Five areas where your website needs to deliver for inbound marketing.
When you designed your B2B website, everyone in the company wanted a hand in it. Lots of people, lots of goals. Did it end in a bit of a compromise? That’s the reason why most B2B websites get fewer than 3,000 visits a month - being too internally focused.
What if web design and content planning started with a different approach - one designed from the ground up to draw in your audience, engage them in content, nurture them down the sale funnel and convert as many as possible into customers? Not just a website, but a strategic marketing and sales infrastructure?
It’s a problem that keeps inbound marketing companies awake at night. (And gets us out of bed in the morning, natch.) Here are five principles worth following in your next website refresh.
1. Imagine every page being the answer to a prospect’s question
Your website might say everything you want it to say. But you didn’t build it for your insiders. You built it for customers and prospects. (If your site looks like your org chart, it’s a dead giveaway.)
So when content planning, don’t start with a list of topics decided internally - or even a list of your products and services. Put yourselves in the customer’s shoes, and list the questions prospects are asking of search engines. Then make each piece of content you create an answer to one of those questions.
Remember: customers don’t buy drills. They buy holes.
Only 20% of companies are confident they’re doing as much as they can to engage prospects. That percentage can go a lot higher if you let your set of pages be defined by what customer pain they solve, not just your product portfolio.
2. Plan sites as customer journeys, not sections
Getting married on the first date generally ends in tears. In the same way, converting a cold suspect to a top customer isn’t a single event; it’s a journey. Inbound marketing companies call it a nurturing pathway.
Make your site pages connected journeys through content, not discrete pages.
To plan yours, sketch out your customer’s “journey towards the sale” from start to finish. Maybe it starts with a Tweet, or a web search, or a blog article elsewhere, before they come to your site. Whatever it is, make sure they’ve always got somewhere to go next. That provocative Tweet might end with a whitepaper download where you capture their email. Or a signup to your email newsletter.
3. Make it easy to cut to the chase
Some customers know what they want, and they want it NOW. So don’t make them jump through hoops.
Over two-thirds of marketers (69%) believe they have great content, but don’t let content get in the way of the goal.
Work out which content people tend to consume right before the sale closes, and make sure that content is available from every page on the nurturing pathway. When someone arrives there, your sales team should be jumping for joy.
4. Analyse the pathway, not just the page
Marketers call them customer journeys, or nurturing pathways. Sales people would recognise them as sales funnels.
The maths is simple: the more prospects who make it through each stage, the greater your site’s conversion rate. With only a finite number of prospects out there, conversion rate is the Key Success Factor of almost any inbound marketing strategy.
So analyse these pathways obsessively. Look for the bottlenecks and chokepoints. Open them up until every cold visitor has a smooth journey towards becoming a customer.
5. Test like your job depended on it (it does)
Fifth and last, remember your pages aren’t created once and forever. Your site is a living thing. Swap content around, run A/B splits, and test, test, test.
You don’t need a budget of millions. You just need to look and listen.
Persuading just five engaged customers to critique your content is more than most marketers ever manage. So if you do it, you’ll be ahead of the game.
All inbound marketing companies know these five thoughts are fundamental. Devote some resource to each, and you’ll get:
- A website attracting high volumes of relevant visitors
- Hundreds of content downloads each month
- Low bounce rates of 40% or below
- High levels of repeat visitors
- Over time, over 5% of visitors becoming Marketing Qualified Leads!