A website is arguably the most visible manifestation of a B2B firm’s brand. Yet, so many are designed and developed without a thorough understanding of the ways in which people use websites to make B2B buying decisions.
In fact, the way your site is built can have a powerful impact on your business — for better or for worse.
6 Ways to Improve Your B2B Website
Here are six best practices to follow that will ensure the best experience for your company’s visitors, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will choose your firm to do business:
1. Make it Inviting
Your website is your new front door, so make sure it’s inviting
More people are likely visit your website in a single month than will walk through your office doors in ten years. If you aren’t making the best impression, communicating your value proposition clearly and offering your visitors a reason to come back in the future, you are truly missing out.
To create the most inviting experience:
- Build a great-looking, modern website that is as functional on a phone as it is on a 20-inch desktop screen. Skip the free templates and clichéd imagery
- Give your messaging some serious scrutiny. Are you differentiated? Are you articulating your key messages simply and clearly?
- Don’t let your site go dormant. Keep adding fresh, substantive content such as blog posts, relevant news items, educational guides and even social media feeds
2. Start With a Thoughtful Business Strategy
Every website should come with a set of objectives that support your overall business strategy. You should be able to answer important questions about how your website will help you:
- Generate leads
- Close more business
- Move people through the sales funnel
- Address potential objections
- Convey your positioning
- Persuade key audiences
- Educate and engage your prospects
Only after you have worked out a strategy, should you begin building your site. That’s because websites built on the foundation of a clear strategy help visitors make decisions more efficiently.
3. Don't Leave it Out of Your Growth Strategy
Your website can drive growth and profitability, so give it a starring role in your growth strategy.
According to our research, firms that obtain at least half of their leads online experience more growth and profitability. Here’s what the data showed:
How do you generate leads online? By offering your visitors some of your expertise for free. The most common and effective way to do this is to write a guide or ebook on a topic that is deeply relevant to your target audience. Make the piece long enough to differentiate it from, say, a blog post and then give it away in exchange for some basic contact information like an email address.
You can ask for more information, but keep in mind that the more information you require, the fewer people will complete your form. And, make sure you have a mechanism in place — like a checkbox on your form — to request permission to send follow-up educational materials so you don’t end up looking spammy.
Bottom line? What’s good for your audience, namely educational content, is also good for your firm.
4. Communicate to the Right Audiences, Wherever They May Be
Think of your website as the hub that coordinates all of your marketing and business development activities. Identify the full range of audiences you want to target and make sure to give each one a home base, whether through discreet pages or customized content.
Who are your audiences? Prospective clients, potential employees and referral sources are all common audiences in the B2B space. Your website should be built around what’s important to each of those groups.
You may think you know, but our experience shows that only research will uncover the truth. We’ve found that companies who do research on their target audiences inevitably discover a handful of insights that they can apply right away to their businesses.
In the case of your website, you’ll use your findings to make sure your content and high-level messaging are relevant to the people who might buy your services or join your team.
5. Don't Skimp on the Redesign
A bad website can cost you big time, so don’t underfund your next web redesign.
According to our research into referrals, over half of potential buyers who have been referred to a firm rule them out before they even talk to them. The biggest culprit? Their websites! Websites that perform well aren’t cheap but they can pay for themselves quickly because all it takes to break even is attracting a couple of new clients.
6. Test, Monitor and Adjust
A website is not a thing you create and then forget about. It’s a crucial component of any modern B2B marketing program. As a result, you should be making continual, incremental improvements to its performance and messaging.
One best practice is to A/B test components of key pages to discover which headlines, call-to-action language or button colors get the best results.
You will also want to monitor your website analytics for a variety of performance metrics. This is a great gauge on whether visitors are getting what they need when they come to your site:
- Is it loading fast enough?
- Are visitors converting at the rates you had expected?
- How is your traffic, time on site and bounce rate?
- What pages are most popular and why?
Prioritizing User Experience
In short, there’s a lot to keep an eye on. After a new launch, you’ll also want to compare your numbers to those you were seeing on your old site. Is your new site performing better or does it need to be optimized in some way?
All told, a B2B website that prioritizes user experience will inherently align with firm level strategy, leading to growth, profitability and visibility.