In today’s marketplace, for the majority of consumers their first interaction with a company is probably its website. No matter what the nature of products or services, the size of operations, location and value, your website gives you the first crack at engaging with a visitor, and transforming them into a client or customer.
Your website is your 24x7x365 marketing department that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, at any time. That’s why it’s crucial that you give top priority to your b2b web design in your suite of marketing offerings.
What Is A B2B Business?
The American b2b market is estimated to be pegged at over $6 trillion, representing a massive chunk of the country’s economy. The global market size is more than 6 times that of the b2c market.
Known as BtoB in some places, the b2b model of business is based on commercial transactions between two businesses, as opposed to the traditional model of transactions between a customer and a business or b2c.
Typically, b2b occurs in situations where a business sources raw material for production from another business, or requires a particular service from another business such as architectural firm dealing with a general contractor, or it sources products/services manufactured/provided by another business and re-sells/retails them.
Generally, it’s assumed that both parties in these transactions wield equal negotiating power and they have their own professional and legal systems that protect their business and financial interests.
It is distinguished from the b2c business model in that the overall volume of transactions is much higher, it has a much slower process compared to b2c, requires an upfront investment, and the brand’s reputation is based largely on personal relationships built between businesses. Purchases in b2c are made more on an emotional plane, they’re more swift and concluded faster, whereas b2b transactions are practical and have to go through several layers of the business hierarchy.
The other critical differences are that the target audience and the business goals are completely different in both models. B2b customers are rarely impulse purchasers. Instead, they have to make purchases that have an impact on their own business, and they require much more in-depth information as the risk and investment involved are much higher.
B2b Website Design Inspiration: The Essentials
You don’t want your website to replicate the brochure that you would hand out to prospective clients and visitors at a trade fair or convention.
Instead, it presents a great opportunity to create a memorable user experience, build enduring relationships and ensure that your brand gains in strength and reputation.
B2b websites are no different from others in the sense that they must help direct traffic towards them, provide opportunities for the visitor to turn into a customer, offer reliable and authoritative information, showcase the nature of the business, sell products/services and ensure that they remain connected in the commercial eco-system.
A great b2b website:
Is focused on lead generation: Remember that purchasing decisions can take up to months or even years in this environment. Hence, your website must be supportive of this long sales cycle. It must support the goals and help overcome obstacles of purchasers, attract organic, high-quality leads, and then assist leads to independently move through the sales funnel.
Is strong on basics: Your website designer must work with a clear idea of who the target audience is, what the must-have pages are and what they should contain, how your business is unique compared to others, what your business goals are and what the role of the website is in achieving them. These concepts help to anchor your website and keep it relevant, useful and informative to your prospective customers.
The right UX: The design should reflect your standing in the industry, professionalism and capabilities. It should enable a seamless journey through the site. This can be done by ensuring a low bounce-rate caused by broken links, weak CTAs, complex site navigation and slow loading speeds.
Reaches the right target audience: In b2b, your target is not only the individual customer, but could involve an entire team as a decision-making unit. It could comprise everyone from the C-suite down to the shopfloor. Your website must address these different aspects.
The b2b customer is driven by need rather than want, that’s why you need to identify and target that aspect. Personal relationships are very important in b2b, and the final decisions are often made face-to-face across the table. These are long-term buyers who are looking for a stable relationship.
Create the ideal customer personas with the analytics available so that you know the demographics, nature and extent of business, behavioral segment, pain points and gaps, what they currently use, etc.
Strong content: It’s important to strike the right note with content in b2b websites. Unlike b2c, you don’t need high-pressure salesmanship, jazzy fonts, starburst slogans, bright colors and lots of noise. But don’t allow your site to be boring and tedious.
This is a highly competitive market and unless you provide a clear value proposition, your customers will move on. Content must be useful, relevant, current and actionable. Install content that’s authoritative and reliable, industry relevant and will make your site a go-to one resource for professionals in the field.
Ensure that your brand gets the limelight it deserves and come up with great content ideas consistently. Tailor it to audience trends and preferences.
Easy navigation and interface: Remember that your target audience comprises busy professionals who don’t have the time or patience to scroll through endless pages before they get what they came there for. Keep the navigation lean and clean, with clear CTAs positioned prominently on every page.
Incorporates responsive design: Studies show that a large proportion of millennials occupy decision-making positions in b2b businesses. 73% of people who directly influence purchasing in b2b are millenials, while nearly a third of those surveyed said they were the only decision-makers in their companies. 93% of millenials own smartphones and unless your website has responsive design, it’s not going to make the cut.