Don’t Burn Down Your B2B Corporate Website Yet

September 19, 2022 / Marjoram

Set the Stage for an Impactful Refresh of Your Industrial or Ingredient Brand Site 

Your corporate website is your flagship digital marketing instrument. Are you using it to its full potential? 

Too few B2B industrial and ingredient brands take sufficient advantage of the substantial digital marketing capabilities their websites offer. Your site should actively help promote your brand, create demand for your products and services, and funnel prospects through your sales pipeline. If your website doesn’t do all that, it’s time to reassess the effectiveness of your digital strategy. 

Complexity: Achilles’ Heel of B2B Websites 

B2B brands solve complex problems for their clients and their customers. The solutions they design and engineer are as sophisticated as the issues they solve. For many industrial and ingredient brands, that ability is a source of pride. After all, resolving these problems requires hard work, ingenuity, and skill. 

As good as it is to be proud of your work, pride is not a viable marketing strategy. Nonetheless, that seems to be the motivating factor behind many B2B industrial or ingredient brand corporate websites. Too many of these sites greet visitors with dense, technical language about their products and services, using an information architecture (IA) based on their complicated organizational structures.

Sites that embrace complexity are merely celebrating their brands’ internal perceptions and beliefs about their strengths. 

The problem with the current digital marketplace is its hyper-focus on the needs and expectations of the users (not the brands). And users expect simplicity. A modern website must be engaging, easy to navigate, and it must speak directly to its audience’s needs. More importantly (for you), your corporate website must make it easy for your visitors (prospects) to become your customers. 

Leading with complexity doesn’t help you accomplish conversion — but leading with what is important to your target audience will

Assessing Before Requesting 

Recognizing the need to optimize or otherwise refresh your corporate site is an excellent first step. For many B2B ingredient or industrial brands, however, the natural next step is to call in their web development team or put out an RFP (Request For Proposal) to outside agencies. In most cases, this move is premature. 

Refreshes that don’t start with a clear purpose and target audience in mind rarely end up moving the needle for your marketing goals. Most often they result in another site refresh in the not-so-distant future. Too many marketing executives know the pain of paying for their new website twice (or more). How do they end up with that heartburn? 

In many cases, it starts with an ill-informed, poorly defined RFP. 

Some website refresh efforts begin with the simple assumption that the website is “broken,” but without insight into what needs to be improved. An RFP is initiated with a few broadly defined, disturbingly vague requirements under the assumption that the contractors will know what to do. Unfortunately, minus substantial direction and concrete guidance up front, most contractors will be unable to zero in on your target audience or tailor a design to fit your big picture goals. 

Looking at Your B2B Website From the Outside In 

Industrial and ingredient brands will always benefit from taking a step back and evaluating how their website fits into their strategic and digital marketing plans before diving headfirst into a website refresh. In most situations, it makes sense to look outside the organization for an unbiased opinion that can (at the very least) validate your internal findings. 

More than that, an outside perspective gives you the ability to evaluate your website from the customer’s point of view. Marketing teams contend with pressure and lobbying from a multitude of internal stakeholders with competing needs—meaning your site’s visitors are just one of the audiences you should take into consideration during a refresh. 

An outside perspective provides an accurate, objective, and impactful assessment of how your website can serve its users better. Unencumbered by other (often competing) internal priorities, a digital marketing partner serves as an unbiased steward of your prospects’ digital experiences. If the goal is to create a more helpful, intuitive prospect experience on your B2B industrial or ingredient brand site, a trusted agency can help you cut through unnecessary complexities, identify what’s working and what isn’t, and establish a clear path forward.

Pre-RFP Website Assessment: What to Look For 

A rush to remake the site often leads to suboptimal returns, with incremental aesthetic improvements in design or navigation making no substantial impact on the bottom line. In acting too hastily, you risk ending up right where you started—with a broken site. What do you need to do to create a solid foundation for your website refresh?

Website Purpose

A website is a strategic marketing instrument that can be leveraged to accomplish any number of goals, including: 

  • Educating prospective customers
  • Generating leads
  • Driving sales
  • Creating brand awareness 

Before undertaking changes to your site, it’s imperative that you create a list of business goals tailored to your marketing strategy and clearly define any distinct target audiences. 

Messaging 

How you speak to your prospects about your brand and products matters. Your site should address questions important to your prospective customers. It should also communicate your core brand values and help your prospects understand the value proposition your products offer. Inconsistencies in the way your brand and products are presented to key audiences get in the way of clear messaging. 

Developing a messaging framework is an excellent way to ensure that your reimagined site and other product marketing and branding efforts are always on message—and on brand. 

Site Structure

An effective modern B2B website guides prospects along their journey to becoming customers. That requires tailoring the user experiences to the needs and questions of your prospects.

The information architectures of legacy B2B sites, however, are often a reflection of operational or organizational necessities. Frequently, they’re a mishmash of older, separate websites cobbled together through mergers and acquisitions. Even with maintenance, optimization, and enhancement, these legacy sites fail to compete with the seamless user experiences offered by optimized B2B sites. 

A redesign is the perfect opportunity to rethink, streamline, and modernize the structure and navigation of your B2B industrial or ingredient brand website.

B2B Website Content 

A new messaging framework and new information architecture will require the development of a considerable amount of new website content. Before you begin, it’s important to take stock of your existing website material and identify what can be salvaged. Conduct a content audit to assess your needs and create a development plan that can be pursued concurrently with a refresh or redesign.

Lay a Strong Foundation for Your B2B Website Refresh

If your legacy B2B industrial or ingredient brand corporate website isn’t helping your business goals, it’s time for a new one—but don’t jump into a redesign blindly. Pause. Take a step back. Evaluate your existing site to better understand what you need from a new one. Creating a refreshed site that will solve real problems and meet the needs of your future customers requires thoughtful analysis and careful planning. And that’s worth your time.