7 Ways to Turn Your Website into a 24/7 Tradeshow

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By Michael Isaacson for our 15 Ways to Build Your B2B Brand in 2015 blog series

84% of all prospective customers check out a firm’s web site before they decide to do business. For a lot of businesses, it’s how they make their first impression with B2B buyers.

Now picture yourself at the last trade show you attended. Did you make a mad rush for the people who put up the exact same booth, show the exact same products, and give away the exact same key chains year after year? Or… did you check out booths that drew you in with an intriguing message, invited an honest conversation, or offered something of real value?

It’s time to treat your website the same way you would treat your trade show booth. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure you’re easy to find. Make sure your SEO strategy directs people to your products and services. Customers who know your name can easily find your web site, but you also need to optimize for search, because 64% of all web traffic comes from search engines. Optimize your headers and title tags, and take a good look at your overall content.
  2. Make it easy to connect. Once customers find you, remove all barriers for communication by placing contact information on every page. A simple “e-mail us” button that links back to you is a great place to start. People need to know there are real people behind your website. Make it easy for your customers to connect with your customer representatives through e-mail, phone or social media.
  3. Show them what’s new. Keep your messaging current and relevant. This shows the world you’re an energetic and thriving business. It also helps your SEO rankings. Update the photos and videos of your products, your site and your team. If you don’t have one already, maybe it’s time to add a blog. It’s a great way to share valuable information about your products and stay in front of your customers on a consistent basis.
  4. Earn their trust. Customer testimonials are a great way to build your credibility and share your expertise. Most consumers say that online reviews influence their buying decisions, and testimonial pages are often the most visited pages on a web site. Real endorsements from leaders in your industry are a great way to show your track record of happy customers.
  5. Get social. Different social media platforms help businesses connect with different groups. Try to include all the active social channels that are relevant to your industry. You can also “share” buttons to give your site’s visitors an easy way to share the things they find on your site with other people in their social networks.
  6. Give them some real insights! We all have a lot of data; data that our customers want and need. Why not share it? Most of us already share our latest press releases, but what about relevant case studies, articles, white papers, research reports and responsibly edited sales presentations? Give people a way to stay in touch by offering a newsletter sign up. If you have a blog, an RSS feed subscription is also a good idea.
  7. Last but not least… do a little housekeeping. Just as you’d tidy up your show booth, it’s a good idea to tidy up your site on a regular basis. Start with the little things. Is everything spelled correctly? Do all your links work properly? Then look at the bigger picture. Do your photos and videos match the quality of your brand? Is your design clean, modern and responsive? Is the user experience rewarding and interactive? Small tweaks can often domino into big results.

Just like a great trade show booth, a great website can turn exciting pictures, compelling stories and expert opinions into bona fide sales leads!