You absolutely must have a blog if you want to be successful in B2B ecommerce in 2012 and here’s why:
Most B2B ecommerce sites—and their respective pages and product data—are safely tucked away behind the “nofollow” walls of a secure login portal. While this is an excellent strategy for keeping sensitive information like pricing, product details and support materials on a need to know basis, it also means that Google can’t index those pages and match them to relevant Google searches. Even with public-facing pages, chances are good that you don’t update your site’s content on a daily or weekly basis.
In short, this means you are inadvertently losing business.
Before their expansion past their geographical restrictions via the Internet, most B2B companies would have confidently told you that they knew all of their customers and that new customer selection was via a handpicked selection process. Today, the Internet has leveled the playing field and companies are searching outside their geographical area for B2B business partners and they are doing so largely via Internet search. Enter why you need Google to pay attention to you.
Without regularly updated, index-able pages, your organization is at a significant loss in the Internet search game, unless you have an active and relevant blog.
A successful blog strategy will provide the consistent updates that Google craves and will get your organization back “on the map” in the search engine results game. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your blog drives quality traffic to your company—even if not directly to your ecommerce site:
- Your blog must be on a public facing page that is linked to your organization’s home page. This ensures that Google can find and index those pages. And we want Google to find and index your pages.
- You must blog about topics relevant to your industry/customer base. If you sell telecommunications hardware to medium- and large-sized businesses, consider blogging about the benefits of VoIP service, how to successfully utilize hold messaging to increase sales, or about business telephone etiquette. If you sell shipping and packaging supplies, consider writing about how to properly package your product to reduce damage to a shipment, how to pack and ship an order to reduce shipping costs, or how to choose the right packing tape for your shipping needs. But whatever you do….
- You must NOT blog about your products or sell on your blog. This is the most important rule of B2B blogging! Blogging is the ultimate in knowledge sharing and thought leadership. The moment your content even remotely smells of self promotion, you will alienate your audience. Don’t do it.
- You must include a call to action for each blog post. Now if you are like most sales-minded folks, you are probably wondering how writing a blog where you don’t mention your product or sell anything will help you grow your business. The simple answer lies in a targeted call to action at the end of each blog post. Offer more information, a white paper, a tip sheet, a best practices guide, or a free consultation. Offer something of value in exchange for the reader’s information. Voila! Your blog is now generating leads from readers who are interested in what your company does and the information you have to share.
- You must blog regularly and consistently. You don’t have to blog every day, but once you choose a schedule, stick to it! Twice a week is a good frequency to start with, but the key is in consistency—in both number of posts and when you post. If you choose to post on Tuesday and Thursday each week, Google will start to visit your blog on those days with the expectation of new content to index. Do you best to avoid disappointing Google’s bot—consistency means it will be back regularly which keeps your organization active in the search rankings.
A B2B ecommerce blog will keep your organization “top of mind” with Google and will drive new customers and traffic to your organization. Check out this post for more information on why blogging matters for B2B ecommerce.
To learn more about how to make your B2B ecommerce initiative a success, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative. (Pssst! This is the call to action!)