Launching a successful B2B business (and website) is quite different from launching a B2C website. There's so much to consider if you want to reach success and stay ahead of competition. With that being said, below are some relevant, insightful, and helpful tips from the pros! From identifying pain points to putting yourself in your customers' shoes, you have to trust their experience. Let’s dive in!
What is a B2B Website?
Before we begin, let's start with a quick definition. What is a B2B website? A B2B (business to business) is a company/website that sells products or services to other companies. For instance, Alibaba is the world’s largest B2B website for international wholesale trades. On the other hand, Dropbox is an excellent example of a B2B company selling cloud services. You need to understand that while many brands have both B2B and B2C sides to their business (the ones mentioned above included), a B2B website targets companies instead of selling to individuals. They have different branding, marketing, content, and sales strategies.
B2B websites also have different designs and feel. For instance, since they do not address individuals, they prefer streamlined website layouts, darker, more sophisticated website colors, more formal messages, a business-like tone of voice, clear-cut customers’ journey, etc.
Remember that you are not selling exclusively customized leggings to Yoga fanatics via your POD store, but let’s say, thousands of dollars worth of software solutions to the automotive industry.
The question becomes how to design a website for a B2B business and, more importantly, launch a successful B2B website? Luckily, the pros we have gathered here today have some tips for you!
Creating a B2B Website: Tips from Our Roundup Experts
Let's see what experts in business, web design, and marketing have to say about it! We rounded up some of the biggest names on the web and asked them to share their thoughts on what B2B owners should know about building and managing B2B websites.
Here are their answers!
1. Identify Pain Points
Kyle Treleaven from BrainStation shares his wisdom regarding the users' journey, user experience, and feedback:
"Know your customer and make it as easy as possible for them to find your website useful. If you are looking to conduct business, make it simple and easy.
Go through the exercise of the user journey and identify any pain points that might occur: your users’ connection with the right person; or the quick finding of the right information. For example, most B2B websites are for showcasing information. Therefore, they have a lower purchase frequency than a B2C, as the B2B market is much smaller of a pool than the consumer market.
Lastly, ask some of your existing top clients for feedback. You are looking to improve this experience for them, so ask them. In the end, once you solve their problem and make it convenient, sales will increase for you."
2. Your Website is for Your Customers
Here's IntelliChief’s software company's content marketing manager Faith Kubicki's advice to launching a successful B2B website:
"One of the most common mistakes that I've seen companies make is building their website for themselves and not their prospective customers. To get traffic (and make their websites convert), they need to provide high-quality information and use the language their customers naturally use. A lot of times, this means moving away from industry jargon and using clear, simple language. Also, using a keyword tool to ensure that what they feature on their website is relevant and highly searched can significantly increase the likelihood of a successful website marketing campaign.
Another thing that a lot of B2B websites don't have is a clearly defined value proposition. Business owners can talk about their products and services all day long, but if a prospective customer can't immediately figure out why they should care, they have no reason to stay on the website. On the flip side, if they can easily see themselves benefitting from it, they're much more likely to convert. Prospective customers come to a website because they ultimately want to buy – business owners have to give them a solid reason.
Business owners need to put themselves in their customers' shoes to get the most out of their digital marketing efforts. Building a great website is a marathon, not a sprint. They can't just "set it and forget it" – to keep gaining traction online, they need to keep publishing quality content, promoting their pages, and monitoring their results. It is a significant resource investment, but it can pay off – a solid website can bring in hundreds of leads a month, helping them find customers and increase sales."
3. Decide Whether You Are Selling a Product, a Service, or an Idea
The founder and CEO of SassyLasses, Sacha Brant, says that you must know the purpose of your website to develop a site that will convert eyes to buys. Sacha asks her clients plenty of web design questions, so before you start thinking about your B2B website, have some answers drafted on paper.
"When I work with clients to develop their website, we always design with conversion in mind. We ask them to define their site in three ways: selling a product, service, or idea. Depending on the core purpose of the website, the requirements change.
Are you trying to sell a product?
To fall into this category, you need to be providing something tangible (or mostly tangible.) You could be selling bibles or chickens, miracle cures, or kitschy crafts. You all fall into this category. Your website's purpose is to show potential customers how better their life would be with your product. It's about the features and benefits, the reasons they should never be without. Your goal needs should be to help your customer see why they both need and want what you've got.
Are you trying to sell services?
This category is all about what you can do for the customer. Services aren't tangible, but they do have value to the customers. The problem with purchasing something you can't see is that you are selling based on trust. Your website's purpose is to both gain that trust and invite them to connect with you. You'll need to show them proof of concept and why you will deliver better than others in your field.
Are you sharing information?
I consider this the catch-all. If you aren't trying to sell something, you're trying to draw attention to it instead. These are the bloggers who do it for the likes, the fan sites for boybands everywhere, dating sites, etc. (you aren't selling your body but trying to share your message and find a mate.) Your website's job, in this case, is to be informative and entertaining and encourage the audience to share it with others. When you're only in it for the applause, you need to build that audience."
