Many B2B websites are stuck in the past, functioning an online brochure rather than a member of the business development team—engaging prospects throughout the sales cycle. Though the sales cycles differ, B2B sites can learn from B2C.
While B2B buyers have a different purpose than B2C consumers, they both still want a great user experience when they visit a company’s website. The fact is, many B2B websites need to make some B2C-inspired changes to keep up with their savvy buyers and prospects. So here are some ways that B2B companies can learn from B2C websites about user experience.
B2C Purchase = B2B Lead Generation
The main purpose of a B2C website is to lead a prospect to purchase during that site visit; however, the goal for a B2B website is to generate leads. The problem lies in the fact that many B2B companies don’t know where to begin or how to capitalize on the power their website could have with an online marketing program.
A B2B study done by Nielsen Norman Group found that many B2B sites have poor usability because the website is less directly accountable for sales. B2C sites know exactly how much money they lose when a customer doesn’t convert, but this is not the case for B2B.
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However, B2B companies need to realize that buyers do extensive research before contacting a company and starting a conversation with the sales team. If a website fails to show credibility for the company, then the prospective buyer will leave the site and eliminate that company from consideration long before sales efforts even begin.
That’s why B2B websites need to take some pointers from B2C sites.
Understand your audience
Just like B2C needs to know their consumer, B2B marketers need to know their audience—the buyers and decision makers. Buyer personas are a great way to understand your audience at a deeper level. From there, your website can be designed to improve user experience based on their needs and interests. And your content can be written to address their pain points and offer solutions.
By answering the questions and concerns of your audience with content on your website, you will provide value and thought leadership for your prospects. You can do this by having whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, etc. on your website available for download.
Design your site for the customer
B2B websites are often designed with the company in mind—showing off company accomplishments, mission and recent news, but not focusing on the customer. They don’t often think about what prospects are looking for when they land on their site.
B2C sites are built with the customer in mind. When you typically land on a B2C site, the products or services are upfront and center. They address how their product or service will solve your problem and then lead you to the product that offers the solution.
And this is how B2B sites should be designed as well. B2B companies should have their products or services on the homepage and explain how they can solve the prospects’ problems.
Create visually appealing graphics
B2B websites tend to have the negative stereotype of being boring and full of stock photography while B2C sites tend to be more energetic and visually engaging. Great design can have a huge impact on how a website is perceived, and therefore how the company is as well.
Don’t forget, humans are visual creatures and remember images better than they remember words. That’s why it is important to invest in good design and showcase your products or services in a visually appealing way. If your visuals are engaging, then prospects are enticed to look further into the site. Look at this cloud-based file sharing company as an example.
Provide simple navigation
B2C sites are known for being easy to navigate. The products are usually categorized and easy to find on the website. But B2B website tend to be hard to navigate and it can be difficult to find the information you are looking for. If your website is confusing, you can bet that prospects looking for information will abandon your website and look elsewhere.
B2C sites are typically filled with calls-to-action (CTAs) to lead you to purchase and help increase conversions with buttons like “Buy Now” or “Learn more.” While a B2B buyer will most likely be ready to purchase your product or service upon landing on your site, there should be specific CTAs that begin to lead your prospects further into the website to learn more.
Since the B2B sales cycle is a longer than the B2C cycle, your website should work toward moving your prospect down the path. Whether that means downloading a case study, calling for a free consultation or sign up for your enewsletter, provide CTAs on your website to have your prospects connect further with your company and learn from your valuable resources. Compete, a company specializing in digital marketing optimization, is a great example of how to utilize CTAs throughout a website.
While the B2B audience may be business people, it doesn’t mean your website should be overly serious or technical. Be sure your marketing materials and website have a personal, human voice. In the B2B industry where many websites are boring and overly complex, adding a personal touch and making it simple will make your website stand out from the competition.
We hope these tips will help show the importance of a B2B website and how it can be improved by using these B2C tactics. Your company’s B2B website shouldn’t be an online brochure, but rather a lead generating machine that is a virtual member of your business development team.
Interested in transforming your B2B website? Let’s talk.