It’s an understatement to say things have changed for B2B marketers in recent weeks. The uncertainty in the world has a profound effect on how B2B organizations will do business now and in the foreseeable future.
As we outlined a few years back, building trust is a key component to successful SEO programs. Now more than ever, trust has to be established across the board to distinguish the broader B2B marketing message across digital channels.
But even before these recent trends facing business, research indicated that marketing professionals were prioritizing trusting relationships with customers.
The February 2020 edition of “The CMO Survey” revealed that more customers place an emphasis on trusting relationships with vendors when it pertains to business, outpacing factors such as superior innovation, product quality, and low price.
How do B2B marketers build trust in today’s digital marketing environment?
Here are several ways and ideas organizations can start building trust right now with prospective buyers and their existing customers. These tactics are meant to build validate vendor expertise as well as improve performance in broader B2B SEO initiatives.
Comprehensive Company Information
Back in 2015, in our own independent research for the B2B Web Usability Report, we found that more than half (54 percent) of respondents indicated that the lack of thorough contact information reduced a vendor’s a credibility and thus would cause them to leave a website.
64 percent of B2B buyers want to see contact information on a vendor website home page and 52 percent expect to navigate quickly to company “about” information as well.
What does this mean for B2B marketers?
Reevaluate website content that communicates organizational information and how to get in contact most importantly.
Some immediate suggestions for review:
- A professional overview of the organization.
- Leadership and management bios and contact information (including social media profiles if appropriate).
- Company addresses (and Google My Business listings), phone numbers, and applicable contact forms.
Third Party Validation
Comprehensive company information establishes a basis for how B2B organizations illustrate and communicate their message on third party websites as well as when placing important trust signals directly on-site.
Scan branded search results for opportunities to update company information across third party sites. This includes business listings, job posting websites, and social media platforms (which we will discuss a bit later).
Ensure as many accurate cross-links as possible are being leveraged to give visitors on these web pages the best experience possible when reviewing organizational information.
Third Party Accreditations
Make certain that any and all appropriate third party accreditations are listed prominently on the websites. This type of content provides a signal of trust for both prospective buyers and search engines. This could include the following opportunities.
- For B2B e-commerce vendors, incorporate payment processing security signals such as payment gateway security badges and PCI compliance.
- In certain industries, compliance certifications and regulatory statements should be immediately accessible.
- Integrate ratings and references from business publications and memberships in industry-specific organizations.
- Highlight third party references, awards, and industry certifications.
In addition, don’t forget to showcase contributions across industry publications, conferences and events, partner websites, and through other related digital marketing platforms.
Independent Ratings and Reviews
While I referenced ratings and reviews above they deserve their own sub-section for emphasis, since independent reviews are absolutely a trust signal to prospective buyers and ratings often appear prominently in organic search results.
In branded search results, it can be important to pay attention to ratings and reviews being created across third party websites. For technology and software organizations in particular, third party review sites often rank prominently for brand-related search queries.
For e-commerce websites, ratings that appear in individual product listings are important. Now might be the time more than ever to adopt a program to acquire customer ratings on popular and high valued products in a B2B e-commerce catalog.
A Professional Social Media Presence
Most prominent social media platforms will appear in branded search results, even if a B2B organization has a limited (or worse incomplete) profile. This includes Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in particular but there are plenty of examples of other popular social media sites appearing in branded results as well.
Despite the fact that social media activity may not connect directly to lead generation efforts, establishing a presence that is consistent with an organization’s website is key for validating information and trust.
Key content marketing aspects of social media profiles to consider:
- Creative: Integrate high quality cover photos, organizational logo and icons, and video assets if possible.
- Copy: Make sure to draft consistent and comprehensive organizational information.
- Cross-Links: Add cross-links to the website, key supporting website information, and related social media profiles if applicable.
While every B2B organizations’ ability to support comprehensive social media strategies will be different, establishing a professional and comprehensive footprint across popular platforms is the first step in building trust for prospects and customers.
Customer Case Studies and Testimonials
Customer case studies should be featured prominently on the B2B vendor home page as well as solutions and product pages as they validate vendor expertise and help build trust in an organizations’ capabilities.
For SEO purposes, cross-link case studies back to relevant capabilities, solutions, and product offerings. This type of cross-linking further may establish SEO relevance between content marketing assets and keyword rich, lead generation-specific solutions pages.
Testimonials are another signal of trust to prospective buyers when reviewing vendor website collateral. We make certain testimonials are present across all of KoMarketing’s web pages but prominent placement on company collateral and product and solution pages should also be a priority.
Top of Funnel Content Marketing Assets
Now more than ever, consider focusing on building content marketing assets that satisfy top of funnel informational queries the applicable B2B buyer may be searching for. The financial uncertainty in today’s market has everyone looking for more information to aid their endeavors but not necessarily an immediate sales quote.
Types of content to consider:
- SEO Pillar Pages designed to capture broad objectives of a competitive keyword theme. Competitive keyword themes often have a broad range of potential search intent thus requiring a wider scope of content marketing efforts. Pillar pages are used to curate these efforts and provide an overarching experience for website visitors.
- FAQ Pages meant to address specific questions related to targeted SEO keywords prospective buyers might be asking. Questions to consider can be found in “People Also Ask” results when evaluating the search results of target keywords but don’t underestimate the feedback sales and customer service team members can offer as well to support these endeavors.
- Blog Posts supporting long-tail keyword opportunities. As my colleague Ryan Young wrote, focusing a piece of content on long-tail keywords might provide a better chance of appearing on the first page of SERPs more quickly. These keywords are also likely the ones being searched by more qualified users further along in their path of intent. Don’t forget to cross-link to relevant pillar pages as well.
Now is the time to help prospective buyers solve solutions by offering more information to aid their process, regardless of immediate sales opportunity. In turn, the B2B organization helps establish trust while also addressing SEO keyword opportunities through content development.
And in the spirit of helping others, highlighting an organizations’ involvement in the community, either at an individual or group level, shows a more personal side that can resonate with prospective buyers.
I’ve seen several examples of this – large and small – highlighted in colleagues social media communications and in new landing pages on websites.
Establishing trust with B2B buyers helps connect brand awareness, digital marketing campaign effectiveness, and sales opportunity development in the long run. With all of the uncertainty facing business today, trusted relationships between vendors, customers, and prospective buyers are critical.
Where can you start? Hopefully this list of ideas for content marketing, SEO, and social media provide both immediate and actionable tactics to consider.