Is your website drawing prospects in or pushing them away?
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
Digital marketing is more than just shifting dollars from offline to online tactics. It represents a fundamental change in the way you nurture, foster and generate relationships with prospects. No longer are you just selling product features; you’re selling your expertise as well. You’re educating. You’re providing new insights into topics customers care about and demonstrating your deep knowledge along the way.
When looking for the best place to start making that shift, try your digital home base: your company’s website. If you haven’t thought seriously about how your site fits into your digital marketing strategy, there’s a good chance it doesn’t. You may be wasting money on digital real estate that’s not delivering much of a return. In the worst cases, a bad website can actually undermine your business. It’s time for an extreme makeover: website edition. You never get a second chance…
According to a 2018 Forrester survey, 92 percent of B2B purchases start with search—and 68 percent of purchasers prefer to research online, on their own, before they ever speak with a seller. That means for more than two thirds of prospective customers, your website will be their first—in some cases, only—impression of your business.
If you’re ambitious, you might look at your website as a demand-generation tool, and it can be. But before you get there, it must be a reputation preservation tool. If the digital face you show the world is outdated or nonfunctional, no one will believe in your expertise. A well-designed, well-functioning website should not be aspirational circa 2019; it’s table stakes.
Take the next step
A website that functions as a slick digital brochure is better than nothing. But companies using their sites to drive real demand go farther.
Start by thinking about your web content through the lens of the consumer marketplace, rather than traditional B2B. Consumers interact with websites daily, and when they visit one for work, their expectations are naturally fueled by the leading consumer-facing web properties. You’re not going to replicate Amazon or Facebook. But you should be looking to provide a more exciting, informative experience that visitors can connect with, not just a boring online brochure.
Remember, the goal is to educate, to position yourself as an expert in subjects that prospective customers care about. To do that, you need to host informative, interesting—and regularly updated—content. That can be blogs, white papers, links to relevant news or videos or slide-shares. Sellers with more advanced web strategies will even display dynamic content that changes based on the profile of the buyer landing on that page.
Put your site to the test Considering all these elements, how would you rate your website right now? Here are some key questions to ask:
What is your content update schedule? If you don’t have an active update schedule for your web content, that’s a telltale sign you’re not educating anyone.
What’s your bounce rate? Bounce rate measures the percent of visitors that come to your site and leave immediately—presumably because they found nothing of value there. A bounce rate of 25 to 50 percent may be typical. Anything above 60 percent should worry you. If it’s 75 percent or higher, you need a content/website overhaul ASAP or there are elements of your website that may be causing these high bounce rates, so additional insight is needed.
How much time do visitors spend on your site? Time spent and number of pages visited can be a useful gauge of the quality of a visit. A well-designed site with good educational content will have an average session duration of two to three minutes or more. If most visitors aren’t spending that much time, or if they just browse the home page and leave without exploring further, there’s a good chance your content is stale.
Fitting into the larger strategy
Think of your website like a digital living room. You’re welcoming people you don’t know into your home, so it needs to look clean, well-organized and inviting. You want people to be comfortable hanging out there. But how do you get people to show up at your door in the first place? Remember, if you don’t have a good website in B2B technology sales, you might as well not be in business. But if you build a great website and don’t do anything to drive traffic to it, you just wasted your money.
Traffic can come from multiple sources. Your website should be surrounded by a larger digital marketing strategy: search engine optimization, social media, inbound and outbound marketing tactics and more. And you should be using tools like Google analytics to be able to see where your traffic is coming from and experiment with different strategies to see what resonates.
It is important that you state a clear unique value proposition for your business prominently and that you feature content on the home page as way to drive signups and increase engagement. So, if your website needs a makeover—and if you’re ready to start building stronger customer relationships and driving demand—take the next step in your digital marketing journey.