Let’s face it. Content is still king, but it doesn’t hurt to have a really, really, really ridiculously good-looking website.
After all, your website's design is the front door to your brand's identity. It’s how consumers first absorb information about your company and what you have to offer, and it's what existing customers continuously interact with to stay connected to your brand.
When implemented carefully and strategically, a B2B website design has the power to be its own sales force. It spreads your message, converts visitors into leads (and leads into sales), and can act as a major driving force for overall profits.
Effective B2B web design can also increase retention rates, provide opportunities for up-sells, and greatly improve the customer service experience. There are four specific goals that a B2B website should strive to attain, and they're more simple than you think.
1. Provide Information Quickly and Succinctly
Everything from product specifications to contact information to your most popular posts should be extremely easy for visitors to find. You have four seconds to grab and hold the consumer's attention, so if your navigation is not clear or your layout above the fold is choppy, then you're bound to lose visitors.
Use your analytics platform to uncover which specific page or piece of content people are most interested in and place them in an easily identifiable location that doesn't disrupt the user experience, such as in the footer of each web page.
2. Mix Gated and Non-Gated Content
According to the Content Marketing Institute, approximately 90% of B2B marketers are using their content to increase brand awareness and generate qualified leads. Detailed how-to articles, forums filled with professionals, and multimedia-rich content help create reasons for visitors to come back later.
This is why it's a good idea to start mixing in your gated, high-quality information alongside your free content. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to start a new forum or do anything particularly different with your design, but asking for contact information for access to specific pieces of content is an excellent way to grab more leads and increase the bottom line.
3. Build to Scale
It's imperative to your entire digital marketing strategy that your site's architecture is flexible. Follow this best practice and you save yourself time, money, and future headaches.
A flexible (maybe even growth-driven!) design makes it easier to scale as the website and your business become larger. It's important to look at your web design in terms of what it will do for you tomorrow as in addition to the here and now.
A rigid design architecture means that in the future, as your brand grows, not only will you have to continuously add new design sections atop new sub-sections, but the weight of the design will accumulate until you need an entirely new site redesign to support the original redesign!
Microsoft is a great example of a web design that was built with scalability in mind. Microsoft sells dozens of products under dozens of separate brands, but everything is seamlessly tied together thanks to their robust framework.
4. Encourage Engagement
Building an online brand has a lot to do with instilling trust and creating relationships with your audience. While producing quality content and running a stellar blog are the most immediate ways to get strangers to engage with your brand, an effective design also plays a pivotal role.
The human eye looks at websites in one of two distinct ways. Knowing your visitors’ optical habits through the use of a heat map allows you to tailor your content placement and find the most optimal layout structure for your audience. Heat maps are an excellent way to ensure your most important information is being seen first and allows you to pinpoint distracting elements.
Using calls to action consistently throughout your site design lets visitors know the exact steps they need to take next. Make sure the CTA's design and color fits the tone and style of the website. Make it be immediately known to the user which parts of the site are clickable and which parts are not.
A clear, effective B2B website design will make use of several key characteristics, such as:
- Strategic use of white space
- Large text (avoid smaller text sizes at all costs)
- Calls to action that stand out without serving as distractions
- Large buttons throughout
- Simple, clear design that does its job without being dull
There are many questions you’ll have to ask yourself before embarking on taking your B2B website to the next level, including but not limited to what your goals are, who your audience is, and what you ultimately want them to accomplish on your site. Once you have those answers in mind, combined with the best practices outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to creating the best possible website for your business.