A website should serve a distinct function, and companies should continuously optimize to perform that function better over time. B2B companies often launch a website because they feel like they need it, without expecting it to serve a purpose. With the onset of the pandemic, this error became clear to B2B organizations. Websites cannot simply be a brochure. Instead, a website should act as a growth engine by driving qualified leads.
Arguably the No. 1 mistake B2B businesses make is allowing a website to underperform or not perform at all due to a lack of agreement on that website’s job. Other errors include ignoring mobile load time, low conversion rates and not improving the site continuously. Buyers, however, still give importance to a website. Seventy-three percent of B2B buyers (registration required) surveyed said they look at a supplier’s website when deciding whether to submit a request for information (RFI). Don’t miss out on qualified leads because of a poor-performing site. Watch for these common mistakes.
Lack of B2B Website Management
First and foremost, B2B leaders should ensure the website is easy to manage. This means it’s not cumbersome or time-consuming to publish content. Buyers’ needs will evolve, which means content that addresses those needs must evolve as well. Being able to quickly upload content to target buyers is crucial. The web is a competitive space. Websites that are frequently updated and improved perform better. A company with a strong web management practice tends to remove barriers to publishing great content frequently. Barriers to publishing could be technology frustrations, lack of investment in content, or even a lack of ideas.
Many B2B companies think they must undergo a complete website transformation to stay relevant, which can result in websites going years without a change. A website should never be static. Instead, it should evolve through incremental improvements. This could be tweaking messaging, updating images, or adding new pillar pages based on services, offerings and buyer targets. These incremental improvements are the key to addressing the evolving needs of buyers over time and staying relevant.
Related Article: 3 Ways to Improve B2B User Experiences With Intent Data
Underestimate SEO’s Importance
Numerous SEO elements go into a high-functioning website. Two crucial aspects include mobile load time and topical relevance.
A slow mobile load time hurts a website’s SEO rankings, making buyers less likely to find the site organically. A fast-loading website also provides buyers with a much better user experience, increasing their likelihood of engaging with a brand online. A website designed well for mobile devices can accelerate the time to purchase by 20% (pdf) in B2B deals.
Topical relevance is essential for B2B websites. Instead of ranking for any keywords or phrases specific to the product or service, carefully plan what topics and keywords you wish to compete for. Aim to rank for intent-focused keywords. Build a body of content that is directly relevant to a buyer’s challenges, goals and interests. Marketers need to create highly informative content on a carefully defined number of topics, keywords and themes. These keywords and topics are what a buyer searches for when they intend to solve their problem. Forgetting to focus on keyword ranking hurts SEO as well.
Related Article: Get Your SEO House in Order for 2021
Forgetting to Focus on the Buyer
A B2B website should build trust with and inspire the buyer. It should also differentiate the company in the market — the buyer should see a tangible difference from one provider to another. If buyers do not find the website credible, it could relate to problems with messaging or design. Taking a generalized approach to messaging can lead to B2B organizations looking too much alike and the buyer not understanding the value differentiators. If it’s unclear what a company does, B2B buyers will leave a website.
The website should play a role across the entire buyer’s journey. While many companies use the website at the awareness phase, it should also play a part during consideration and decision. Messaging should change across these three stages as the buyer’s education has changed. Analytics can help companies understand the buyer engagement paths in a website. Using heat mapping, closed-loop marketing analytics, and funnel visualizations helps companies better understand how their website performs in the consideration and decision stages of the buyer’s journey.
Related Article: B2B Customer Experience Doesn’t Have to Lag B2C
Following Vanity Metrics
In the end, a website should be able to convert prospects. If the website fails to do so, it isn’t functional. Many B2B companies make the mistake of measuring overall traffic or page views which ultimately offer no insight into the website’s performance. Metrics that do matter include conversion rates — are users coming to the website and performing an action? Are they incentivized enough to take the next step or click a call-to-action (CTA)? Does the website bring in qualified leads? Many websites bring in a large number of leads, but only a few are qualified. Are the leads people who could become clients? These metrics are valuable to B2B companies who want to use their website as a functional asset.
B2B businesses that want to drive more value through their website should embrace continual improvements, buyer-centric messaging, better topical relevance for SEO, and measuring how buyers engage with content through the buying process. By correcting common mistakes, companies can generate more qualified leads and convert them on the site while standing out in the market.
Jonathan Franchell founded Ironpaper in 2003. Ever since, he has had the pleasure of working with a diverse range of clients and business needs — ranging from public interest to the public sector.