This post was contributed by Andrian Valeanu, Founder & Editor-in-chief of Designmodo
When you’re managing business to business (B2B) marketing, there’s a lot involved. You need a creative strategy, the ability to measure analytics, and the knowledge to report the ROI of a campaign. In most cases, you probably already have specific practices and processes set up to handle all of these things quickly and efficiently.
However, when you’re the person in charge of managing an upcoming B2B eCommerce web design project, there are special requirements. Even people who have done this kind of project in the past may not have done so in years. This can make it more complicated than a typical marketing campaign.
Recognizing the process for managing a B2B web design project correctly will ensure everything goes well from beginning to end. This is especially important since B2B eCommerce in the U.S. is expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023. Below, we’ll share tips that will make the process easier and keep you on task as you go.
Understand the Difference Between B2C and B2B Websites
A business to consumer (B2C) website is typically a digital space where a company sells a service or a product directly to a consumer. B2B websites, on the other hand, focus on selling these things to other businesses. The former is something like a plumber selling services or a retail company selling socks. The latter could include websites like a law firm that sells services to contractors.
There are differences between the two websites, but it all comes down to marketing a company to people. Whether the sales are going to consumers or other businesses, the point is to make people decide to use your services or products. With any web design project, the goal is to know who will visit the website and how you can help them solve any problem they have.
Consider Designating a Team for the Project
There is one major thing to keep in mind when you’re working to manage a B2B web design project. Rather than working with one or two people who are creating a B2C website, a B2B website design often has several decision-makers or stakeholders who will have a say on decisions and approvals.
Having a reliable team of experts to whom you can delegate tasks is an essential part of the process. The project’s size will determine how many people should be involved, but three or four is often a reasonable choice. These individuals will be in charge of ensuring the project is completed correctly, done on time, and delivered when expected.
All of the people involved need to be comfortable with making quick decisions. They should also know what is most important for the website and how to tie in the company’s values simultaneously. A team can help the project keep moving while ensuring you’re meeting the timeline. It can be in-house or you can outsource, depending on your needs.
Ensure Requirements are Properly Laid Out
Since several decision-makers are likely required for the B2B website, it’s essential to get their input before the web design ever starts. The last thing you want is to begin work on the website only to find out that you’re going in the wrong direction. It will increase costs and the time it takes to get the site ready to go live. This is why all the requirements should be known from the very beginning.
In some cases, organizations and businesses may change direction regularly. If this is something you know is likely to come, having a time and budget buffer is the alternative solution. It will ensure that those working on the B2B web design aren’t stressed out while trying to meet a deadline at the last hour.
Be Aware of Target Dates
For those who are using a web design agency or bringing on contractors, communicating important dates should also be done from the beginning. For example, if you need a website complete before a conference or tradeshow, that’s something that the designers need to know immediately. If this isn’t provided, there’s a chance that your deadline won’t be met.
When you have target dates, the design, development, and content employees can all work to meet the deadline. Building in a contingency plan or altering the schedule can ensure that what is needed is ready for an upcoming event. The substitute, not having a definitive deadline, can spell disaster since the site may not launch early enough.
Differentiate Between Lead Conversion and Lead Generation
Another critical thing to know in the beginning stages is whether the B2B website is being designed as a lead conversion or lead generation tool. Lead conversion sites are made for businesses that are already aware of your business and want to learn more. Many companies create leads through word of mouth, outbound sales, and conferences, so the website is used to convert those people into customers.
On the other hand, lead generation websites are meant to bring in cold traffic and move them through the sales process. Cold traffic refers to visitors to the website who don’t know anything about the brand or company. This can be done using SEO (search engine optimization) or PPC (pay per click) traffic. This sort of website will often have an opt-in form that is used to get information about visitors, like their names and email addresses.
Including Primary and Additional Offers
When referring to primary offers, it means the main call to action that has people contact you. This could be a button like “request a free quote” or “free consultation.” The leading offer on a website should be the easiest for visitors to discover. It also should offer a large amount of value for a low amount of risk for potential leads. A simple primary offer is such a good idea because many people don’t want to make a purchase immediately on a B2B website.
Since more than 95% of visitors aren’t expecting to make a purchase immediately, you want to give them the information they need to come back. One of the best ways to do that is by giving them a simple solution for staying in contact with you when it is time for a purchase decision. An additional offer can work as a lead magnet. It presents some sort of content in exchange for an email address. This could be a case study, white paper, or something else useful.
Use the Chunking Method for Web Design Projects
Rather than writing all of the content for the landing page, moving on to the services page, and then working on the about page, there is a better solution. Starting with a sitemap, an outline of all the pages on a website often works better. Next, create a structure for top-level, second-level, and third-level pages. This can be done using a site mapping tool or something as simple as a spreadsheet.
Once the project has reached this point, everyone has a blueprint of what work needs to happen and its relation to the other pages. Then you can use a tried and true website content framework to build each of the pages. One framework you may be familiar with includes an overview, followed by features, then benefits, and finally, a call to action. There are others if that doesn’t fit the needs of the B2B website being created.
Realize the Importance of the Homepage
The homepage is the page on a website that will be visited most often, making it crucial to get right. However, it can also be challenging since everyone may have different opinions about what it should look like and what content it should contain. Besides being the first page most people see, this page brings in people at any stage of the purchasing process. Also, it can convince visitors to stick around or leave in a matter of seconds.
The website’s header section is the most important thing to consider when designing B2B pages since it’s the first thing visitors see. That means it should immediately offer information on who you are and what you’re offering. Sometimes businesses forget that not everyone knows who they are and don’t communicate this in the best way. Since 80% of B2B buying decisions are based on customer experience rather than price, make sure you offer the best of the best.
Keep Conversion Optimization in Mind
To create an effective B2B website, it has to focus on turning visitors into customers or creating leads. Many websites have one contact page, which can be a downfall. This is why your website should have several conversion points on various pages of the site. Each of these should also be specific rather than a generic “contact us” button. It needs a call to action that leads to a form or a landing page that encourages visitors to learn more or make a purchase.
A Great B2B eCommerce Website
A lot goes into a well-designed B2B website. It takes effort, skill, and time to get right. However, the rewards are worth it. You’ll have an online presence that meets the needs of your audience and drive more eyes to your business. Petra, a B2B electronics distributor, boasts a great example of a B2B eCommerce website. An extensive search menu indexes 60 classes of products from over 800 brands. What’s more, the website is fully responsive and accessible on any device.
More than a sharp design, Petra’s website offers fast loading times with a vast product library, extensive product description, as well as a personalized ordering process according to individual customer. From selecting the right B2B eCommerce platform to utilizing technical resources available to you can make the process more straightforward and streamlined. Utilize everything you have available along with the tips above to ensure you succeed with your website. It will be worth all the hard work.