Salespeople are a valuable asset to any company. There’s nothing quite like the face-to-face interaction and knowledge they offer. But don’t forget about your digital salesperson… your website! In fact, this is probably the first point of contact someone will have with your business. Depending on your B2B website design, this could either be helping you or hurting you! So, how do you make sure your site keeps prospects moving along the purchasing cycle?
Stay true to your brand. Everything about your brand should come through in your website. A consistent look and feel not only conveys professionalism, but it also helps build that oh-so-important trust with prospective clients. (Need some pointers? Check out our Branding 101 post.)
Establish your business goals and align them with your customers’ needs. While there are many specific goals a business might have, the overall goal of any B2B website can probably be boiled down to this: converting visitors into leads. But what about that visitor’s needs? What information does he want? What problem does he have that you can solve? (Our blog post on market research has some advice on helping to better understand your buyer.)
The visual on the right (from The Market 8 Blog) shows how achieving this balance results in a customer-centric website:
Create a defined flow throughout your website. The design and navigation of your site should ultimately lead visitors to a certain action (based on your goals). We like to lay out a foundational wireframe first–it’s kind of like a road map to determine the best flow before actually building the pages.
Clear calls-to-action are also really helpful in moving prospects along the purchasing cycle, which can be a lengthy one in the B2B world. This could be anything from signing up for an e-newsletter, downloading a high-value piece of content (in exchange for contact info), or calling a salesperson. Notice how we didn’t mention the word “buy” there? That’s because a B2B website isn’t necessarily about pushing a purchase right away. It’s about nurturing a relationship and providing valuable content. On that note, make sure there’s always a clear way to get in touch with a real person―whether it’s via phone, email, or live chat.
Keep it informative yet easy to understand. The buying process for B2B is much more complex than that for B2C. It can involve multiple approval stages and often some type of personal interaction with your team before a purchase is actually made. It’s also based on facts rather than emotion, so make sure you’re providing plenty of useful information on your website. Charts, videos, blogs, and other visual presentations can help translate technical jargon into an easier-to-digest format. Remember, it’s still a human being on the other side of that screen! Use the same language your customer would use to describe his needs. (Again, this is where some market research might come in handy.)
Be responsive. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’re probably familiar with the term responsive web design. In fact, you might be tired of hearing it. But these days it’s hard to get by without having a website that’s optimally displayed on any platform/device. According to a recent Google survey, 42% of B2B researchers are using mobile devices during the purchasing process! So make sure your site is built to adapt and respond whether it’s viewed on a desktop computer, tablet, or Smartphone.
That’s one reason why we like to use WordPress for all our web designs, including B2B. Most of their themes are automatically mobile-friendly. In particular, the Genesis Framework from StudioPress is our go-to theme.
Got questions about B2B website design? We’re happy to help! Otherwise, stay tuned for our next blog post when we’ll shift gears and talk B2C web design.