Posted by MiriamEllis

Is a local business you’re marketing missing out on a host of
B2B opportunities? Do B2B brands even qualify for local SEO?

If I say “B2B” and you think “tech,” then you’re
having the same problem I was finding reliable information about
local search marketing for business-to-business models. While
it’s true that SaaS companies like Moz, MailChimp, and Hootsuite
are businesses which vend to other businesses, their transactions
are primarily digital. These may be the types of companies that
make
best-of B2B lists
, but today let’s explore another realm in
which a physical business you promote is eligible to be marketed
both locally and as a B2B.

Let’s determine your eligibility, find your B2B opportunities,
identify tips specific to your business model, analyze an outreach
email, explore your content with a checklist, and find an advantage
for you in today’s article.

Seeing how Google sees you

First to determine whether Google would view your brand as a
local business, answer these two questions:

  1. Does the business I’m marketing have a physical location
    that’s accessible to the public? This can’t be a PO Box or
    virtual office. It must be a real-world address.
  2. Does the business I’m marketing interact face-to-face with
    its customers?

If you answered “yes” to both questions, continue, because
you’ve just met Google’s
local business guidelines
.

Seeing your B2B opportunity

Next, determine if there’s a component of your business that
already serves or could be created to serve other businesses.

Not totally sure? Let’s look at Google’s categories.

Out of the 2,395 Google My Business Categories listed
here
, there are at least 1,270 categories applicable to B2B
companies. These include companies that are by nature B2B
(wholesalers, suppliers) and companies that are B2C but could have
a B2B offering (restaurants, event sites). In other words, more
than half of Google’s categories signal to B2B-friendly companies
that local marketing is an opportunity.

Let’s look at some major groups of categories and see how they
could be fine-tuned to serve executive needs instead of only
consumer needs:

Food establishments (restaurants, cafes, food
trucks, caterers, etc.) can create relationships with nearby
employers by offering business lunch specials, delivery, corporate
catering, banquet rooms, and related B2B services. This can work
especially well for restaurants located in large business
districts, but almost any food-related business could create a
corporate offering that incentivizes loyalty.

Major attractions (museums, amusements,
cultural centers, sports centers, etc.) can create corporate
packages for local employers seeking fun group activities. Brands
looking to reduce implicit bias may be especially interested in
interacting with cultural groups and events.

Professional services (realty, financial,
printing, consulting, tech, etc.) can be geared towards corporate
needs as well as individuals. A realtor can sell commercial
properties. A printer can create business signage. A computer
repair shop can service offices.

Personal services (counseling, wellness,
fitness, skill training, etc.) can become corporate services when
employers bring in outside experts to improve company morale,
education, or well-being.

Home services (carpet cleaning, landscaping,
plumbing, contracting, security, etc.) can become commercial
services when offered to other businesses. Office buildings need
design, remodeling, and construction and many have lounges,
kitchens, restrooms, and grounds that need janitorial and upkeep
services. Many retailers need these services, too.

Entertainers (comedians, musicians, DJs,
performance troupes, etc.) can move beyond private events to
corporate ones with special package offerings. Many brands have
days where children, family members, and even pets are welcomed to
the workplace, and special activities are planned.

Retailers (clothing, gifts, equipment,
furniture, etc.) can find numerous ways to supply businesses with
gear, swag, electronics, furnishings, gift baskets, uniforms, and
other necessities. For example, a kitchen store could vend
breakfast china to a B&B, or an electronics store could offer
special pricing for a purchase of new computers for an office.

Transportation and travel
services
(auto sales and maintenance, auto rentals, travel
agencies, tour guides, charging stations, etc.) can create special
packages for businesses. A car dealer could sell a fleet of
vehicles to a food delivery service, or a garage could offer
special pricing for maintaining food trucks. A travel agency could
manage business trips.

As you can see, the possibilities are substantial, and this is
all apart from businesses that are classic B2B models, like
manufacturers, suppliers, and wholesalers who also have physical
premises and meet face-to-face with their clients. See if you’ve
been missing out on a lucrative opportunity by examining the
following spreadsheet of every Google My Business Category I could
find that is either straight-up B2B or could create a B2B
offering:


See local B2B categories

The business I’m marketing qualifies. What’s next?

See which of these two groups you belong to: either a B2B
company that hasn’t been doing local SEO, or a local business
that hasn’t created a B2B offering yet. Then follow the set of
foundational tips specific to your scenario.

