Thursday, December 22, 2011

B2B vs. B2C SEO - Differences Between Strategic Approaches and Skills

What are the differences between SEO actions taken for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) campaigns, vs. Business-to-Business (B2B)?

KME Internet Marketing has delivered many B2B campaigns over the past years, typically regarding very technically-complex or domain-specific subject matter - we've found the following information and strategies tend to ring true for most...

For B2B SEO vs B2C, the roles and intentions of searchers are much more diverse, the engagement channels are more complex, and the visits will occur over a longer period of time representing not only diverse “solution” needs, but reflecting diverse problems and situations.

Therefore, B2B SEO requires a much more complex Keyword, Web Content Management and Analytics Strategy, in close coordination with the CRM and Business Demand Management actions.
  • Keyword strategy for B2C is predominantly about the product features, support, reviews – B2B SEO strategy is more complex and needs to include:

    a. Coverage and durability of the company, relevance of brand
    b. Breadth and categories of offerings
    c. Ability to service and support the offering
    d. Depth of competence in offering plus related offerings
    e. Understanding of the needs, issues, problems that the offering addresses
    Verifiable depth of competence and engagement in the community for the offering domain (searchers are "vetting" the company, its expertise, its reliability and presence)
    f. Case studies, client examples
    g. Offering value = return on investment, partnership, transaction efficiencies, profitable cost structures, dedicated support and training…not just price and immediately usable features
  • Keyword strategy will require understanding of industry, and include many industry-specific terms, names, references - KME is particularly adept at absorbing, learning and establishing rapid expertise in your domain content.
  • Optimize landing pages (and event landing "mini-sites") to encourage "stickiness", i.e. exploration of additional relevant and value-added material on a site – objective isn’t necessarily to close a sale, but to encourage a contact, open dialogue or continued education. This will very likely require some redesign or modification of the "Information Architecture", i.e. how web content is organized, accessed and presented to user segments.
  • Keyword strategy is supported by supplementing landing pages with existing corporate content – i.e. harvest and re-purpose internal corporate content for online marketing, engagement; this includes documents, videos, presentations and internal dialogue or forum content
  • Creating long-term CRM funnels and actively monitoring engagement strategy results is extremely important – including building profiles of the multiple buyer roles that may be searching, interacting (i.e. Executives, Buying Agents, SMEs, Alliance Managers, etc.). Keyword strategy must support multiple roles.
  • Keyword strategy and backlink creation needs to consider very important "vertical" search engines (i.e. not just Google), i.e. topic-specific sites, subject-specific forums, industry-specific directories.
  • Online community participation and community management as the conversant authority in subject-specific domains is very important – leverage the SME "star power" of employees, engineers, key and public experts (carefully optimize their profiles as part of the overall brand strategy, though only with appropriate training and employee participation).
  • Online community engagement will happen via the corporate website (i.e. onsite forums, polls, etc.) AND offsite (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, industry boards, etc.) – keywords must be coordinated yet refined per the nature and cadence of the channel.
  • Online engagement will very likely result in "offline" communication (i.e. emails, phone calls, meetings, conferences) – so the same keyword-based messages, phrases, one-liners should be coordinated across marketing & communications channels, and "offline" events need to be precisely coordinated with online marketing tactics.

These insights are based on our long experience in the industry, serving B2C, B2B AND B2G (Government) clients. Contact us for more information, discussion or to find out how to apply these concepts to your online digital marketing objectives.