As a business owner or manager, you already know the importance that your website plays in your overall success. In today’s interconnected world, it can be the determinative factor in your success or failure. For consumers, this means that their first (and possibly last) impression of your business will be of their interactions on your website.
The importance is no less great for a business to business (B2B) website. Although your audience consists of professionals and purchase agents, they will still judge your company based on what they find on your website. While design and usability are still key, the needs of a business customer demand a different approach than that of a standard consumer website. Make sure your website connects with the right audience by implementing these 5 crucial must-haves for B2B websites.
A Clear Mission Statement
Prospective customers must immediately be able to tell that they’ve reached the right place when visiting your website. The major product or services that you provide should be obvious at first glance because visitors arriving at your site won’t spend more than a moment or two deciding if your company is worth their time.
Once they’ve decided to stay, it’s critical to tell them exactly why doing business with your company will create value for theirs. A short, clear statement should tell them what you do best, how you do it better than the competition – and most of all – how they will benefit by choosing you.
Lead Acquisition Strategies
The next critical function that your B2B website must have is an integrated strategy to capture contact data from your visitors. This is important because most first-time visitors to your site won’t be there to make a purchase on the spot. If you are able to give them a compelling reason to give you their contact information, you’ll be able to use email marketing and social media campaigns to extend their engagement with your business.
Clear, concise forms that present the visitor with a call to action work especially well. Some of the approaches include:
- Offering a free guide to a product or service
- Providing consultation scheduling
- Newsletter signups
Whichever route you choose, be sure that what you are offering represents a value proposition for your potential customer. If you can make them feel like they have already benefitted from their contact with your business, they’ll be far more likely to continue the relationship with you.
Most B2B decision-makers will be doing plenty of research before deciding on a vendor. That’s why you need to populate your site with useful content that can establish your company as an authority in your field. Providing statistical information and case studies (without including sales material) will let your visitors know that you’re an expert that can help them.
When providing this kind of content, make sure it’s updated frequently. Allowing your site’s content to become stale or out-of-date will drive visitors away and hurt your search engine rankings. Adding new information gives visitors a reason to return. When they do, you’ll have additional opportunities to convert them into customers.
Navigation That Works
If you’re planning to implement the elements we’ve detailed so far, you’ll end up with a feature-packed, content-rich B2B site. Now you have to make sure that it’s organized with clear, functional navigation for your visitors. Remember that B2B customers are on the clock, so they don’t have time to comb through every inch of your site in order to find what they need.
Your navigation should be organized into the smallest number of top-level items as is practical. You can have drop-down menus under each category to create an information hierarchy. The navigation system should be available on every page and make use of sharp fonts that are easy to read. Your visitors will appreciate the forethought and the ability to find what they are looking for.
Fast and Mobile-Friendly Pages
After you’ve built your B2B website and filled it with great messaging and useful content, you must make sure that all of your pages load quickly and efficiently. Your visitors are busy professionals, just like you, and they don’t have time to waste waiting while your website loads. Putting effort into optimizing all images, text and code will help speed up your site’s loading times, which can improve visitors’ perception of your website and brand.
It’s important to remember that optimizing your pages for speed won’t always help when dealing with users on mobile devices. Much like their consumer counterparts, B2B customers are using smartphones and tablets more than ever, so you’ll be sure to lose business if your site doesn’t display correctly on mobile devices. Your website needs to be mobile responsive so that it can scale up and down depending on the user’s screen size and provide a user-friendly experience, regardless of the device that’s viewing it.
A B2B website shares many things in common with a consumer-driven one. The key difference is that your audience wants their engagement with you to be fast, direct and valuable to the business they represent. Your site should look sharp, but keep in mind that many of your visitors won’t come to be entertained. Use your site to position your business as the go-to source for knowledge and value in your field and draw in new business with ease!