Up until recently, ecommerce promotion has been the exclusive territory of B2C companies. But that’s changing–B2B companies are getting in on the action and taking advantage of B2B ecommerce promotions strategies. And those that do are reaping the benefits of increased traffic to their sites and increased interest in their products and services.
Not sure you’ve encountered B2B ecommerce promotions strategies? Sure you have–they’ve just been talked about using their B2C names. I’m here to translate those B2C promo strategies into powerful tactics you can use to grow your B2B ecommerce business.
B2C Tactic: Customer reviews. Have you ever surfed through a B2C site and wistfully wished that you could utilize customer reviews to promote your B2B business? You can. B2B Solution: In the B2B world “customer reviews” translate into “client references” in the form a product- or service-specific quote.
- Client references/quotes are especially powerful when the customer will go on record with their full name, title, and company.
- Once your customer agrees to be a reference, ask open-ended questions crafted to get to the heart of their experience with your business. It they answer in a vague way, ask specific follow up questions to get to the meaty quote material.
- Make sure you do your interviews in person or over the phone. They can be short and sweet, but the interaction allows you to probe further or rephrase if necessary.
- Put together a draft of the quote from your customer and send it to them via email. Get their changes/approval in writing and keep a copy of the final approval to use the quote on file, just in case.
B2C Tactic: Video product reviews. It’s amazing to see a product in action when shopping on the web. What if your product isn’t as glamorous as a new car or the must-have widget of the month? Or what if your product isn’t a physical product at all, but a SERVICE? B2B Solution: You’re in luck–and you have a leg up on the B2C companies out there. In the B2B world, video product reviews are called “video case studies” and feature an actual customer on camera talking about their experience with your product. What’s the leg up, you ask? Well, most likely the person you are dealing with for such a video is a decision maker from your client company who can be verified. For example, if your interviewee is the VP of Sales from ABC Design and Production Company, that can be verified, unlike Suzie Car-owner from Ohio in a similar B2C video. See a powerful example of a B2B video case study here.
B2C Tactic: Store locator. This one is often overlooked. While B2C sites are constantly trying to drive foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores, B2B companies can fall prey to the thought that they don’t need a store locator because they don’t sell to the public. B2B Solution: While you might not sell to the public, your dealers and distributors DO sell to the public, so why not direct any consumers on your site to their retail locations using a dealer locator? The functionality is the same as a traditional store locator, only you are sending customers to your dealers and distributors instead.
B2C Tactic: Photo gallery. This one is the same whether you run a B2B or B2C business, but for some reason B2B businesses shy away from them. B2B Solution: You can take your B2B photo gallery in a number of directions, but two stand out from the pack: the “beauty shot” gallery and the “technical” gallery.
- Use a beauty shot gallery whenever you can. If your product is pretty on it’s own, take a host of pictures from different angles to help pique the interest of your site visitors. If your product isn’t glamorous on it’s own, but is pretty in it’s final installation, show those installation shots. For example, if you are a cultured stone manufacturer, show beauty shots of your stone product installed on gorgeous homes and buildings.
- If your product isn’t particularly pretty–for example, if you manufacture corrugated metal pipe intended to be buried in the ground–consider hosting a technical photo gallery. A technical photo gallery is one that highlights a product’s features to help the viewer understand exactly what they are buying. For your corrugated pipe, you might take a photo of the thickness of the metal or of a special finish that inhibits corrosion.
As a B2B ecommerce business, you have a host of options to consider for promoting your ecommerce site. Take inspiration from your B2C counterparts and implement the best of their tried and true tactics to increase qualified traffic to your ecommerce site and generate more interest in your products!
(Watch for more B2B ecommerce promotional tactics in our next blog post.)