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Failure to adapt. Leaders of B2B technology companies shudder to hear such words.
Fail to adapt and you’ll look like a laggard -- even if your solutions or services are, in fact, cutting-edge and state of the art. And when it comes to tech, nobody wants to buy from the laggards.
So let’s talk about your website. Does it show how truly exceptional your company is? Does it create a smooth and streamlined experience that’s on par with the solutions you’re selling? Or… does it tell a different story?
This guide will go into depth on eight tried-and-true strategies to help you power up your tech or SaaS website -- and lay out how, exactly, to implement each of those strategies. We’ll even provide a handy checklist to help you prioritize and track some of these ideas. So let’s get started!
In the world of B2B website design, there is plenty of precedent on what works. This should serve as welcome news for leaders of technology companies who are daunted by the notion of a website overhaul.
Keep in mind, your website does not need to be infused with tons of novel features or design wow factors. Yes, it should offer visitors something unique about your brand -- but not if it means you’re overdesigning or reinventing the wheel.
Instead, the real wow factor will come from a user experience that gives your visitors exactly what they’re looking for. An experience that builds trust, answers their questions, addresses their pain points, and empowers visitors to make decisions based on where they are in the Buyer’s Journey.
By sticking to some tried-and-true principles, like the ones we’ve rounded up here, you really CAN take your website to the next level. So ready to get started?
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what your website visitors are doing when browsing your products and web pages.
According to a study conducted by Stanford, almost 75% of users valued website and information design as the biggest part of establishing trust during the user experience.
So how do you get your target audience to trust you and look classy doing it? For a great user experience, you’ll need to focus on the following:
PMG PRO Tip: To design for the best user experience, you need to know user behavior. Where are users clicking? How are they interacting with your site navigation? How far down the page are they scrolling? Tools like HotJar use eye-tracking heatmaps to give you detailed insight that can guide your UX design decisions. For example, some studies show that readers scan pages in an “F” shape -- making the top left-hand corner of your website prime real estate!
A good B2B website needs to harness the power of two things: agency and objectivity. Its main purposes are to educate, build trust and enable your buyers to make decisions on whether or not your businesses are a good fit for each other. What about selling, you ask? Do these things well, and your website will likely become your most valuable sales rep!
This idea of helping buyers feel as if they are in the driver’s seat is known as buyer enablement. A good website, therefore, should allow users to engage in self-service without feeling that they’re being sold to. In addition to offering loads of friendly, helpful content, some ideas to enable buyers on your website might include:
PMG PRO TIP: Which content or features on your website are MOST helpful to your customers? How are they interacting with the enablement materials on your site? Consider the 80/20 rule: 80% of your customers are only really looking for about 20% of your content. If you don’t know what’s included in that top 20%, then it’s time to dig into your website’s performance analytics (using tools such as Google Analytics). From there, you can optimize accordingly.
Loyal customers are worth, on average, up to 10x more than their first purchase. That means their loyalty matters a great deal!
Outstanding customer service ensures that your existing customer base remains advocates of your brand. This is particularly important in “as-a-service” industries, where competition is high and customers are likely to examine their relationship with solutions providers at regular intervals.
To provide outstanding customer service, a great tech website should include the following design elements:
PMG PRO Tip: With customer service, it’s all about adding a personal touch: a personalized one-on-one email following a nice review, download or feedback request. (The PMG team has even been known to send cupcakes following a referral!) Market research tells us that the majority of B2B consumers would trade in their existing brand or company for a better service experience. So don’t give them a reason to trade you in!
In the technology industry, anticipating the questions that your prospects will ask is a great way to show that you understand their needs. So why not be proactive about it?
In a study by Nuance, 67% of customers say they actually prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Creating a knowledge base -- one that’s accessible and helpful -- helps you address their questions and show what you know. Here are some methods to consider:
PMG PRO Tip: Your knowledge base can become a nice point of interest for visitors, to which you direct people from other areas of your website (versus leaving it there for customers to find on their own). For example, you may want to highlight FAQ pages on your home page, or offer how-to resources in your page modules. Make it obvious so that your prospects can actually use the content you have on hand to empower buying decisions.
Beyond a sleek design and helpful content, your website should clearly showcase your company’s unique selling proposition. For some companies, this may come down to specific product or software features that set you apart from your competitors.
If you’re talking about features, though, try doing it in a way that connects those features back to a buyer’s higher-level problems. In other words, shift your messaging from product-centric to user-centric by answering the “so what” behind product features.
Every feature should connect to a benefit -- and it’s your website’s job to surface those benefits in both design and messaging. Here are some ways to do it:
PMG Pro Tip: Ready to tier up? Many tech companies have tiered product or service levels. If this applies to your business, a page that visually shows the range of benefits customers get at each level can be helpful. A buyer should not have to talk to a sales rep to get this information! If your firm is a service company, be sure to check out our blog for more ways to do this: How to Market Services - Treat Them Like a Product.
Your buyers have many choices as they consider who to buy from. So show them you don’t just “talk the talk.” By including elements into your website that position your company as a thought leader, you’ll have the advantage over your competitors who fail to put their expertise on display.
Here are some ways you can highlight your organization’s industry chops and credibility:
PMG Pro Tip: Thought leadership can and should be tied to your keyword research strategy. We often tell our clients to start with the question, “What do you want to be known for?” Once you identify specific business areas that you want to be known for, it will provide the basis for your keyword research. From there, you can keyword-optimize each page of your website accordingly to help bring qualified searchers right to your digital doorstep. Here are some tips to help you along.
More than any other industry, a promise of security in your technology website will likely translate to a promise of security in your brand or product. To make a business buyer feel more comfortable with you, and to legitimize your priorities as a technology company, add these to your website:
PMG PRO Tip: User authentication is the weakest link in e-commerce. Keep this in mind when you are collecting information. Use multiple sign-in techniques and multiple passwords before asking for credit card information.
Next to a personal referral, endorsements from existing customers are top motivators for prospects who may be on the fence. 85% of consumers trust them as much as personal recommendations!
Keep in mind, when asking your customers to weigh in, try to prompt them with questions that will tap into what other business leaders in the decision-making phase are most interested in hearing about; that is, the lasting value that your company provides, and why your organization is unique as compared to others in your industry.
So where can you include opportunities for peer observation on your website?
PMG PRO Tip: We suggest integrating various forms of social proof into multiple areas of your website. You’ll want to strategically place these elements on web pages where buyers are lower in the funnel (such as product pages) and pages where key actions are being considered. Social proof has been known to increase conversion rates on landing pages.
Now that you know some essential strategies, are you ready to power up your B2B technology website?
Remember to be realistic. You can’t tackle everything all at once! If you have any questions, or are interested in outsourcing your marketing, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a free assessment. We’re always happy to help you get your marketing to where you’d like it to be.
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Doug Orleski has been a contributing Design Specialist since 2013. He’s an Adobe extraordinaire, with specialties in Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. He’s a big picture thinker – no, seriously, he thinks in pictures, so when he’s not grappling with shifting to word-based work, he’s writing about techniques in streamlining design, customization techniques and optimal image selection.