With the ever-changing tides of the digital age, B2B companies who have reached success offline are now starting to focus on the opportunities made available by having a strong online presence. Businesses of all sizes are now being faced with the task of creating content, defining brand pillars, and telling a story with their website. Although this task can seem overwhelming at first, Blue Fountain Media has complied some tactics and tips to create a B2B site presence that will validate your brand and create a site experience that will resonate with users. "The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools" - Confucius
1: Assess Your Playing Field
One of the most common mistakes companies make time and time again is forgetting the importance of doing internal and external research before redesigning their website. Like a coach prepping before a big game, businesses need to understand their online landscape in order to properly maximize the opportunities available within the market. This can be accomplished by the components of a Competitive Analysis.
A site analysis is a great way to get a better understanding of how your competitors are positioning themselves online. Whether it is site structure, brand pillars showcased, or notable content - this research gives you an understanding of what members of your audience expect to see, the current website opportunities that are not yet being explored, or which ones can be dramatically improved. Having this information in your arsenal is the key to brainstorming useful content ideas and features for your new website.
Ranking in targeted keywords can directly affect the level of qualified users landing on your site. More importantly, what keywords your competitors rank for can directly affect your marketing efforts moving forward. Fortunately, there is a large supply of third-party tools such as SEM Rush and Moz that enable you to research competitor site keyword positioning, referral traffic, and other useful keyword metrics. Understanding this data will be extremely helpful when deciding on features, site structure, and planned marketing efforts for your new website moving forward. Remember: If you build it, they will NOT always come.
2: Cater To Your Audience Group
B2B customers are a different breed when it comes to audience groups online. Some are informed users looking for a high-level validation of your brand - while others are less informed, looking to get a full understanding of products offered. Despite your conversion, resourceful and service-based content on-site should be easily accessible and catered to the needs of the targeted users engaging online.
By having Google Analytics tracking your site metrics, this enables companies to "pop the hood" and really understand the inner-workings of your website. With multiple criteria to filter data with, one way to get a quick insight into your site activity is by researching the "Online Visitors" and "Behavior Flow" sections within the GA dashboard. Gaining insight from helpful data such as bounce rate, average time spent on a page, and session volume, enables an accurate assessment of positive and negative user behavior on your website. Understanding this data is extremely valuable when analyzing content that should be kept or removed. Additionally, it puts in perspective what content users are finding value in that can affect site structure, CTAs and marketing or content efforts moving forward.
B2B websites most commonly have multiple audience groups engaging on-site with varying needs and conversion interests. Hence, features play a big role in how users engage with content and ultimately convert. Using your competitive analysis as reinforcement, you should always think of how a feature will ultimately help drive a user further down the conversion funnel. Below are some emerging features that will help with varying conversions happening most frequently on B2B Sites:
Contact Us: "Call Me Back"
Have a global audience? Have a dedicated team of business development personnel? The "Call Me Back" feature is great way to engage audience members and empower your sales staff. Whether it is a "sticky" feature or available within the supernav, either option enables users to submit contact info and schedule a call with a sales representative within 2 clicks.
Ideal for companies who have a complex sales process and a dedicated team for managing in-bound leads, this is a great way to engage with customers outside of the typical "cold" email.
Brand Validation: Timeline Feature
One major mistake companies make with their brand positioning is being defined by a product instead of a brand that firmly connects to the market. Within the mix of attending tradeshows and submitting RFP's, companies tend to overlook the value of dedicating time to create an engaging "About Us" section of their site that properly positions their brand. So how do we make brand insight engaging and informative? An interactive timeline. Having the flexibility to integrate imagery and concise copy, which is linked to resourceful content, this makes brand content easy-to-digest while remaining informative and engaging for users.
Product Validation: Share With My Team
In many cases, before making a purchase, a B2B customer will internally share documents or web links with stakeholders to validate products before moving forward. Expediting this process of sharing information while acquiring emails sounds great, doesn't it?
The "Share with My Team" feature is a great way of doing this. Integrating CTA's within product pages enables users to compile a list of URL's from your site, edit, and share with team members all within a non-intrusive feature. Additionally, by acquiring the main users email in this process, it creates a great re-targeting opportunity.
