6 B2B Website Mistakes That Are Sinking Your Sales (And How to Fix Them)

B2B Website SInking SalesHave you been wondering why the investment in your website is not resulting in a big increase in sales? If so, you’re not alone.

While many B2B companies may think their website looks great, they are unknowingly making mistakes that are negatively impacting their opportunity to attract new customers, generate leads and sales, and increase their competitive position.  With the huge boost in online business due to the pandemic, making mistakes on your website can severely impact the long-term health of your business. If your website is not boosting your bottom line, it’s time to take action.

Here are six common sales-sinking mistakes B2B companies make on their websites — and how you can fix them.

Mistake #1:  Being Egocentric Instead of Customer-focused

Of all the B2B digital marketing mistakes you can make, in my opinion, this one is the biggest. Unfortunately, many B2B and industrial companies do not design their website for their customers. Rather, they take an egocentric approach, talking more about themselves rather than addressing customer needs and solving their customers’ problems.

An egocentric website ignores describing how the company tackles key customer issues to improve their effectiveness and profitability. Instead, they dwell on features of the company’s spectacular offerings, their superior production processes, the brilliance of their people and their impressive offices. While this information is important, it is by far secondary to how your company can solve your customers’ key business problems.

How you can fix this mistake:

A customer-focused website puts your customers at the center of your online offering, making it easy for them to do business with you.  At the same time, a customer-focused website is aligned with your company’s overall business strategy and marketing objectives.  And, most importantly, a customer-focused website produces results – leads, sales and profitable long-term customers.  To be successful, your B2B website must:

  • Speak directly to each member of your target audience. Identify your niche target audiences and speak directly to their unique needs and motivations.
  • Provide content and features that address your customers’ needs. Anticipate your customers’ needs and provide clear statements that are benefit oriented, support your claims with customer success stories and proactively address potential objections.
  • Educate and build trust. Your website cannot just sell — it must also educate. Turn your site into a vital resource that helps your customers be more effective by offering an educational blog, videos, e-books and webinars.

Mistake #2:  Ignoring the Needs of Early-Stage Buyers

Is your website only focused on making the immediate sale? If so, you are selling your website short. According to Marketo, approximately 96% of your website visitors are not ready to make a purchase.  That means if your site is only focused on late-stage buyers, you are losing an opportunity to engage with the other 96% of visitors that are just performing research or kicking tires.

To be successful, your website’s content needs to address customers at each stage of the “Buyer’s Journey” – not just those who are ready to purchase.  This Journey consists of three phases:

  • Awareness Stage: The buyer realizes they have a problem or a potential opportunity.
  • Consideration Stage: The buyer defines the problem or opportunity and researches options to solve it.
  • Decision Stage: The buyer selects and purchases the best solution for their needs.

Potential customers can visit your website for the first time at any stage of the Buyer’s Journey, so your website’s content needs to satisfy buyers at each stage.

How you can fix this mistake:

During the Awareness Stage, the buyer identifies a challenge they want to resolve or an opportunity they want to pursue.  However, they do not know what is needed to resolve or satisfy their challenge.  When they go online to find a solution, they are searching based on the symptoms of their pain they are experiencing or the relief they are seeking.  Address the needs of Awareness Stage through:

  • Educational Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Checklists
  • How-to videos
  • E-books
  • Tip sheets
  • Educational webinars

During the Consideration Stage, the buyer has clearly defined the challenge or goal and have committed to addressing it.  When they go online, they are searching to evaluate the different solutions, methods or approaches available to solve their challenge or pursue their goal.  In addition to the above-mentioned content, address the needs of Consideration Stage through:

  • Case studies
  • Product/service webinars
  • Demonstration videos
  • Opinion reports

During the Decision Stage, the buyer has decided on a way forward and they are trying to decide on the best company to provide the solution.  These prospects are ready to make a final decision.  When they go online, they are searching for potential vendors offering the product or service they need, as well as the important details of each candidate’s offering.   In addition to the above-mentioned content, address the needs of Consideration Stage through:

  • Product literature
  • Testimonials
  • Vendor comparisons
  • Product comparisons
  • Free trials
  • Free consultations
  • Live demonstrations

In addition to offering content for each stage, you need to create lead generation opportunities before the checkout or quote request for early-stage buyers.  More on this below.

Mistake #3:  Not Making a Strong “Call to Action”

Lead generation and direct online sales consistently rank as top priorities for B2B companies.  However, most companies handicap themselves by take a passive approach toward generating leads and sales by relying on their website’s ‘Contact Us’ page as the sole method for prospects to take action.

