B2B Websites: Simple Tricks To Track & Improve Your Website Performance

Every website has its own purpose, but more often than not, the basic needs of having a web presence is to enable prospective clients, job seekers and the general public to learn more about the company.

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Too funny not to put him here

Here is the basic structure of the typical corporate website:

  • Home
  • About
  • Product/Services
  • News
  • Contact

The above navigation structure shows the basic information that the company should have, but it doesn’t necessarily answer the need for having a website in a quantitative way.

How can we increase the return of investment for our website?

Tadaa! A (insert your website cost here) question. Having a basic website doesn’t really provide an exact answer to the above question, but with a simple addition to your website, you can start having the answer.

Step 1: Add a lead capture tool into your website

Have a mechanism to track product/sales enquiries originating from your website. An all-purpose contact form is too general to keep track on, so you should have a separate one just to track the sales enquiries.

 B2B Websites: Simple Tricks To Track & Improve Your Website Performance

IBM request-a-quote page is a standard practice in capturing a lead information

 

Or you can introduce a drop down category for your contact form with ‘general questions’ or ‘product/services questions’. Or you can choose to keep 1 general contact form and do the stats manually, which is so 80′s.

Step 2: Track enquiries!

You should now track sales enquiries through the website for at least 6 months and come out with a sales/enquiry ratio:

Total visitors for first 3 months (eg: 120 visitors)

Enquiries for first 3 months (eg: 25 enquries)

Sales closed from the above enquires within the 6 months (eg: 3 clients made purchase)

Total value of sales closed (eg: RM8,000)

Conversion ratio: Visitors/Sales-Closed

Step 3: Boost your conversion performance with additional tools

Now that you have your matrices ready, prepare to boost the performance of your website through the following aspects:

Increase enquiries

  1. Increase the number of web visitors to your website (Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Advertising)
  2. Increase the number of inquires made (landing page, call-to-action)
  3. Increase the number of captured visitor information for nurturing (auto-responders)

Increase the number of closed sales from enquiries

  1. Establish a clear classification of potential (Customer Relationship Management System)
 B2B Websites: Simple Tricks To Track & Improve Your Website Performance

CRM doesn’t have to be expensive. ZOHO CRM is free for 3 users inside your company. Set up and use it in less than 5 minutes without installing anything. 

Increase the average sales per customer

  1. Increase the understanding of visitors toward your product (blogging, newsletters)
  2. Increase the potential for cross-selling (related product section on your product page, product bundle/package)
 B2B Websites: Simple Tricks To Track & Improve Your Website Performance

Deloitte’s ‘Insight’ section provides their visitors help in understanding the complex audit, tax and regulatory process. By keeping their prospects enlightened, they can reduce the ‘fear of the unknown’ syndrom and give a better confidence for their prospects to investing more money

There you have it. This is a really simple start to your own Marketing Automation platform. It doesn’t hurt to take a little extra effort to ensure your website is up to the mark.

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B2B: How To Use Your Website To Increase Sales

One of the raison de aitre in operating a business is of course the bottom-line: your sales and revenue. Having a website to boost your corporate image is a good thing, but wouldn’t it be better if you can use it to increase your sales as well?

Businesses selling to other businesses operate in a different dynamics than those selling to end consumers (the general public). One of the most compelling evidence is of course the buying process.

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Corporate purchasing often involves researches, evaluations, analysis, comparisons, and decision by committee

Unlike the end consumers, business buying process involves a relatively more lengthy cycle, more people and fiercer competition.

First up in any typical purchasing scenario is research. Most of the time, Google and other search engines would be a popular platform to gain some knowledge regarding their problem and solutions.

SEO to find searching prospects

You can use different levels of Search Engine Optimization to optimize your website ranking in the Search Engine Result Page for relevent keywords (eg. a Cheras-based interior design company might target the keyword “Interior fitting Cheras”. This will help you locate and attract people searching for your product/services to your website

 B2B: How To Use Your Website To Increase Sales

Examples of how prospective clients find interior design companies using Google

Landing page to pitch effectively

Once they’ve found you, bring them to your website page which is specially designed for educating first-time visitors about why you’re their best bet. These conversion-optimized pages are called landing page, sales-letter or microsite which is highly effective in initiating action if they’re properly designed

 B2B: How To Use Your Website To Increase Sales

The website of Biometric Time Attendance System provider P2 Digital is optimized to convert researching visitors into purchasing

Newsletters and social media to retain first time visitors

Give them incentives to keep them close. If they come from the search engine, chances are they’re looking for information, so how about ‘Get a free white paper on Office Refurbishments Case Study’ as an incentive to subscribe to your newsletter?

