Strategic and Effective Design for Your B2B Website
A B2C website is something we are probably all familiar with – you need to buy something that you can’t find in a store, or don’t have time to be shopping for, so you browse online and make your purchase. But what role does a website play for a B2B business, with a complex sales cycle that doesn’t sell goods directly to end consumers?
A B2B website’s role is much more nuanced, but no less important than a B2C website, and can be even more critical to a customer’s buying journey. For B2B businesses, the majority of the buyer’s journey is spent conducting independent research online. A B2B website helps potential clients learn about your services and what differentiates you from your competition. According to research from Google, 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process, and the average buyer conducts 12 online searches before interacting with a business. (1) A well-designed website is essential for business success.
Developing a Compelling B2B Website
While no approach is one-size-fits-all to capitalize on the value of a good website, you can avoid the impact of a bad website by following these industry best practices:
Show immediate value. It takes 50 milliseconds (.05 seconds) for a website to make an impression on a user. (2) That’s why it is critical to show your value to your site visitors as soon as they find you. Enhanced visual features like carousels, sliding images, and toggle buttons can be attractive, but you want easily accessible information that will entice them to browse your site and learn why they should choose you over your competitors.
Keep it simple. As we’ve discussed, the first impression a visitor has of your site is incredibly important. Ninety-four percent of first impressions are design related. (3) Your design, and its related navigation, should be simple and user friendly. This will encourage visitors to browse and help them find what they are looking for quickly. Research shows that consumers rate complex websites as “less beautiful” than their counterparts with simple, clean design. (4) Ensure your search function and menus are easy to find and operate and create a clear visual path for conversions and lead generation.
Build trust. While the purpose of a B2C website is to make a sale during a visit, a B2B website must usher a buyer through a longer sales cycle for a product or service that is likely at a higher price point. Your design should walk your customer through your brand story and build a relationship by including the reasons why they should work with you and the positive experiences of your other customers.
Ensure accessibility. One in five Americans live with a disability, and an estimated 71% of web users with disabilities will simply leave a website that is not accessible. (5) The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination “on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.” While it does not explicitly name websites and/or apps as part of its jurisdiction, the Department of Justice has taken the position that websites are, indeed, considered places of public service. Following web accessibility standards is essential.
Personalize to suit your customer. Remember your website should be about your customer, not you! The purpose of your B2B website isn’t just to showcase your products or services, it is to show your customer how those products or services will solve their challenges. When possible, use real images instead of stock photos.
Your company’s B2B website is a critical part of the buyer’s journey – it can make or break the customer experience. It’s where prospective buyers go to find, learn about, and make judgments about a business and, ultimately, decide if they want to engage further. Given that the internet is your average buyer’s primary mode of information gathering, a B2B business needs to meet its prospects where they are, so it can draw them in, motivate their decision-making, and convert them into leads.
At Paradigm, we offer complete turnkey design and marketing services. When you work with our award-winning web design team, you won’t just get a beautiful site. You will also get a team of seasoned professionals who understand the importance of a website and ensure that your B2B website is highly functional, and designed using scientific theories of what makes a site successful. Contact us today to learn more about how you can leverage your website as your most powerful marketing tool.