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3 questions to ask for customer-centric B2B web design

A company's website is usually the figurehead of its digital content marketing campaign. The Web design used to create a business's homepage may be a buyer's first interaction with a brand, or the last stop on a long inbound marketing journey. Marketing teams have to ensure the website is exactly what the customer looks for during any step of the buying process.

While a business website could be the main digital representation of a company, buyers should have a good deal of say in what content the Web design displays. MarketingSherpa shared the case study of an organization that increased consumer time spent on its website by more than 74 percent when it started listening to user suggestions (1).

Direct feedback is a great start, but here are three questions a B2B marketing team should ask when designing a customer-centric website.

What is customer centric?
Before a business reevaluates its Web design, marketing teams need a clear definition of what customer centric means to the organization.  A website can be a powerful B2B lead nurturing tool, but only if the designers know what buyers look for in each part of their inbound information exploration.

The CMO Council performed a survey of senior marketing executives to see what they believed were the primary factors of customer-first online advertising materials (2). The majority of the respondents said they felt consumers wanted data that focused on business needs and they wanted to find answers fast. Over half said a quick response to questions, concerns and challenges was the key to customer-centric activities, and 47 percent said it was a product and service that solved a customer's pain points.

Each organization is different, but providing easy to find information based on consumer needs is a great standard to build Web design around. The educational material promoted by a company website should provide a solution to common industry problems. Vital statistics and business details must be clearly displayed and the site has to offer intuitive user navigation and responsive Web design.

How should Web design put the customer first?
B2B Marketing, an online marketing resource, said company staff members should record every step of the Web design formulation process (3). Once a marketing team discovers what customer-centric metrics are most important for success, employees have to write the goals down and begin creation with those ends in mind.

The more hard information collected on consumer preferences, the better. The MarketingSherpa example highlighted an organization that requested audience feedback. Companies can ask their current customers what materials were most important to them during the buying process, or a business can post questionnaires and surveys as B2B lead generation content.

The organization should also mine the data collected from daily interactions with customers and online audiences to learn from actions as opposed to words. A digital marketing agency can help decipher performance metrics to determine what behaviors could influence Web design.

Using trends and consistent metrics, B2B marketing teams can create personas for groups of audiences. The website should meet the needs of different personas. During each step of Web design formulation, employees should test current performance against projected buyer expectations to see if the content will satisfy a specific buying group.

How can Web design be part of integrated marketing?
The CMO survey also found marketing professionals believe consumers favor consistency. The respondents said buyers want to see a unified brand message across all of the touchpoints in an inbound marketing path. When designing a website, marketers have to ensure the format, content and images are in line with the rest of an integrated marketing campaign.

Web design and email marketing materials need to have consistent colors and language. If a consumer's first brand impression comes from a mobile marketing ad, the responsive Web design for smartphones and tablets ensures he or she gets the same standard of digital performance across all mediums. 

(1). B2B Marketing: A recap of content and customer-centric marketing in 2014
(2). Marketers Struggle to Find Single Source of Customer Truth
(3). How to: Create a customer-centric website

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.