Studies on buying behaviors for the B2B industry continue to show that for the majority of buyers, their first stop in finding a solution to their pain points is an internet search. This means that your website is most likely the first touchpoint a prospect is having with your company, and like any other salesperson, your website should be properly armed to sell your products and/or services.
While many features and functions can be added to a website to ‘jazz it up,’ there are five key elements that all successful B2B websites have in common. These include a strong strategy, a focus on buyer personas, a smart keyword mix, an easy-to-use design and interface, and proof points to verify the success of products/services.
1. A Strong Foundational Strategy
You wouldn’t build a house without first determining the number of rooms you’ll need, what their function is and who will be using those rooms—and that same logic applies to your company website. The best way to start creating a solid foundation for your website is by having a strategy session with key stakeholders from different departments to get a holistic view of how prospects and customers want and need to use your website. Bonus points if you’re able to get actual customer feedback.
After your session you should have the answer to the following questions:
- Who is our target audience/buyer personas?
- What pages will we have on the updated site (I recommend creating a sitemap, like the one below, to visually showcase website structure)?
- What is our value proposition (i.e., what sets you apart from the competition)?
- What do we want to be known for?
- How do we want to be perceived online?
- What are our company goals (revenue, new product launch, etc.) and how do we represent that?
2. A Focus on Your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your customers and are used to help craft the overall messaging of your website, among other critical components. Buyer personas will vary industry to industry. Generally, B2B companies have at least three distinct buyer personas:
C-Suite/VP/Owner is another common persona we see during our WebSync sessions depending on company size. The following components should be fleshed out for each of your persona types during the strategy phase:
- General description
- Background (job structure, education, etc.)
- Pain Points
These elements will give you insights into what makes your personas tick and how your company can address their goals and pain points. If the messaging throughout your website doesn’t address these elements, then chances are you’ll be experiencing high bounce rates and low conversion metrics.
Websites are no field of dreams (sorry Kevin Costner fans!), and without being properly optimized for search engines, prospects won’t be able to find your website no matter how tailored the site is to their pain points and goals. So, how do get prospects to your new website? By implementing a strong keyword strategy throughout your website.
First, you’ll need to develop a keyword list to determine what prospects are searching for in Google and how you can rank for those keywords yourself —think high-volume and low-competition as those are typically easier to rank for organically. Then, you’ll need to apply those keywords to every page of your website in page titles, meta descriptions and headers.
One thing to note —keywords are not magic. It’ll take some time to see results if this is all you’re doing to promote your website. I recommend exploring content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing too in order to boost your traffic generation.
4. Superior User Experience
No matter how tailored your content is to your personas, if prospects get to your website and can’t find what they are looking for easily, they are going to leave and head to a competitor. Clear navigation, the ability to search your site and an attractive, responsive design are great first steps for achieving a strong user experience. HubSpot recommends the following tactics for improved usability:
- Use white space.
- Optimize your page speed.
- Use attractive calls-to-action.
- Use hyperlink differentiation.
- Segment key information with bullet points.
- Use images (wisely).
- Include well-designed and written headlines.
- Keep your website pages consistent.
- Catch your 404s.
- Be responsive and mobile-friendly.
Adding heat mapping to your site will give you the ability to get some real-life user data so that you can continue to refine these elements of your website over time.
5. Case Studies and Testimonials
B2B buyers need proof that your company will be able to solve their problems and do it right before they are willing to commit. Having a spot on your website that showcases case studies and testimonials allows prospects to verify your abilities on their own time. Showing rather than telling can go a long way and typically results in added trust upfront between you and your prospects.
If what you do is proprietary, or you don’t want to use client names, you can still create generalized case studies that get the point across. Again, think of your personas pain points and tailor your content to speak to those needs and how you delivered results.
By implementing these key elements from the get-go, you’ll be on your way to having a successful B2B website in no time. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact our team to schedule a consultation.