The Anatomy of a High-Performing B2B Industrial Website
The website has the most visible part of most B2B companies in today’s digital age.
Even established manufacturers realize that driving high-quality prospects to the website is the best way to ensure the target customer can find them. As a result, potential customers turn to a company’s website to conduct independent research before engaging in sales. The website is accessible 24/7, and every design detail, functional component, and piece of copy creates an impression, so make it a memorable one.
Despite how vital the website is to generate leads, many modern sites are not delivering. We’ve outlined the anatomy of a high-performing B2B site through our customer partnerships. This article frames low-performing sites’ typical issues and offers solutions to this critical opportunity.
- Where traditional B2B & industrial websites fall short
- Essential homepage elements for lead generation and conversion
- Smart user experience (UX) choices for easy navigation
- Individual web page best practices to maximize UX
- Market/industries pages
- Thought leadership/educational content
- Call-to-action (CTA) tips
- Building a better B2B industrial website
Where traditional B2B & industrial websites fall short
Many websites look the part of a high-performing marketing tool but do not deliver high-quality leads. A site that brings in no prospects or an overabundance of low-quality ones may be doing more harm than good, as your sales staff will learn not to trust the leads the site produces. In addition, if the marketing team has neglected to update the website, it may also reflect legacy or inaccurate product positioning.
We conducted a recent survey on the top reasons B2B marketers wanted a website refresh. The results underscored the desire to update content:
- Old content or positioning (57%)
- Not delivering quality leads (14%)
- Hard to edit/maintain (14%)
- Outdated look and visuals (14%)
Another challenge in industrial web design is the lack of data to guide the site layout. Therefore, it is critical to measure performance, which features are working, and which ones are not. In addition, it is best to apply a comprehensive website strategy. This step can define the needs and goals of the site, positioning statements, the ideal prospect and audience, priority features, and calls to action to guide users through the buying process.
Following the strategy definition, you can begin to build the homepage.
Essential homepage elements for lead generation and conversion
The homepage aims to engage, educate, and convert leads. It should have a full-length header with contact information and main navigation menus in the upper right for easy navigation. Other elements that make a great homepage include:
- A sharp logo
- Hero image and positioning statement
- Overview of products and services
- Overview of vertical markets/industries
- High-level ‘About’ statements and social proof
- Calls to action
This page introduces your company to your reader and should tell them who you serve, what you do, and why you are unique in a positioning statement. Manufacturing digital marketing prioritizes specifics and data, so it is vital to include authentic industry language on the homepage and to reassure the reader by acknowledging common pain points.
Smart user experience (UX) choices for easy navigation
While the homepage gets the site user’s attention, UX keeps them engaged. One way to achieve this is to order the header menu items from left to right in order of importance to the audience. Also, a mix of site content can meet the user where they are in the buying process, educating them on tips and tricks with blogs and white papers, problem solutions through product/service pages, and reassurance with case studies and testimonials.
Individual web page best practices to maximize UX
High-performance UX optimizes how visitors locate information and engage with the content. These strategies help the pages described below to deliver an experience that delights the user.
About us: this page personalizes your business by describing your “why,” reviews company history, and highlights trust factors (such as leadership bios, certifications and credentials). The About page can also be an excellent spot for SEO terms.
Product/service overview: the reader wants scannable content containing a short intro, differentiating each product family. Adding general product family images and scale references helps the user visualize working with the product. The descriptions should call out differentiators for each offering, written for a new engineer or someone unfamiliar with the products before landing on your site.
Product/service page: similar to the overview, individual pages provide scannable descriptions, with visuals of product images in the upper left. These pages should also include a CTA at the bottom to direct the reader to the next step if they like the product or service.
Case studies: these assets are the best tools to reassure the reader before purchasing. They should lead with the industry, application, and problem to solve to present the subject right away. This approach will cue readers whether the study is helpful to them. It is essential to write from the reader’s point of view.
Another section that enables high-performing manufacturing web design is the industry pages or vertical markets. These pages separate site users to deliver the highest-appetite readers to a given topic page. On these pages, industry-specific and authentic language builds trust that you work with people like them regularly, knowing their unique challenges.
Thought leadership/educational content
After products and industries, site users may look for additional information to help their research. Adding a resource library containing articles, blog posts, white papers, videos, or other instructional materials adds instant credibility to your site – and company.
This section is ideal for SEO, given the volume of content on the page. In addition, resource pages attract the attention of future target buyers, who come to you as pre-qualified inbound traffic. It is also smart to provide a clear link to sales to make it easy to purchase when the user is ready.
Call-to-action (CTA) tips
Directing the reader through a call to action is a critical—but often forgotten—part of UX. You’ve done the work to build credibility and trust, and once the user decides they want to take the next step, it is imperative to help them to know how.
Practical CTA tips for converting marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
Taking stock of valuable content helps you develop a CTA strategy. Beyond product specs, case studies, and specific info needed to support SQL conversions, MQL conversions can be generated by offering career-enhancing info, detailed, practical insight, access to tools, and simply being kept in the loop.
MQLs focus on providing additional data or tools in exchange for contact information. Engineers are happy to exchange value for value; as a result, several assets present logical points to ask for contact information.
CTAs should create a sense of urgency, such as “download now.” They should also take the form of stand-out visuals so that the moment a user wants to connect with you, they have an easy path. Below are some ideal content types for CTAs to convert MQLs:
- Gated article/white paper
- Exit intent (“wait, before you go”)
- Topic landing pages
- Materials or specification guides
Practical CTA tips for converting sales qualified leads (SQLs)
SQLs are inherently urgent, as the user is ready to talk to someone. Phrases like “get a quote,” “talk to an engineer,” “request a demo,” “buy now,” and “contact us” are classic examples. You can position CTAs above, embed within or below page content, or have them appear at logical times during the reader’s content journey.
Collecting and analyzing data from CTAs can help you refine who you are reaching and the best location on a page to secure engagement.
Building a better B2B industrial website
Your B2B website is a storefront where you can share your message with your ideal customers 24 hours a day. But refreshing a site with updated branding and images is only part of the story; a shiny new site may still fall flat in lead generation, one of its primary goals.
Applying the elements of high-performing B2B & industrial websites outlined in this article can elevate your good site to great, establishing you as a thought leader and technical partner. For an even deeper dive into this topic, view our recorded webinar on The Anatomy of a High-Performing B2B Industrial Website.
Windmill Strategy is a web design company & digital marketing agency helping B2B technical, industrial, life science and manufacturing companies achieve increased visibility, higher quality leads, and greater marketing ROI through smarter web design. Our website design and B2B digital marketing approach goes beyond “more traffic,” seeking out better traffic, by gaining the attention of the specific niche groups of buyers and influencers that represent your best customers. We help our clients communicate and sell their complex products and services to multiple audiences – be it through web design or digital marketing and SEO. Working collaboratively with your in-house marketing and sales team, we design websites that drive leads and sales that result in overall business growth. Schedule a call to learn more.