In the movie and TV series The Equalizer, the main character helps people even the odds in difficult situations. He “equalizes” things. In distribution or any business, the odds often seem to be against the little guy. Larger companies get larger, mergers and acquisitions seem to undercut your efforts. What’s a distributor to do? The internet is today’s Equalizer.
Understand the Equalizer
As securely as companies appear to be rooted in their market positions, today’s digital marketplace allows anyone to step in and replace them. And that means you. Do this by being on page one in a Google search for what you are selling. More than 70% of people looking to buy your products go to Google first. That means if you are not on page one when people search for your stuff, you’re done before you even know it.
But here is the secret: Getting on page one doesn’t involve what you are selling. It involves content that helps people understand what you are selling.
In one of my blogs, B2B Never Sleeps (just Google the title; it’ll be on page one), I discussed how we tracked the activity of visitors to a company’s website. We tracked people who first used Google to get content about that company’s products and services before they purchased. Here’s what we found:
- People don’t wait for information on products or services. Because the internet is always on, it “equalizes” all content for people to find at any time of the day. You need the right content on your website because you never know when people will be looking for your stuff.
- You will never know that people have sought your stuff out if your company was not in the search results delivered on page one. Improve your SEO (search engine optimization) so that you are on page one.
It’s About the Information, Not the Product
Google reads everything. Its algorithms go about the task of consuming all the content websites put out and then serving it back to people when they search for such content. The result is a lot of content. This means your content has to be relevant.
People search for information — relevant information. Information is the currency. You win the battle by having superior content — content that helps your customer understand why they need what you are selling. Once you have an understanding, purchasing follows. Remember: Buyers today have done their homework long before they contact you to buy. The battle is really fought before they buy.
Our experiment also had some really good news: You don’t need a 30-person marketing department to change this game in your favor. Because you are in the information business — not in the MRO, Safety, HVACR or whatever business you think you are in — you need more relevant content to put on your website.
To Do List
Here are three things you can do today to fulfill the goal of relevant content:
- Play with Google searches. The reality is, distribution customers have a lot of choices. By helping your SEO, you’ll put the odds in your favor. For example, pretend you are your customer. What do you look for when you Google? What words do you use to find what you sell? Most important, what are the problems your products and services solve? Remember: it’s not about the product, it’s about the information around the product. Look at the results Google delivers and ask yourself: What do these results have in common and how do I extract from those results to my own website’s content?
- Hire college students to help generate content. Once you determine the words and content you need, go to the local university and find smart students to write your content. Students need money, and, they often have a perspective that can help your content’s relevance. There’s so much content already out there; it’s a matter of reshaping it to your needs.
- Review your website structure. If you are not using digital platforms that allow you to make changes quickly and easily rather than going through a third-party, you’re missing the boat. The nature of information is to flow quickly, and speed is the ticket.
Don’t be a victim of a Google search. Because the internet is the great Equalizer, it’s your content that will enable the equalization to take place — not Google. The old saying, “use it or lose it” is not relevant today. The new saying is, “post it or disappear.” Because you don’t have a chance unless your content is posted, ready to be found by Google’s algorithms.
Jim Nowakowski is president of Interline Creative Group, Inc. He has been a business strategist, speaker and author since starting his company in 1990. Reach him at [email protected].