We’re going to give B2B website best practices to digital marketers/marketing agencies helping small and mid-sized businesses increase their profits and run their business more efficiently.
The problem is that your website presence isn't helping you get leads and new clients. You may know the digital marketing landscape so well and trust your own expertise, but you’re not sure how to clearly explain that to prospective customers through copy, content, and your service packages
Whether you run a B2B business or not, you can relate to the feeling of KNOWING you do great work but struggling to articulate that through your website and messaging.
Refer to our Brand foundation guide before going further.
If you are just starting out with your business or you really want to serve a wide variety of customers instead of niching down on the type of customer, try to get more specific on the exact problems they have that you can solve and use that as your common denominator. For example, if we were a marketing agency who targets small to midsize business then we may further defining your potential clients could be by saying: They work hard but don't have the time or bandwidth to invest in marketing strategy even though they want to grow.
You need to focus on convincing a customer that your brand is the right fit for them but also give them an action they could take that would make the most logical sense.
The two most important customer types and actions to identify were:
Warm lead: A potential customer might be ready to hop on a call or submit a contact form after reading your website. Let's give them a form to take that action!
Cold lead: a potential customer just found out about you and they like what they've seen so far but they need more convincing to even fill out a contact form. How can we keep these leads engaged and take them from cold to warm?
Ensure your offering makes complete sense to your potential customer. You don't want to run the risk of overwhelming someone to the point of them throwing up their hands and virtually walking away from your website. Especially for B2B biz owners, think about how services are being purchased right now. Is the way you are positioning your offering going to make sense to them? Or are you applying the sales strategy of a completely different industry?
Don't forget to focus on the specific needs of your ideal customer and the outcomes your offerings deliver to them. Avoid as many vague industry buzzwords and instead explain exactly how your expertise in a few specific areas is doing to help them reach their desired outcomes.
Take a look at your current services/product page. Do you currently have too many options or a disjointed offering experience that's confusing? Simplify your offerings and provide a next logical step that makes sense for that type of customer who is likely to buy from you (which may not be a buy button at all). Make sure you’re speaking to your ideal customers' problems the entire time.
Anyone trying to get clients knows the customer journey from STRANGER → CUSTOMER can be a long one. For B2B businesses, the steps to go from the mainland to the castle are a lot more high-touch than a digital product (like an online course, etc)
B2B businesses especially have to invest time into creating a natural progression through the sales cycle. Many B2B and client-based biz owners think their services page will do the job for them.
Because we've already identified that the customer's cycle is going to be a bit longer, we need to extend the marketing bridge a bit further (can you see the bridge getting longer in your mind and more “guideposts' ' being added along the way?)
Here's an example of what this process could look like:
If you're a B2B biz owner (or anyone trying to get clients) we highly recommend trying the survey to consultation call marketing bridge tactic. You can read more about this tactic here and learn about other marketing bridges
Email marketing bridges capture those leads that are colder and need more nurturing before they're ready to sign up for a consultation call. You can send out a bi-weekly email newsletter where you share specific marketing techniques for local small/mid-sized business owners. If someone isn't ready to buy after the Survey Marketing Bridge, guess what happens? They get added onto the email newsletter Bridge and continue their journey to your castle
Whether you're selling products to customers or services to businesses, someone will likely need 4-7 touch points with you before making a purchase. Know this. Embrace this. Understand that multiple marketing bridges might be necessary AND that the time to go from stranger to customer could take weeks/months
Marketing bridges, we cannot stress enough, are a must-have for any business owner but especially for B2B folks who have a longer natural sales cycle and higher-priced offerings. If you don't currently have any marketing bridges or you need some ideas check out the list that we’ve put together and find one that feels right for you.
If you don't have a marketing bridge in a place at all right now, you need one. If you currently have a marketing bridge but it isn't helping get you more customers, consider trying a new marketing bridge or linking one bridge to another.
Say it with us: Content, content, content. We believe content marketing is teh #1 strategy to grow an audience and become a trusted source around your specific area of expertise. We’ve been using content to build audiences for our various businesses for over a decade, so we have the data to back us up here!
The trick is to make sure you’re doing content marketing in the right order and using the right mindset when it comes to content marketing. You can’t just write one article, send one email, and post a couple of times on facebook.
Content marketing is one of the biggest focal points of your online presence. It's also so important to understand the goal of content marketing for B2B companies: You’re not writing articles, newsletters, and creating social posts for vanity metrics (the likes, RTs, etc), you’re doing it to increase leads and sales. Focus on that as your measure of success with content marketing and it’ll be easier to avoid the mindset traps we fall into when posting and sharing content.
You should have around 8-10 published articles. And, as much as we’d love for you to just write articles about anything and everything, you actually need to focus on helping that local small/mid-sized biz owner who is strapped for time and needs help increasing revenue and running a smoother business.
