How is your B2B business going to grow and prosper in 2015? And if that question wasn’t big enough, please try these for size:
How are your B2B customers and prospects going to be aware of you?
How are you going to differentiate yourself from the competition?
How are you going to persuade your potential B2B customers that you have the know-how, expertise and skills to give them what they want?
In our online information age, your prospects are already well on their way to deciding who they want to buy from by the time you enter the picture; if, that is, you enter the picture at all. Google’s concept, the Zero Moment of Truth, suggests you need to be visible to customers at the point when they’re most engaged and ready to do business.
Yes, that means having a compelling web presence: regular content that speaks to your buyers’ deepest problems and offers outstanding insight, advice and guidance which may include reference to your product or service, but without laying it on so thick that it becomes a leaden sales pitch.
This is about building trust and confidence, putting your business on the map with the right audience and enabling them to make the right decision for their needs.
But while creating high quality online content is the new religion (and rightly so), there is still much value in offline public relations activity. Take the work of one Nicola Horlick, best known as the “City Superwoman” fund manager.
It takes some determination to show up at an early morning, regional business breakfast event on a cold, wet, November morning in Tameside, Manchester. I should know; I was there. And you’d wonder what a “Superwoman” such as Nicola Horlick was doing there too.
However, this was excellent public relations at work. Her latest venture, the crowdfunding business Money&Co, is aimed squarely at the type of businesses and business people attending Manchester Chamber of Commerce Action for Business events. So, high flyer or not, Nicola Horlick recognises a captive audience of potential B2B customers when she sees them.
As a guest speaker at the event, she was able to do a number of things from the handbook of good public relations to support her business venture:
- Know her audience and seek them out in the places they inhabit
- Make her audience aware – or at least remind them – of their problems obtaining finance
- De-mystify the relatively new and potentially confusing world of crowdfunding
- Subtly demonstrate a depth of knowledge that places her enterprise as experts in the field
- Engage with the audience in a Q&A session that reiterates expertise, knowledge and gets the room thinking
- Highlight independent media mentions (generated, again, by good PR and featured in the FT, no less) of Money&Co securing the largest-ever corporate crowdfunding deal – suggesting a high level of credibility
So, if you want to answer the brain teasers posed at the head of this post, you could do worse than learn from a “Superwoman”.