Seeing that my last post was about a report that showed B2B websites were critical to marketing but not performing up to their potential, I thought I’d share some ideas about what your website must accomplish in order to start climbing that ladder of opportunity. It really doesn’t have to be that difficult. After all, a B2B website must serve as a centralized hub for all of your online content marketing efforts.
- Orient Visitors Immediately. You’ve got 3 seconds. You’d better make sure people can figure out what your company does, why they’re staring at your webpage and what they should do/get — and do it fast. This doesn’t just mean for your homepage, it means for EVERY page. This is yet another reason to dump the buzzwords and jargon. They take too much effort to slog through and eat up your 3 seconds without providing any value.
- Speak Directly to Visitors. There’s absolutely nothing worse than landing on a website that’s “WE” focused. People don’t care about you before they care about what’s in it for them. Make sure your content speaks directly to them about stuff they care about — high-priority stuff. If it’s not high priority then there won’t ever be an intention to DO something — which is what your end goal should be. Always.
- Provide Interest Pathways. Yes, I know. That last one had a bunch of you saying – wait, we have a bunch of audiences. Well, here you go. Provide interest pathways. In other words, if “X” is your priority, then click here for all the resources you need about that topic. Why is it that B2B websites silo their content under tabs for products, industries, customer stories, resources, news, events, etc? If it relates to a priority interest, it should all work together.
Take this test — go to your website and see how many gyrations you have to perform to find all the content available on a particular priority that’s top of mind for a specific audience. How can you improve upon that experience? Oh, and if you don’t have any content that meets the challenge, get cracking.
- Answer Questions. While you’re doing the test above, determine which questions your content is answering. Here’s the key takeaway – Does your prospect have those questions? And then map them to the buying process. Is there a logical progression? This doesn’t mean the content has to be presented that way. People aren’t linear. But what it will do is help you to find the gaps that you’ve missed. Do your answers apply to the status quo? Most marketers never get early enough in the buying process to provide a productive buyer experience from beginning to end.
- Get Visitors to Do Something. I can’t tell you how many websites don’t ever ask for anything beyond contact us or sign up for our newsletter. There must be more. Help them figure out what content to engage with next, given what web page they’re on. How about based on where they came from?
What event can they sign up for that relates to their interests? What white paper or eBook can they download? Do you have related blog posts they might be interested in? And why do you rely on those little social media icons in the footer or header of your website to do the trick? Invite them to follow you on Twitter because…(you’ll be Tweeting links to a new series on X in the next 10 days, for example) In other words, give them a reason to do something – don’t expect them to figure it out on their own.
A couple of bonus tips – your website should also be capable of monitoring and scoring activity so you can tell if the five things you’ve gotten it to do above are actually working. How else will you know if you’ve done it correctly? And finally, ratchet down those forms. Do you really need more than name, email and a third field for something like title or industry for segmentation purposes to start with?
What would you add to this list to help marketers start seeing their B2B websites perform up to their potential?