From my experience, many of our larger B2B customers view their site as a customer portal for relevant data and are not overly concerned with anything beyond that functionality. During this past recession, our company has shifted a lot of our resources to web development and understanding how to make it an effective marketing tool for our customers. Without getting too technical, my top 10 suggestions for a more marketing orientated B2B website are as follows:
- Give your web some personality.
Many companies put website development in the hands of their IT department. Although they certainly play a big role, there should be a second set of eyes directing your look and message to the marketplace.
- Take a message first approach.
Don’t keep what you do best a secret. Make sure your value proposition is front and center. Narrow your focus and increase overall results by speaking specifically to your 80% strength and customer target.
- Use an effective combination of Flash and HTML text in your web layout. Too much of one or the other can leave the viewer either frustrated with download time or bored from lack of effective design and text heavy layouts. A “picture is worth a thousand words” applies to websites too.
- Optimize your site.
Having a site without SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is like having a hot dog without the bun. Proper SEO can dramatically change your presence on the web through increased rankings.
- Keep your news or blog category current.
Having original news and/or blog content will increase rankings and customer interest, while copying others verbatim and having out of date entries can work against you. The more you update your site, the more reasons search engines such as Google will have a reason to visit.
- Attention to detail is important.
Use quality photos and well written and proofed text. Make sure your logo and tagline are reproduced consistently and correctly throughout your site and please avoid extended “under construction” postings.
- Make your site customer centric.
Make it easy to navigate. Tell your message quickly and concisely. Have applicable customer log-in portals front and center. For new visitors, the majority are looking for contact info so make it easy to find.
- Benchmark your activity before and after.
Use Google Analytics to better understand traffic demographics. Review regularly and make changes to your site based on the data received. Set targets to better capture your viewers’ attention and increase frequency and lengths of visits in the future.
- Use a combination of push and pull strategies to increase your web presence.
Don’t wait for business to land in your lap. Push out your information. Promote your website to customers and prospects.
- Use one capable marketing provider. Your results will be more cohesive, cost effective and less demanding on your time. Taking a “too many cooks” approach (within your company and by using multiple vendors) could result in poor overall delivery and lack of consistency with your branding efforts.
Lee’s quote for the day,
“To catch the big fish, your marketing needs to have the right hook, line and thinkers.”