Most SMBs and SMEs have a website, or a bunch of websites. It is nearly impossible to find a B2B company that doesn’t already have a website.
And, it is almost equally difficult to find a company that has websites, content, digital marketing, and sales activities working in tandem with each other, and in alignment with business objectives.
So, while the website exists, there are several issues that hamper its productivity and thereby reduce the effectiveness of marketing and sales efforts. In this post, we highlight the core issues that give birth to an average, run-of-the-mill website – a decent website that gets average results. Overcome these challenges and you can turn your website into a powerful sales machine.
1) Gulf between Corporate Objectives and Messaging
The idea that you should build an attractive website and put good content in it is as old the Internet. However, the definition of what is a ‘good’ website has varied over the years. If we look at the current scenario, we see that for most midsize businesses, web content and design have been guided by the needs of the SEO or digital marketing team. Working on a WCM project, we realized that:
- While the approach had yielded good results a couple of years back, the website had failed to keep in step with time.
- Changes in Google algorithms had invalidated the approach.
- More importantly, the company was moving up the value chain, while the pages promoting services and solutions continued to focus on a less lucrative market.
The biggest challenge was to understand the top management’s current and future focus, and build an information architecture that was aligned to the corporate objectives. Most innovative and fast-changing industries, or businesses that are growing rapidly always face the challenge of identifying and implementing web content messaging that is aligned with corporate objectives.
2) Extensive Design, Navigation and Functionality Issues
The website that we were working on focused on B2B. The products and services it sells are primarily aimed at decision makers – CIOs, CFOs, CEOs and Senior Managers. But the presentation of the website lacked any visual elements and was unscannable – it was mainly formed of large chunks of text with minimal graphical elements. Needless to say, it failed to quickly highlight the core benefits for the targeted audience – an audience that was starved for time.
The navigation centered on services with tertiary level of importance, while the web pages of primary importance were buried deep inside menus. In addition to this, there were several new products and services that the company had invested in, but which did not show up on the website at all.
In addition to this, there were several other problems that are common to traditional websites:
- Slow loading time
- Pagination errors
- Invalidated web forms
- Duplicate pages
- Lack of Call to Actions
- No Search Facility
- Several 404 Errors due to old permalinks
- Lack of interlinking or less than optimal linking
Another issue that you will most likely face is lack of support for mobile. If you are working on a website that gets 20% or more traffic from mobiles, it is imperative to make the website responsive or offer the readers an alternative to download a mobile app.
3) Snail-like Pace of Web Content Updating
While content has always been central to the success of digital marketing initiatives, quality content on websites has become even more important to sustaining success. Digital marketing teams are under pressure to get a wide variety of content live on websites on a regular basis:
- PPC Landing Pages
- News & Events Pages
- Partnership Pages
- New Products Pages
- Case Studies
- White Papers
However, in many cases, especially when the website is running on an older CMS version, the task of uploading new pages can be extremely time consuming – and it acts as a bottleneck that slows down the content updating activities. Designing the new pages, in absence of standard templates, is another major problem that stretches the content updating activity considerably.Most websites are traditionally managed by the digital marketing team, with possible inputs from a webmaster. The task of uploading the pages falls on the SEO executives or the writers.
4) Chasm between Sales & Digital Marketing
Search algorithms and online marketing tactics keep changing every month, and every year there is a major upheaval in the world of digital marketing. Traditionally, businesses have either simply put up a websites with some page and left it at that, or have outsourced digital marketing to rank for keywords or get backlinks. These processes are usually carried out independently of the sales teams.
As the effectiveness of such activities has diminished, business are realizing the importance of building a bridge between digital marketing and sales activities. One of the biggest challenges for businesses that are trying to set up a more sustainable online marketing strategy and infrastructure is filling the vacuum between sales and SEO.
As our client had conducted sales and digital marketing activities parallelly, with limited interactions, one of our biggest challenges was setting up processes that would ensure flow of information and ideas between the teams, helping them work together, and making sure that they were on the same page.
A direct result of all the above problems: a website that exists more or less as a brochure of services and solutions. It is augmented with some resources in forms of blog posts, new updates and webinars – a result of randomized marketing activities. With growing competition, changing search engine parameters, and widening gap between the messaging and corporate objectives, the website loses its ability to attract and convert target audiences.
This is the foundational problem that most businesses set out to solve. But, simply redesigning a website and adding some bells and whistles to it doesn’t solve all the issues – alongside improving the design and functionality of the website, it is important to integrate it with vital applications, and to ensure that the inbound marketing activities are in sync with the business’ aspirations.
Need help with taking your business website to the next level? Get in touch with us and find out what can be done!