Designers have built B2B websites almost since the web debuted in 1989. But in the early years, just having a website was enough to prompt other businesses to buy from you. That is no longer the case.
Website designers need to use proven B2B website building strategies that include key strategies, elements and revisions.
The first step is to determine the basics of targeting the desired customer via the website, according to Daniel Nilsson, CEO of Up Strategy Lab.
This includes defining the customer profiles that should be targeted, defining the customer buying journeys in order to understand how to connect the site for them and defining the value propositions.
“As we design our customer profiles we also need to answer to what the customer really want as outcomes. generally we do this with value proposition workshops,” Nilson said.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for B2B and B2C websites, according to Nilsson. “We need to ensure that whatever our ideal customers search to find the outcomes they want we should come up in the search result.”
Then create website structure, Nilsson explained. “We make decisions on logic, pages, if pages will be used to catch SEO, will sales use pages, etc.”
SEO issues also tend to be the source of the biggest mistakes in B2B website design, according to Nilsson, SEO opportunities to drive potential customers to your site are missed if texts, images and website are designed without SEO in mind. Additionally, a poorly designed site will mean slow upload times, also hindering SEO results.
Going beyond basics
While certainly essential, today’s B2B websites need to go beyond the basics of targeting the customer, said Susan Brown Faghani, manager, marketing and sales communication for L-Soft international, who lists the following five essential elements to put your site ahead of that of the competition:
1. Do your research. Get the data you need on your audiences, whether through existing studies or your own online focus groups or questionnaires. Be sure you have the intel you need to resonate with the business community.
2. Make a plan to bring people back to your site again and again. Create an email list or an email newsletter and include a sign-up form on your website, so that your audiences can easily subscribe to your lists.
3. Post content frequently on your website–articles, tips, blog posts, newsletters and more. One top benefit of email lists is that you can communicate directly with your subscribers on your terms and on a channel that you control.
4. Keep all of your subscriber data in-house, with email lists and email newsletters. This makes it easy for you to target your communications and tailor your content based on the unique profiles of your subscribers.
5. Keep the lines of communication open. Be sure to have easily visible elements on your website for people to get in touch with you, subscribe and unsubscribe from your mailings and give feedback on your website.
Use the right tech stack
When building a B2B website for a tech company, keep in mind the ever-changing nature of the industry, said Andrei Stoica, co-founder of Stoica.com.
“A website for a company in this industry has to be adaptable and capable of responding to rapid growth or sudden points of interest. A great way to do this is to employ expandable web components, allowing the client to continue to add content onto existing pages or sections of the site without having to build from scratch.
“Templated sections that the client can easily fill out and use to auto-generate new pages or posts on the website ensure that their content will stay at the leading edge of the industry and further establish them as a thought leader in their field.”
Consider building a B2B website a process
Today’s B2B websites need to be updated on a regular basis to continue to fine-tune the effectiveness, advised Claire Escobedo, digital designer for Online Optimism.
“When building a B2B website for a tech company, keep in mind the ever-changing nature of the industry. A website for a company in this industry has to be adaptable and capable of responding to rapid growth or sudden points of interest.”
A great way to do this is to employ expandable web components, allowing the client to continue to add content onto existing pages or sections of the site without having to build from scratch.
Templated sections that the client can easily fill out and use to auto-generate new pages or posts on the website ensure that their content will stay at the leading edge of the industry and further establish them as a thought leader in their field.
The biggest mistake would be a “set it and forget it” approach to the website build, Ecobedo added.
“In the technology industry, it’s essential to stay at the forefront of industry developments. Of course, it’s important that the look of the website matches the cutting-edge nature of the company, but beyond visuals, the most successful B2B tech websites are easy to update and expand with new information.”