There is never a single channel behind the engagement success of a business. From a dedicated website to social media, marketing campaigns to sales emails, cold calls to inbound marketing, advertisements to messages, there is no dearth of channels that you can utilize to reach more customers.
But, whichever channel you pull the target accounts from, they come to visit your website. It’s like a homecoming!
Whatever efforts you put in to make people interested enough to visit your website, they will ultimately decide to stay or leave through their experience when they land. If they lose interest quickly, that might probably be the first and last time they’re there. All the budget, brains, tricks, and strategies you spent on inviting those top target accounts to your home (i.e., your homepage or landing page) likely amount to nothing because of the one factor – no engagement efforts put into the website!
To make your B2B website engagement effective, you need to understand and cover 3 major points:
1. Your goals and intentions with the website
2. The trust factor for your prospects
3. The website design
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these 3 checkpoints that can make your online website the most effective engagement channel for your business.
Checkpoint 1 – Your Goals & Intentions With The Website
The intentions you have and the goals you set for your website lay the groundwork for how effective your B2B website will be. They also help you decide the metrics for how you measure that effectiveness, so you can dedicate time and effort judiciously.
Good goals are high yet achievable, dynamic yet measurable. They help you get people on your website quicker and have them stay longer. What you want to achieve with your website will dictate the factors that must work together to turn your passing visitors to qualified leads.
So what are goals? Goals are specific, well-defined actions that you want your visitors to take once they land on your website.
To gauge how well your website engages people, you’d need to
a) create a goal on your site, and
b) set each goal up on Google Analytics
Here is a quick example list of 5 goals that can be potential must-measures on your B2B website:
a) Contact Us Forms: Probably the first and most obvious one on the list, this is an essential that can be found anywhere from your contact page, homepage pop-up, or at the footer of every page – depending on how important it is for your business. Typically, every input submitted into the contact us form is considered a lead, which needs further qualifying before being handed over to your sales team.
b) Quick Enquiry Forms: If you have been seeing a high bounce rate on your forms, it could be because they are too long. Quick enquiry forms are a super-fast solution for that. These usually just enquire a name, phone number, and a multiple-choice selection / short description of the nature of their query. A great practice is to put short enquiry forms on every page of your B2B website, especially if you have a lot of landing pages.
c) Call Back Requests: A call back request is a quick enquiry form, but only shorter! It just requires a name and phone number – less than a minute to fill. This is a great way to get useful information without scaring off the customer by being too greedy for data all at once. Moreover, call back requests are usually taken care of faster by the internal sales team than a contact us or quick enquiry form.
d) Registration Forms: Registration forms are your portal to offer instant value to your visitor. They contain useful (and usually free) information that solves, educates, and informs. But remember – it should actually be helpful information and not generic stuff they already know or can easily google online. Also, avoid stuff like corporate brochures and go for stuff like how-to guides, infographics, or research papers. The exchange of data should be valuable, or your customer will feel duped.
e) PDF Downloads: Your pdf and document downloads can provide good insight into the mind of your visitors. Based on the current market scenario, your external marketing activities, and the impact of your reach outs, you will likely see a lot of ups and downs in your download numbers. A simple trackback through Google Analytics can show you which channel or campaign caused a document to be downloaded or an individual downloaded more than before.
Checkpoint 2 – The Trust Factor For Your Prospects
Trust is the pillar upon which all relationships are built, and business relationships are no exception.
If you are a seller, you have also been a buyer. Every buyer is aware of how when trust is broken, often even once, they don’t think twice before moving on to buy from the next best business.
In the B2B world of more sophisticated buyers and sellers, the focus on trust is even greater. Traditionally, trust has been built offline and by face-to-face interactions. Today in the online realm, trust can also be earned without physical conversations. And this is where your website can play a huge role – in building long-lasting trust with a long list of customers.
Here is a quick example list of 5 ways you can win trust with your website:
a) Make Your Website HTTPS Secure
The first chance to earn trust with your website is with its URL. Irrespective of how great your website content is, every visitor would want it to be secure. This means that your website must have a HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) certificate. An overwhelming 93.2% of all browsing time on Chrome is spent on HTTPS pages, and yet, more than 1/3rd of all websites on the internet are still insecure.
