Every good marketer knows AIDA – awareness, information, desire and action – and every good marketer understands how potential prospects move through the four stages. What surprises me is how B2B marketers forget the very basics of AIDA when they come to building a website. Either the website is heavily skewed towards making people aware of products and services, or it is heavily skewed towards aggressively converting them.
A good B2B website needs to cover off all four letters in order to cater for every visitor, and provide value to every person who visits their website. Not only will visitors come back at later stages of their buying cycle, but the website will grow in popularity thanks to optimised content.
With modern tracking tools readily available, B2B marketers can look at the natural flow of visitors through the website over time, and eventually build a profile of how a new web visitor becomes a lead. It won’t happen on first visit, and probably won’t happen on second visit, so providing relevant content for each visit is absolutely crucial.
A site audit
Take all of the content you have, and bunch it up into Awareness – Information – Desire – Action. Use post-it notes on the wall if need be, but make a collective judgement call on the aim of each piece of content on your website. You may have guides, downloads, resources, white papers, press releases and product areas, but how are you presenting it? What’s your angle?
Immediately, you will notice gaps in your overall content strategy, and will need to find ways of plugging those gaps. This is where your content strategy comes in.
A content strategy
This is a great opportunity to look at user intent – the keywords that people use to find your website – and start categorising those keywords into A-I-D-A as well. In B2B web marketing, it is very common to find businesses looking at your website initially using broad search terms, for example, if you are in HR Outsourcing, visit one may be “human resources outsourcing companies”, and further visits may be “human resources outsourcing companies in London” as the user shortens down the field. Later search terms will usually include your brand – a sure sign that you are on a shortlist! More direct search phrases could include phrases such as “buy” or “contact”, so mine your analytics data for examples.
Now we have to consider what we provide to users in each part of the buying cycle. Some examples could be:
- Product and service overviews for those in the awareness stage
- White Papers, Research, Brochures, PDF Downloads for the information stage
- Convincing offers, Comprehensive ‘About us’ information for the ‘Desire’ stage
Your call to action
I’ve always been a fan of the simple call to action at the top-right of a website, but times have moved on. Whilst there is a need for simplicity, there are so many reasons to contact a B2B business, a catch-all simply isn’t always possible.
However, call (or calls) to action need to be clear, consistent, and not overly pushy. A short form on every page may be too pushy, and may bring you weak leads – and a long form will undoubtedly put many people off.
Ultimately, your business dictates what kind of call to action works, but use the page equity wisely and make sure that visitors always know how to contact you when they’re ready.
And finally …
Don’t stop once you’ve got the content on your website. Measure how people engage with it and how people find it – and keep improving it. Equally, the more you add, the more your site will start to get cluttered, so organise a regular spring clean and keep the flow of your website natural and intuitive.
About the author: Gareth Cartman works with global b2b market research group BIG Research.