SMA Solar Technology AG is a German solar energy equipment supplier with offices in 18 countries. To improve their brand awareness and online lead generation in Mainland China and Taiwan, SMA decided to use Baidu and Google PPC to promote their websites.
14 things a better B2B Drupal website should have
We have helped many of our B2B (Business to Business) clients deign and develop websites. Most of the websites were built via Drupal. We summarize our learning about what a better B2B company website is.
Identify Website Goal
Before we decide how to design a B2B company website and what features the website should have, we need to define why we need to build up this website. It is the most important question we need to answer at the beginning. Generally speaking, a B2B website will cover the following goals:
- Branding. It is the basic goal for a B2B website. This website will have company information, product or service page, contact information, and company news. It will give the company more credibility to its potential customers.
- On-line sales leads. The website can generate sale leads. When visitors visit the website, they can understand your product/service and know what they want. They can reach you quickly through website contact form, email. or phone call.
- E-commerce. The B2B website sells certain services/products. The visitor can place an order and finish the payment. This type of e-commerce website has a shopping cart feature.
- Portal site. The B2B website is a portal site connected with other websites. It will drive the traffic to other websites. This type of website will happen to a corporate group which has many companies or a company which has several independent product/service websites.
14 features a better B2B website should have
Once we define the goal of the website, we can start to decide what features we need to have. The below are the features to have.
- User-friendly backend. We use Drupal to build up a website for our clients. Drupal has a very powerful back-end for the webmaster to manage the website without any coding skill. The issue is we found sometimes the back-end has too many unnecessary features for the webmaster. We have been hiding certain seldom used features and customize our own back-end to enhance user experience.
- Basic on-site SEO feature. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been a mainstream digital marketing method for B2B company websites. B2B companies have a specific target market. It is easier to have defined keywords to increase website search results ranking. Basic on-site SEO features for a B2B website should have features to customize URL, page title, meta description. meta keyword.
- Easy to access contact form. A better B2B website should make visitors easy to find how to contact them. The contact us page has to be the first row of the main menu. Also, a call-to-action slogan or button should appear on the banners or product/service pages where most visitors will not miss or spend more time.
- Easy to know how to contact the company. A better B2B website should address the best approach to contact them for visitors. We suggest having phone numbers or email address on the header of every page. It will indicate this is the best channel to reach the company.
- Organized product/service information. B2B company products usually have the more structured product line, technical information, and supporting documentation than B2C products. It means the back-end should be flexible to organize product structure, product information, and upload/download support documentation. The CMS, Drupal, will provide this flexibility.
- Responsive web design. It is a must for B2B websites. Most people will use their mobile devices visit websites more than desktops. A responsive website will provide better user experience. The difficult part is sometimes B2B products have tons of information. It makes web designer difficult to design mobile site. Usually, we will suggest clients keep the most important information on the mobile website. It will provide better user experience.
- Inform right person. The most important goal for B2B websites is to have sales lead. It is the last thing any companies want to miss. A better B2B website should have the feature to reach the responsible person at the company when sales leads come. When someone submits a contact form, the backend should send an email to the company contact. It also can reach different persons, given the different conditions.
- Easy to check leads database on the back-end. Besides, to email notification, the responsible person should be easy to find the sales leads at the back-end. We often have the feature for the webmaster to download all sales leads as CSV file. It will make sales team easy to organize information.
- Easy navigation menu. This is cliche, but it is very important. Make your website navigation menu easy to see and use with only necessary interaction effect, not the other way around. Just don’t make your visitors think.
- Website Analytics tool. Compared to offline marketing, the biggest advantage of on-line marketing is that everything is trackable. That being said that every website should have at least one web analytics tool installed. Google analytics is the most common used tool. For the Chinese market, Baidu Tongji would be the option.
- Connect to Social media. If the company has social media accounts, it is better to connect with your accounts on the website. It informs your visitors to give them options to follow your social media accounts. Don’t underestimate the communication of social medias. Also, add share buttons on the pages you want them to share. Don’t make them think how to share. Just click the button.
- Live chat. It is the latest marketing trend to use more live chat to engage with potential clients. In the past, live chat tool used to be an annoying or not a user-friendly tool for visitors. But the situation has changed. With new solution showing up, e.g. Intercom or Drift, live chat tool can be a user-friendly tool with the powerful marketing and CRM features.
- Email marketing. There is an online marketing saying, don’t miss any chance to collect user emails. It can apply to B2B website. A better B2B website will have features to collect visitor’s email through offering incentives, e.g. ebook or white paper, or newsletter subscription. Email marketing is never dead. It is still one of the effective channels to reach target clients.
- Easy to switch language. Let’s say your website is targeting both US and Chinese market. You have Chinese and English versions of contents on your website. With Drupal CMS, visitors can easily switch language on the page. They don’t have to go back to the homepage all the time.
Reliable website CMS
After defining the features, now we need to decide which CMS (content management system) we need to use. At dminorstudio, we usually use Drupal to build up B2B websites for our company. There are three factors we will consider when we choose CMS:
- Extendability. CMS should be extendable. It means you can always develop new features on the same infrastructure without rebuilding the website.
- Security. CMS has good security. It is not easy to be hacked. More importantly, this CMS should have security update all the time.
- Keep updated. CMS should keep updated and have low risk to be abandoned. Internet technology changes all the time. If your CMS can not update all the time, it means your technology and security will be outdated.
A good website not only has good design and powerful features. More importantly, it has to be aligned with your marketing goal. We even recommend clients to have preliminary research before they define their goal of the website. The main reason is if you can have more insights about your customer behavior, industry trend, and competitor information. It will lead you to the better understanding of your goals for your website. Next time when you start to think about your new design and new features for your website projects, ask yourself if you have done enough homework to understand your customers and market.