Careers: Video Embed Within Header
According to VWO, replacing an image with a video on a landing page increases conversions by 12.62%
When you are competing with other businesses for top-tier talent, you need to put your best foot forward on the careers page of your site. Although pictures of employees and facilities are great, creating a captivating video, highlighting your corporate culture and brand value-propositions, goes a lot further in both validation and consumption of content. Using a CTA to prompt users once they land on the page, the easy to access video gives a visual introduction to your company and prompts users to take further action on the page.
3: Highlight What Makes You Different
"90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text." - HubSpot Unless you are a technical resource or an assistant for a c-level staff member, most users will not take the time to thoroughly read through content to find your brand and service value-propositions. Although strategic messaging and content hierarchy helps with highlighting your company's competitive advantages, for a company positioning their brand for the first time online, further validation is sometimes needed. Not tasking your users to read through paragraphs of content, here are some tactics to help your brand stand out online. Quick Stats are an emerging content trend online to quickly showcase and validate a company's brand and product value propositions. Ideally placed after the introductory copy of a content page, this a great way to validate content listed within a page and prompt users to further explore your site. Additionally, it's one of the quickest ways for users to digest valuable content easily on your site.
Many companies find themselves trying to introduce and validate their brand because they have a minimal presence online. In cases where businesses have a high-volume of brand and product content, it can be difficult to showcase what makes you different outside of strategic messaging and content. This is where the value-proposition page comes in. Acting as a hybrid marketing landing page integrated on-site, the value proposition page can serve two purposes: 1: Expedite the process of users discovering and engaging in key content. 2. Can be used as a marketing landing page for SEM and Social Media campaigns to quickly inform and link users to valuable content.
4: Keep Users Coming Back
It almost every scenario, having a blog on your site provides a tremendous value in regard to SEO, exposure of content, and brand validation. One significant roadblock B2B companies face is lacking the internal resources to create quality content daily. Although daunting at first, with strategic content creation and naming, you can still drive results to optimize user engagement.
Naming plays a big role with user expectations when navigating to the "blog" section of your site. Blog is defined as "a regularly updated website or web page," and users have come to expect a certain tier of content. When not delivered, it can be a poor reflection on your brand. Varying naming conventions for your blog, such as "Industry Insights" & "Intelligence Center" are simple ways to set user expectations while alleviating pressure to create content daily.
If you have the resources to create content daily, sharing articles from your blog to third-party sites creates valuable SEO and content exposure opportunities. For those companies who have minimal resources to create content, targeting your efforts to create the right content can be a challenging task. Therefore, here are some tips for optimizing your content creation efforts online.
Unique and engaging content that is catered to your industry, brand, or product offering will always resonate further with users than boilerplate news that can be found on multiple sites. In the B2B realm, a well-articulated case study, white paper, or thought leadership article can carry more value than a blog with minimal unique content. As shown in previous studies by E-marketer, targeted content can be effective not only for marketing efforts, but directly affect the decision process as well. If you are going to take time to create content - make it count!
Getting a user to a website is one thing; creating a productive website experience is another. If you are creating resourceful or product related "blog" content, share it as much as you can! With targeted placement of notable mentions, thought leadership, and white papers within your site, it will create site-exploration opportunities for users to conduct further research and validate your brand/product positioning online.
"Approximately 96% of your visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy." - Hubspot The above statistic says a lot. Despite having awareness of your brand / product offering, users sometimes need to be reminded about the value you bring to the market. Tapping into the personal interests of the industry/ audience member social media trends, you can increase exposure of content and drive users back to your site - ultimately creating more conversion opportunities for your site via social media referral traffic.
Although this doesn't cover everything that would go into a typical BFM Website Strategy, these tips and tactics are a great way to start planning for your future website and create a solid jump-start on content and site elements that will ultimately help your users convert. Engaging with multiple B2B clients at BFM, these tactics have helped businesses optimize their presence online, and we hope it will do the same for you! Let us know what design elements have given your users the best online experience by leaving a comment below or contacting us @BFMweb.