Making Your B2B Website More Engaging
Your website is often the place where prospective clients will get their first impression of your business; you probably already knew this. What you may not have known is that, according to market research, 38% of B2B buyers visit at least four sites to research their options before making a first-time purchase. That’s a lot of first impressions to compete with — and going by a recent Forrester Research study, there’s a good chance you’re falling short.
In an evaluation of 60 different firms across a dozen B2B industries, the marketing research group reported that only four companies passed muster in terms of showcasing engaging, customer-focused content. Even worse, those companies only earned that distinction after Forrester lowered its standards for what constitutes a passing grade.
Grade-curving is great if you’re in high school, but in the online arena — where you have precious seconds to make an impression — there is no such leniency. So how do you stand out from the crowd?
Here are a few “rules of engagement.”
Focus on your customers instead of forcing them to focus on you
Chances are, not every visitor will be interested in every service you offer. If your customers are immediately greeted with a long list of things they don’t want, don’t expect them to go digging through your website to find what they’re looking for.
Pages for products or services should cover the most important questions: what the product is, who it’s intended for, and why they want it. This will make the customer feel like you’re already listening to them — before they’ve even reached out.
Offer value beyond what you’re selling
A 2018 B2B buyer survey conducted by Demand Gen Report shows 78% of buyers are placing greater emphasis on the trustworthiness of their sources. Furthermore, 65% say their purchases are influenced by “credible content,” whether it’s offered in the form of a blog post, white paper, webinar or podcast.
All of these are great ways to generate a little PR for your firm while demonstrating the advantages you offer. Regular updates also give a reason for visitors to keep coming back. (If you’re not sold on this idea, consider that you’re reading a blog post at this very second.) Your website should stand out as a resource on its own, completely independent of the products you offer.
Tailor your content
Have you ever had a conversation with a person who seems intent on a certain topic, no matter how much you try to steer the conversation in another direction? Did you come away feeling like you’d had an engaging discussion, or were you frustrated that you weren’t being listened to?
Your customers are people, and they want to feel like you’re listening. If the conversations happening in your industry are changing, change with them. When it comes to mapping out a content strategy, it helps to focus on the major points you want to hit and to keep them general; this way, if the details have to change, it’s just a matter of making tweaks. And if you do have to throw out part of your plan — well, it’s better than appearing out of touch.
Let customers speak for themselves
How do you think customers (both current and future) would grade your website’s content? Here’s a better question: Have you actually asked them? Visitors are at your site for a reason, and the more you understand about what they hope to take away from their search, the better equipped you are to prove you can meet their needs.
Email surveys, phone calls, and face-to-face chats (whether at a conference or a company-hosted event) are all fantastic for gaining insight into the needs and challenges of your industry — insights that can be used to direct your content strategy (see above).
B2B buyers have a lot to consider when choosing who to do business with. By stepping up your engagement efforts, you’re already proving your willingness to go above and beyond. How’s that for a first impression?