How do B2B buyers use business websites when they’re selecting vendors? And what elements does your business website need to convince B2B buyers to buy from you? The first annual B2B Website Usability Report explored buyers’ behavior, including what they do on websites, what they want to see (and don’t want to see) and what gets them to spend more time on a website or click away. Here’s what the study found:
First, what are the “must-have” elements for your business website? B2B buyers say that in order to convince them, business websites must include pricing (43 percent), technical information (38 percent), case studies/whitepapers/articles/blog posts (38 percent) and shipping information (37 percent).
However, many websites are lacking in the basics. The top elements B2B buyers say are missing from vendor websites are case studies/whitepapers/articles (54 percent), pricing info (50 percent), product reviews (42 percent), details about technical support (42 percent) and testimonials or a list of clients (31 percent).
Surprisingly, something totally basic—contact information—is also often missing. Although 81 percent of B2B buyers prefer to use email to contact vendors, while 57 percent prefer to use the phone, 68 percent say that business websites frequently lack this crucial info. Instead, B2B buyers have to fill out “Contact Us” forms to get a response from a company. More than half won’t do so and will simply leave the site instead and head to a competitor.
However, over half of buyers say they are willing to fill out a form in return for trial offers, research, white papers and webinars. But even those who are willing to fill out forms typically balk at providing their phone numbers or addresses—apparently, they don’t want unwanted phone calls or junk mail.
What info should be on your website’s home page? Ninety percent of respondents want to see “Products and Services” information. This is typically where buyers head first. Learning about the people behind the company is important, too, so don’t forget the “About” info—61 percent of buyers say this should be on your home page. They also like to see “Marketing Collateral” and “Testimonials” on the home page.
What don’t B2B buyers like to see on your website? Buyers are in a hurry, so anything that interrupts their “mission”—getting enough information to decide whether they want to buy from you—will drive them nuts. That includes video or audio that plays automatically (93 percent hate this), animated ads or pop-ups.
You don’t have a lot of time to convince buyers, either—more than four in 10 say they visit a vendor’s website just once or twice before making a decision.
What about social media? While it’s widely touted as helping in guiding prospects to your site, the study found that once they get there, social media is really not a factor in their purchasing process. Buyers overwhelmingly didn’t care about social media buttons or blogs when doing their research.
Speaking as someone who recently went on a hunt for information about a specific type of cloud software, I was nodding my head in agreement at all of these statements. The good news is, it’s pretty simple to provide what buyers want:
- Product or service information
- Contact email and phone number
- Background about your company
- Client list and/or testimonials
- Customer support information
- Pricing. While I realize you may not want to (or be able to) include specific pricing, giving a general idea can help. Does your service cost $10 a month, $100 or $1,000? That’s really all buyers want to know before proceeding.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.