As a systems integrator, you know B2B marketing changes quickly. There’s no shortage of information when it comes to what you should and shouldn’t do in your pro AV marketing strategy, but there are a number of common myths I’ve heard over and over in my work with AV installer websites and their owners.
At Wheelhouse Digital, we’ve worked with dozens of integrators on their websites and seen what works (and what doesn’t). In this article, I’ll dispel and elaborate on a few of these myths.
Read on and take one action away from this article to implement on your AV installer website this week!
MYTH #1: The more traffic, the better
While it is true that you want to drive plenty of traffic to your AV installer website, in practice it’s a little more nuanced: you want to drive as much of the right kind of traffic to your site.
There’s a common misconception among integrators I’ve worked with that overall page traffic is the most important metric they should be tracking. In reality, the number of pageviews you get has little bearing on the number of dollars in the bank.
Lots of people land on websites by accident, or find it’s not what they were looking for, and hit the back button.
Another segment of people are your target client, but your AV installer website doesn’t speak to their needs clearly enough or doesn’t meet their expectations, so they exit out.
A final segment of people are your target client, and are engaged enough by your messaging that they take some kind of a next step.
This is called a “conversion”, and it’s what really counts, in terms of business generated.
Conversions describe what happens when a person on your site takes an action you want. As service providers rather than e-commerce stores, integrators may consider a conversion to be when a user submits a contact form, clicks the phone number to call, or downloads your email opt-in.
Metrics like these impact your bottom line much more directly than top-of-the-funnel website traffic, and thus should be one of the first numbers you’re looking at every month, week or even every day.
By tracking this over time, you can see trends and possible areas for improvement. That way, you can begin to tailor your AV installer website’s messaging and experience such that they resonate better with your ideal client and bring in more conversions.
MYTH #2: I should be publishing frequent company updates and articles on my website
Many commercial integrators have been told that frequent blogging and articles bring in readers and traffic, which brings in more business.
And there is some truth to this: an updated, in-use website is better than a static one. But it glosses over an important point: not all website content is created equal.
When you post company-focused updates about events, new employees or new offerings, you’re not reaching any new customers via search. In fact, most people outside of your company don’t have a real reason to care about those things. Instead, they are on your site to figure out how you can solve their company’s technology problems.
So, how do you address this?
In 2019, the key is to write content that answers your target customers’ questions in an in-depth, high-quality way.
This is because Google knows things like how long people stay on your page, how frequently they hit the back button, and how far they scroll. Google uses this data to assess how relevant your page is to a person’s specific search.
When writing your next post, make sure you understand your clients’ pain points and questions, and use this post to answer one specific point or problem. Invest the time and effort to make it high-quality and helpful.
And remember you’re writing on the internet, so high-quality doesn’t mean it’s Ulysses. Make your writing to make it easy to read: simple words, short sentences, scannable.
Over time, publishing less frequent but authoritative, quality articles will have a measurable impact on the quality (and possibly, quantity) of traffic you get.
MYTH #3: Most of the investment should go into the design
It’s true that the design may be the first thing a user notices, and a really poor, unusable design will hurt your sales. But it’s best to think of a beautiful design as the bow on top of the box. If the box is empty or full of fluff, people won’t stick around.
Good design ties together a holistic marketing strategy.
A mentor of mine once said having a great design with no strategy behind it is like building a beautiful store in the desert, with road, no signs, no windows, no doors and no salespeople.
Start the process of editing or redesigning your systems integrator website with a roadmap based around business goals. Then, you can work backwards from there and make an attractive design that works with and supports your goals.
In fact, the best designs are not static at all. High-performing companies are constantly collecting data and testing to optimize the user experience, increase quality traffic and improve lead generation (see: conversions mentioned in #1).
Based on how people are behaving on your AV installer website, you can make changes to dramatically boost conversions. Ongoing monitoring and adapting to what’s needed is a critical piece of your site’s design.
MYTH #4: The Homepage is an introduction to our company
Business across all industries — not just integrators — make the mistake of wasting precious seconds of an online first impression by filling the top of their homepage with logistical information about who they are and when they were established.
People on your AV installer website should know what you do, who it’s for, and why they should stick around within about 2 seconds of landing on the page. If you do this right, you will be filtering out some users who may have scrolled to the bottom before realizing you’re not for them.
But you’ll also immediately grab the attention of your ideal clients (who your homepage is focused on).
If your goal is to connect with more of your ideal client and fewer non-ideal clients, try these steps in order to focus your homepage around your target customer:
- Write directly to your ideal clients and no one else (think: if you could clone any one of your clients, who would it be? Write to them).
- Think through your ideal clients’ problems and pain points (or better yet, ask them).
- Identify the top three of those problems, and your solutions to those problems.
- Now, take this info and begin writing your homepage. A few tips:
- Write simply. Tell your users what they need to know, and tell them what to do next
- Write from their perspective. People are on your site to learn how your services benefit them. So make it easy for them to imagine themselves as someone who’s just benefited from what you do.
- Base your messaging around your clients’ problems and the solutions you offer. Writing things like “NYC Systems Integrator with 30 years experience” doesn’t do much to differentiate you from the companies with 10, 45 and 20 years experience. Instead, craft truly strong messaging by focus on the pain points that you expertly solve.
MYTH #5: People will come back when they’re ready to buy
Put yourself in the shoes of an employee tasked with researching their company’s next systems integrator. There’s plenty of pressure: choosing the right provider will have a major impact on life in the office, and it’s not a small investment.
This person is most likely starting their research with a Google search, then opening up a dozen or more tabs and quickly exiting the ones they don’t like/trust/understand at first glance.
If you’re lucky enough to be on this person’s list as a referral, they’ll probably give you more of a chance, but todays’ higher standards online mean they’re still looking for a reason to cross you off their long list.
Regardless of how they land on your systems integrator website, if you don’t capture their contact info at some stage, they’re unlikely to come back when it’s time to buy.
To stay in front of your potential client from their early research phase until they’re ready to start calling around to their shortlist, you want to stay in front of them via email. That way, over the course of their research, you’ll remain top of mind since they’ll have seen your (useful, educational) emails.
To “capture” their email, you’ll have to offer up something valuable, because people know it’s not really free (they’ll be giving up their contact info to you). So offer them something of value in exchange.
Some examples might include:
- Automatic quote generator
- A downloadable PDF, e.g., “IT Pros: Want to guarantee success on your integration project? Drop in your email for instant access to our comprehensive checklist”.
Give readers something tangible and specific that uses your experience to help them in the early stages of the buying process.
Once you have their email, you can stay top of mind and nurture them along the buying process with automated emails, and even have your salespeople follow up with them and offer help.
By understanding these myths and taking action (start small!), you’ll begin to turn your AV installer website from a static brochure into a highly targeted, efficient, client-generating machine.