OEM Supply Search Is Your Most Important SEO Tool, So Why Aren’t You Using It?
03 January 2018 | NORM MCCONKEY
What do you think is the most important function of your website? It’s a simple question with a complicated answer. The challenge is that you have three types of visitors: your customers, your prospects, and your staff. Each of them will have a different use case. Since they pay the bills, let’s first look at how a good site would help your customers.
What Do Your Customers Need?
- Immediate service help
- Ink and toner
- I want to buy more hardware
Can they, easily, do this on your site? If you mapped out this workflow, would they all result in a phone call? Apart from emergency service, there is no reason these items need a call. Google has set an expectation that any information a consumer needs is online. Ink and toner is the bare minimum that your site must provide. When we build sites, this ink and toner finder is front and center.
Printer selection is more of a challenge, because they have long been a core function of the imaging dealer. We can’t have customers buying the wrong hardware. What that really means is that we don’t want them buying cheap inexpensive hardware that will result in high supply costs and poor performance. We also (candidly) do not want them buying at all! We need the hardware to be financed, and hence keep control of the customer relationship. It’s complicated…
I agree, but that does not mean a salesperson always needs to intervene. Have a look at this function.
If this were your site, the list would be populated by your products. Smaller transactional products could be purchased without sales intervention (why not?) Larger opportunities can be set up so they require intervention. Your sales rep will be summoned when the customer has collected enough data on their requirements.
Dealerships need to align their business with the customer. Online buyers now hold considerable power over the dealership. If you combine the decline in office printing, the improved functionality of smaller hardware, and the access to information such as product reviews, prices, and hardware specifications, a buyer is not likely to be sold. They will buy on their terms.
Offering tools that welcome buyers and help them narrow the search, is necessary. Many dealerships do not want to put product pricing online. But pricing is a core component of research. Would you buy anything without having some notion of a comparable price? If you were selecting between two products, one gave you all the information including price to make a buying decision, and the other product excluded pricing, would you call the sales rep to get that price, or would you move on?
Perhaps a good compromise is to price your transactional products online, but keep your enterprise level/financed device pricing in the hands of your sales team. That’s a great approach.
What About Prospects and Employees?
When we install an online ink and toner finder and a hardware selection tool on websites, our regular feedback is that employees use these features the most. During the course of their workweek, two questions they answer a lot are: “we need a printer that does…” and, “do you have a toner that fits into a…” reinforcing to customers that your website is a resource for these two functions helps drive web traffic.
As traffic increases, so do your SEO rankings. Selling supplies online is the most powerful SEO tool a dealership has at its disposal. Google will measure how long people stay on your site and interact. If your site is set up properly, search will be geographically concentrated, which is even better for your business. If you operate in Denver, CO, then you will show up high when someone in that area searches for a printer, or toner.
Is your site engaging customers, prospects, and employees? We can help.
About the Author
Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (www.mpstoolbox.com), is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.