“Just who are these people searching? Do they have a budget? Are they ready to buy? I’m not sure we want to spend money attracting people who aren’t ready to make a decision.”
Those were the comments we heard recently from the president of a global engineered products company when discussing whether search engine optimization made sense for them.
Search-generated website traffic is a little akin to the anonymous after-hours people roaming around car dealership lots. Looking at models. Looking in windows. Kicking tires. Checking sticker prices. Browsing anonymously in a non-threatening, no salespeople, no pressure, no commitment environment. Some are legitimate buyers who know exactly what they want, are ready to buy, and are taking one more look. Many more are prospects somewhere else in the buying cycle. They know they’re going to need what you’re selling. Some sooner. Some later. So they’re searching. Gathering information. Making comparisons. Formulating their opinions and decisions.
If you really want to know just who these people are, use a good web analytics program. Among the valuable things you’ll learn are how visitors get to your site, visitors’ geographical locations, which keywords are used to find you, which pages are viewed most and for how long, and, in some cases, the visitor’s IP address.
It’s the kind of intelligence that can help support prospecting, lead generation, and sales. It can help you refine brand messaging, both online and in other marketing communications vehicles, with more relevant messaging that resonates with buyers. It also gives you more insight to develop and maintain more effective keyword strategies to keep you at the top of the search engine rankings.
Like car lot shoppers, most B2B prospects are considering a major purchase and a lengthy commitment. The purchase cycle is longer because the stakes are higher. They can’t afford to get it wrong. Maybe they don’t have a budget. Maybe they’re not ready to buy. But most people roaming a car lot usually end up buying a car from somebody. The question is, do you want your prospects roaming your lot or someone else’s?