By Craig Witt, Executive Vice President at MotionPoint
Imagine the business value of having a global digital marketing presence that’s just as efficient and optimized as your manufacturing plants. By following a few best practices, you can.
Consulting firm McKinsey notes how digital transformation benefits the operations side of manufacturing. If your global sales and marketing channels can also keep pace with these digital innovations, you’ll deliver powerful, unified user experiences across all markets and channels.
As you know, B2B buyers are conducting their own research in earlier and earlier stages of the buying process. You need to optimize your digital sales and marketing touchpoints to help generate leads in existing and new markets. That means knowing your global buyers’ cultures—both their literal cultures, and how they prefer to be engaged—and being iterative and agile.
It also means speaking their languages.
Your website is the most important channel in this digitization strategy. It’s responsible for supporting the dynamic global growth of your brand, and converting inbound traffic into sales and qualified leads.
If those global websites feature untranslated content, limited search functionality, or a lack of locally preferred payment options, you’re already blowing it. Your digital channels — websites, mobile sites, social networks and apps — must continually serve fresh, multilingual content in markets around the world. Content should be globally consistent, yet locally relevant to provide a stellar user experience.
Your marketing team, like that of most B2B manufacturers’, is probably working with lean resources and is strapped for time as it is. If you’re having trouble getting started, here are some key areas to prioritize in 2018:
- Embrace 21st century search: B2B buyers don’t have the patience to wade through catalogs. They’ve been conditioned for an Amazon-like experience, quickly finding the product they need. Give them a helpful, in-language, onsite search.
- Go mobile-first: In many global markets, mobile device usage far surpasses desktop. Armed with the latest research on local behavior, offer mobile-first content to those markets on the devices and platforms buyers use.
- Understand cultural nuances: Simply duplicating all the content on your flagship site for your global sites is rarely successful. Roughly 80 percent of your English site can be translated verbatim for international markets. The other 20 percent should include localizations — locally relevant products, images, offers, contact information and payment platforms. This will help global buyers develop trust and want to do business with you.
- Keep your online channels fresh: If the content on your international sites is at odds with the latest offers and product inventory on your flagship site, you risk losing business. Text, video, images and offers should be refreshed often and translated appropriately for international sites.
- Help buyers find you: Get more inbound clicks simply by localizing other elements of a global site. This includes translating sitemaps, metadata and other “under the hood” content on your website. Doing so helps your global sites stand out in organic search, and drives more traffic and sales leads.
Here’s the bottom line: The effort you invest into adapting to digital and mobile trends impacts every part of your value chain.
Digital channels which are localized for global customers and flexible enough to be updated frequently allow you to reach more prospects, boost your sales organization’s effectiveness and build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with customers.