Content is a powerful tool that drives ecommerce sales on both B2B and B2C sites. While retail sites have mastered the online use of a variety of different types of content, B2B ecommerce often lacks the same finesse. In 2013, boost the effectiveness of your B2B ecommerce site by giving your site content a makeover. Here are six types of content that you should include on your B2B ecommerce site along with ideas of where to come up with this new information.
Product specifications. Product specifications are the meat and potatoes of any ecommerce site, but they are especially important in B2B ecommerce. Be sure to include all the relevent details including product dimensions, weight, country of manufacture, contents, included pieces/parts, necessary pieces/parts that are not included, shipping cost estimates, and any necessary warnings and restrictions. Where to get product specifications: Look to your print catalogs, sales materials, and back-end systems for product specifications. If you don’t manufacture your own products, check with the products manufacturer for their input. Chances are good that they have product details that you can use.
Descriptive product copy. Often thought of as the “fluffy” text on an ecommerce site, descriptive product copy serves as a stand-in for your sales team in ecommerce. Create a brief description for each product you offer that will appeal to the reader from a sales perspective. Where to get descriptive product copy: It’s best to lean on your sales and marketing departments for descriptive product copy. While it’s important that your descriptive copy catch the reader’s eye, make sure that it truthfully and accurately describes your products.
Images. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but images are a category of content that is often overlooked in B2B ecommerce. Be sure to include as many images of the product as you can to fully tell the story online. Include a thumbnail image next to product listings to help your customers identify the products they need by sight. On product detail pages, include multiple product shots that show the item from as many angles as necessary. Make sure your site has at least a few marketing images that show your ideal customer demographic happily using your product. Where to get images: One option is to take them yourself. If you aren’t a photographer and don’t have one on staff, consider hiring a professional photographer. If you are a distributor, contact the product’s manufacturer to inquire about images you can use on your site–they likely have some available.
Videos. While some people still like to read about what a product can do, a growing part of the population would much prefer to watch a brief video covering the same content. In light of this, video can play a huge role in your ecommerce site’s success. You might consider adding product demonstration videos that show your product in action, user-review videos that feature a customer singing your products pages, trouble-shooting videos where your support staff answer the most common questions associated with your product, glossy marketing videos that promote that act as commercial spots, and brief interviews with industry experts discussing topics that are relevant to your products. Where to get videos for your B2B ecommerce site: Where you get your videos from will depend largely on which type of video you are talking about. Product videos might be created by your marketing department or by the manufacturer of the product if you are a distributor. Marketing videos will come from your marketing team and might be outsourced to an ad agency for the proper effect. Ask your customers to submit a user-review video of your products by hosting a contest. Tape brief interviews of the experts in your organization talking about current industry events and edit them into short video clips that you can share with your customers.
User-Generated Content. If you’re scratching your head wondering what user generated content is and what it means for your B2B ecommerce business, you aren’t alone. User-generated content is just what it sounds like–content on your site that is created and posted there by the people who use your products. User-generated content can take many forms including user reviews (via a service such as PowerReviews), user videos demonstrating their success with your products or demonstrating how to modify and/or trouble-shoot your products, and user forums where the users of your products can post and answers for other users. Where to get user-generated content: User-generated content is fairly simple to come by, but you must make a space available on your site to capture it. This might include giving logged-in users the ability to post questions to a forum, videos to a user video page, or to add a third-party reviews software to your site so that users can give feedback on your products. Whatever you do, do not censor your user generated content to only show the good comments. In the world of user-generated content, your customers can sniff out too many perfect reviews and you will lose credibilty as a result.
Links and Resources. Got an independent review of one of your products? It should be included as a link (to another webpage on the Internet) or as a downloadable resource on your B2B ecommerce site. Do you offer an industry blog roll or a glossary of industry terms? Link them to your site. Does a customer show your product in action on their website? Link to the appropriate page. Links and resources extend what you can offer your customers and demonstrate your interconnectedness to others in your industry. They are a huge value-add to your customer without too much work on your part. Where to find links and resources: Ask your best customers what resources they rely on outside of your site. Consider linking to those resources. Create resources that you can share with your customers as well as potential customers. Ask customers to tell you what they are doing with your products–you might be surprised by the opportunities they share with you!
To learn more about how to use content on your B2B ecommerce site to ensure success, download the whitepaper, Content is King – How Updating Website Content Improves Ecommerce Sales.