Does “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” or “No one uses our website, we’re all word of mouth” sound familiar? They’re the all too common refrains of B2B marketers when it comes to updating the company website. The fact is the website you created in 2005 might not be relevant in 2015 and could even be losing you business. Here are three key areas where B2B websites tend to fall short and what to do about them.
1. Content that Connects
Filling your site with loads of keywords in hopes of ranking high in Google searches has quickly become old school. The new game is to create content that drives return visits and gets shared by visitors, thereby increasing your search ranking. The best way to do this: add value to your user’s experience.
For B2B companies this means thinking about more than product descriptions and company history on your site. Instead, aim to make users feel like your website is a convenient place to find unique business insights that are relevant to them, something they’ll come back for or share with others. A company blog that comments on industry trends or posts company news is a common way to do this, but not the only one. Some forward-thinking B2B sites have created a section for ‘trends’ or ‘pro tips’ that don’t require the constant updating of a blog yet still create that ‘insider info’ feel. Other B2B marketers help clients solve problems with their products by posting ‘how-to’ videos on their website instead of confusing written instructions. Even adding a simple glossary of technical jargon can help your company appear more responsive and accommodating to its clients.
A word on blogs: writing regular posts doesn’t have to be a burden. Smart B2C and B2B companies alike will pass this job off to a well-qualified ad agency to research and ghost-write their posts, so they get timely blogs that don’t take a lot of time.
2. Mobile-Friendly: The New Normal
You never know when a potential client might be swiping through your homepage for the first time while standing in line at the coffee shop or waiting for their flight to board. Optimizing for mobile is not something that companies can afford to put off any longer because mobile is no longer just for casual web browsing. One recent study shows that 59 percent of purchase managers are now comfortable making a business purchase from a mobile device.
Even if you can’t do a complete website overhaul, just making sure that your menus are easily accessible and that your copy appears neat and readable on phones and tablets can go a long way. Give your website a try on your own phone some time and remember that those awkward pinch-zooms and endless page scrolls could be costing you clients.
3. Looks Do Matter
Just because you’re selling a highly technical product or speaking to a small niche audience doesn’t mean that your website should look as plain and cold as a washing machine manual. In fact, adding a little more visual aesthetic to your site could make all the difference between a client choosing you over an equally priced competitor.
A good place to start is with photography. If you’re one of those B2B websites still using images taken in 199? Users will notice, so it might be time for a new photo shoot. On the other hand, just because you can now use your phone to take product shots doesn’t mean you actually should. It’s still well worth your while to get professionally lit and photographed demo shots for the web. For service-oriented B2B companies, consider well-chosen stock photos or a clever infographic to help visually convey your selling point. When using stock photos, make your site stand out with large-scale, unique, and aspirational visuals over the same tired images of handshakes and boardroom meetings.
The most important takeaway is that no one single element drives traffic to, and creates sales from, a B2B website. Rather it’s the right combination of a creative team of content writers, web developers, and designers that can help turn your company’s website from a liability into an asset.