Jessie Lynn says “I work for a B2B service company. We don’t have any e-commerce products to sell so to speak, just our architectural consulting services. I am wondering what creative design tips you’d have for us. We spent almost $25,000 on our redesign last year (which was a lot of money for us) and we’re getting only half as many leads from our efforts. My boss hasn’t fired me (yet) but he doesn’t want to spend any more money on our site EVER (at least in 2010.) Bottom line: I need to improve what we’re doing without any budget. Please help.”
Hi Jessie, thanks for writing. I get this question a lot and it’s really difficult to answer without seeing your stats. With that said, there are two ways you can fix almost any situation online. One is to drive more traffic and the other is to improve your conversion. Online, everything is a funnel. To get the most stuff out of the bottom, you need to either dump more into the top or squeeze more from the middle and hope it trickles down.
You need to know where the rat is stuck in the snake.
However, since you specifically asked about creative design tips, here are a few of the biggest bang for the buck things you can do.
- Ask for a lead more times. I don’t need to see your site (or anyone’s site for that matter) to know this one will work. The more you ask for leads, the more you’ll get ‘em — and NOBODY ever asks enough. It’s important that you ask for leads on every “page” of your site. Users see each view as a page (meaning every time they scroll, it’s a new page.) You also want to capture leads in each quad of your site. At a minimum, make sure you’re capturing leads at the left, at the top, and at the right.
- Ask for a lead more ways. A lot of B2B companies dump “request a quote” on their site as their only lead generation method. This sucks. You need to offer several different ways for the user to connect with you – request a quote is fine (and recommended) but also consider offering a free newsletter, free tips, a free webinar or podcast, ask the expert, a poll/survey, contact us, and so on.
- Work your lead forms. Only ask relevant questions and remember “relevancy” is determined in the user’s mind, not yours. What does this mean? Basically that you need to ask the MINIMUM you can to get the lead. Too many service companies ask for too much stuff – company size, purchasing authority, etc. can be answered AFTER you get the base information (which includes the user’s name, e-mail address and possibly phone number.)
- Add a “perpetual lead form.” Yes, perpetual carts are for e-commerce sites but they also work incredibly well on sites that don’t have products as perpetual lead forms. Basically this is just a reminder to the user what they are supposed to do on your site. (On B2B sites, they work in the righthand column, either in the tippy top or at the righthand side just underneath the offer box. (The offer box should be the first thing you see after the top navigation. The perpetual lead form goes underneath that.)
- Personalize your site. Even “Welcome Back Wally” in the upper middle column is a good start.
- Add a deadline. Deadlines create urgency and they cause people to focus. They’re very effective in B2B because the AAUS (the active average user sessions or the length of time the user stays on your site in an active capacity) are usually low.
You’ll also want to include BIG action buttons all over your site; contact information (especially your phone number) on every page; and address security/privacy on every view. Forms should be simple to fill out; include a temperature bar if they are more than one page (just like an e-commerce cart would); and really consider online chat as a way to collect leads. (It works like gangbusters in a lot of B2B companies and very few folks use it.)
By the way, I mentioned looking at your stats above but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that in B2B, one of the easiest ways to see if you’re doing something wrong is to look at your SPV’s. Single Page Visits (aka SPV’s) are a good indication of your traffic quality and/or your ability to get your users to act.
If your number is higher than 20%, you’ll want to figure out if you are sending the right traffic to your site. Look at the words people are using to find you, maybe they’re right, maybe they’re not, you’ve got to find out. This is important because a lot of times B2B companies get a lot of traffic but it’s not the right traffic. For example, a company that does genetic mining used to get a ton of traffic to their site because they talked about the periodic table on one of their major pages – this traffic was mostly coming from high school kids doing their homework, not the researchers in their core market.
Got any more tips that have worked for you? Please add them in the comments below…