Top 10 Guide: Marketing your Start-Up and SME
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Compared to business-to-consumer (B2C) websites, usability in B2B environments is extremely under-valued, barely discussed and poorly executed. But usability is without a doubt the critical difference between your target audiences bouncing straight off the site, browsing through your products and services, or being converted from a prospect to a lead.
With B2B marketing lead generation is the lifeblood of your operation – it’s your top priority. But for years user research reports have proven that B2B websites have substantially lower usability and conversion percentages than their cousin consumer sites. These year-after-year findings are astonishing when you consider that there is predominantly more income at stake for B2B organisations than B2C.
So why does this trend keep occurring? In brief, B2B websites face usability challenges far beyond those of most B2C sites. These challenges include:
Due to the nature of B2B products being tailor-made and price adjusted, they are seldom available for purchase through online platforms. Because of this complexity, the trend is to avoid displaying information in a conversion optimised and analytical method, and to display it secondary to design.
Whereas a B2C website can happily cater for one interest group, the average B2B website has to be supportive of its diversity of customers. In the competitive world of B2B, websites need to focus on what each of these different type of users are trying to achieve, with the site architecture being the enabler rather than a hurdle to overcome.
Unlike B2C, a B2B website isn’t necessarily seen as a tool for closing a sale and providing a solid ROI. But when website design and build is often the largest single project in the marketing budget, companies can be incredibly short sited and end up with a website that does not compliment their marketing campaigns.
So when it comes to website design, be smart, plan ahead and take into consideration the many principles behind an effective B2B website. Challenge yourself to find solutions that give your customers the information they need in a format they prefer, and with the usability they require to make profound purchasing decisions.
Your website is more than just a channel to market – use it to focus on the customer, not the product. Only by designing effective user-centric solutions can you truly fulfil core business objectives, boost website efficiency and drive lead conversion… and that means a solid ROI.
Why do you think that website usability is applied less in the B2B field? I would love to hear your thoughts, let me know in the comments below.