Or maybe share great tips like ‘Free weekly office renovation tips with our newsletter’. From time to time, throw in special discounts for your subscribers. This will convert some prospects closer to closings as you project your expertise while educating their decision making process.

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Chase Office interior designer offers an ‘Office Move’ checklist in exchange for email address, targeting a highly potential client looking for a designer for their new office

 

Routine communication to nurture your leads

Company don’t buy from company, but people buy from people. Understanding this, conversation is important. Don’t rush selling them your product, instead, use their web visit to start a long term relationship.

Instead of relying on’call us now’ for actions, put ‘like our Facebook Page’ or ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’. Certain decisions take ages to be made, so having an open channel to reach them is useful for nurturing your leads. Make sure your emails are personalized and signed by a real person, not ‘Marketing Department’!

 

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Proof Read Now engages their newsletter subscribers in short and casual manner, offering more benefits while reinforcing their intended message

In conclusion, theses simple overview of how you can engage your potential clients using your website show that B2B selling process can be facilitated by using your website. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Reducing the cost of manually and personally attending to unqualified leads and gauging their potential
  • Keeping a long-term open channel with your leads and prospects just from their first single visit
  • Ability to demonstrate your technical expertise in the subject they’re evaluating
  • Educating your prospects beyond their attention span when visiting the website

For more tips like this, how about subscribing our own newsletter?

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Agile Web Development For Major Projects

751290 computer room Agile Web Development For Major Projects

Web design & development often involves processes that are more than meets the eye.

We’re accustomed to the stages in web design. It’s called the waterfall web development method, a linear and sequential development from conceptualization to implementation.

Needs analysis > planning > development > integration > testing > deployment > maintenance

Usually each stage of the development is handled by a separate different team- it’s characterized by distinctive stages in development and repeated handovers, hence the importance of tools and documentations to standardize the specs across all stages.

Think of it as the chains of conveyor belt in manufacturing. Specialization is key to this methodology, where time and skills play a critical role in getting the project done effectively.

It is however, plagued by some flaws:

  1. It is not possible to identify all the requirements in the early stage. A client could not possibly identify all his preferences in the ‘needs analysis’ stage, furthermore web consultants couldn’t possibly educate everything about effective web design in a definitive period of time
  2. Agreeing to a specification early on sometimes is a combination of lucky guess and desperation. Developers eager to get the project going will give the green-light to enable them to test the concept. Failure later on to make it practically work may jeopardize some or all of aspect of the project.

To mitigate the above, web developers provide strict terms and agreements to their clients in order to make the waterfall flow smoothly. Things like “3 revisions to design comp”, “2 edits monthly for website maintenance”, and “additional dollars for each additional page”.

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Web design contract can be very limiting and counter-productive for larger scope project.

There are problems. If it takes several attempts for a client to come out with a very good web copy (let’s say the tagline for example), but couldn’t afford it because changing it in the ‘deployment’ stage will incur additional cost, than we have to settle down with a website that’s profitable for the developer and crappy for the client. If the tagline doesn’t work, it will be a cost-efficient project with a less-effective copy. Not an impressive addition to our portfolio.

If user input is crucial, than we shall not limit the number of revisions, or the period for planning, or set the deadline for finalizing site structure, or the last date to decide which photo goes on the header. If the user is giving the input, chances are they’re the expert in their business and not everything they suggests are aesthetically-driven. They may be suggesting things that work for their businesses, and limiting their input will be bad for the website.

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Large projects require the code to be ninja-like responsive to the environment and adaptive to changes as it is impossible to specifically define the broad project specs early on.

Enter agile methodology.