If you’re marketing a B2B company that hasn’t been doing local
SEO:

  1. Know that the goal of local SEO is to make you as visible as
    possible online to any neighbor searching for what you offer so
    that you can win as many transactions as possible.
  2. Read the Guidelines
    for Representing your business on Google
    to be 100% sure your
    business qualifies and to familiarize yourself with Google’s
    rules. Google is the dominant player in local search.
  3. Make sure your complete, accurate name, address, and phone
    number is included in the footer of your website and on the Contact
    Us page. If you have multiple locations, create a unique page on
    your website for each location, complete with its full contact
    information and useful text for website visitors. Make each of
    these pages as unique and persuasive as possible.
  4. Be sure the content on your website thoroughly describes your
    goods and services, and makes compelling offers about the value of
    choosing you.
  5. Make sure your website is friendly to mobile users. If you’re
    not sure, test it using Google’s free
    mobile-friendly test
    .
  6. Create a Google My
    Business profile
    for your business if you don’t already have
    one so that you can work towards ranking well in Google’s local
    results. If you do have a profile, be sure it is claimed, accurate,
    guideline-compliant and fully filled out.
    This cheat sheet guide
    explains all of the common components
    that can show up in your Google Business Profile when people search
    for your company by name.
  7. Do a free check of the health of your other major local
    business listings on Moz
    Check Listing
    . Correct errors and duplicate listings manually,
    or to save time and enable ongoing monitoring, purchase Moz Local so that it can do
    the work for you. Accurate local business listings support good
    local rankings and prevent customers from being misdirected and
    inconvenience.
  8. Ask for, monitor, and respond to all of your Google reviews to
    improve customer satisfaction and build a strong,
    lucrative reputation
    . Read the guidelines of any other platform
    (like Yelp or TripAdvisor) to know what is allowed in terms of
    review management.
  9. Build real-world relationships within the community you serve
    and explore them
    for opportunities to earn relevant links
    to your website.
    Strong, sensible links can help you increase both your organic and
    local search engine rankings. Join local business organizations and
    become a community advocate.
  10. Be as accessible as possible via social media, sharing with
    your community online in the places they typically socialize.
    Emphasize communication rather than selling in this
    environment.

If you’re marketing a local business that hasn’t created a B2B
offering yet:

  1. Research your neighborhood and your community to determine what
    kinds of businesses are present around you. If you’re not sure,
    reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce or a local business
    association like AMIBA to see
    if they have data they can share with you. Doing searches like
    “Human Resources Event Seattle” or “People Ops Event
    Seattle” can bring up
    results like this one
    naming some key companies and
    staffers.
  2. Document your research. Create a spreadsheet with a column for
    why you feel a specific business might be a good fit for your
    service, and another column for their contact information.See if
    you can turn up direct contact info for the HR or People Ops team.
    Phone the business, if necessary, to acquire this information.
  3. Now, based on what you’ve learned, brainstorm an offering
    that might be appealing to this audience. Remember, you’re trying
    to entice other business owners and their staff with something
    that’s special for them and meets their needs..
  4. Next, write out your offering in as few words at possible,
    including all salient points (who you are, what you offer, why it
    solves a problem the business is likely to have, available proof of
    problem-solving, price range, a nice request to discuss further,
    and your complete contact info). Keep it short to respect how busy
    recipients are.
  5. Depending on your resources, plan outreach in manageable
    batches and keep track of outcomes.
  6. Be sure all of your online local SEO is representing you well,
    with the understanding that anyone seriously considering your offer
    is likely to check you out on the web. Be sure you’ve created a
    page on the site for your B2B offer. Be sure your website is
    navigable, optimized and persuasive, with clear contact
    information, and that your local business listings are accurate and
    thorough — hopefully with an abundance of good reviews to which
    you’ve gratefully responded.
  7. Now, begin outreach. In many cases this will be via email,
    using the text you’ve created, but if you’ve determined that an
    in-person visit is a better approach, invest a little in having
    your offer printed nicely so that you can give it to the staff at
    the place of business. Make the best impression you possibly can as
    a salesperson for your product.
  8. Give a reasonable amount of time for the business to review and
    decide on your offer. If you don’t hear back, follow up once.
    Ideally, you’re hoping for a reply with a request for more info.
    If you hear nothing in response to your follow-up, move on, as
    silence from the business is a signal of disinterest. Make note of
    the dates you outreached and try again after some time goes by, as
    things may have changed at the business by then. Do, however, avoid
    aggressive outreach as your business will appear to be spamming
    potential clients instead of helping them.

