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How Distributors Can Differentiate Online

How Distributors Can Differentiate Online

November 8, 2017

When I hear distributors speak, frequently they are most concerned about the e-commerce functionality they are or are not offering. Some are spending hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of dollars on that, and for many, that investment is justified.

But what’s frequently being ignored is the front end of their websites. That may include the homepage, the “about us” page, a blog or resource center, or even the top product pages in your e-store (think: product descriptions, how-to videos, case studies, technical brochures).

Your company has deep knowledge of the products you sell and a strong understanding of your customers’ needs. How you translate that expertise online will play a critical role in your long-term success.

Your website should reflect the kind of relationship you have or want to build with your customers. If you want to be the place your customers turn to with technical questions, make your expertise clear as day; don’t make prospects and customers dig for that. Show them your expertise, don’t just tell them about it. Include videos, blogs, case studies and downloads that demonstrate you are an expert. Be clear about how well you know your customers’ businesses. And don’t be afraid to share insights that you may have previously held close.

Extend this to your digital-marketing campaigns. When sending email, for example, don’t just list products, prices and sales; include case studies and technical information that help your customers do their jobs better, reinforcing your value.

I guarantee that if you start to think of yourself as a publisher – sharing resources that will help your “readers,” or customers – they will think of you first when they need someone with your expertise.

Differentiate your company from the hundreds out there that are still featuring a picture of their headquarters and a static list of their products or services. Not only will fresh, original, expert content get your website noticed by Google, it will get your website noticed and remembered by customers.

And that’s how you can compete online.

Lindsay Konzak is president of 3 Aspens Media and the former editor of MDM. She founded 3 Aspens Media to develop marketing and research-driven content for companies in or serving the distribution and manufacturing industries. Reach her at lindsay@3aspensmedia.com, 970-581-1752 or visit 3aspensmedia.com.

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