for it. Why not make up a comparison table and populate it with “competitor A”, “competitor B”, etc.?
Still too adventurous? Then at least make up a table of the things you want to be compared on, and tell the visitor these are the things they should be looking at when making a comparison. Because they’ll be making one, like it or not.
More on this subject at Compare to Your Competitors Before Your Visitors Do on the Marketing Optimization Blog.
Have you ever thought about the whole concept of a “Frequently Asked Questions” page? The Marketing Optimization Blog has, and it makes the great observation in FAQ Page = A Sign Warning Drivers of Potholes that if those questions really are FREQUENTLY ASKED, why the heck isnt your regular copy answering your visitors questions?
I’d guess that most of us don’t actually have a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on our websites; it’s certainly a less commonplace sight in B2B marketing than it is in consumer sectors. But it would still be very useful to know the most frequently asked questions from our customers and prospects. We might not set up a page with the answers, but we could make sure the regular working pages on our websites answer the questions before they’re asked. Do you know what your customers want to know about you and your products?
I manage a few Google AdWords campaigns for businesses, and we charge on the basis of a fixed-rate per visitor that we generate. The final arbiter of how many visitors we’ve generated is the company’s own traffic analytics report, which, curiously, always shows slightly fewer clickthroughs than Google AdWords actually charged us for. So why are 1000 people clicking on the company’s Google AdWords ads, and only 995 being registered on the site itself as having arrived from those ads?
I wonder if it’s because the person clicking through never sees the page, because it’s never delivered by the company server? There’s no doubt about it, our impatience when using the web is increasing in line with our ever-increasing access speeds, and if you’re presented with the company logo at the top of a page, and then a white space where something’s loading, you don’t give it long before clicking “back”.
Most servers are pretty fast nowadays. The only real server-side problems I come across are where large corporations run their own ones but don’t invest enough in them (“I keep telling the German head office how slow the website is, but they won’t listen”). Frustratingly, you’d get better service if you put the whole site on a £3.99/month server at one of the big consumer web hosts. The real problem in pages not loading quickly enough for your customers is more likely to be bad website design. Complex scripts, calls to external servers for vanity features, unoptimised images …they’re all a potential source of slow page loading, and visitors just won’t put up with that.
It would be a huge shame if you put in loads of effort in getting better positions in Google to generate more traffic, then failed to deliver after the clickthrough. One aspect you can look at straight away is discussed in Make Your Images Load Faster on the Marketing Optimization Blog. The article gives some useful free tests you can try today.
I like to bring you some fun stuff on Fridays, if I have any, and today it’s FutureNow’s Customer Focus Calculator, or “WeWe Monitor”. As usual with these things, there’s a serious message behind it. If you really think that you’re offering what your customers want, you need to be concentrating on their big “What’s in it for me?” question. Come on, you don’t need me to tell you this. So if you’re concentrating on what’s in it for them, you shouldn’t be wasting space on yourself. Customers don’t want to read the word “we” – they want to read the word “you”.
How well do you score? They say 60-70% seems to be natural; lower than that and you might try revising your copywriting a little.
A short post – Conversion Rate Exercise: Why Should I Do Business With You? – on the Marketing Optimization Blog puts forward a couple of good ideas inspired by social media which might help you clarify what your company’s unique selling propositions are. The majority of businesses we come across in any walk of life seem to find it hard to focus on what they’re offering that others aren’t – and consequently give you the impression that they have no better reason why you should buy from them other than, er, they’re them. Have you also lost your way a bit in that respect?