As indicated, these are foundational steps for both groups —
the beginnings of your strategy rather than the ultimate lengths
you may need to go to for your efforts to fully pay off. The amount
of work you need to do depends largely on the level of your local
competition.

B2B tips from Moz’s own Team Happy

Moz’s People Ops team is called Team Happy, and these
wonderful folks handle everything from event and travel planning,
to gift giving, to making sure people’s parking needs are met.
Team Happy is responsible for creating an exceptional, fun,
generous environment that functions smoothly for all Mozzers and
visitors.

I asked Team Happy Manager of Operations, Ashlie Daulton, to
share some tips for crafting successful B2B outreach when
approaching a business like Moz. Ashlie explains:

  • We get lots of inquiry emails. Do some research into our
    company, help us see what we can benefit from, and how we can fit
    it in. We don’t accept every offer, but we try to stay open to
    exploring whether it’s a good fit for the office.
  • The more information we can get up front, the better! We are
    super busy in our day-to-day and we can get a lot of spam
    sometimes, so it can be hard to take vague email outreach seriously
    and not chalk it up to more spam. Be real, be direct in your
    outreach. Keeping it more person-to-person and less “sales pitchy”
    is usually key.
  • If we can get most of the information we need first, research
    the website/offers, and communicate our questions through emails
    until we feel a call is a good next step, that usually makes a good
    impression.

Finally, Ashlie let me know that her team comes to decisions
thoughtfully, as will the People Ops folks at any reputable
company. If your B2B outreach doesn’t meet with acceptance from a
particular company, it would be a waste of your time and theirs to
keep contacting them.

However, as mentioned above, a refusal one year doesn’t mean
there couldn’t be opportunity at a later date if the company’s
needs or your offer change to be a better fit. You may need to go
through some refinements over the years, based on the feedback you
receive and analyze, until you’ve got an offer that’s truly
irresistible.

A sample B2B outreach email

La
práctica hace al maestro.”

– Proverb

Practice makes perfect. Let’s do an exercise together in which
we imagine ourselves running an awesome Oaxacan restaurant in
Seattle that wants to grow the B2B side of our business. Let’s
hypothesize that we’ve decided Moz would be a perfect client, and
we’ve spent some time on the web learning about them. We’ve
looked at their website, their blog, and have read some third-party
news about the company.

We found an email address for Team Happy and we’ve crafted our
outreach email. What follows is that email + Ashlie’s honest,
summarized feedback to me (detailed below) about how our fictitious
outreach would strike her team:

Good morning, Team Happy!

When was the last time Moz’s hardworking staff was treated to tacos
made from grandmother’s own authentic recipe? I’m your neighbor
Jose Morales, co-owner with my abuela of Tacos Morales, just down
the street from you. Our Oaxacan-style Mexican food is:

– Locally sourced and prepared with love in our zero-waste
kitchen
– 100% organic (better for Mozzers’ brains and happiness!) with
traditional, vegan, and gluten-free options
– $6–$9 per plate

We know you have to feed tons of techies sometimes, and we can
effortlessly cater meals of up to 500 Mozzers. The folks at another
neighboring company, Zillow, say this about our beautiful food:

“The best handmade tortillas we’ve ever had. Just the right
portions to feel full, but not bogged down for the afternoon’s
workload. Perfect for corporate lunches and magically
scrumptious!”

May I bring over a complimentary taco basket for a few of your
teammates to try? Check out our
menu here
and please let me know if there would be a good day
for you to sample the very best of Taco Morales. Thank you for your
kind consideration and I hope I get the chance to personally make
Team Happy even happier!

Your neighbors,
Jose y Lupita Morales
Tacos Morales
www.tacosmorales.com
222 2nd
Street, Seattle – (206) 111-1111

Why this email works:

  • We’re an inclusive office, so the various dietary options catch
    our eye. Knowing price helps us decide if it’s a good fit for our
    budget.
  • The reference to tech feels personalized — they know our team
    and who we work with.
  • It’s great to know they can handle some larger events!
  • It instills trust to see a quote from a nearby, familiar
    company.
  • Samples are a nice way to get to know the product/service and
    how it feels to work with the B2B company.
  • The menu link, website link, and contact info ensure that we
    can do our own exploring to help us make a decision.

