This article by Salesforce Canada is part of our Blogtober event, which features blog posts written by industry influencers in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A few months ago, a Toronto-based consulting firm called Usability Matters started collecting and linking to articles under the heading, “UX meets B2B.” It was trying to show that the concepts of user experience (UX) design are as important for business-to-business firms as their consumer counterparts.
“B2B products can no longer get away with providing a terrible user experience,” the post said. “Usability doesn’t mean sacrificing features or function.”
For many B2B firms, their website is where UX design matters most, because it’s often one of the first ways new customers experience their brand. UX design refers to the way an organization makes using its products and services more accessible, easy to understand, and satisfying for users. That means a B2B website should not only answer customer’s questions, but would also drive them toward a purchase in a way that reflects their needs and preferences. Get started on your website’s UX with these three essential tips:
According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, 85 per cent of marketers are focused on lead generation, and 84 per cent on sales. The report suggests they won’t get there by a standard sales pitch, but by making sure the content on their websites offers educational and entertaining insights about prospective customers just like them. Marketing Profs, which co-produced the report, said this is where many B2B firms need to spend more time and effort.
“While 72 per cent want to focus on creating engaging content, just 41 per cent of us are looking to hone our storytelling chops, and a mere 19 per cent are focused on becoming stronger writers,” Marketing Profs said. “Many of us vastly undervalue writing in the content process, which is why we have a tough time creating ‘engaging content’—and why that has consistently been a top challenge.”
A big part of UX design is thinking through the common personality traits and behaviours—you need to create personas in order to better understand the people who may visit your website. This includes taking into consideration the terms they may enter into a search engine to get to your website, and using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to get ranked accordingly. However, some organizations force-fit keywords in an attempt to inflate their unique visit numbers. A recent post on Marketing Land explains why that’s not a productive approach.
“Mere keyword optimization and proper site architecture won’t get you as far as it used to,” the post says. “[SEO has] also grown to incorporate hugely important initiatives like UX, conversion rate optimization and click-through rate optimization.”
Think of SEO as the themes or foundation upon which your content marketing stories get told. It’s important to get right, but you can’t stop there.
Even if you’ve created compelling content and optimized it effectively with thoughtful SEO, B2B firms want to get customers and prospects to take the next step in the purchase process. The call to action (CTA) for content on a B2B website can include filling out an online form, sending an e-mail, downloading a white paper, registering for a webinar, using an online calculator, or a number of other actions.
Good UX design makes sure visitors don’t get overwhelmed by choices on your website. A post on Business2Community suggests cutting the number of CTAs in half on areas like the home page can dramatically increase the number of people who convert into sales leads. The company, Bizible, reduced the number of CTAs on its homepage from 14 to 7 and saw an increase of 29 per cent in its homepage click-through rate.
B2B firms might not have been quick to embrace UX design, but as they start to make the necessary changes on their websites, they recognize how valuable it is to their long-term growth. Whether you’re redesigning your website or going through a process of optimizing it, get in the heads of your customers: Understand what motivates them to do business on websites. Then embrace how valuable UX design is to your company’s sales and marketing.
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