Your website should be persona-driven, not company driven. So, the goal is not to brag about how great your company or solution is or get everyone who visits to reach out to your sales team regardless of fit.
The primary objective of an inbound B2B website is to help users answer questions and solve their pain points with educational content. If a user is a good fit, then the secondary objective is to provide them with a clear next step to learn more or get in touch.
Here are six essential elements that help you achieve your site’s objectives.
1. A Defined Goal
The first step of creating or re-designing any website is defining its goal. That goal should be both qualitative and quantitative and will help you ensure you have a clear foundation and direction for the site.
There are two categories of goals to keep in mind: company goals and user goals.
What KPIs is your company working toward? What’s your ultimate revenue goal and what targets do you have for SQLs, MQLs and site visitors?
On top of that, when a user visits your site, what do you want them to walk away knowing about your company? What should they be able to communicate about your organization to their coworker, manager or CEO?
Those goals will help guide your content strategy, which in turn informs your information architecture.
2. Intentional Information Architecture
Information architecture is most commonly associated with your navigation and footer, but it’s more than that. It’s the folder structure your website is built on, the hierarchical organization of the content within the site.
Effective information architecture requires a deep understanding of your audience because they’re the ones your website is for. Buyer persona documentation including pain points and the ways your company addresses them provides a great guide.
As you develop your information architecture, we recommend giving users at least two pathways through your website.
For example, if you talk about products and solutions by name in your navigation, also provide a user-centric path, like role and industry, so users can choose their own adventure to find the content most relevant to them based on how they identify.
Additionally, avoid using internal lingo in your page names and instead use plain text that makes it clear what content a user will find on that site page.
3. High-Quality Content
Content is the most important thing on a website. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is, if the content is weak, it won’t achieve its objective of educating users and providing them with the necessary information to make a strategic decision about purchasing your solution.
The voice and tone of your content should be targeted toward your users, and you should use language your audience is familiar with. Clear communication won’t just help you reach users — it’ll also help you rank in search results.
Some content your website should contain include:
- Homepage: The goal of the homepage is to introduce your company at a high-level, answer “what does this company do?” and then get users to the content that’s relevant for them as quickly as possible. You don’t want your homepage to be just a navigation resource, but it should be the starting point for users to begin their journey through your website.
- About section: This is where you can present your company narrative. It’s the one part of your website that focuses on you. Studies show that users remember stories more than anything else, so presenting your company’s narrative can help visitors connect with your brand.
- Solution pages: Highlight the ways users can benefit from your product or service and explain how your company addresses prospects’ pain points. These pages should also include an intentional next step that enables prospects to learn more about product offerings or key features.
- Proof points: Don’t just tell users how great you are; show them. You can do that by leveraging case studies, testimonials, customer logos, awards and accolades. These resources become especially powerful when it’s tied with your marketing copy so you’re combining your showing and telling.
On website pages, we recommend leveraging the inverted pyramid style of writing in which you start with the most important details. For blog posts and longer-form content, that’s not always the best format, but for site pages, users spend such little time browsing that they typically skim instead of reading in-depth. Presenting the most important information at the top of the page makes it most likely that visitors will find what they’re looking for.
Also, keep in mind that content is more than just written copy. Imagery and video are also content, and those visualizations are just as important as the written words. If possible, vary the content types you use because you don’t know what’s going to resonate best with the user.
4. A Strategic Next Step on Every Page
For every page on your website, ask yourself, “if a user was only to visit this site page, what’s the one thing we want them to walk away knowing?” then consider what you want the primary call-to-action on that page to be.
That goal and next step are the center of your content strategy so you can make sure you’re not trying to stuff too much information into a page.
The reason you want to give a next-step is twofold. You want to educate users. So in order to empower them to dive deeper into a category you need to have content that goes beyond site pages, like blogs, webinars and guides. Additionally, to capture leads and nurture them down the funnel, you need conversion paths and conversion opportunities.
5. Contextual Conversion Opportunities
Once a user wants to learn more about a topic or get in touch with a sales rep, you need to be able to capture their information through forms and chatbots. The information you collect will give your marketing and sales teams a deeper understanding of what the prospect is interested in so they can provide contextually-relevant follow-up.
Your landing pages don’t exist just to look good. You need to ask the right questions on forms and have the backend set up so you can act upon the information provided.
6. Continuity with Your Brand Off-Site
Prospects who enter the sales process after converting on your website should have a consistent experience across their buyer’s journey.
Your sales team should be aware of the experience your website creates and the actions individual prospects took so that their efforts contribute toward the overall experience prospects have with your company. Your marketing team should make sure your website content aligns with the messaging of your sales and service teams as well.
At the end of the day, your website is just one way that prospects can engage with your company. The way your brand is presented across your website needs to match how it’s represented in every other communication. Whether a prospect is learning from a pillar page on your website, attending a webinar with your product team or on a call with a sales rep, your company should be providing them with value and a cohesive experience.
Kelly is the Manager of Web Strategy at New Breed.