In our experience, many B2B companies think that all their website really needs is a facelift. They think a facelift is all it takes to get better leads and, ultimately, more people who move down the sales funnel and become actual buyers.
Many B2B companies rush into designing a new website. Rushing straight to the design of your B2B site can be a recipe for disaster. While design is important, your website will not become an effective lead generation machine if you don’t make your site super-easy for the user to do what he needs to do and find the information quickly.
Is your site design up to par? If your site design is good, it functions as a salesperson for your B2B brand, informing and guiding today’s decision-makers who prefer to do a lot of their research online prior to getting in touch with your real salespeople.
Poor websites usually have a combination of stale design, poor messaging, confusing navigation, a company focus (rather than customer focus) and poor loading speed and mobile responsiveness.
The Most Popular Digital Strategies
Content marketing engine Kapost recently created an infographic based on what senior marketers had to say about their most effective strategies (Regalix survey).
Stats You Should Know About the Most Popular B2B Digital Channels
As for the most popular channels for B2B product marketing, the website still reigns supreme, with 91% of senior marketers identifying it as a channel of choice for their business. Other popular digital channels included email (89%), webinars (77%), social media (76%) and SEO (64%).
Check out Kapost’s infographic and see if your B2B digital marketing best practices are in line with where senior marketers are focusing their efforts today:
Image credit: Kapost (The author has no affiliation with Kapost).
Ten B2B Website Best Practices to Enhance Your Online Presence
In highly competitive B2B markets, staying ahead of B2B website best practices can mean the difference between your success… or your competitor’s.
Your company’s website is an essential component of your online marketing strategy. We’d like to share 10 best practices that will help make your B2B website great:
1. Your site design has to be good.
There’s no getting around it. Your site also has to deliver great navigation and a user experience where your buyers can find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. The goal of every page on your site should be clear-cut, too.
2. Consider your Audience
Do you sell products or services with only one decision maker? Or do you engage in complex sales, with multiple decision makers? Make sure you consider your audience.
3. Set Clear Site Goals
Always have a clear goal, which usually involves a conversion (sign up for a newsletter, try a demo, get a quote, etc.).
There’s perhaps no bigger factor to get right on your B2B website than the element of trust. A B2B that site gradually builds up a reputation of trustworthiness for itself will enjoy not just new leads and conversions, but, more importantly, also loyal repeat customers that have come to rely on your B2B website as the place from which to buy a product or service. By implementing surefire ways to boost your online credibility, you can build your brand.
4. Creating an Inspiring About Us Page
The About Us page is always the first page that your buyers go to when they want to know more about your company. If there’s one page that’s all about your brand, it’s your ‘About Us’ page.
There are 3 groups of people who are interested in your ‘About Us’ page:
- Prospects – Before buying your product or service your prospects want to know a little more about you. The ‘About Us’ page should take them through your business story and answer any critical questions they have.
- Job Seekers – All good job candidates will check out your ‘About Us’ page before sending you their application. If you want the best candidates, show off your company’s culture.
- Competitors & Potential Partners – A strong ‘About Us’ page demonstrates your credibility.
Since your buyer is always going to want to know more about you, it pays to have a very inspiring About Us page.
The purpose of your About Us page should be to build trust in your buyers. It’s the place on your website that they can go to when they have questions about:
- Who You Are
- What exactly you do
- Introduce Your Team
- The Health of your Company
- Your Business Philosophy
- Your Culture
- Accolades and Achievements
- Where the Company is Going
- Current Job Openings
We advise our clients to showcase results that illustrate your organization’s influence and story. Examples include:
- References to organizations, memberships, and industry affiliations
- Customer testimonials and press coverage
- Media assets such as executive interviews and product demonstrations
- Sponsorships, community participation, speaking engagements, and industry thought leadership
- Links to company social media assets
Today’s web design technology allows for easy integration of video & multimedia elements to create a compelling visual story.
5. Offer High-Quality Content to Your Leads, and Become a Thought Leader
Building trust comes down to how well you know your stuff as a company. One of the most effective ways of building trust on your B2B website is by creating top notch content offers educational information and addresses some of the various pain points of your leads.
This Kapost infographic demonstrates that “creating collateral is a top priority for B2B Product Marketing”
A big part of every B2B marketer’s role should creating a Content Strategy. A content strategy is the framework around which your company will work and present all the content you generate for your business. This means all written words, public communications, tweets, comments, etc. There are a lot of possibilities, all of which can be managed with the right strategy. By publishing high-quality content, your site visitors will come to see you as a thought leader in your industry, and with that comes great credibility. A huge part of any high-converting and user-friendly B2B website is solid copywriting.
6. Mobile Responsiveness: Optimize Your Website
More and more people are accessing B2B websites through mobile. In today’s business environment, your website has to be able to be optimized to whatever device your buyers are using to access it. To give visitors the best possible experience, it’s important to prioritize mobile-friendliness in your design. How can you ensure that your site is mobile-friendly? The answer lies in responsive design. Whether you view it on a small iPod screen, or a fat Samsung phablet, it will look right and work well. That is responsive web design.
7. Create a High-Converting Call to Action on your Website
The call to action button is the actual star of your B2B website. It is the culmination of your site’s carefully laid-out information architecture and clearly mapped-out goal: to get site visitors and leads to convert.
Great B2B websites have a call-to-action on every page. You always know what you’re meant to click on next. And they make it easy to contact a sales representative. As you plan your website you should create an offer strategy that highlights which calls-to-action will be placed on a given page, and why.
After every piece of content you create, you should provide your prospects with a next step. You could ask them to follow you on Twitter, download an eBook, or to check out one of your blog posts.
8. Stay fresh
There’s nothing worse than coming to a site to find the last blog post was three months ago, or that certain hyperlinked pages no longer exist.
Content is king. There is no other reason for anyone to visit your website. Great content generates traffic, establishes thought leadership, and provides value to your customers.
Use content to grow awareness, drive consideration, and generate sales. Learning centers, content hubs, and blogs rich with experiences and case studies all help build engagement.
9. Make it easy to Share
You’ve invested time and energy to create great Web pages filled with useful content. It’s important to make sure it’s shareable. Social media buttons should be displayed in an easily accessible location on your website; the top, bottom, or along the side of your homepage are recommended.
Potential clients will check out your website, then check your social media profiles to vet you. Be sure to share your content on your social media sites.
10. Search Engine Optimize your Website
Optimize your website in a way that will make sense to search engines and will make your site the most relevant search result for your products or services. Include relevant keyword phrases. Use meta tags, a default banner, navigation, customer testimonials and calls to action- a strong marriage between website messaging and on-page SEO.
Your website’s structure and design are the means through which you accomplish the website’s ultimate goal – getting the right information to the right people, and eventually converting those visitors into buyers. As you consider a new website, with these ten tips, you should be on your way to an effective B2B website design. Your users will associate your brand with the positive experience they had on your site, and keep coming back for more.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about B2B website best practices.