Last fall, we blogged about some of our top picks for projects that will get your 2019 off to a great start. From building a better content strategy that’s personal and searchable, to assigning your resources—and filling resource gaps—we covered a lot of ground.
The success of all of the initiatives you’ll launch this year hinges on the health of your most important marketing tool: your website.
Your site is often the first impression potential customers get of your brand: what your company cares about and how it can help customers. If your website doesn’t take those customers into consideration in its design and content, you could be driving away business.
Does your website need a refresh? To determine that, start by looking at the most important ways your website connects you to visitors.
Give the People What They Want
Over and over, end customers tell us that they’re short on time. When they’re looking for solutions, your site likely has one chance to catch their attention and show them that you offer what they need. If they have to click through multiple pages just to confirm that you offer the products or services they’re investigating, you aren’t likely to make it onto their short list.
Take a critical look at your site. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes:
What need is driving you to this site?
Does the homepage acknowledge that need or talk to a benefit that matters to you?
Is it easy to determine what your company does and which services and products it offers?
Does the site feel dynamic?
Does it feel personal?
Is the experience of finding what you need and want frustrating?
If the answers to these questions don’t match up with what you know about your customers, it’s time for an overhaul. (And if you can’t answer these questions on your customers’ behalf, you’ve got bigger problems. Head back to Go and make customer personas your #1 project for the new year.)
If your site checks all these boxes but isn’t performing as well as you’d like, then 2019 might be your year to kick things up a notch. Two options stand out: AI and personalization.
Easy Does It: Optimize Visitor Experience
Research experts (like those at the MECLABS Institute) note that one way to increase conversions—in email, on landing pages, and across your site—is to reduce friction. The easier it is for visitors to follow a path to a desired action, the more likely they are to complete that action. You can help visitors find their path in a couple of ways.
To reduce friction, begin by evaluating your navigation. Does your site make it easy for customers to purchase your products, contact sales or customer service, or sign up for ongoing communications or education? Does the site navigation follow a natural buying path?
If not, map out your customers’ buying journey. Your navigation and site layout should help to shepherd buyers through that process, from first touch to purchase to customer support.
It goes without saying that your site should be optimized for mobile. Research shows that 4 out of 5 B2B buyers use mobile at work, and more than half say that it was a significant part of a recent purchase. If your site doesn’t load quickly and operate smoothly on mobile devices…well, plenty of other sites will.
Another way to reduce friction is to anticipate your customers’ most pressing pains and needs and provide dynamic shortcuts to those solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of a chatbot can provide immediate response to commonly asked questions or fast connections to customer service, for example. Want to take it a step farther? You can use a product such as Drift to jump to the chase and let visitors schedule appointments or demos, route conversations to leads, and more.
Talk to the Right Person
You can also catch customers’ attention faster by delivering personalized content that speaks to their interests, needs, industry, and more. Whether you create and serve this content as part of a strategic account-based marketing (ABM) program or simply a programmatic, industry- or locale-based approach, you’ll need a method for recognizing and resolving IP addresses at the company level.
Start by creating a target list of accounts and their priorities. You can then direct visitors from those accounts’ company IP addresses to the content that best suits them. For example, instead of landing on your home page, visitors could be immediately directed to a page that frames your products in the context of the visitor’s industry.
You don’t need a pricey ABM software suite to deliver personalized content. Platforms like Kentico feature personalization capabilities; an affordable but comprehensive solution like CompassABM can help you integrate and optimize those features.
Make Your Site a Priority
Remember, your website is potentially your most powerful marketing tool. If your site technology isn’t supporting the functionality you need to make improvements such as these now—or the options you’re going to need to compete—you may need to consider changing or updating the content management system (CMS) your site is running on.
Regardless of where you’re starting this year, don’t take your website for granted; make it a powerhouse in 2019.