Does Your B2B Website Content Create Competitive Advantage?

Does Your B2B Website Content Create Competitive Advantage?
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Thu Jun 18, 2009 @ 02:16AM
Comments: 69

At Savvy B2B Marketing, we thrive on different perspectives and new ideas, which is why we are thrilled to welcome today's guest blogger, Ardath Albee. We enjoy Ardath's blog, Marketing Interactions, for its keen insights into B2B marketing (and so do many others - check out all her top blog awards!) More fantastic guests are planned for the weeks ahead, so stay tuned.jumping fish

Word choice is one of the most important facets of B2B website content. To have impact, the words need to actually mean something to the people you’re addressing. Your content should also provide an immediate, competitive advantage by differentiating your company from the competition. Unfortunately, B2B technology companies often use a generalist approach to this critical aspect of branding and communication.

To see what I mean, take a look at three excerpts taken from actual website homepages. Other than graphics and links to learn more or other navigational options, there was no further text on each page. If their visitors want to know more, they must expend the effort dive farther into the website.

While you’re reading the excerpts, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I really understand what these companies do?
  • Am I interested enough to make the effort to learn more?

[Company] is a leading Advanced Technology partner that leverages its extensive experience to enable organizations to Connect to their customers, Collaborate to help them achieve their organizational vision, and Create new ways of solving their organizational problems by using innovation.

As an independent technology company, [Company name] stands for integrated, customized IT solutions. Our business first, technology second methodology is a unique approach that helps our customers drive sales, propel business performance, and improve operational efficiency.

[Company] is a provider of advanced technology solutions. We specialize in the design, deployment and ongoing management of those solutions for our customers in commercial enterprises, education, banking and finance, city, county and state government entities, and healthcare institutions. Even if you aren't part of one of these industries, there's a good chance we still have solutions, and the experiences, that will work for your needs. Which of our solutions is best for you?

Are you impressed? Are you confused? Or, perhaps you’re just ambivalent.

Personally, I can’t tell the difference from one to another. All these excerpts did was raise questions that created the impression that a lot more attention would need to be expended on my part to figure out if these companies were worth learning more about. Yet they really haven’t given me a reason to do so.

Here are some observations:

  • The first company uses 3 phrases to tell you what they do, each prefaced by a “C” buzzword. Two of the phrases are about them. But the worst of it is that those phrases have been beaten to death and don’t mean anything specific. They don’t make the company memorable. The phrase “extensive experience” in the first sentence is chest thumping without substantiation.
  • The second company thinks it’s important that the first thing you know about them is that they’re an “independent technology company.” I’m not clear why. They also use three phrases, but at least these do focus on outcomes of interest to their customers. That’s a good start, but who doesn’t say they do that? This is just more “me too” phrasing.
  • The third company’s excerpt reads like a laundry list. And then, just in case they missed your industry, they state that they can still likely help you. This is the worst kind of generalist wording. And they used twice the number of words to say even less than the first two companies.

Homepage content should:

  • Identify specific problems the company helps customers solve and/or meaningful outcomes they help customers achieve.
  • Establish credibility.
  • Present a call to action that makes sense as a next step for their customers.

Here are a few tools that can help you choose the right words.

Value Proposition:

Our company helps __________ solve ___________by doing _________.

Buyer Persona Statement:

Our customers are __________ who are challenged to ____________ but must overcome/validate __________, _________, ___________ to build a business case for taking action.

Customer Outcome Statements:

Customer X achieved ___% increase/decrease in __________ within ____ months.

Finally, when drawing from the above to craft your website homepage content, remember you’re speaking to human beings who are under increasing pressure to solve high priority issues. Use easily understood words, avoid jargon and commonly used buzzwords. And, for heaven’s sake, be specific. Your company is an expert at what you do…right?

About the author: Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist who writes the Marketing Interactions blog. Her book, E-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, will be out this fall from McGraw-Hill.

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