How you can fix this mistake:

Your call to action (CTA) is arguably the most important part of your website.  To generate the most leads, create CTAs with offers that address the needs of prospects at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.  Successful offers for B2B companies have the following characteristics:

  • High perceived value: Customers place a significant monetary or emotional value on your offer.
  • Highly desirable: The offer is so valuable they want it RIGHT NOW!
  • Uniquely yours: Your offer is unique to your company and can’t be found elsewhere.
  • Related to what you are selling: Your offer is a first step that leads your customers toward the ultimate sale.
  • Easy to respond to: There is a simple process in place for them to take the next step.

To help you start thinking about your CTA offers, below please find examples of successful offers for B2B companies like yours:

  • Add to Cart
  • Request a Quote
  • Request More Information
  • Download E-Book
  • Watch Webinar
  • Subscribe to Newsletter
  • Free Consultation
  • Free Trial
  • Free Samples
  • Ask a Question

Mistake #4:  Not Updating Your Website Regularly

Many B2B companies spend a lot of time and resources creating a website. But unfortunately, then they neglect it. You need to make updating your website on a regular basis a crucial practice to ensure the advancement of your business and your brand online.

Updating your website regularly is important for a variety of reasons. Not only does updating a website enhance your online marketing strategy by offering valuable content and a contemporary design, but it can also improve your website security, speed and usability.

How you can fix this mistake:

There are three important areas to focus on when regularly updating your B2B website:

1.  Update your content

Keeping your website content up to date builds trust and engagement between you and your customers.  In addition, regularly publishing new content can have a positive effect on your search ranking. Continually add educational blog posts, videos, product and service information, customer testimonials and case studies, e-books, webinars and other valuable content.

Just as important as adding new content to your website, it is important to regularly remove obsolete content. This will ensure your customers are only engaging with current and relevant information about your company. Look for content such as discontinued products or services, outdated advice in blog posts, time-sensitive content that has expired, ancient press releases, former employee profiles, etc., to be deleted or unpublished.

2.  Update your design

Your website is the most public face of your company and its appearance is a direct reflection of your business. Make sure you are putting your best foot forward with a contemporary website design. If your site looks outdated and poorly structured, prospective customers may think that your company is outdated and poorly structured as well.

In addition, if your website does not have a mobile-friendly “responsive design,” updating your website should be a priority. A responsive design allows visitors to view your website with ease no matter what device they use. With more than half of all website traffic coming from mobile devices, this is essential to ensure these customers have a user-friendly experience.

3.  Update your security and technology

An important reason to update your website is to improve security. If your website is hacked, vital information can be stolen, causing a lack of trust between your customers and your company. Often, a website is hacked due to an exposure flaw in the underlying platform, such as a content management system (CMS) or e-commerce system. If a vulnerability is discovered, hackers can wreak havoc on your site. To avoid this, it is important to remain current with platform updates and security patches, or change the platform altogether.

Updating your website’s technology can also provide benefits beyond improved security.  A contemporary CMS or e-commerce platform can provide usability enhancements such as improved navigation, content presentation and site speed. In addition, newer systems make it easier for you to update site content to ensure it is relevant, while providing time savings in performing these updates.

Mistake #5:  A Weak (or Non-Existent) SEO Strategy

According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, making search engine optimization (SEO) the top driver of visits to your website. Unfortunately, many B2B companies struggle to wrap their minds around SEO in a meaningful way.

In fact, if you are not getting more than 50% of your website traffic from non-branded organic searches (i.e., search terms that do not include your company name), your SEO efforts need some serious attention. Frankly, you are leaving money on the table.

How you can fix this mistake:

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of SEO as a complicated technical process.  While there are technical elements, modern SEO is not about ensuring keyword density and tweaking code – it’s about creating valuable content that will satisfy the needs of the searcher.  The best content for your SEO efforts has the following qualities:

  • The content is helpful. The most valuable content speaks directly to the searcher’s intent and is relevant to the solution they are seeking.  Unfortunately, SEO content creation efforts often focus on using keywords without careful consideration about what the searcher is looking for.  Your content should be thoughtfully written to meet your customer’s needs quickly, meaningfully, and effectively. 
  • The content is popular. To be successful with SEO, your content must be centered on the popular terms searched by your target customers.  Focusing on phrases that relates to what your business offers and searched on often by your target market should drive the creation of your content. 
  • The content is engaging. Truly engaging content goes back to meeting the customer’s need.  Your content should address your customer’s pain point, question, or need, as well as be written and presented well.  Make sure you entice your customers to want more.

