No business news story: Nobody cares about your re-launched website
Your re-launched website is not a business news story. Trust me, I know.
I’ve just gone through the process of redesigning and launching one for our sister agency Arlington Research.
I understand exactly how much work goes into the process, how long it can take and how much you want the world to see and start using it.
So, however strong the urge might be, don’t brief your PR agency get coverage on the new website.
Don’t get blog posts and press releases pulled together. Don’t even think of the site launch as a reason to get interest from the outside world. It isn’t.
It might sound a little harsh but, if you have a B2B website, it’s 99.9% likely to be true. You need to think beyond its launch and build user requirements into the approach from the off.
Here are five essential considerations for anyone planning a new website.
You’re not Batman
Too many sites, like press releases, are all about the company they come from. They make the mistake of thinking that the business is the hero of their story. They aren’t. Their customers are.
Companies make the mistake of thinking they’re a Batman figure, saving their industry. They’re wrong.
They are a superhero’s utility belt. Businesses give the hero – their customer – the tools to do their job.
The website needs to reflect this, focussing on customers and the problems they face, not the features and benefits of your product and service.
Top tip: Lead with customer stories.
It’s missing the Ronseal effect
By which I mean, it doesn’t do exactly what it says it does on the tin. Ronseal’s quick drying wood stain is called so because it is wood stain and it dries quickly. It knows what it is and it delivers.
Apply the same thinking to your website.
People don’t plan to spend their lunch break on an IT reseller’s website. They go to that site because they’re looking for a supplier or service.
The site needs to provide what they want to succeed. That means answering any questions quickly and clearly and making it easy to use.
How you’ve helped clients, your contact details and interesting, relevant information that might inform their decision-making process should all be readily accessible.
Top tip: Keep call-to-actions prevalent – phone numbers, email addresses and contact forms should be easy to find.
Your business has a personality and a culture. Your site should reflect this.
It should feel like being at one of your offices. Whether that means literally using pictures from your office or of your staff, or simply ensuring consistent branding is down to your discretion. But it can’t jar with it.
Aim for people arriving at your office and feel that they have already been there just because they have been on your website.
Top tip: Never use stock images on your core website. Get a professional photographer to take some bespoke pictures to make it unique.
There’s no reason to stick around
The site talks about processes and solutions the business offers but add little value. It doesn’t address the problems and challenges your customers need to address. In other words, the site is boring.
B2B sites need to be set up as a hub of interesting, relevant and free content that it useful to customers and prospects.
Resist the urge to load it up exclusively with product sheets, demo offers and sales calls. Instead, include regular blogs, visuals, whitepapers and useful online tools to empower them with all the info they need.
There’s a recent example of this on the Porsche website, where you can choose a model of car and then see what it looks like with your choice of livery. It’s a bit of fun but it also allows you to then order the car in your chosen design. It even picked up some media coverage.
Top tip: Look at what questions people search for in your industry and create content for free that answers them
Lead capture is driving people away
People hate filling in forms. Yes, it might fuel the new business pipeline but people don’t like entering their details in to get a whitepaper or to be contacted.
Get rid of the gates and make the content readily accessible.
If a gate is necessary on occasion make it really easy to complete. Name, email address and phone number at a push. You don’t need the company name – you can see that from their email address.
Top tip: Get rid of gates for your content.