37298165226_051c663a20_kAs a B2B organization, connecting with customers is likely one of your most difficult jobs. You’re not dealing with casual online shoppers or basic advertising mediums. B2B clients are much more specific, and it’s not always easy to meet their desire for excellent customer service. You know that going online is an important part of running the business, but how can you connect with your customers over the cloud?

Here are some expert tips on the subject.

1. Anticipate Needs

Building a great website is all about taking a holistic approach to your content. Cater to those who are just browsing, and work on developing a conversion rather than just being happy with traffic. To get the desired result, anticipate the needs of your customers.

“Not everyone who visits your website is immediately there to buy,” says Lindsay Mullen of Prosper Strategies Think more holistically about your web visitors. How can you appeal to their interests and help them solve a problem? Create content that answers these questions and aim to become a trusted thought-leader and resource. Not only will you keep them coming back, but if done effectively, you will drive bottom line results.”
A great example of this is found on the website for PumpWorks, a B2B organization that sells industrial parts. They recognize that customers who visit their website may not know exactly what they need through an online portal, so they’ve developed a pump selector tool. Industrial organizations can select the correct tool for their needs, minimizing the need for customer support and creating an excellent user experience.

Anticipating needs in this manner not only creates a one-time conversion, it also engenders loyalty. People will make repeat visits when they can get what they want from your website, and you’ll build great relationships along the way.

2. Simplify

In a B2B company, you often have the luxury of using industry jargon and explaining your products and services in detail because your customers probably know what you’re talking about. However, getting caught up in jargon and failing to provide a simple, easy-to-understand explanation of your business can get you in trouble online. Since you’re not readily available to answer questions, potential customers may abandon your site if they don’t understand something.

“Make your offering as simple as possible,” recommends John Ramptom of Due.com “This allows customers to easily know what your company does in two seconds. Human behavior doesn’t like a ton of options, so the least amount of distractions there are on your website, the better it will be for your company to attract new customers.”

Due, a company that sells payment processing software, does a good job of this on their website. In a single sentence, they explain what they do and allow users to sign up for a free trial. Users instantly know what their company does, but they can keep scrolling for more information to seal the deal. It’s a great tactic for drawing people in and making this difficult business transaction seem simple.

3. Relate as Human Beings

As the coordinator for your B2B marketing campaign, it’s often easy to hide behind the mask of B2B transactions. Humans run the show, but you’re dealing with an organization as a whole rather than an individual customer who makes purchases based on emotion. This less-human factor is amplified when your business goes online.

Nathalie Lussier, a digital marketer and entrepreneur, recommends adding more of a human element to your online interactions. “Even if you’re in the B2B business, people want to know the personality and values of the people who work at your company, so be human,” she says. “I think that stories, pictures, and videos are a great way to connect on that human level. Let’s face it: business is always about people, so don’t try to be a big business that doesn’t feel like a real team.”

In every interaction, try to add some human element. Let emotion guide the situation, blog in a human voice, comment and respond to comments, reach out on social media, and be a strong online bond for your customers.

4. Get on Appropriate Forums

There are some powerful gems for finding B2B customers online if you know where to look. Forums—both those specific to your business and general platforms—are excellent for connecting with customers. There are dozens of places to find B2B customers online, but some of the best include:

  • HARO

  • Quora

  • LinkedIn Groups

  • Meetup

You should also frequent industry-specific online hangouts to answer questions and fill the needs of potential customers. You can use these forums to post links to your blog, chat windows, software demos, and other useful links that can generate conversions. This kind of off-website bonding is revolutionary for the B2B customer.

Becoming the kind of business your B2B customers need isn’t always easy, but is essential for a successful online presence. You can make real connections despite the virtual distance, and tap into an incredible marketplace for your company.