Iterative and incremental, that’s how Agile methodology in software development (in this case, a web design) works. It means release early, release often. It means deploying the website while still expecting more user input. It means changes are for the good.

Needs Analysis > Develop > Deploy > Analysis > Develop > Deploy …….

In short, release early, release often.

A picture on the wall might look differently than when you see it listed on eBay. Completing the live website first may give a very good perspective of what’s working and what’s not, so don’t wait for the clients to give all the necessary decisions before commencing the project. Give them live website to tinker with.

This approach, however, is not meant for small websites and mini projects. Agile methodology has its own demand:

  1. Businesses and developers should work hand-in-hand, side by side to make it work. Frequent face-to-face communication is a must to make the approach sensible.
  2. Developers should free themselves from exclusive tools to get the job done, or the time it takes for learning the tools will render the method pointless. (you’re not agile when you have to learn chopping using 11 sets of knife)
  3. Be prepared for spending more development hours and money. Contracts are regularly flexible and can be indefinite.

It is a rage when it was conceived, but if we implement it blindly in every web project, the affordability of setting up a web presence may be changing. And it’s for the worse.

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Facebook IPO: Download Prospectus

As the social network mammoth is getting ready to debut on the public stock market, more interesting facts emerged for our consumption (and some sensationalization).

More than 400 million people log in daily, your Farmville addictions and alike were contributing 12% of their overall revenue, and for a conventional “eyeballs equal money” policy, Facebook managed to land $1 billion profit in 2011 on top of a $3.7 billion revenue, where 85% of them derived from advertising alone.

Their user base increased 39% last year, but revenue was up 88%! This reminds us of Friendster, which is the pioneer in social network and the initial pattern holder for some crucial social networking features like the ‘Friend Of A Friend’, and MySpace, which seems like an unstoppable alternative later.

Where did they done wrong? It’s an interesting question which we’ll come back to later. For now, savor the facts that Facebook successes proved that being a first-mover doesn’t always give you an advantage, and it takes several tries to make a triumph.

We’ve converted Facebook preliminary Prospectus and filing information from the SEC website for you to download:

facebook-sec-gov-pdf

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Understanding Web Design: Being A Blogger

If you want to understand the art of web design and development, blogging is a good way to start. Setting up a blog has the lowest possible barrier in setting up your foot in the internet, and there are lots of free platform to start with and the user interface is targeted towards people with little technical background.

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A blogger is, most of the time, a web publisher

What relates blogging with an effective web design?

  • Blogging needs loyal audience to make it fun. You’ll learn the fundamentals of making a website attractive to read and sticky at the same time. You’ll learn about the art of attractive copywriting, and practices like teasers and cliffhangers.
  • Bloggers aim for email or RSS subscribers- so you’ll learn how to actually design the flow of your blog and content so that you can convert visitors to subscribers. That’s conversion tactics for you, and you’ll learn about User Experience and page objectives along the way.
  • Blogging is personal in nature- in the world filled with spambots and cliche copy-writings, you’ll learn first-hand the art of being warm and approachable, being humane and getting into the hearts and minds of your readers. That’s effective communication skill.
  • Blogging have matrices to keep track with- bloggers install analytics to learn about the people who visits and reads their blog. You’ll learn the ideas and jargons behind web traffics- bounce rate, keywords and visitors vs hits.

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    Blog gives us a casual platform to understand the art of conversion and retention

  • Blog is a unique expression of individuality- you’ll soon learn how to customize the design to fit your persona, starting with the point and click interface to CSS hacking when you realizes you want more!
  • Blogosphere is interconnected- you’ll learn the tools of trades – social media and networking. You’ll understand the mechanics of social interactions and the tools to streamline your different social accounts.
  • A new blogger starts with zero reputations and zero readers, so search engine will be a good source of traffic. You’ll learn the tricks of Search Engine Optimization before long.
  • A blog can garner more visitors than regular website- making the more eyeballs attractive to advertisers. You’ll learn the approaches of monetization, from the usual CPM method to the affiliate marketing.
  • Blog sometimes requires commentary and references- you’ll learn how to link to other contents including the licensing and the sites for resources.

Sounds like you’re in the right alley? Start a blog today and master the tool of the future.

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