Four ways to keep your B2B marketing Web site from turning away customers.

Recently, the eMarketer Daily Newsletter offered a powerful white paper, “Don’t Let Your Website Turn Away Customers,” written by iPerceptions, a Web analytics company.

I love the title. It made me act, just like the strong title of any white paper should.

This informative paper focuses on consumer Web site and ecommerce. But much of its content is solid advice for B2B marketers as well. In fact, the introduction alone lists some powerful questions B2B marketers should ask about their sites, then do something about if any of the answers are “no.”

Here are the first four questions this paper asks, revised for B2B marketers:

  1. Can prospects find the information they want?
  2. Do visitors enjoy the experience of interacting with your site?
  3. What can you do to bring prospects back more often?
  4. What are the main “pain points” your site visitors experience?

Several of my B2B clients have taken on the complete redo of their sites recently and the above points form the basis for their redesign strategies.

Here is how these questions are being answered in the new sites:

1. Can prospects find the information they want? It’s important to make it easy for prospect groups or individuals to go directly to the information that fits their needs and their pains. This requires navigation labeled by title, industry, industry issues, or pain points.

For example:
Title Navigation
Accounts Payable
Accounts Receivable
Purchasing
Inventory Management

Industry Navigation
Education
Distribution
Manufacturing
Hospitality

Industry Issue Navigation
Interoperability
Patient Care
Meaningful Use
Estimating

Pain Points
Time to Market
Cost Management
Productivity
Collaboration

When the visitor clicks on the category that matches their interests, the page that appears should address the issues specific to that grouping and the benefits the product or service delivers in that area.

2. Do visitors enjoy the experience of interacting with your site?Make sure visitors can easily find what they want and easily navigate back to where they were. It amazes me how many sites I visit that have dead-end pages, with little or no navigation back to where I started. All major navigation should be accessible from every page, including getting back to the home page.

3. What can you do to bring prospects back more often? B2B marketers can build traffic by creating and populating a knowledge center or library of educational content that serves all the industries, influencers and decision-makers. If a company markets B2B technology, the library should contain easy-to-access papers, videos, podcasts, product brochures, data sheets, ROI calculators and more — content that satisfies the CIO, department heads whose staff would use the product, the users, the CFO, and maybe even the CEO.

4. What are the main pain points your site visitors experience? We B2B marketers are very grateful for Google Analytics and the many other site analysis solutions today. These analytics quickly reveal visitor pains. If visitors are abandoning the site from a page that they should not logically abandon, that is a clear indication that there’s a problem on that page.

If prospects are leaving the site quickly after arriving, it’s a sign that the home page is not informative and has not drawn prospects in and/or that the navigation is not clear.

Everyone who visits a B2B Web site looking for a product or service comes from a different perspective, has different goals and is at a different stage in the buying cycle. Great B2B Web sites make it easy for all prospects visiting a site to find what they need quickly; provides inviting ways for the prospect to interact with the site, the company and the information; and, most importantly, to make contact.

If built well, Web sites can be a powerful a source of qualified leads for a business. So, as iPerceptions says clearly, “Don’t Let Your Website Turn Away Customers.”

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