To create a successful B2B website design and marketing strategy, we guide our B2B clients through a series of questions that help us deep dive into their business, industry, target audience, goals and challenges. The process is designed not only to help our team understand what’s important to communicate through the website design, functionality and messaging, it also serves to enlighten clients on what they need to focus on along the way in order to meet their objectives. It’s like a business plan for your website and the most important step for the kick-off of a B2B website development project. Before diving into your own website project, here are a few questions you can toss around internally to start thinking about what you will need to include in your B2B website plan.
1. What are you trying to accomplish and why?
Whether you’re getting buy-in from stakeholders, or you’re a CEO ready to make the decision to upgrade or redo your current B2B website, the first step is always to think about WHY you want a new site and what problems you expect it to solve for your business. By firmly understanding the “why” and what you hope to accomplish, you can then move forward with the mindset that your project is much more than a marketing expenditure, it’s an investment in the growth of your business.
Are you looking to modernize your brand to present a more professional image? Or do you want more qualified leads in your pipeline? Many B2B companies are trying to attract new employees to their business or impress investors. Maybe you need to provide your salespeople with more sales tools and resources to help them close more deals. If your needs are on the more technical side – site needs a better user interface, easier content management system or a mobile friendly version- your goals would take on more of a functional requirement.
Whatever your reasons, you’ll want to express them to your website design and marketing firm to ensure the strategy you embrace will specifically address your goals and challenges, and ultimately produce a successful outcome.
2. How will you measure the success of your new website?
Creating a website or engaging in a marketing program for a B2B business will require a substantial investment. And results can take time. You’ll want to understand how you can evaluate the success or failure of your new website design in a measurable and meaningful way based on your goals. Goals and measurement should have a direct correlation. Here are a few examples:
- If you want to attract new employees, you’ll want to measure traffic to your careers landing page, resume uploads and/or track phone call inquiries.
- If increasing the volume of website generated leads is your goal, conversion rates (i.e., website visitor-to-lead rate) will be a key measurement for success.
- If your goal is to support your sales team in closing sales, you’ll be taking a look at your lead-to-close rate and as well as your marketing campaign influence statistics.
Once you’ve started working with a website design and marketing firm that specializes in B2B, they’ll want to benchmark the performance of your existing site. By benchmarking you’ll be able to see how your site improves over time and more importantly, demonstrate your return on investment (ROI.)
3. Who is your target audience and what information do they need?
Most B2B marketing teams know how to identify and categorize their prospects since they work with them day in and day out and have a firm grip on what they need to provide to help them move along the buyer’s journey.
Have you considered how your website can help current customers? By providing helpful resources or online support services you may be able to cut operating expenses by answering questions generally handled by internal support staff. As an added bonus, the availability of these resources can help build customer loyalty by providing the convenience of accessing helpful information online.
If your objective is to attract the right kinds of employees, your website can be effective in communicating your company culture. By building an optimized careers section, qualified candidates can gain a better sense for your brand, people and culture, and if they deem the opportunity as a good fit, take then next step to submit an inquiry. The same approach can be applied to recruiting new partnerships. With an optimized partner page on your site that speaks to the mutual advantages of a partnership, you can leverage your website as a lead generation tool that extends your partner network
4. What are the biggest problems your customers face?
As marketers, we understand that it’s easy to talk about the products and services your company provides, because let’s face it, that’s what’s top of mind during our work week. But where we see B2B marketers stumble is presenting their company’s solutions in terms of how they help the customer. By asking yourself what problems your customers’ face, and leading with that messaging, you can better attract and engage your prospects by addressing their pain points. For instance, instead of saying, “We are a predictive analytics company” a more impactful statement that addresses the prospect’s pain points is , “We simplify data collection, analysis and change management for greater investment optimization.” Always think about what’s in it for your prospect and tell them why they should care about what you have to offer
5. Why do your customers choose your products or services?
A pitch deck can be helpful in answering this question. How do you sell yourself when you’re on a sales call? The exercise here is to write down all the reasons that a prospect becomes a customer and identify how you can communicate these distinguishing factors on your website. For instance, maybe you excel at creating and nurturing long-term customer relationships. Instead of just repeating that claim on the website, we’re big proponents of taking the next step and proving it. In this case, to show you are responsive and helpful to customers, include a client testimonial that tells the story for you. Another example would be if you position your product as easier to use than those of your competitors, then perhaps showcasing the differences with videos and screenshots would help prove the point. And as a last example, and our favorite, if your outcomes are superior, you’ll want to develop case studies that let the results speak for themselves.
6. How do you establish trust with your prospects currently?
For every good website out there, there are handfuls of bad ones, leading visitors to become skeptics and making your first order of business to establish trust. Without credibility, no one will invest their time in exploring your offering. First and foremost, presenting a professional brand and website design is more important than ever. We all know by now that without it, a visitor will click away to another choice if they don’t immediately have a positive first impression. Other ways to build trust include providing strong team bios, case studies and client lists, if impressive. Additionally, certifications, associations, speaking engagements and partnerships show professionalism and expertise.
7. What are the most important messages you are trying to convey?
What is the essence of the message you are trying to send about your company with your website? What does your target audience care about? This isn’t always straightforward. You may want to project an image of innovation to show that your solution is the most modern and cutting edge. Or it may be more important to show that your company is stable, traditional and reliable if your industry as seen as being volatile. Perhaps you’re a small company that wants to look bigger or more corporate in structure to show that you can handle large, complex projects. Or maybe it’s more important to project that you’re approachable and helpful in order to secure one on one relationships. These qualities are subliminal and can help a designer to position you as you want to be perceived.
Next Step in Your B2B Website Design Project
These are just a few of the questions we explore with our B2B clients to get closer to a strategy, plan and execution of the design, functionality and messaging that will eventually become your online presence. By working together to determine these answers, we can help to communicate why a visitor should take the time to include you in their research, later in their vendor comparisons and eventually in order to become their chosen solution provider.