Having a website is crucial to the modern sales process, but there is a world of difference between the value and performance of purpose built sales website and the static “brochure” type website that is still all too common in b2b..
In fact your website should be actively providing inbound leads to your sales team, and then aiding them every step of the way from prospect to close. Including these five elements will ensure that your website is a lean, mean, lead nurturing machine.
1) Responsive Design
These days most searches for a new product begin on a mobile device. That means that your website has to look good and function well on small screens. One approach to this is called responsive design, the process of coding your website to display differently formatted versions depending on how big of a screen the user is viewing the page on. On a mobile device be sure that all text is clearly legible and touch navigation is easy (Use big buttons, not tiny anchor text links).
2) Implement lead generation workflows (Metacampaigns)
When a new visitor arrives on your web page they should immediately know what do next. The classic example of this is the START button that was implemented into Windows 95. Microsoft knew that users would have little idea of what to do when they booted up the OS so they put START on the button that you use to do things.
In b2b marketing this means clearly indicating to a user what they should do next. If you were marketing a new SaaS application you should probably direct your visitors to downloading a white paper in exchange for their contact information or even better, signing up for a demo of the product.
3) Content Strategy
By now most marketer knows what content marketing is and they have probably heard that it is the biggest thing in marketing since the printing press. Whether or not that statement is true is up for debate, however when it comes down to it content marketing just works. You shouldn’t just start writing blog posts and making youtube videos about anything that comes to mind.
Why you are creating your content? Who is the intended audience? How does the content relate to your other sales and marketing initiatives? How will your content marketing program’s success be measured? How often will new content be published? Where will it be published? What is the budget for creating content? Who is responsible for creating the content?
All of those questions must be answered BEFORE a single blog post is written. One of the best resources for this is Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach. You can find out more at the official website, contentstrategy.com
4) Social Proof
Trust is in incredibly short supply on the internet. One of the biggest hurdles for internet marketers is convincing website visitors that their company can be relied on to do whatever it is they say they will do. Not being able to actually speak with your prospects means that internet marketers must use other ways of establishing credibility.
Testimonials and positive reviews from the press are excellent ways of accomplishing this, many email newsletters display their exact number of subscribers next to their opt-in form to demonstrate how popular the newsletter is. Take special care to introduce social proof during any high-friction interaction, such as a trial sign up screen.
5) On Page SEO Optimization.
Often referred to as technical seo this is the process of ensuring that your website is organised to highlight to search engines what your pages are about. This includes things like carefully choosing the words in your title and headers, and not being lazy and naming images 01.jpg, 02.jpg etc. Do some research in the Google Keyword Tool to find out which terms related to your topic are getting searched the most and be sure to include those in your title and headers. With a little luck (WINK WINK more on that next week) you can get your content to appear when customers are searching for information about the topic.
These five points are a solid foundation for any b2b website. If you keep these in mind during your next redesign you will be on solid footing to pursue addition marketing activities like PPC advertising and social media marketing with the assurance that you can rely on your webpage to be an asset to both your customers and your sales team.
Next week I will publish a list of 5 advanced tips are sure to earn you a black belt in b2b. Lead scoring, PPC campaigns and possibly some grey hat SEO hacks. Check back next Monday, or better yet subscribe to my newsletter to stay up to date.