If I had a nickel for every time I heard a company say, “But we’re a B2B company. What do we need public-facing ecommerce pages for?” I’d be considerably wealthier than I am now.
There’s an urban legend that is running rampant in B2B circles that B2B organizations don’t need to have any public-facing pages on their ecommerce website. This urban legend hinges on three big assumptions:
- Every B2B organization knows all of it’s potential clients and already has relationships in place with them; and,
- Any potential clients the organization doesn’t know about will (magically) find them through: word of mouth, industry tradeshows, the telephone book, blind luck; and
- Any unknown potential clients will not use the Internet as a research tool to look for a supplier.
These assumptions are incredibly persuasive until a person sees them in black and white. Anyone who hasn’t been off the grid for the past twenty years knows that:
- It’s impossible to know of every potential client for your products and services because the size of the pool is expanding exponentially with the introduction of the Internet.
- Word of mouth is a marketing tool, but won’t reach those outside of your normal sphere of influence, industry tradeshows are costly and attendance is shrinking rapidly, phone books are all but extinct (with a smartphone in every pocket and a computer on every desk in the world of business), and blind luck is as easy to find as a unicorn.
- Today’s business professionals are digitally driven. (See note above about the phone book’s demise.) In this day and age, if it’s not on the Web, it darn near doesn’t exist.
So, still wondering why does your B2B organization need public-facing pages on your ecommerce site?
It’s like going fishing without any bait on your hook. To grow your B2B ecommerce business in 2012 and beyond, you need to have public-facing web pages that can be crawled and indexed by the search engines. Period. There’s no other way around it.
You don’t have to put sensitive, clients-only information out there for everyone to see, but you do, in fact, need to bait your hook.
To learn more about how to make your B2B ecommerce initiative successful, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider Before Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.