A normal HTTP URL doesn’t cut it, as you’d be able to see by the unlocked padlock to the immediate left of the URL. Some browsers and browser settings will automatically warn their user if they’re about to browse a non-HTTPS website. This can significantly hurt your conversions and increase your bounce rate. More and more websites are getting HTTPS secure each day. Be sure your website is in that league as well.
b) Put Up High-Quality Images
Nothing kills a website’s credibility faster than bad-quality pictures – it creates an immediate visual impression of incompetency and distrust. Using low-definition, poorly sized, or generic stock images almost instantly undermines how your brand is perceived and the product/service you offer. And it’s not very difficult either. There are a ton of high-quality stock images and image editing software available for free online that you can use with no extra cost.
c) Make Your Website Copy Accessible
Especially if your B2B is particularly niche, it is often difficult to avoid using complex words and talk about topics that are opaque to the general crowd. But the beauty of good website copy is to make complicated things simply understandable. If it’s possible to use a simpler word or sentence instead of a complex one, go for it.
Keep in mind that your website is accessible across the world, and everything is translatable on the web. It is always worth keeping it simple so countries across continents can understand your business. But at the same time, be wary of building confidence and trust with a too friendly or casual tone, while avoiding jargon and industry speak as much as possible.
d) Be Consistent With Your Brand Message
Good brand communication builds good brands. Brand marketing involves important factors such as guidelines, tone of voice, color palettes, and brand messaging – all of which need to be consistent on your website to give a unified and uniform feel.
An inconsistent website gives off a vibe of duality and unsurity, which in turn gives way to distrust with your visitors. It is a subconscious process that marketers should make obsolete with strict adherence to brand guidelines. Consistency in communication builds familiarity and trust with your audience.
e) Prioritize Testimonials & Case Studies
Nothing builds trust stronger than good reviews from fellow buyers and proven service. Promote original user content from your current and past customers to showcase social proof that you deliver on what you promise.
These testimonials don’t even have to be on your website – you can build up your product or service through third-party sites such as Trustpilot and Google reviews. Once good reviews start flowing in at these portals, you can display them on your website as well.
Checkpoint 3 – The Website Design
Did you know that 3 out of 4 people that visit your website make judgements about your brand’s credibility based on visual design alone?
When you visit a poorly designed website, what does that make you think about the brand? You may automatically doubt the legitimacy of the business, question the potency of their product or service, and immediately look for competitors for a better experience.
No matter the reason, research has definitively proven that we judge businesses based on how they look – from their physical outlets to their online website.
Here are 3 quick tips that form the foundation of good website design:
a) Keep It Minimal
The homepage of your website should communicate your main message right away. The fact is, your audience will rarely read every word on a website. Instead, they quickly scan the page and select keywords, phrases, and images.
With these well-known behaviors in mind, it is better to address emotions than word count. The fewer website visitors have to read, click, or remember, the better they can process and rate your content. By designing to decrease attention span, users are more likely to do what you intend for them to do.
b) Design With Hierarchy
Hierarchy is an important design principle that allows you to display your content clearly and effectively. By using the hierarchy correctly, you can draw website visitors’ attention to certain elements of the page, starting with what you want them to notice the most.
If you’ve established a clear hierarchy for your information, readers wouldn’t be able to help but subconsciously receive the breadcrumbs left for them to follow. After that, apply color, contrast, and spacing to add further accents. As you do this, be careful about what attracts more attention and make sure that it is always intentional.
c) Make Call To Action A Breeze
Once your visitors land on your website, you need to direct them to places on your website that are built to convert. People don’t want to work hard to find next steps, so point them in the right direction so they don’t have to struggle to find what they are looking for.
One of the best ways to improve your web design with this in mind is to use strategically placed calls-to-action in areas like the top right of your navigation, your hero banner, below the sections that need action, and again at the bottom of your website.