Website Design Strategy for B2B: A “How To” Guide
Website Design Strategy for B2B: A “How To” Guide
Creating a great B2B website is critical to your business. Your website is the first thing users see when they start to do research on your company. In today’s modern world, of self-service and doing your own research on a company, your website is now more important than ever.
It is important to note that 70% of the B2B buying process is actually done before someone even gets in touch with your firm.
“B2B customers today progress more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before ever engaging a sales representative. If you’re so focused on what happens in the latter 30% (pricing, discounts, and sales tactics), then you’ll miss the first 70% … … There’s a dangerous assumption out there that B2B buyers are less likely than the average consumer to engage digitally in their research process.” Forbes
An effective website, therefore, is one that serves this need, by helping buyers perform their research while generating qualified leads for the business to sell to.
While your website must look good, effective website design is about more than visual appearance. At R2 Creative Group, we consider the strategy behind the site, the structure, content, layout, SEO and more. The goal is to make your site more than an online brochure, turning it into a true lead generating system.
There are 3 things a website must do in order to sell:
- Get traffic: This means it needs to be found, through google and other relevant resources.
- Engage users: This means having a positive user experience (UX), taking customers on a journey that they want to embrace.
- Conversion: Your site needs to take a user who has never heard of you and make them believe your message. A true conversion means that you are getting more information from the user (like email address or phone number) or to go straight to purchase.
To track user behavior, and understand the flow of traffic, there are some required tools:
Google Analytics: tracks and reports website traffic,
Search Console (Webmaster Tools): shows issues with your site and support documentation with testing tools
Hotjar or Crazy Egg: heat mapping software to analyzes your site using a warm-to-cool color spectrum to track the movements of your visitors and better understand their interactions with your website.
Key items that go into building a successful B2B website
Ideally you would gather all key decision makers for a workshop to help refine your goals for the website around strategy, branding & messaging. The purpose of a brand workshop is to ‘get under the hood’ of your company’s beliefs, purpose, vision, values and personality. Once finalized, these ideals will be portrayed in the new website and marketing collateral.
The goal is to define the target audience and walk away with answers to the following key questions:
› What do you offer that is different than its competitors?
› What is the core brand message?
› Are your messages simple, easy to understand and compelling?
› Do CAP your messages resonate with its target audience?
The outcome of this crucial first step is to write a creative brief and get your whole team aligned on the goals of the website.
This determines the content you’re planning to write and how the content relates to SEO search. This is an important first step for how you want to target those keywords (now and in the future) through your website. The tools above (or others) can help you immensely to understand what key words have volume and will drive more people to your website.
Create a site map and information architecture; this will ensure that the website is easy to navigate and all the information is simple to locate. This is the first major step in designing a website. This includes:
› Assess the intent of users–what they are looking for and the best way for them to find it
› Review content
› Organize content categories and determine relationships
› Provide overall navigation
Website wireframes, also known as page schematics or screen blueprints, are a visual guide that represent the skeletal framework of a website. They are simple line drawings that show the placement of elements on a web page, but do not contain content or images.
Start by looking at how people actually use your site–where do people go? What do they care about? What content is most important? We will then we build the site around a strategy that uses this data. Content and headlines are developed for the main copy pages of the website in order to drive the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) effort.
All website pages are built in Photoshop and will be approved as jpegs before programming begins. We start by designing the homepage and one secondary page.
The homepage is a crucial element in effective website design and will likely cause the most room for debate as it is the first page many visitors see. A good homepage designs dictates whether a user stays or bounces in just seconds (the classic ‘blink test’).
Other content we recommend for your homepage:
- Differentiation – Provide information on why your company is best for them.
- Proof – Evidence goes a long way toward building trust and preference, share customer logos, testimonials or case studies.
- Calls to action – Make sure you have big bold calls to action letting your users know the next steps you want them to take.
Websites are built using Responsive HTML. With Responsive HTML, the content on each page automatically re-sizes according to the percentages set and browser window size. This will eliminate the need for a horizontal scroll bar if the content width is less than the browser window width.
The advantage of Responsive HTML is that the content will conform to the screen size on all devices. A website that is designed to these established standards will adopt its design and layout to fit the specifications of the specific device calling it (so what may appear to be a website with large images spread across three columns on a computer screen, will appear to have smaller images in a single column on a mobile screen). It achieves this by dynamically adopting to different screen sizes and reformatting the positioning and look of the constituent elements of the website. Responsive HTML does not need multiple codes written for each type of device; a single set of code which accepts various specification parameters from the device will do the job.
Content Management System (CMS):
To support the ease of use, website are built using a CMS structure (usually WordPress). The value of the CMS is the following:
› Scalable interface allows for easy content editing within the website.
› “Four Eyed” work flow allows for checks and balances between the identified editor and publisher.
› Provides Maxim Crane with the ability to edit body text, pdfs, and jpegs.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The incorporation of an SEO campaign is that it will increase incoming web traffic and improve search engine rankings. The initial SEO campaign includes the following:
› Perform a conversion analysis and make suggestions that will improve the conversion percentage and funnel of the site
› Setup Google Tag Manager events
› Analyze available data
› Setup form and click-to-call tracking in analytics
› Setup remarketing audience tags
› Make sure conversion events are being tracked in Google Analytics correctly
› Google Data Studio Dashboard creation
› Optimize the site for mobile-usability and speed and test functionality
› SEO cleanup/optimize www.cranerental.com
› Make sure meta titles and descriptions are current/optimized
› Rework existing content as needed in order to appeal to certain keyword choices
› Write image alt tags
› Fix any duplicate content on the main site
› Perform a full site-audit and correct any optimization issues that are detected
› Correct internal linking structure
› Format resource pages in terms of headings, length, internal linking, or meta descriptions/titles
› Adjust the url structure to accommodate machinery category pages and geographic-specific pages
› Full conversion diagnostic and identify and correct any poor performance trends that appear
› Fix negative SEO/backlink cleanup
Don’t build a simple brochure site. Don’t spend many months and thousands of dollars to launch something that won’t do the job. Follow these guidelines, and your new website will have all the all the important elements to deliver you leads and grow your business.