GUEST ARTICLE: Building businesses can thrive in challenging times if they maximise their digital assets

  • 14 Jan 2020

Mikael da Costa is Founder and CEO of Leadoo, the Finnish lead generation martech company, which has just launched its interactive chatbot in the UK, with a track record of generating an average of between 30 – 100% increase on lead conversions for businesses in the building trade. Here, he talks about how building businesses can flourish in tough times, should they maximise their digital assets.

“As a serial entrepreneur, I have met countless businesses, across many sectors, including all types of building and construction enterprises, who have invested heavily in their online presence, specifically their websites – in terms of initial time and money – only to let them become out of date or become disappointed with the return on that investment. 

2020 is going to be  challenging so now is the time to take a hard look and work out how to maximise all that previous investment.

There are two fundamentals about this industry that makes this a compelling course of action.  More and more customers are starting their buying journey online but if you lack the ability to serve them, leaving visitors ‘on their own’, then they are more likely to leave and visit a competitor’s site to find the information and support they are looking for.

Building and construction products and services are hard to buy with buyers often lacking the knowledge to make a buying decision so websites could be a great opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves from others with great service and guidance for the buyer’s journey.

The challenge is to think like your buyer (not the expert) and listen to customer feedback – and this is true whether your customer is the general public or another business. 

One comment I hear is that there is not enough pre-purchase support and advice available to assist people looking to purchase more complex tech or construction items online.

The result is frustrated potential customers and lost sales. Visitors don’t buy, can’t buy, if they don’t understand what they need and what they are buying so companies who address this will flourish.

The sad truth is that for every 100 visitors to the average business website in the UK, less than one typically converts. But if website visitors feel they are treated with personal content and service, then inevitably companies will generate more sales.

I believe the stat that says up to 80% of people research a company online before contacting a small business directly – be that visiting the shop or premises or setting up a face to face meeting – and buying from them.

This means that websites are as important as shop windows, on-van branding and sales staff,  Sometimes the website does not receive equal care and investment but other times it’s a case of “I’ve invested in creating an attractive website with engaging content that we update reasonably regularly, we’ve optomised it for desktop, tablet and mobile, and we’ve invested in SEO, but few visitors are converting into concrete leads and sales. What more can we do?”

These businesses obviously do care about the return on their digital marketing investment, but somehow simultaneously fail to prioritise activity that will deliver this.

Once the basics of building a decent website are in place, the company’s attention needs to go on the buyer journey and removing any barriers to progressing along that journey, such as lack of knowledge about the product and differentiation with competitors’ products or services. 

Doing this is easier than it may sound, for example bringing website content alive by creating the opportunity for two-way conversations on the page (not as a separate chat function) as a natural part of website content to enhance rather than interrupt the user experience.

This provides a more personalised experience, which in turn makes visitors more likely to finalise a sale or submit formal enquiry. It doesn’t actually take much to ask the right questions at the right time if you use tailored technology to do so.

So make 2020 the year to adopt the latest technology to ensure that websites incorporate interactive content.  These interventions, when they match with a visitor’s thoughts and expectations, produce much higher returns on investment and, in my view, that’s got to be a good thing for business.”

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