Home  › Marketing › Strategies
b2b

6 More Best Practices for a Great B2B Website

  |  June 10, 2014   |  Comments

The old rules just aren't enough anymore. Here are six more tips for creating a great and effective B2B website.

Readers and clients alike continue to ask me for help crafting their B2B websites. Last year, I shared five of my favorite best practices:

  • Get users the info they came for quickly
  • Provide clear user pathing 
  • Treat advertisers like consumers 
  • Build your site to scale 
  • Keep the content fresh 

But with the growth in content marketing as a means to grow traffic and sales, and mobile’s increasing role in the vendor decision-making process, the old rules aren’t enough.

Here are six more best practices for building a great B2B website:

1. Mix Gated and Non-Gated Content.

Ninety percent of B2B marketers now use content to grow awareness, drive consideration, and generate sales. Learning centers, content hubs, and blogs rich with adobe-targetmultimedia experiences all help build engagement and "stickiness" within your site. Asking for a user’s email address in exchange for accessing your great content is a good idea, but be sure to give potential prospects a chance to "try before they buy."

Best-in-Class Example: Adobe and CMO.com

Adobe took access to insights to a new level when it launched CMO.com, a website devoted to helping inform and engage marketers. On Adobe’s Target site for digital marketing, however, lead capture readily occurs.

cmo-kovner

2. Track Everything.

You’ve invested time and energy to create great Web pages filled with useful content. Now make sure it’s all shareable – and that you’re able to track what works. The best B2B websites and marketing teams track everything. While each platform has its own code convention, activating UTM (Urchin Tracking Monitor) codes on every piece of content you publish is a great place to start. Just like a vanity URL on a print, out-of-home, or television ad, these codes let you measure where your traffic comes from, and which piece of content drove it.

Best-in-Class Example: HubSpot

Since HubSpot wrote the book on this type of engagement tracking, it’s no surprise they’re eating their own dog food. Check out their great primer on how to use UTM codes effectively.

hubspot

3. Make It Easy to Make a Sale.

We’re digital marketers, so we love our forms, email contacts, and live Web chats. But many prospective clients still like to speak to a human before making a large purchase decision. Give your users options. Don’t forget to include a phone number across your site’s pages to field sales inquiries – assuming you have someone available to answer it. (The only thing worse than no phone number, is one that you call and doesn’t get answered!)

Best-in-Class Example: Salesforce.com

From the vanity phone number to the live chat button, Salesforce makes it clear it’s ready to help you – however you wish to engage.

salesforce-kovner

4. Be Bold in Visuals and Copy.

B2B doesn’t mean boring. As discussed last time, the best sites treat advertisers like consumers with their tone. Now, they also do it with their visuals. Make your site more engaging with big, bold visuals that bring your brand to life (but no iStock photo handshake images, please. They don’t say anything about your business, your clients, or your value proposition). And be sure to lead with your value. Think "headlines" for each page, versus mere descriptions.

Best-in-Class Example: Squarespace

Squarespace does a great job of showcasing its clients in action with beautiful photography. It also puts its value proposition front and center. 

squarespace-kovner

5. Go Mobile.

"Responsive design" was the buzzword of 2013, but there are really no more excuses. Fifty-seven percent of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, and 40 percent turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience, according to Equation Research & Compuware. (For start-ups, my shout-out to Squarespace above continues here: its plans come with mobile-responsive design.)

Best-in-Class Example: EMC

The data storage and services provider does a great job surfacing product info, resources, news, and insights in a small space. The site is as engaging as its online counterpart.

emc

6. Let Your Clients Tell Your Story.

The best B2B websites show, they don’t tell. Client testimonials and case studies are notoriously different to source and get approval for, but they’re worth the effort. They validate your claims, and they help prospective buyers imagine use cases for their own businesses - and imagine themselves as clients.

Best-in-Class Example: Rocketfuel

Rocketfuel features clients on nearly every page of its site, from text callouts to video interviews to written case studies. These elements reinforce Rocketfuel’s positive brand messaging and continually back it up with results – in the form of smart, happy clients.

rocketfuel

Have more best practices for best-in-class B2B websites? Submit them to me @kristinkovner for inclusion in next year’s roundup.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristin Kovner

Kristin Kovner is a digital marketing, technology, and media industry veteran. Her firm, K-SQUARED STRATEGIES, helps high-growth media and tech companies develop and execute best-in-class marketing strategies. Prior to opening her own consultancy, Kristin served as the Vice President of Marketing Strategy at AOL, where she managed the AOL and AOL Advertising brands and set and executed the go-to-market strategy for AOL's owned and operated websites, including AOL.com, Moviefone, MapQuest, Engadget, and The Huffington Post.

Prior to joining AOL, Kristin served as the Head of Industry Marketing for YouTube and held various roles on Google's marketing team. Kristin has also worked as a journalist for Newsweek and SmartMoney, The Wall Street Journal's magazine, and as an economic consultant at Bates White LLC.

Kristin graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude from Yale College and currently lives in New York City.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...
    • Online Marketing Coordinator
      Online Marketing Coordinator (NewMarket Health) - BaltimoreWant to learn marketing from the best minds in the business? NewMarket Health, a subsidiary...
    • Call Center Manager
      Call Center Manager (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachWanted: Dynamic Call Center Manager with a Proven Track Record of Improving Response...