As the above outreach illustrates, Team Happy was most impressed
by the elements of our sample email that provided key information
about variety, price and capacity, useful links and contact data,
trust signals in the form of a review from a well-known client, and
a one-on-one personalized message.

Your business is unique, and the precise tone of your email will
match both your company culture and the sensibilities of your
potential clients. Regardless of industry, studying the above
communication will give you some cues for creating your own from
the viewpoint of speaking personally to another business with their
needs in mind. Why not practice writing an email of your own today,
then run it past an unbiased acquaintance to ask if it would
persuade them to reply?

A checklist to guide your website content

Your site content speaks for you when a potential client wants
to research you further before communicating one-on-one. Why invest
both budget and heart in what you publish? Because
94% of B2B buyers reportedly conduct online investigation before
purchasing a business solution
. Unfortunately, the same study
indicates that only 37% of these buyers are satisfied with the
level of information provided by suppliers’ websites. Do you see
a disconnect here?

Let’s look at the key landing pages of your website today and
see how many of these boxes you can check off:

My content tells potential clients…

☑ What my business name, addresses, phone numbers, fax number,
email addresses, driving directions, mapped locations, social and
review profiles are

☑ What my products and services are and why they meet
clients’ needs

☑ The complete details of my special offers for B2B clients,
including my capacity for fulfillment

☑ What my pricing is like, so that I’m getting leads from
qualified clients without wasting anyone’s time

☑ What my USP is — what makes my selling proposition unique
and a better choice than my local competitors

☑ What my role is as a beneficial member of the local business
community and the human community, including my professional
relationships, philanthropy, sustainable practices, accreditations,
awards, and other points of pride

☑ What others say about my company, including reviews and
testimonials

☑ What my clients’ rights and guarantees are

☑ What value I place on my clients, via the quality,
usefulness, and usability of my website and its content

If you found your content lacking any of these checklist
elements, budget to build them. If writing is not your strong suit
and your company isn’t large enough to have an in-house content
team, hire help. A really good copywriter will partner up to tell
the story of your business while also accurately portraying its
unique voice. Expect to be deeply interviewed so that a rich
narrative can emerge.

In sum, you want your website to be doing the talking for you 24
hours a day so that every question a potential B2B client has can
be confidently answered, prompting the next step of personal
outreach.

How to find your B2B advantage

Earlier, we spoke of the research you’ll do to analyze the
business community you could be serving with your B2B offerings,
and we covered how to be sure you’ve got the local digital
marketing basics in place to showcase what you do on the web.
Depending on your market, you could find that investment in either
direction could represent an opportunity many of your competitors
have overlooked.

For an even greater advantage, though, let’s look directly at
your competitors. You can research them by:

  1. Visiting their websites to understand their services, products,
    pricing, hours, capacity, USP, etc.
  2. Visiting their physical premises, making inquiries by phone, or
    (if possible) making a purchase of their products/services to see
    how you like them and if there’s anything that could be done
    better
  3. Reading their negative reviews to see what their customers
    complain about
  4. Looking them up on social media, again to see what customers
    say and how the brand handles complaints
  5. Reading both positive and negative media coverage of the
    brand

Do you see any gaps? If you can dare to be different and fill
them, you will have identified an important advantage. Perhaps
you’ll be the only:

  • Commercial cleaning company in town that specializes in
    servicing the pet-friendly hospitality market
  • Restaurant offering a particular type of cuisine at scale
  • Major attraction with appealing discounts for large groups
  • Commercial printer open late at night for rush jobs
  • Yoga instructor specializing in reducing work-related
    stress/injuries

And if your city is large and highly competitive and there
aren’t glaring gaps in available services, try to find a gap in
service quality. Maybe there are several computer repair shops, but
yours is the only one that works weekends. Maybe there are a
multitude of travel agents, but your eco-tourism packages for
corporations have won major awards. Maybe yours is just one of 400+
Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, but the only one to throw in
a free bag of MeeMee’s sesame and
almond cookies
(a fortune cookie differentiator!) with every
office delivery, giving a little uplift to hardworking staff.

Find your differentiator, put it in writing, put it to the..

http://bit.ly/2G7dMO4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s