Business to Business (B2B) Buying Patterns and Website Influencers

Search Engines #1 Info-Source

According to recent research, for most B2B buyers, search engines are the preferred research source, and also one of the top influencers for many purchasing decisions. Different studies across Australia show that search engines topped the list of research sources throughout the entire purchase cycle – from awareness, research negotiation and buy phases. However, most buyers tend to move towards vertical /niche search engines as they get closer to the final buying decision

Extensive B2B buying pattern studies reveal that in the awareness phase, 65.3 % of users preferred to start their research with a general search engine. That number dropped to 51.8 % during the research phase, 42.1 % in negotiation phase, and to 42.6 % during the final purchase phase. These studies found that during the researching phase, a purchaser is 5 times more likely to turn to a general search engine for information than a specific B2B search engine. As B2B buyers enter the later research phase and start gathering information for the final negotiations, many prefer to use relevant industry sites or B2B search engines.

Key Online Influencers for B2B Buyers

The two most influential sources of information to B2B buyers are a vendor’s site and a word-of-mouth recommendation by a peer. Information from search engines and distributors’ sites are rated just behind these sources in the order of preference.

However if you take into consideration that a vast majority of buyers will reach a vendor’s website from a search engine and that often a peer’s recommendation may also lead the buyer to the search engine; managing a better search engine position becomes critical for B2B marketers.  Research also showed that B2B searchers prefer accessing relevant information in text format – one that is easily downloadable and portable. B2B buyers often want marketers to provide accurate, crisp information, that is easy to understand and can be transferred easily within their buying organization (as there may be multiple decision takers).

Of the relevant content forms that these B2B buyers download and share with their seniors/peers are white papers (57%), product literature (49%), industry press articles (49%), analyst reports (47%), company websites (26%), webcasts (14%), blogs (9%), online videos (7%) and podcasts (4%).

User generated content is the dominant trend in B2B marketing i.e. the vendor may not be in control of the messaging and brand perception of the offerings-info that B2B buyers seek through online sources. This is because the person involved in the searching may not be the only person involved in making the final purchase decision. He or she may simply be asked to present the relevant technical specs, pricing information, customer service & support data to be collated and presented to final decision takers.

Many of the B2B visitors to a landing page may not respond to the call to action that requests them to ‘buy now.’ However an analytical comparison chart on competitive advantages is a smart B2B Seo idea.

In summary a vendor should provide B2B buyers with the opportunity to further drill down into specific details of their offerings, making it easy to find the desired information allowing the prospect to move on to the next phase of the buying cycle.

For more information about B2B SEO or how can help your business contact us today.

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