According to recent research conducted by Forrester, businesses are failing to meet B2B audience expectations when it comes to their websites. There appears to be a disconnect between what businesses are showcasing, and what current or potential customers are looking for. Based on the report, B2B supplier websites are focused mainly on the company itself and a description of its products and services, versus the benefit for the buyer / user.
In other words, B2B audiences value websites that are relevant to their needs. This means supplier websites are expected to deliver on any, or all, of the following:
- Demonstrate knowledge of how well the firm understands its customers
- Speak to buyer/user pain points, recognizing and empathizing with their current issues
- Create opportunities for community/peer interactions such as discussion boards
- Showcase in-depth case studies, customer success stories, or testimonials
Other studies indicate the value of relevance at an individual level in terms of B2B audiences desiring a personalized website experience:
- 76% of B2B buyers who participated in a 2018 survey expressed a strong desire for “content that speaks directly to their company.” (DemandGen, 2018 B2B Buyers Survey Report)
- 73% of B2B buyers say they want a personalized, B2C-like customer experience. (Accenture, 2017)
Indeed, B2B buyers are also consumers. They are used to utilizing consumer sites such as Amazon for shopping for their personal life. Their expectations when it comes to personalization, therefore, have already been set. Besides meeting customer expectations, having a satisfactory website can convert browsers to buyers.
- Up to 70% of buyers have said that the vendor’s website was the most influential factor when it came to deciding whether to make a purchase. (Smart Insights, 2018)
- A personalized web experience can increase sales by 19%. (MarTechAdvisor, 2018)
In addition to the likes of search engine optimization (SEO) that helps drive audiences to specific areas of a site targeted specifically to them, chatbots are increasingly used to deliver a more personal experience.
Consider the following research to improve engagement with your website:
- Segmentation and persona profiling: to ensure your website speaks to the different needs and mindsets across the audiences you serve, first segment your target market into groups to identify how your website can better address their information needs, product / service requirements, brand values, etc. A segmentation framework ultimately provides a tool to ensure the digital experience is as relevant and compelling as possible to different audiences / personas.
- Buyer journey mapping: as websites are key to helping a supplier enter the consideration set, it’s important to understand the role of websites in informing buying decisions, and the point in the path to purchase when websites are used. Buyer journey mapping documents all touchpoints (not limited to websites), and helps identify how websites can be optimized in what is most likely an omnichannel buying experience, to better support a positive path to purchase.
- Brand positioning research: according to author Simon Sinek, people buy why a brand provides an offering, not what or how it delivers it. An engaging website is one that therefore appeals to shared brand values and that speaks to relevant emotional factors like confidence and pride, not just rational needs like geographic proximity or industry experience. Brand positioning research is therefore useful for ensuring that the supplier is sufficiently distinct and differentiated from other providers. Ask yourself what is the most important impression you would like website visitors to be left with upon leaving your website, and ensure that this message is loud and clear.
- Website usability research: the user experience on the website is vital to maintaining interest and driving towards a call-to-action. A site that is easy to navigate, that quickly addresses information needs, that is visually appealing, and that is refreshing in some way, plays a big part in increasing favorability towards the supplier.