Welcome to a new era of marketing. Business executives today protect their budgets more than ever before. CMOs expect visible results from marketing investments (as they should). Readily-available numbers demonstrate successful and unsuccessful marketing initiatives. Marketing automation has stormed onto the scene. Social media no longer sparkles as a shiny new object.
Along with all this, the modern B2B website has staked out its claim in the business development world. This website aims not to brag about the superiority of your fantastic company, but to serve your prospective and existing customers. It works as a business tool designed to attract qualified prospects, provide utility in their search for a vendor/partner, and convert them into real leads with names and phone numbers. This modern B2B website also serves as your partner in nurturing leads until they become paying customers.
As an introduction to what a successful B2B website IS in today’s business environment, let’s look at five things it is NOT.
1. A website is NOT a brochure
In the early 2000s, the B2B website existed to demonstrate a professional brand image, describe your products or services, preach your greatness to visitors and list a contact phone number. But that was more than ten years ago. This “online capabilities brochure” retired from the business development world, and a much savvier successor has stepped in. Today’s B2B website boasts search-engine-optimized content, rooted in keyword research around real search engine data. As a result, it attracts YOUR audience in their Google searches. When your audience arrives, compelling content provides value as they research and learn about potential partners like you. That content demonstrates your undeniable expertise and positions you as the expert in your field. Most importantly, this modern B2B website initiates conversation by asking your visitors to take action.
2. A website is NOT a job for your IT team
A website involves technology. So does your washing machine. Neither require the hands of your IT team. Your website is a marketing and business development tool and must be conceptualized, developed and managed by marketing and business development professionals.
3. A website is NOT a project with an end date
The modern B2B website grows and evolves endlessly. If you nurture your website, your website will nurture your audience. This means consistently feeding your audience new blog content, white papers, buyer’s guides, case studies, videos and other content designed to provide utility. A healthy, growing B2B website establishes trust, enhances knowledge of your product or service and moves your audience further into their buying process, all in the absence of obnoxious sales messages.
4. A website is NOT the sole solution to your marketing problems
A B2B website takes center stage inside a much bigger online lead development infrastructure. It needs a supporting cast of strong tools to achieve success. This cast includes a seamlessly integrated marketing database to extract and store visitor information via website forms. It includes a marketing automation system to score the viability and credentials of new leads and initiate automated email campaigns to nurture them. It also includes a CRM (customer relationship management) system for your sales professionals to track interaction with prospects throughout their buying process.
5. A website is NOT a $5000 graphic design job
A business-generating website capable of demonstrating a positive ROI simply cannot be constructed for $5000. A website requires meticulous planning, sound strategy and the insights of your marketing and sales professionals. It’s not just a graphic design job. I repeat – it is not just a graphic design job. Success will require not only a financial commitment, but commitments in the form of time, energy and brain power from you and the key players within your business.
Thanks for reading. If you want to learn more about building a website that produces real leads and business for your company, I recommend downloading our new guide: The B2B Website Planning Handbook below.