In this blog, Matthew Creswick, Huble Digital explains why having a website is essential for B2B companies and the benefits it provides.
One of the fundamentals of doing business in 2018 is that your website meets your prospects before you do. But what does that mean? It means that your potential customers will interact and engage with your website long before they speak to a member of your team.
If you accept the fact that most purchase decisions in the B2B world start with an online search, you will also appreciate the fact that having a website not only helps searchers to find your business, but also plays a key role in encouraging them to engage with you.
The way in which prospects engage with B2B companies has changed. Gone are the days when every business deal and partnership was made over an expensive dinner or bottle of fine wine. Nowadays, prospects turn to search engines for their answers, using them to search for solutions to their business problem, and will read blogs and visit websites to find the information they need.
If your B2B company doesn’t have a website, or you have one but haven’t dedicated enough time or resources to developing it, you are missing out on these enquiries; you are missing out on the opportunity to increase the exposure of your business; and you are missing out on improving your business’ revenue generation.
You must think of your B2B website as your business’ digital shop front – it is the easiest way for you to get your business’ products and services in front of interested parties. It’s your opportunity to accurately and concisely explain your USP and highlight the business benefits your solutions can provide.
Your website is also your best salesperson: it works 24/7, provides website visitors with the information and content they need to make an informed decision, and allows them to engage with your business on levels other than ‘contact us’. Configured correctly – and positioned as the top of your sales funnel – your B2B website can drive lead generation for your business and nurture website visitors from the initial website visit, through to sales readiness.
Why having a website is important for B2B companies:
We’re in a digital world and more and more of your prospects are online looking for solutions that your business provides. If you don’t have a website – how will they ever find you? However, having a website isn’t just about being found online – it also provides a number of other benefits, including:
For any B2B company, being found online is incredibly important. If you do not have a website – or your website is not optimised for specific keyword terms around what your business does, interested parties will have difficulties finding and engaging with you. Having an online presence, i.e. your website, will help potential prospects to find you and consider your business as a solution to their business challenges. Better yet, having online reviews, testimonials and content on other websites will further bolster your website’s visibility on search engines and increase your credibility – all of which will drive more targeted traffic to your website! Remember, first impressions count and the first interaction potential prospects have with your business will be with your website!
Searchers arriving on your website will be looking for content that can help them. Without a website to host your content, you're reliant on social media and email. With a website, you can easily host your content and create new pages for content as and when you need to.
The more relevant, high-quality, issue-focused content you have on your website, the better your opportunities to engage with and convert website visitors.
Also, every bit of content you create will have its own URL and target a specific keyword, giving you more opportunities to be found online by interested parties. Ultimately, the more quality content you have on your website, the more organic traffic you'll receive!
A B2B website is a relatively small investment – especially when compared to your business’ overall goals and objectives. Once your site is up and running, search engine optimised and configured to be able to engage with and convert leads, it will continue to deliver results for your business.
Over time, your website will pay for itself and then some. It’s a great form of low-cost advertising and while it takes time to build a steady stream of organic traffic to your website – it costs next to nothing to do so. Remember: the Internet has far greater exposure than any other channel and will allow you to reach prospects wherever, whenever.
Having a website will put your business in a position where it can engage with and sell to prospects around the clock, and being online will increase your business’ exposure and help it to generate new customers. With a website, a small business can quickly become an international business as it’s visible worldwide and start to grow and scale its activities. Of course, your website must be equipped with content and the right tools if it is to capture the interest of website visitors and encourage them to engage.
Accessibility and engagement
Your website is online and accessible 24 hours a day, every day of the year – and it’s your best resource. Prospects can visit your website out of hours for support or information about your products and services when it’s most convenient for them. In contrast to only being able to call you during office opening hours, your website provides a way for prospects to “get in touch” without having to get in touch.
Authority and credibility
As you continue to create and publish search engine optimised content on your website, its overall 'domain authority' (its ability to rank highly on search engine results pages - i.e. SERPs) will increase incrementally. What this means is that when someone does a search for products or services you provide - you will be shown further up the results page. If you continue to create high-quality content and target the right keyword opportunities, you may even find your website on page one of Google!
Of course, this is a long-term investment and to expect immediate results would be naive. The best strategies are those that continue to deliver even after you've "stopped" marketing - and this is one of those strategies.
There's also the fact that by having a website and existing online, potential prospects will be more likely to trust you. According to research by Verisign, 56% of those interviewed stated they wouldn't trust a business without a website. It's clear, then, that without a website you're potentially missing out on more than half of your prospects
Without a website how your business is perceived by prospects and the media is out of your control. For example: if the media can't find a boilerplate statement - i.e. some messaging that defines your product or service - they will make up their own. Now the statement they come up with might not be incorrect but it might not be correct, either. The problem here is that your business runs the risk of being positioned in a way that isn't reflective of what you do or can do for your customers.
On the other end of the spectrum, if customers or the media make negative statements about your product or service based on the generalisations made by the media (or other customers), you have no way of counteracting these claims. You can't even refer people to the literature on your website!
These problems can be alleviated (to an extent) by having a presence on social media - but in a market where a website is the most pivotal element in the marketing and sales engagement process, a business without one is asking for trouble.
By having a website you can control some of the narrative. You can dictate to the media and potential prospects what you do and how you can help. Of course, you'll never be able to control all of the narrative (it's likely that the media will skew wording or glamourise stories) but having a website puts you a few steps ahead.
To access markets of scale and begin to operate globally, you need to have a website. If you're operating without a website, you're missing out on international enquiries and if any are coming through, how are you tracking them and providing them with information? Surely they don't have to call you every time?
A website provides a single location for your content (as mentioned previously) but more importantly, it allows people to engage with your business on a level other than 'contact us'. No need to pick up the phone!
As your operations begin to scale as a result of being online, over time you can create more websites, servicing individual regions. This makes it easier for potential customers in certain parts of the world to do business with you.
If you're currently operating without a website - how are you informing potential prospects and existing customers of new products, services or content? Where do they go to find out more information?
Chances are that your customers have to either email or call you to find out more about your product or service and in 2020, they really shouldn't have to.
By having a website, however, you can quickly and easily add new pages for your products and/or services on the go. These pages can be edited as and when necessary, meaning your potential prospects and customers don't have to call you (which they most likely don't want to do) or browse the internet to find what they're looking for!
If you don't have a website, it's time to get one
Investing in a website for your B2B company is the best thing you can do right now if you haven’t already. As your business grows, so too does your website. If you can configure your website correctly and set it up so that you can move website visitors through the sales cycle and encourage them to engage with your business, you will quickly generate sales leads and revenue.