I was reading a post over on David Meerman Scott's blog, People want to do business with people, and I started thinking about B2B websites vs. micro-sites.David writes:"People want to do business with people.
We're human, and we crave interaction with people who know us.""When online content seems created by some nameless, faceless corporate entity, it doesn't entice us. And we're just not interested in doing business with that company."Corporate B2B websites are usually boring, disjointed, politically correct, conservative and product-oriented.
It's a bit difficult to make them otherwise due2b web to all the different stakeholders involved in guarding their turf, or perhaps it's because the company doesn't have an integrated story to connect the dots for their prospects.Smaller companies can often do better because their passion hasn't been stifled by bureaucracy-yet-or they only sell one thing or solve one problem. Although, that said, there are plenty of robotized small biz websites, too.
But what got me thinking about micro-sites was this:"When you build content especially for your buyer personas, you build a relationship with people before you've even met them."What if you took all the personas related to the buying committee for a problem-to-solution scenario and created a micro-site just for them? What kind of impression would that make? [WOW! comes to mind]What if you filled it with content designed for each stage of the buying process, for each of them?
What if you delivered a complete storyline for your micro-site visitors that provided so much value in helping them understand, think about and explore solving their problem that you eliminated any need for them to talk to a competitor?What if that micro-site was so human it actually caused your prospects to reach out to you, instead of you chasing after them?Intrigued? I thought you might be.
Here are a few things to think about when you develop a micro-site:Create a storyboard for what the scenario may look like for each of the people on your buying committee. [each persona involved]Develop an overarching storyline from status quo through purchase decision. And make sure it's focused on the buyer's perspective.
What questions are they asking. If they learn one thing, what will they ask next? Work you way through. Involve salespeople, customers and support staff if you need help.Slice your storyline into content topics for each stage.Consider the different viewpoints you need to address to create dialogue between you and them, as well as among them without you.Now develop an editorial calendar so you can research, plan for and develop content to answer their needs. Make sure it all flows with the storyline.
Make sure you vary the format [podcasts, articles, white papers, customer success stories, webinars, video, etc.] You don't have to use all of them, but you get my point.Consider if there are other experts out there writing about your topic and either link to their posts/articles or invite/engage them to write an article for your micro-site.Create a distribution plan to attract prospects to engage with your micro-site.
This could include email to opt-in people, blog posts, Twitter, SEO, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, Squidoo page, Asking questions on LinkedIn with a link to related content, etc.
If it's great content sharing a good story people will be drawn to it. If it's all about your products, probably not so much. Launch your microsite with all the content needed to sway people from status quo and then build it out over time. A complex sale takes multiple, consistent touches (at least 7 according to some recent research I just read) so you want to entice them to return for each new "chapter" of the story.
Continuously adding content helps keep the site fresh and interesting.Using a micro-site to put the human touch behind a story designed for a specific segment of the people you want to engage as potential customers can deliver compelling results for your company. There's technology out there right now that makes it possible to become your own publisher without needing an Act of Congress to involve your IT department.And finally, don't forget to consider interactive elements.
The goal should be to create dialogue, learn about interests and build trust. As David says, "people want to buy from people."
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