I write a lot of Web content for B2B companies. Manufacturing companies, software companies, service companies, chemical companies, widget companies — basically the small and mid-sized companies that make up the backbone of our economy.
This work, although incredibly important to the companies themselves, isn’t exactly sexy nor big budget.
So I was blown away when I opened my mail yesterday and learned that I had been awarded a Platinum MarCom Award for the Web content I wrote for the National Security Institute. You can read the case study if you want the full story. You can view other Platinum and Gold Award winners at the MarCom Awards site.
Winning the award got me to thinking about what’s involved with helping small and mid-sized B2Bs revamp their Websites.
Too often SMB Websites are “do-it-yourself” jobs. I’ve seen everything from sites managed by office admins using Microsoft FrontPage to sites that haven’t been updated since George W. Bush first became President.
The biggest problem I see, outside of poor design, is that companies don’t know how to communicate their message. The result is a poorly developed site that gives prospects few reasons to hang around the site looking for information. So they click right back out.
The first step in working with companies who want a Website overhaul isn’t so much “writing a few pages of copy” (which is what I usually get called in to do). It’s educating the client about Web marketing and then once we’re all on the same page, doing a complete message rebrand:
- Who are you?
- Why are you in business?
- Why do your customers do business with you?
- What makes you different?
- What’s your sales cycle?
- How do people find you?
- What’s changed for you in the last few years?
And most important, “What do you want your site to do for you?” Nine times out of ten people say, “Get us sales!” Ok! Now we’re talking!
The real problem is that people don’t see Websites as ASSETS. A building is an asset. Office furniture is an asset. A laptop computer is an asset.
A Website, however, is an EXPENSE. Because Websites grew out of traditional marcom — we migrated paper brochures and datasheets to the Web — they’re not seen as assets that deliver real value.
A bricks and mortar building delivers real value because it houses employees and the business of the company. It’s the same for a Website. Done right, a Website works for you 24 hours a day — generating leads, giving directions, answers questions, and promoting job openings, to name a few.
My job as a B2B marketing consultant / Web marketer is to help companies see the Website as an asset — and to develop messaging and content accordingly.
In addition to winning a Platinum award for the NSI site, I also won a Gold Award for overseeing the revamp of Dr. Helaine Smith’s site (WordPress design by Cre8d-Design) and an Honorable Mention for the e-book I wrote for her, “Dental Implants: Five Questions You Must Ask.”
Thanks again, Dave and Steve — you guys are great and I loved working with you. And thank you, too, Dr. Smith for your continued trust and business.