The importance of high-quality website templates can’t be overstated. In our digital, always connected world, a customer is often first introduced to a brand via their website. Consider these statistics:
- 48% of people cite a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business (source).
- Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain (source).
- 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive (source).
When it comes to website design, the key to success lies in your ability to understand what the average visitor is hoping to achieve and then making it as simple as possible for them to do so. But, businesses vary drastically regarding branding, products, sales cycles, and much more.
Today we make the critical distinction between B2C design and B2B design. Then, we give you tips and tricks to make you a better B2B designer. Let’s get into it.
B2B Design vs. B2C Design
Designers, particularly website designers, must consider that the B2B audience and the B2C audience each have different motivations, preferences, and pain points. So, before we go through our tips for becoming a better B2B designer, it’s vital that we explain some of these critical differentiators:
- Goals: Although both B2B and B2C companies ultimately want to generate revenue, the process of getting to that revenue is much different. For a B2C e-commerce website, the goal is an immediate sale. But for a B2B website, the goal is more oriented toward nurturing a relationship with potential buyers. Because of this, B2B web design must focus more on creating a lasting brand experience and easy to access resources.
- Price: Another significant difference between B2B and B2C companies is the price point. Consider something like a toothbrush—even the most expensive toothbrush doesn’t exceed $100 maybe $200. But for B2B companies who sell software or business services, the price points are significantly higher—we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes. Because of this, the B2B buyer requires much more guidance through the buying journey.
- Sales Cycle: Because B2B products tend to be pricier, the sales cycle is much longer and more complex. A B2C buyer is subject to impulse buys and quick decisions while a B2B buyer needs sign off from higher-ups, multiple conversations with sales representatives, and definitive proof of product quality.
With these key differences in mind, let’s look at some ways you can improve and hone your B2B website design skills.
6 Ways to be a Better B2B Website Designer
Although this is by no means a comprehensive list of B2B website design best practices, these are our top tips to get you started. Ready to learn ways to improve your B2B website design? Keep reading.
1. Relax a little.
Traditionally, B2B websites have taken on a more professional, even sterile tone. But, these days, designers have a bit more flexibility. Although you should undoubtedly maintain some level of professionalism, you can be more fun and creative. This applies to everything from the language you use the colors of your brand.
2. Provide multiple ways to engage.
Because the B2B buying cycle is much longer than the B2C buying cycle, B2B website design needs to offer more ways to engage and stay connected with visitors. Remember, the buyer might return to your site multiple times before reaching out to make a purchase. If you don’t keep them engaged, they’ll forget all about your website.
We recommend the following:
- Allow visitors to subscribe to email updates.
- Place B2B social media links in a prominent location.
- Add website push notifications.
- Invest in retargeting ads.
- Research exit intent pop-ups to collect visitor contact information.
Although not all of these considerations are dependent on the designer, they’re important to keep in mind throughout the design process.
3. Streamline your navigation.
76% of consumers say the most critical aspect of a website’s design is that it’s easy to find what they want (source). This is particularly important for the B2B buyer who’s often conducting product research in the middle of a busy workday. If they can’t figure out what your company does or how to find the information they want, they’ll quickly move on to a competitor.
For this reason, it’s critical to keep your website navigation simple. Label each option clearly and skip the crazy drop-down menus containing hundreds of options. Consider what information is critical to your buyer personas and highlight the items that have the potential to influence purchase decisions.
4. Robust resource section.
Thanks to the information available on the internet, today’s B2B buyers are more educated than ever before. In fact, some studies estimate as much as 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect even speaks to a sales representative (source). Therefore, you must provide buyers with the resources they need to make an informed decision about your product.
In the B2B realm, resources typically include data sheets, blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, infographics, case studies, product demos, and more. As a designer, it’s your job to display vast amounts of information in a way that’s easy for potential customers to digest and understand.
5. High-quality product imagery.
The B2B audience tends to be a highly technical group—especially if they’re responsible for buying software. For this reason, the images you use must be extremely high-quality. Think about it: If you don’t feature a high-quality photo of your product, why should your prospects expect your product to be high-quality?
If you don’t display your products or services in the best light, you risk losing credibility as a brand.
6. Prioritize Mobile.
It’s no surprise that mobile website traffic grows increasingly each year—even for the B2B audience. As technology evolves, so must our mobile website design strategy. Not only does mobile website design impact how your customers see your website, but it now also impacts SEO. If your website is not optimized for mobile efficiently, you will not rank for relevant search terms.
For this reason, it’s important to consider how your website looks on all devices—including tablets, common mobile devices, desktop, and more.
Although the major tenets of web design don’t vary too much from B2B to B2C—the customers and their journey do vary. If you don’t take these differences into account when designing for a B2B company, you will miss out on valuable business.
But, if you can take these differences and apply them to your design studio templates efficiently, you can outperform your competitors and drastically grow your business. So, even if you’ve mastered the art of B2B web design, take a second look at your business website and see what improvements can be made.
Consider your goals and the overarching goals of your organization. Do you want to drive form submissions to your contact database? Are you trying to generate brand awareness? Or are you trying to generate more revenue for your business? These goals will inform your design and how you interpret the suggestions made in this post.
So, let us know, have you found success with a particular style or layout? Have you run usability tests or installed heat map software? We want to know what works for your B2B business, so let us know in the comment section below!