As part of a client project, I recently reviewed numerous manufacturing company websites. These companies sell very expensive, very complex products. The products don’t sell themselves.
Before making a sale, manufacturers need to educate prospects about their (prospects) problems and how to solve them. But the websites did nothing of the kind.
Many, if not most, were, at best, glorified product catalogs. They were long on product specs but short (as in not at all) on problem solving.
The sites told readers a lot about what they could buy but almost nothing about why they should buy.
Worst of all, there was no way to engage with the company other than to use the “Contact Us” form. They failed the most basic test of a B2B website ― to generate sales leads.
You would think that an effective lead generating B2B website would be a “must have” for B2B companies. Apparently not.
According to Artillery, a B2B marketing agency:
“For many B2B companies, lead generation is still rooted in more traditional methods such as referrals, advertising, direct mail and cold calling. The idea of generating leads from a website is less familiar to an enormous swath of the business-to-business world.
Many companies have had successful business momentum and reputations to carry them along for years. But with the economic downturn of recent years and Internet advancements that have changed the way people buy, many firms are struggling to catch up with how best to use their websites to develop new business.”
An ineffective website represents a huge lost opportunity to both generate qualified leads and reduce sales costs.
Why You Need a Great B2B Website
This following graphic from Venture Harbour suggests that a company’s website should be one of the company’s best source of leads:
Consider these statistics:
- 93% of the B2B buying processes begins with an Internet search (Source: Pinpoint Market Research).
- Buyers can be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% through their purchase before first contacting the seller (Source: Forrester Research).
- 91% of B2B buyers never respond to an unsolicited inquiry (Source: No More Cold Calling).
- Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your B2B website are not ready to buy (Source: Marketo).
- 73% of all B2B leads are not sales ready (Source: MarketingSherpa).
That means that websites must first “hook” prospects and then “reel them in” with relevant information and offers.
How to Make Your B2B Website a Lead Magnet
Here are five ways to make your website a lead magnet:
1. Website Traffic―Driving traffic to your site is not the subject of this post. But suffice it to say you’ve got to have the right SEO and social media programs in place.
The goal is to get the right people (with your target profile) to find you. If they don’t, what’s the point of a great website?
2. Compelling Content―Your site needs to educate your prospects with relevant content. It has to help readers navigate each stage of the buying process:
- How to understand my problem.
- How to solve my problem.
- How to buy from you.
3, Calls-to-Action―An effective B2B website should offer multiple opportunities for visitors to take action. Action steps could include downloading a report, subscribing to a newsletter, or registering for a webinar.
This demonstrates a level of interest on the part of the visitor. In exchange for getting (presumably) valuable information, a visitor completes a form with his or her name and email address.
That converts a visitor into a lead. You can then “nurture” the lead with emails, articles, and other communications to guide him or her through the buying process.
4. Client Information―Tell your visitors about your customers. List your customers by company name and provide case studies. This tells visitors a lot about your target market, your services and products, and the problems you solve.
5. Bios―People buy from people, not from companies. At the very least, include the bios of your senior management team on your site. Put a human face on your business.
The Internet: Your Most Cost-Effective Sales Channel
Many complex B2B products require significant interaction between buyer and seller. This includes numerous meetings, phone calls, and email exchanges. Your website can’t help with that.
Use your highly compensated salespeople to close deals, not generate leads. Let your internet marketing programs do that. It’s a far more cost-effective approach.