Great websites for business-to-business (B2B) companies are as essential as having a main telephone number used to be many years ago. If customers, vendors, or partners do not have an easy way to make contact, the company will go out of business. A great website is an essential tool for all B2B companies in 2016. It is the primary channel for anyone to learn about your business and initiate contact, and serves as the hub for all the other channels and points of contact such as social media or email. With that in mind, all companies marketing to other businesses must have a great B2B website that meets the following criteria:
- They Must Be Responsive
- They Must Be Optimized
- They Must Be Updated Regularly with Great Content
I recognize that you are probably not an experienced web designer. Chances are, however, you are going to lead or be an integral member of a team inside your company to either redesign your website or scrap it and build a new site altogether. So let's discuss what each of these 3 keys really mean.
1. They must be responsive
You are probably asking yourself what 'responsive' means in a website context. Well, I'm going to tell you...because I'm responsive! In the most basic terms, a responsive website automatically adapts to the screen size of the user's device without sacrificing the content of the website. Why is this important? One big reason is that a 2015 Google report indicated that more searches were done in 2014 on mobile devices than on computers or tablets combined. If trends continue (and this one most likely will), the percentage of mobile device searches will only increase, so your B2B website better be able to adapt, or in this case respond. The key is if you plan on redesigning or scrapping your current website, it has to be replaced using responsive website design.
2. They must be optimized
SEO, or search engine optimization, used to be a very specialized service for particular types of businesses that sell online. That is not the case anymore. Studies show that an increasing number of prospective B2B decision makers and buyers begin the buying process with an internet search. An often cited research study from 2010 stated that prospective buyers are halfway through the decision process using internet searches and personal research before contacting a representative from a potential vendor. New research from SiriusDecisions suggests that may not necessarily be true, however, Google and other search engine research still tends to be a significant part (as much as 50%) of the decision making process for B2B purchases. If your company does not have a clear understanding of its value proposition and have a strategy to optimize your website, your making a big mistake. If that optimization doesn't include strategic keywords that your prospects are searching for regularly and that help position your company online as a trusted resource, then your company may be making a fatal mistake. This point leads perfectly into the 3rd key to building great B2B websites.
3. They must be updated regularly with great content
Not long ago, a website redesign was a project a company would undertake with a defined start, several months of design work, and a defined finish culminating in the launch of the new website. Today, there is no defined beginning and end. A great website, whether it is B2B or B2C, is a living, breathing, ever-changing organism that is the heartbeat of a company's communication strategy. The website is the hub for content that links to the company's various social media platforms, and feeds their email marketing platform and email campaigns. Most importantly, it is a repository for the variety of content that informs your target buying personas - the types of people who are prospects for your company's product or service - at the various stages of their buying cycle. This repository, or content library, does many things:
- Makes you website more relevant to buyers
- Increases the likelihood that Google and other search engines rank your site more favorably
- Provides a constant stream of relevant information to refer to as you market your company online
So as you consider how to approach the task of building a great B2B website for your company, make sure you include these 3 key components into your planning and execution. If you do, you will be well on your way.
If you are further along in the redesign process, maybe you are ready to learn more about optimizing your website and taking advantage of SEO best practices.
Download our eBook: 10 SEO Mistakes to Avoid During Your Next Website Redesign, and learn:
- The biggest mistake marketing teams make when building or redesigning a website
- Why it is important to 'audit' your existing site and what to look for
- What Google and other search engines are most looking for