What level of engagement are you seeking from your online B2B sites?
While writing the following sentence I was stopped in my tracks. “Cut the clutter by creating content that addresses the needs and interests of your …” Should the word be audience or community? I paused to ponder more than a word choice. Before adding content to a site, the level of visitor engagement should be identified.
What word would you use for your business? If you choose to address an audience the view is that your prospects and customers are listeners and observers ready to receive your message. When addressing a community sharing valued content is at the forefront.
If you plan to talk to visitors you will probably choose the word “audience.” GFI Genfare sells fare collection systems to public transit agencies. Their content strategy focuses on constructing a compelling message, reaching the right audience, and giving them relevant information to help reinforce a buying decision. On their website they list their products with specifications, customer support services, and how to get in touch with them. There are no links to social media sites. Most of their sales are done face-to-face offline. In this case, my sentence would end with the word “audience.”
When building a community an effective strategy focuses on sharing content. Lots of shareable content makes work easier for your visitors. You may feature people who manage the company and those who buy from the business in videos, include interactive navigation buttons, and participate in online conversations via social media channels the way Jani-King does.
Here are some entries from their Facebook page:
“Research shows that in 30 seconds a new customer forms an immediate impression of your business. Business cleaning is key! http://goo.gl/IF0lC (research source).
“Check out the amazing story of how the Detroit Jani-King franchise played a major part in the Metrodome stadium collapse” with a link to a story reported on Marketwire.com.
On Twitter, Jani-King shared this: “Read some interesting key facts on commercial cleaning here http://ow.ly/3saJE.” They link back to an article on their website that includes cleanliness facts reported by independent sources.
Jani-King has an RSS feed for their posts covering topics such as “Three Reason to Clean Green.” The site includes icons for each of the industries they serve and multiple ways for visitors to interact. Click on Cleaning Services and one might expect a list of services but instead a 3-D map appears with buildings that represent the industries they serve. Jani-King links to their partners’ websites, including 3M.
In his book Smarter, Faster, Cheaper author David Siteman Garland writes about the benefit of community over audience or individual customers. “A community spreads your content and products. A community refers you to others, builds loyalty, and wants to help you as much as you help it.”
Know the level of engagement you seek from your website and it will help the content process. In the end, I constructed my sentence this way: “Cut through the clutter by creating content that addresses the needs and interests of your site visitors.” It’s up to the company to decide – audience or community?