4. Let Them See Who You Are
As Marsh Williams from SHOUT OUT STUDIO sums it up, there are many things one can do through a credible B2B website, but there are a few elementary rules to follow. So with that in mind, here are a couple of quick rules from the expert:
Put yourself in the customer's "mindset." What are they looking for? What do they want to know about a potential partner, and why are they even looking for a company that does what yours does? If you can answer these questions early in their visit, you're way ahead of the game. Besides the mandatory website pages all sites should have, your B2B website should clearly display your products/services and your unique value proposition, among others. From the homepage to the "About us" page and from the company's mission to its contact form, the users need to have a seamless and revelatory experience with your website.
Let potential customers see who you really are. Don't be afraid to show your personality as it is. This helps create a relationship from the beginning and set expectations for when you and the customer meet. Too many companies try to use "marketing speak" and come off sounding very vanilla.
Provide content that really benefits them on their visit to your website. Customers are trying to find partners that share their values and vision. They want to understand if a potential partner has defined experience and demonstrable knowledge in their field. Do not be afraid to share good solid information with them. Share the same type of information you would about your company's experience if you were in a sales call. In other words, don't forget about the benefits of blogging, storytelling marketing, and excellent branding.
Offer multiple opportunities to engage, and do not be afraid to ask for contact or feedback. Let clients know that you would be happy to discuss their needs and become available to provide them with more information. Let them know you're not just interested in scheduling a sales call but in speaking with them to see if you can help.
5. Using Industry Terminology is Okay
And often, we think it's not, right? Or at least this is what other experts have told us. Well, Matthew Mercuri from Broadsign explains it a bit. And since he has an extensive background in managing online reputations and websites, here’s what he had to say:
"Don't be afraid to use complex or industry terminology on your website. Your website is speaking to businesses that understand what you are talking about. The way you present your content doesn't necessarily need to be watered down as it does for the public. Using accurate industry terminology helps you rank better in SERPS."
6. B2B is Totally Different from B2C
B2B websites, being completely different from B2C sites, require a different approach, according to the Director of Digital Strategy at GOAT, David Van Veen. He would love to add:
"The purpose of the B2B website changes to gaining quality leads and supporting sales. Quality means relevancy, and a relevant lead is one from a user that is as far down a sales funnel as possible."
And here's some more from her!
"Leverage automation and user scoring to sift through the low-quality leads that come from white paper downloads.
Create your SEO focused pages using the following trail of thought (and content):
What we do
What are the benefits to anyone getting these services
Why are we the right company for them?
Focus on using clear layman and business terms in your services pages to increase your SEO and allow users to convert cold.
Focus on readability. Use appropriate terms and put your pages through a site like hemingwayapp.com. Avoid large blocks of text and have a good text hierarchy. Keep the site from being siloed. Users don't click on the "Testimonials'' or the "Thought Leadership" section. These need to be included inline on other pages. Tell your narrative using the scroll action. Don't count on users clicking where you want them to go next — instead, tell the story on each page.”
7. Think About Social Profiles for Your B2B Website
As Jonas Sickler, marketing director at Reputation Management, advises:
“Don't fall victim to the myth that your customers aren't on social media. Business owners can quickly become so consumed with perfecting every detail of their new site that they may forget to leverage what's already out there - social profiles.
There were 4.48 billion active social users in July 2021, and the number is expected to continue growing. Social media can help you spread the word about your fantastic new look and customer experience.
Since it can take a while for a new site to start ranking in search results, social media is an excellent way to jump-start your traffic while you're waiting for Google to reward you."
8. You Have Got to be Strategic
"While a B2B website doesn't necessarily need to be complex, it does need to be strategic," says Emily Sidley from Three Girls Media, Inc.
"As you design your site, think about your target consumer. How can you showcase your brand consistently, clearly, and compellingly? Consider which type of language, images, videos, colors, and fonts they'll respond to best, and use them consistently throughout your website. B2B businesses tend to be a bit more formal, so you'll want your overall design to be sleek and clear."
At the bare minimum, make sure your website includes:
Services you provide;
How you're different from competitors:
A blog (crucial for driving traffic to your website).
You may also want to consider including client testimonials and an “About” page that features your founder, CEO, staff, and how your company was started."
She also added a bit about your B2B website's SEO.
"Of course, the way your website looks to the visitor isn't all you need to think about; it's also important to consider how consumers will find your site. Effective search engine optimization (SEO) is vital.
Creating and Managing a Successful B2B Website: Key Takeaways
Now that we have gone through the main tips offered by the pros we asked, let’s do a quick summary of what we have learned so far. Here are the main takeaways you should consider when creating and managing a B2B website:
A B2B business model is different from a B2C one, so you need to do your homework and guide your client niche to the goals you want them to achieve;
After you identify your business goals and the reasons you need a website for your B2B, make sure you implement your website monitoring tools;
Get to know your customers: identify their decision-making processes, FAQs you need to answer, customers' maps, buyer personas, etc.;
Unify your B2B website design with your brand's message, image, consistency, story, etc.;
Unify, organize, and optimize your website's UX with your content strategy;
Offer informative, fresh, and actionable content to your visitors to encourage traffic, build authority, and boost conversions;
Always design your B2B website with SEO in mind, from the moment you choose a template to the moment you submit your sitemap to Google;
Once your website is ready, review it, and test it a few times to ensure it offers a smooth, seamless experience to your customers.
Have you found some helpful tips in this guide? We’re sure you have! On a final note, ensure to keep all of this information at your fingertips and create your website right away!