Lately, we’ve been working on a lot of B2B website redesigns. We begin by determining if the brand has a solid marketing strategy. If they don’t, we help them develop one. Surprisingly, it’s often overlooked that the first and most important objective for a business website is to be an effective marketing tool.
Business is about selling, and that’s also the primary objective of the site. However, many B2B business models have a complex brand premise. If you’re not diligent, this can result in a home page that’s 1) confusing, 2) doesn’t reflect the brand premise, and 3) seems like too much work to find out the information you need. You will encounter sites like this every day on the web.
Here’s a different premise: Why not make it as easy as you can for your prospect? Put yourself in his or her shoes, and create the site you’d like to see as a prospective customer. Which leads directly to the three basic rules:
ONE: Is your site easy to understand?
Do I know what it is you’re selling within 10 seconds of arriving? Is there too much information for me to sort through? Sites designed for ‘beginners’ in a given business category do better than those created for ‘experts’. Don’t worry about deep explanations of benefits until you’ve provided a clear, concise definition of why you’re in business, and how this will help your customer.
TWO: Is the site easy to use?
Call it basic functionality. If I need particular information, is it easy to find? What do I do to get more information – is there a simple contact form if I don’t want to call? Do I have to go four or five pages deep to find what I really want? Are there too many links in the navigation and sub-navigation bars? Is there a quick and entertaining video to explain the brand premise?
THREE: Is it worth sharing with business colleagues and friends?
When a website is impressively clean, well-designed and functional people tend to share it – no matter what the category. This is true of both consumer and B2B sites. That’s because you’ve probably solved a problem for a prospective customer, and they’ll want to let someone else who has the same problem know this is an easy answer. Maybe it’s an electric car you can charge from an ordinary AC outlet. Or maybe it’s a new type of security for enterprise-level software. The basic principles are the same.