In 2007, when Airbnb founders wanted to let out their spare room and make some money out of it, they created a simple website. Today, most people have heard of Airbnb due to its unique concept and user-friendly web design.
Innovation aside, B2B selling is not quite that simple. Unlike B2C where the average order value (AOV) is minimal and the number of customers is more, in B2B, there are fewer orders in greater volumes. The reverse nature in which transactions happen itself makes B2B selling difficult.
Furthermore, B2B buyers take longer to make a buying decision. A single purchase order will have to be vetted and approved by multiple stakeholders from production to finance, and even operations. The complex nature of B2B selling puts enormous pressure on a B2B website. It has to look and feel like a B2C website while catering to the specific demands of B2B buyers.
Well, that sounds like a typical mission-impossible scenario for a marketer. However, there is a promising solution that can turn things around. You can get started by optimizing your B2B website for improving conversions which in turn will maximize sales. Here’s how.
6 Tips for Creating a B2B Web Design
So why is it so important to invest time and resources into creating a B2B web design?
Because your website is the gateway to information that buyers are seeking before making a decision. In fact, 27% of B2B buyers research independently online before finalizing a purchase.
Research shows that users prefer websites with an excellent page experience. The goal of this is to enhance users’ overall web-browsing experience across all devices. Good UI design is essential to creating a delightful user experience. So, if you are a digital designer of any kind, you’ll need some reliable UX and UI tools in your toolbox, or you can hire frontend developers.
Getting the design of your website just right can help boost traffic and increase conversions, which can ultimately lead to more sales. So how do you create a winning design? Here are six tips for improving your web design to attract more customers to your site:
1. Give B2B buyers a reason to stay on the website.
B2B buyers browse websites with serious intent. If the website does not provide them with the information they are seeking or does not take them closer to finding the product that their team requires, they are quick to close the tab and move on to other alternatives.
That makes it imperative to give B2B buyers a reason to stay on your website. Your website in its structure and content should cater to the pain points and the needs of B2B buyers. The typical layout that most websites use to maximize user engagement and to get conversions is the F pattern layout.
The F-pattern layout is based on the natural behavior that users exhibit while interacting with web surfaces. It’s easier to read and also puts the spotlight on the sections that you want your users to interact the most with. Consuming more content and interacting with your website is one of the precursors of conversions.
“You have multiple spots to distribute the information you want to get across: your company name, the tagline, the headline, the subheading, and the featured image,” said Saskia Ketz, founder of branding platform Mojomox. “Instead of saying the same thing twice, for example, by having a similar headline and tagline, make sure to communicate a different aspect that your B2B audience cares about. That ensures a comprehensive picture of your brand in a split second.”
2. Use content marketing to your advantage.
Your content has the potential to turn text on the website into conversions. Great website copy can automatically win the attention and confidence of website visitors, which is like winning half the battle.
Building a content strategy is the best way to amplify your product messaging. It can help you make your product stand out from a crowd of competitors who could be offering more or less the same offerings. By creating compelling content that resonates with your target audience, you can isolate differentiators that would make customers choose you above the competition.
To quote the advertising legend David Ogilvy, “Consumers do not buy products. They buy product benefits.” Your B2B website copy must also explicitly showcase the product benefits that customers would get from buying from your business. It should speak on behalf of your business, like a virtual salesperson who could be attending to your B2B customer.
3. Let videos persuade potential prospects.
Engaging content can help you get attention and garner interest in your B2B offerings. If you want to sustain that interest and take the prospect to the last leg of making a purchase, a video can help. Videos have proven to be excellent content formats that can persuade customers to make a purchase.
There are several types of video formats for B2B that your business can experiment with to strike a chord with prospects and visitors. These include:
- Explainer videos
- Product overview
- How-to videos
- Demo videos
- Product screen walkthroughs
- Customer testimonials
Here is an example of an explainer video that CIENCE’s uses on its home page to talk about its products and services:
The good news is you don’t need Universal Studios-like setup to create videos. You can create marketing videos for your website with the help of online video designing tools like Adobe After Effects (Ae) and Fastreel. They take the form of DIY software and do not require extensive background or know-how in video creation. Your time, effort, and perseverance are all it takes to create great videos that will persuade potential prospects to become paying customers.
4. Use chatbots to steer initial conversations.
The first few conversations that your website visitors will have with your business will determine whether they will turn into paying customers or become hard bounces that never return to your website. B2B websites with great copy can hook customers, invoke curiosity, or even make prospects sign up for a trial or demo.
However, if you want to go fast and get your visitors to give details that can be used to qualify them as a warm or hot lead, you need to strike open-ended conversations. Chatbots help with that. Think of them as always-online sales reps who can initiate conversations with website visitors. They can nudge users into providing their details, suggest product features, or even help customers with directions to resources that they are looking for.
The benefits of including a chatbot in your website are several: They make content easily accessible, collect user information, provide self-service, and much more. These benefits and several others make chatbots great at B2B lead conversion. The catch is that chatbots are considered early on in the website design stage and not as an afterthought. Mapping website designs around chat bubbles and how they showcase information during an ongoing conversation can go a long way in delivering a positive website experience.
5. Focus on UX design to improve sales conversions.
Apple is the world’s most valuable brand. Guess what its customers cite as the biggest differentiator compared to other alternatives? User experience? Yes, it’s the secret sauce of most of the companies that have etched an identity for themselves in any market.
Needless to say, it is also a huge contributor to sales conversions. A better user experience compared to alternatives can put you miles ahead of your competition. In B2B selling, the user experience of the website can make or break the first impression on the procurement executive.
The following pointers should help you get UX right at the website development stage itself:
- The website loads faster.
- The copy is readable with enough visual relief.
- Visuals are of great quality and without any distortion.
- The website flows naturally allowing maximum content intake.
- The CTA buttons are easily clickable on desktop and mobile websites.
Looking for B2B UX inspiration? Head straight to HubSpot. Their website layouts, copy, CTAs, and visual treatments have been winning the hearts of all B2B buyers.
6. Personalize website copy to each customer segment.
Did you know that the best-selling author John Green personally signed 150,000 copies of The Fault in Stars? Most of the signed copies were also accompanied by a personal message to the buyer. Now, that’s true personalization. This level of personalization will create emotional bonding with the author making the customer feel closer. They might even like him more even if the book doesn’t impress them.
The case in point here is: Personalization is key to winning customers in every segment, B2B or B2C. Do bear in mind that personalization does not mean adding the first-name token in an email; it includes getting hands-on data about user preferences, their wants, and crafting the content and the product around it.
Your B2B website copy, which is the first thing that users see and notice when they discover your website, should be personalized and appealing. It should give the impression that your business offers a solution to their problem and can be counted upon to deliver.
Here is how Citrix customizes its website copy based on the industry that the user belongs to:
Such a focused offering on the website is going to drive more conversions than a generic message that addresses many people at the same time.
Develop a B2B Website that Sells
The B2B market is a tough one to crack. Expectations are higher, buying decisions take a longer time to arrive at, and there are too many people to impress. A website that boasts of great user-friendly design can help you get your foot in the door. Sometimes that first step of getting your prospect is all it takes to get the rest of the deal to fall in order.
For a vast majority, website design could mean the use of typography, designing a professional logo, or visual elements. However, the concept of B2B website design goes beyond all that. It is all about showing aesthetics while your prospects are considering you as one of the options. If your website design can stand out as a differentiator at the consideration phase, you can quickly get into the shortlist and become the deal-clinching winner.