When it comes to B2B customers, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: they are less likely to make impulsive buying decisions like B2C may do. This general rule of thumb will vary according to a number of factors.
The fact that B2B customers are often making a substantial investment also means they may be taking a risk. Is it the best quality and price available? Does the company have a good reputation? Will they deliver what they promised? If something does go wrong, how will I explain the decision to my colleagues or boss?
The perceived risk means B2B customers will take their time to define their concerns, make comparisons between you and your competitors, report back to and seek approval from upper management, etc. It’s no wonder that the selling process for B2B marketers can take months, if not years!
The information-gathering process can be substantial, which makes your website’s content and design crucial. B2C companies are often acutely aware of the importance of great website design to increasing consumer awareness, building trust, and encouraging engagement, but many B2B companies seem to be ignoring this reality. This is possibly due to the long lead time from initial brand awareness to making a sale. It can be difficult to track and measure the impact of a company’s website and its influence over a buying decision.
What’s Changed with B2B Websites?
Five years ago, it may have been enough for a B2B company website to be like a basic brochure. Most B2B sites had a few general pages with reasonable content and were left at that. The bar has been set higher and today, both B2B and B2C consumers have greater expectations. A few general, vague pages are no longer enough for B2B; your website needs to reflect your brand’s identity, core values, and give the information-hungry marketplace what they are looking for.
B2B buyers make contact at a much later stage along the decision-making process than they did a decade ago. Instead of simply contacting a salesperson to find out more about your product or service, the buyer will likely be completing some online research which includes your website, review sites, and social media. This means that your online presence is doing the work previously done by sales reps. By the time they make contact, B2B buyers may already have a far greater understanding of your business and its reputation in the industry.
Best Practice Tips for a Great B2B Website
1. Your Call to Action (CTA) Need to Be Clear
It’s got to be clear visually and clear in message! CTAs are a must for any type of B2B website. Even if your primary objective is for branding purposes, people should understand what the next logical step should be. B2B customers are often incredibly busy and won’t waste time trying to work out your message. Test different colours, images, contrasts, shapes, copy, and placement of your CTA. All these elements may have a crucial effect on conversion rates.
2. Create a Strong Value Proposition
When visitors arrive at your website, they should be able to figure out why your product or service is beneficial to them. They may already have knowledge about your industry or your competitors, so focus their attention on what makes you different. What is it that makes you superior and the only logical choice for your target market? Use a catchy tagline or slogan that expresses your value proposition concisely. If it’s slightly polarizing, it could be a winner.
3. Inform But Don’t Overwhelm
Good website architecture will give your visitors a snapshot of your message and allow information-hungry people to drill down for further details. Get this balance right and your visitors will get enough information to engage their interest and allow them to drill down as far as they feel they need to in order to take the next steps.
Use design techniques like proportion, contrast, and physical relationship to emphasize core information and make sure it grabs the user’s eye. Most of us don’t read a website from start to finish like we may a brochure. We skim through to what we feel is important and relevant to our needs, so design your website in a way that guides the attention of your visitors.
4. Write Killer Content
Should the content be long or short? This question doesn’t have one universal answer. Most of us have a preconceived notion of what will work best but the facts may be quite different.
Ideally, the decision of whether to go with a long or short copy should be based on testing and research; however, that may not be possible in the short-term. Check out what the market leaders are doing. They are the leaders for a reason and have probably already been down some form of testing process to create the end result they’ve produced.
Whatever you decide, the content needs to be broken into easily digestible portions. Avoid long paragraphs of text that require too much time and attention. The visitor should be able to pick up all the crucial information by scanning through the page.
5. Use Remarkable Imagery
Pictures are often more effective than words and not just for visual beauty. They can also generate an emotional response fast. Humans are emotional beings and its been proven they buy emotionally even in the B2B marketplace. Use compelling visual content – photos, graphics, or illustrations – as an additional source of information about your company’s message.
6. Use Video
Video takes the power of imagery to the next level by using movement and sounds. More than 70% of B2B marketers have confirmed that video content positively impacts their ROI. Promotional videos are an easy way to communicate a lot of information in a short space of time while enticing an emotional response. Use video to highlight your value proposition, benefits, and special offers in a way that represents your brand well.
7. Understand Colour Psychology
Colour is one of the most powerful tools in design. It can be used to express meaning, attract attention, create desire, earn customers’ loyalty, and even drive conversions. Creating an effective colour scheme takes careful planning and, if done the right way, can influence how the visitors interpret what they see as much as the website’s copy and layout.
Your brand colours will likely dictate some of your colour decisions; however, you should also check out your competitors’ website colours. You don’t need to copy your competitors; in fact, it may be a better approach to choose something completely different to set your business apart.
8. Highlight Testimonials
A report by G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing found that nine out of ten B2B customers are more likely to make a buying decision after reading a positive customer testimonial or review. In addition, more than 70% of B2B customers reference reviews when researching a business, and 50% of them use reviews when they are further along in the decision making process.
Well-curated and strategically positioned testimonials are a cost-effective way to build trust, prove your product’s value, and demonstrate its benefits.
9. Make Contact Easy
Contact info can be presented in various formats – it can be an email, phone number, a contact form, or Facebook Messenger. The important thing is to make contact information easily found and as convenient as possible. For example, if you’re displaying your phone number, make it clickable so that users can call right from their phones.
10. Use Responsive Design
Research has shown that 70% of B2B customers have increased their mobile usage over the past 2-3 years, and 60% of them expect to continue to increase their mobile usage.
As more B2B buyers conduct research and place orders on smartphones and tablets, sellers need to make their websites easily accessible and useful on mobile devices. Optimising your site for mobile so the navigation process is very similar to the PC-sized version of your website. Many may do an initial search on mobile and then look more closely when they reach the office so they should be able to find what they were looking for easily.
3 Great B2B Website Examples to Inspire You
When you visit this website, it’s immediately clear what Powerwest can do for you. The website uses high-quality images and easy-to-understand language, giving all the necessary information without overwhelming the reader with large chunks of text. The CTAs are clear, and the navigation panels are very easy to follow.
This website boasts a vivid colour scheme, clean typography, and proper spacing. Their contact form is on the front page, which is a great solution considering the fact that they’re targeting an audience comprised of super-busy entrepreneurs and business people.
From interesting videos to helpful blogs and inspiring stories of business growth, businessDEPOT is all about serving useful content. It not only adds value, but the content also functions as an effective lead generation tool. The star of the show is their ‘Blackboard Fridays’ short video series aimed at small business owners.
Your company website is often the first impression users will have of your business and the first place they’ll go to research what it is you do. You need to ensure that it continues to offer great UX to your customers and prospects.
By following the above-listed guide for B2B website design, you can build a website that is convenient, usable, and satisfying for the end user. This will help you build trust, increase conversions rates and, eventually, grow your business.