In the early days of the Internet, web content was an afterthought. The main focus was the printed product brochure. Once the brochure was complete, it was then added to the website, usually in the same format in which it was printed.
Because of this history, some B2B companies still consider a website an “online brochure,” a misconception that causes a lot of trouble.
Today’s B2B website is a living, breathing, dynamic marketing asset. It’s the first thing people view when doing a search or following up on a recommendation made on social media. As such, it’s a real-time extension of your business culture, your marketing and sales department, your help desk, and your HR department – to name only a few functions.
Because the website is so important, B2B marketers and business owners really need to ensure that their sites are up to snuff before beginning a social media campaign or developing a content strategy because the website needs to support these activities in order for them to be successful.
But, where do you start when developing or updating your website? Here are the three biggest mistakes I see companies make. Focus on fixing these three issues with your website before developing your social media and content strategy.
On the Home or Products/Services pages of your website, you need to state exactly what you offer and how it will benefit people. Yet too often B2B websites are full of goobledygook language such as, “We’re the leaders in providing scalable integrated digital gizmos for industry verticals.”
To determine if you have the right messaging, ask people outside of your company and industry to view your site. If they don’t “get it,” change your messaging until they do.
You’ll also want to consider how your company is positioned compared to your competitors. Do your messages sound the same? Are you using the same tired buzz words and industry jargon? Even worse, are you using the same stock photos?
Non-existent or faulty SEO
One of the first things I look for when talking with a prospective client is whether or not the website is optimized for search engines. Usually it’s not, and when I point this out, I’m told that they paid a web designer to “throw some keywords in the meta tags.”
Not understanding the importance of SEO is a huge mistake. You can find people who will argue SEO is dead but the bottom line is this: we all search for things using keywords. If your content isn’t optimized around the keywords people use, then they won’t find your content, period. (And no, I don’t think social media is a replacement for SEO – but that’s another post.)
If you don’t have the skills to figure this out in-house, find a good SEO copywriter.
Lack of content
Having an abundance of e-books, white papers, webinars, podcasts, video, etc. is good. Yet before you get to the content wealth stage, you need to ensure you have lots of “bread and butter” content including:
- Services / product info – I recommend that for each service or product you offer, you have a page of content describing it – versus cramming everything onto one or two pages. Having more pages also makes it easier to optimize for specific keywords.
- FAQs – Multiple FAQ pages regarding different aspects of your business answer people’s questions as well as drawing them to your site via search.
- Case studies / testimonials / client lists – Third-party endorsements help prospects decide whether they should do business with you.
- Articles / e-newsletter / blog – Whether you have all three or just one, this type of content educates site visitors, shows your expertise and gets passed around via social media.
Your B2B website is the best marketing asset you own. Help your website help you increase sales by ensuring that you communicate the right message, that people can find your content in the search engines, and that your site helps move people to the next step in the sales cycle.