Mistake #6:  Relying on “Gut feel” or Obscure Statistics to Measure Success

How do you know if your online marketing program is a success?  You are making a mistake if you rely on subjective measures, gut feel or hollow statistics like ‘visits.’  To be successful, you need to measure what matters to gauge your website’s bottom-line impact on your business.

When you invest the time, money, and effort into your website and digital marketing strategy, you want to ensure that it’s working.  If you don’t have the right tools to measure your website’s success, your marketing is driving blind.  Without proper tracking, you could be wasting money on campaigns that aren’t maximizing results and reaching the right prospects.

How you can fix this mistake:

Measuring the important key performance indicators (KPIs) for your B2B marketing helps your business understand how much revenue your marketing investments produce, as well as which marketing strategies perform best. Follow these steps to ensure you are not driving blind. 

1.   Setup website results tracking systems

Implement a web analytics system, like Google Analytics, to measure your website’s marketing performance. This valuable report set will show you the marketing activities generating the most traffic, what products and content customers engage with and the CTAs that are generating the most leads and sales.

In addition, implement a call conversion tracking system, like CallRail, to track the inbound phone calls received from your website and marketing efforts.  When someone visits your website from a marketing activity, call conversion tracking will identify and measure the calls received.

2.  Measure what matters to drive marketing ROI

If you are only tracking website visits, you are learning a very small part of your website’s marketing story.  When looking at your website KPIs, also focus on the source of your website’s traffic, how engaged the visitors are with your content and the business-building outcomes.  These metrics will help you paint a better picture of the overall online performance.

  • Traffic sources: This tracks the paths that led people to your website.  The four main sources include:
    1. Organic search is when someone finds your site using a search engine like Google. This should be your highest source of traffic.  To attract new customers, you want more visits from unbranded terms (searches for specific products or services) as opposed to branded terms.
    2. Paid search is when someone visits your site after clicking on a pay-per-click (PPC) search advertisement. With PPC you pay for each visit to your website, so you want to focus your advertising on terms that result in business-building conversion activities, as well as reasonable costs-per-click and costs-per-conversion.
    3. Direct traffic is when a visitor types the URL of your website directly into the address bar of their browser, has bookmarked your site, or clicks on a link contained in an email. In addition, if Google Analytics cannot recognize the traffic source of a visit, it will also be categorized as Direct.
    4. Referral traffic is when someone is visits your website via a link on another website other than a search engine or social media site. You want referral visits from quality, relevant websites.
    5. Social traffic comes from a link on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. The two most popular social networks for B2B firms are LinkedIn and Twitter. To increase your social traffic, share your valuable content on social networks with links back to your website.
  • Bounce rate: This measures the percentage of single page visits, or the percentage of visitors that left your site from first page they landed on without performing any action (clicking on any other page of your website, filling out a form, etc.). An abnormally high bounce rate is a warning that your content is not customer-focused or you are attracting the wrong visitors.  The average B2B bounce rate is around 60%, so shoot for a lower percentage.
  • Pages per session: This details the average number of pages viewed by someone when they visit your website.  This metric allows you to see how engaged your visitors are with your website.  A higher pages per session rate indicates your website visitors are interested in your content.  Shoot for an average of two pages per session or more.
  • Average session duration: This measures the average length of a visit on your website.  Time is the most precious resource we have and this number shows us how much of their time your visitors are willing to spend engaging with your content.  Shoot for an average of two minutes or more.
  • Conversion rate: This is the most important marketing metric to track.  I like to define conversion rate as the percentage of visitors that provide specific, personal information to your company through your website.  This could be an online sale, a form submission, a phone call, an online chat or a gated content download.  Average B2B conversion rates hover around 2.5%; make your goal 10%.

The good thing about making mistakes is you can learn from them and correct them.  If you are making any of these critical website mistakes, take the appropriate action now to fix them.

How Can I Help You?

If you like to turn your B2B website into a money-maker, I am here to help.  Book a free website analysis with me.  I will provide you with actionable tips and proven strategies to help you generate more leads, sales, and profits online.

About the author

B2B digital marketing strategist, author, and professional speaker on a mission to help B2B and industrial companies generate more leads, sales, and profits online.

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