- 1 Buyer Focused
- 2 Style and Structure
- 3 Outsourcing
- 4 Measurement
- 5 'Must Haves' for B2B Marketing Websites
- 6 Responding to leads effectively
- 7 Other Notes
When creating a website with a B2B marketing strategy in mind, ensuring that the website is 'buyer focused' is essential. Your business's website should take a prospective buyer on a fluid journey that takes them from one stage of the Buyer's Journey to the next. Essentially, you should be attempting to replicate the buyer's journey in the structure of the web pages that you present on your site. For instance, you could consider links to the following the logical progress from the main navigation of your website:
- We are - A short blurb about who you are
- Who we serve - A list of clients who you've worked with in the past (consider including a logo board, testimonials and Case studies)
- Their problems - Problems that prospective buyers may be experiencing
- How we help - The solutions that your business can offer to these problems
- More resources - Any relevant resources that your company offers
- contact us - Contact details, perhaps offering multiple means of contact as these are the stepping stone to the next stage.
Style and Structure
- When developing a website, ensure that you have inbuilt styles which specify fonts and colours (eg. Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, Normal, Bulleted list, Numbered list etc)
- Be as light as possible on text, using images wherever possible and/or relevant (bulleted lists and breakout boxes are also recommended)
- A specific focus of your website should be usability (the ability for a prospective buyer to find the information they're looking for with ease)
- Understand and incorporate WEB 2.0 in order to allow all social media interaction and the ability for people to easily share any of your site's content
If you plan on outsourcing most of your business's website development, make sure you keep the following in mind:
- Ensure the developer creates a site that you can manage once they've finished the initial project
- Ensure the website is flexible and easily altered if need be
- Ensure that you are responsible for creating the content or at least creating the content in close conjunction with the outsourced developer
- Keep in mind that the cost of building website modules or adding additional modules in the future can be very costly, so interrogate the CMS (content management system) that is being recommended to you before proceeding
It is important that once your website is established, you monitor the analytics of your site and make any necessary changes as you go.
Google Analytics is the perfect program to do so.
Set yourself measurable goals for your online strategy, so you know when you've been successful, and when you've failed. In particular determine what your Ultimate Online Transaction (UOT) is. Perhaps it's an inbound phone call, online purchase, or the booking of a meeting. Determine your UOT's in advance, and use tools such as Google Analytics to track your success.
'Must Haves' for B2B Marketing Websites
As highlighted above, there are certain essential components of any successful B2B marketing website. Chris Fell of g2m solutions has listed the top seven website "must haves" for B2B marketers to generate leads:
Search Engine Optimisation
SEO uses techniques that get your website listed when your buyers search in Google. Without effective SEO, the only people that will see your webpages are those who already know your company name and type in your URL. SEO ranking is determined by keywords, page titles, meta descriptions, page URLs, heading tags, page content, calls to action, internal links, meta keywords and images amongst other things.
For more information on SEO visit our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) wiki.
Powerful landing pages
A landing page is where searchers end up when they click on a link in their searches. Powerfully written landing pages engage the visitor and draw them in. Make sure your site has the ability to build landing pages easily and create content quickly to reflect the latest changes to your business. They must be able to capture a visitor's information via easily created and embedded forms.
UX London has the perfect example of a powerful, simple, and effective landing page.
For more information on Bounces visit our Bounces wiki
Exciting and engaging content
All your SEO efforts, fancy website technology and killer landing pages are all useless without interesting content that grabs people's attention. Creating content can be challenging, but the basic rule is to focus on your buyer's problems and needs. Avoid the temptation to talk about how wonderful your own products or services are. Content can come in multiple formats from the website page copy itself to blog articles, to downloadable items such as whitepapers, eBooks, short videos, infographics, customer case studies, demos and free trials.
Blogging works because it adds lots of indexable content to your site (think SEO) offering the search spiders, and more importantly your visitors, engaging content that is fresh and up-to-date. It is vital to build a blog that is fully integrated on your site and not sitting off to one side on another domain name. Otherwise all that valuable "SEO juice" you create by your regular blogging simply leaks away. Blogging is probably the single most important activity you can engage in to attract vistors to your site.
For more information on best practice in blogging visit our Blogging wiki.
Social media integration
Social media should be viewed as a communication channel for your business. It's a way of extending your web presence beyond the pages of your website. Social media works best when it can feed on quality content and so works particularly effectively when combined with points 3 and 4 above. Make sure your site is social media enabled. Make it easy for your visitors to follow you on various social media platforms in a single click. Ensure you have social sharing buttons on your website pages so visitors can share a blog post on LinkedIn or retweet it easily to their own networks.
Calls-To-Action are critical elements in creating action in your visitors and leads. They invoke your buyers to "click here", "download" or "register". They are the oil that lubricate your website lead engine, facilitating easy movement between stages of their Buyer's Journey.
Use your CTAs as links to core content on your site. For example use CTAs to link from your home page to core content offers on your site such as "download this free eBook" or "Take a free 30 day trial." Make sure you test the effectiveness of your CTAs. Try different wording, different placements, different colours and imagery.
A good user experience
You can nail the above points, but if site visitors have a bad experience (such as broken or slow-to-load site pages, poor design, or confusing navigation), then all your efforts were still for naught.
How do you double-check? Easy. Google will do it for you. Log into your Google Webmaster account and see if they notified you about any errors their spiders encountered.
Responding to leads effectively
‘The Short Life of Online Sales Leads’ from The Harvard Business Review (2011)
Despite the increased amount of spending put into generating leads from online advertising, research shows that companies are not responding fast enough to potential clients’ hits on their websites.
Research from over 2000 companies showed that “37% responded to their lead within an hour, and 16% responded within one to 24 hours”. However, 24% didn’t respond at all within the day, and surprisingly, 23% didn’t follow up the lead at all.
Businesses not responding quickly enough to leads are losing out on potential business by not utilising the new leads in an efficient and effective way, demonstrated with the surprisingly quick time in which the online leads go cold.The study shows that businesses responding to customers within the hour of the query being made were 7 times more likely to successfully qualify the lead those those leaving it after an hour or longer. Furthermore, leaving 24 hours would mean the business is 60 times less likely to qualify the lead.
It would seem that if companies are willing to spend on more online advertising, they should be prepared to respond to such leads at an ‘internet speed’, i.e. within the hour when the clients’ interest is still at peak. Possible reasons that the leads are allowed to go dry are that leads are retrieved daily rather than hourly or better, continuously; sales forces prioritising their own leads rather than those coming up from the website; and employees over-compensating in giving out leads fairly to their sales force.
- As mentioned in the "must haves", Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an essential component of increasing the traffic to your website. For instance, Google takes into account how often you update or create new content on your site; an easy way to do so is by including a blog or a latest news section on your site. For more information on SEO visit the SEO wiki.
- Make sure that you have clear contact details on your website and that they are easily found.
- Any enquires made through the website comments or email section should be addressed or dealt with A.S.A.P.
- It is a good idea to include a 'call to action' on every page; no dead ends.
- If the purpose of your site is to get leads, have a web-lead contact form which feeds directly to whoever will respond to those enquiries.