Many business leaders know they need to update their website. However, instead of building a brand foundation and regarding their website as one of the tools in their marketing efforts, they jump straight into a redesign. They don’t take the time to identify their buyers’ needs, set goals (and define the baseline), or establish a customer-centric strategy — then they are confused about why their new website isn’t converting.
For B2B technology companies, your website is key to helping establish a market presence and quickly gaining traction at any stage. It’s the hub of your marketing engine. Your website can help you nurture visitors, capture leads, and turn them into customers — but you can’t tack on strategy into an existing design. It must be included from the beginning. So before you jump into your next website redesign, here are the key things that may be missing from your website strategy:
1. Marketing Audit
Redesigns are often based purely on aesthetics, not historical data and analytics, which means it’s impossible to determine what needs to be improved in order for your website to convert buyers to customers. Before approaching a redesign, you should start by conducting a branding and marketing audit. Review your existing site, along with other marketing collateral, to pinpoint areas for improvement. This can and should include things like SEO/analytics review, user journey mapping, stakeholder interviews, and customer feedback. Examining past performance is key to determining your priorities and strategy moving forward.
2. Measurable Goals & KPIs
The goal of your marketing efforts, including your website strategy, is to generate qualified leads. But if you don’t have meaningful key performance indicators, then you won’t know how to measure success — or how to improve things that aren’t working. For example, if your goal is to fill the funnel, then you must identify which metrics are key indicators of success (bounce rates, resource downloads, form submissions) and track them on a regular basis. How many visitors come to your site each month? How long do those visitors stay for? How are your key landing pages converting? This allows you to identify what success looks like, set goals, and test and readjust your tactics to figure out what is working and what’s not.
Before you begin a website project, it’s important to know your competition. Not just things like size of market, market share, share of voice but marketing-related aspects as well. We call this a competitive marketing analysis, the goal of which is to inform your own marketing and website strategy. This process should include analyzing your competitors’ top organic keywords (SEO), monthly ad spend, PPC keywords, ad copy, and metadata. This will allow you to identify where you have opportunities to rank adjust your ad spend or focus your efforts on other keywords, etc. A competitive marketing analysis allows you to gain insight into your unique value propositions, selling features and benefits, and overall tone and voice from a messaging standpoint — and, ultimately, to help you find what makes you different. Insight into these differentiating factors will drive your brand foundation and marketing activities.
4. Problem-Solution Matrix
B2B technology companies often fall into the trap of leading with the technical features and competencies of their product rather than creating a customer-centric marketing strategy. One way to combat this is through Marketectures, a Pragmatic Marketing term for aligning product features to the needs of the marketplace. They are created by mapping your product’s features to your target market’s problems. It keeps your messaging from getting bogged down in the technical aspects of your product and instead refocuses on how the product helps buyers become the “hero” at their organization. Learn how to create your own in our how-to blog post on the subject.
5. Customer-Focused Positioning
In their annual survey, the MHI Research Institute reports the “inability to communicate value messages” is consistently proven to be the biggest inhibitor to sales success. This is one of the biggest oversights for B2B technology companies embarking on a website redesign. They feel ready to dive into a big project, but they haven’t taken the time to develop their brand identity: a compelling, market-focused narrative that will clearly communicate what you do — and why it matters. If you're interested in learning more, we go deeper into the B2B positioning in this video. This is the critical foundation of your brand and, without it, your website will be ineffective.
6. Visual Identity System
Your marketing strategy should demonstrate what sets you apart. One of the ways you communicate that is through a strong, cohesive visual identity system. Establishing that identity happens before, not during or as a result of, the website redesign process. A strong visual identity system communicates your brand promise, establishes credibility, and instills initial trust and confidence. Technology buyers have complex, sophisticated problems. They want to know if you are capable of solving those problems — and nothing puts up a red flag quite as fast as an outdated logo or a confusing or inconsistent branding. By investing in your brand identity first, you create a foundation for the success of all your future marketing efforts.
These are only a few of the things that may be missing from your next website redesign, but they demonstrate the importance of having a strategy in place before you attempt to revamp your website — otherwise, it’s just putting a new skin on an ineffective sales and marketing tool.
A website redesign alone isn’t going to magically fix an empty sales funnel or help you meet your revenue goals, but if you start with strategy, you will have the tools you need to build a website that converts, make your company more attractive to potential clients and investors, fill the funnel, and convert visitors to customers.