The most important piece of advice we can give you as you embark on writing 8-10 foundation articles is to focus the article content on answering questions his ideal customer might be searching for. It's a waste of time to pontificate and share articles about marketing trends if your ideal customer isn't searching for those things.
There are a few SEO practices (link the other article) we’d recommend to you reading this article. B2B folks definitely need to think long-term strategy with their articles and basic SEO does matter.
So your action step could be to crank out 8-10 super helpful articles that will attract your ideal customers. We recommend improving the readability of your articles and ensuring each of your articles have at least one marketing bridge to it for a next action step.
When you’re writing your content, reverse engineer the title by imaging what your ideal client or customer might google. Your article should be an answer to a question they have. Also keep in mind that even if it takes a while for these articles to turn into a real consistent traffic to his website, it only serves to reinforce trust and authority for any prospective clients that come to his website through referrals or other avenues.
Email newsletters can be really daunting, especially when you're just getting started. Start slow and send a two-paragraph newsletter every other week that introduces a marketing technology tool your subscribers (potential clients) didn't know about. He could also share a short case study with any clients he's currently working with. The goal is to provide ongoing value and to build trust
When it comes to social media, give value where people are and create a cohesive branded experience.
If we could only give you two critical pieces of advice when it comes to social media content strategy it would be this:
Give value where people are: an idea could be a Monday marketing tip directly on social media platforms. Don't force someone to leave to read the tip elsewhere. Give the value where they are.
Create a cohesive branded experience: find a theme or aesthetic that will be connected with your brand. Use puns, emojis, gifs, images, colours and so forth on social media content, your website, etc to stand out to be remembered. Alternating between brand image can make you not strongly recognisable. IN saying this, don't skip the experimenting stage. Test what works and aligns best with your brand.
One foundation articles and email newsletter are up and running, you should start investing in delivering immense value to local businesses on the social media platforms he thinks are most relevant to them. Then, pepper in posts that link to marketing bridges, foundation articles, and case studies for his existing clients. No more trash…
Don't be afraid to put social media content on the back burner. If you don't have foundation articles and a consistent email newsletter in place, make social media wait in the corner until you are ready to invest time on it.
Your audience is not going to build itself. Focus less on perfection and more on consistency. Make sure you have 8-10 foundational articles based on what your potential clients are searching for. Send out a helpful consistent email newsletter. Then create ongoing branded social media content for your ideal customer.
The thing you’ll notice the most is how much the copy has changed and has been laser-focused around those specific problems you have identified that your ideal customers have.
So often when doing a redesign of an existing website you see people completely overhaul everything. And while we love a fresh coat of paint, we also know that complete design overhauls are not the right answer for everyone.
Remember who the audience is you're designing your website for. Not everyone cares for flashy design trends, parallax scrolling, and so forth. While these things are a nice sprinkle of character on a website, if the site itself isn't speaking directly to your ideal audience and persuading them that you have the answers they’re looking fro, there no amount of website-glitter you can sprinkle to hit your goals’
Too many people want to start their website home pages with their personal story. Even for personal-brand-based sites we always recommend starting with the PROBLEM your ideal customer has. Then share your story alongside that. Put the customer/client first.
If you work with clients, your services page should leave no stone left unturned in a potential client’s mind. Don't design your services page assuming everyone already knew everything they needed to know and were ready to purchase. Unfortunately a very small percentage of your clients/customers are going to be ready to buy when they click to a services page (especially for B2B folks, as we’ve discussed).
Take your customers on a journey with your services page (from their problem to your solution) . Imagine meeting the homepage of your website does not exist for a minute OR imagine a potential customer clicks straight to your services page and never sees your home page at all. It's not a great experience if your services page isn't telling a compelling story as well. You have to highlight your ideal customer's problem and then walk them through your brand's solutions to their problem.
When a customer finishes reading your services page and is ready to take the next step, we bring back our decisions made in steps # 2 and #3 of this article:
Warm lead: A potential client is ready to take the next step
Cold lead: A potential client is interested but not quite ready to reach out
When you're writing and designing services/products, imagine the person reading the page has not read any of the other pages on your website. Take them through the journey of their problem to your solution and give them the appropriate action to take.
When you're evaluating your own website, ensure your ideal customers are getting the experience they need. If you know your customer/client could be overwhelmed with extra design and website glitter, simplify things and focus more on copy and speaking clearly and concisely.
Whether you own a B2B company or not, our hope is that this case study has shown you how to create more clarity in your messaging, how to hone in your offerings and how to ensure you're putting the right steps in place to speak directly to your ideal customers. As usual, the five steps we went through are just part of the journey: