Great UX design plays a key role in B2B lead generation by visually guiding users toward conversion.
Updating your web design is one of the easiest ways to increase lead generation. It may feel intuitive, but effective design — meaning design that is not just attractive, but that also innovatively aligns with your marketing strategy — can help increase user engagement, leading to more leads captured and, ultimately, more sales.
We’ve all heard the statistics: the average user attention span is about eight seconds, so designers and content creators need to make every second count when connecting with users. Attracting your user’s attention is important, but what happens next will make or break your marketing strategy. How likely are prospective customers to engage with your site, or give you their information? Without the right design principles in place, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
To help you optimize your web design for B2B marketing success, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
The Key Principle: Use Design Elements to Guide Users Toward a Goal
In the twentieth century, salesmen used to employ a handy trick when approaching potential customers for their information. When the salesman wanted a prospect to fill out a form, they would hold a pen under their thumb at the top of the clipboard. When they handed the clipboard to the prospect saying, “Why don’t you just take a look,” they released their thumb and let the pen roll down the board into the person’s hand, guiding them toward the next action – handing over their information.
SImilarly, when building a website, you want to designate a clear goal for each page to achieve and then use design elements to direct your user toward that goal. Unlike direct to consumer retail, B2B marketing is not about prompting immediate, impulsive purchases — but steering the user toward important next steps. Great design acts as a natural guide for the user’s eye, leading them to a sales goal such as downloading a white paper, filling out a form, or signing up to your newsletter. Here are a couple ways to ensure that your website is doing this effectively:
1. Develop Your Message — And Design to Support It
Often, companies prioritize a sleek and contemporary design, which can be effective — but remember that the purpose of graphics and images are to communicate a message. Everything begins with a clear value statement — a concise message about how you can add value for a prospective client. Your message should address a problem concisely and directly, and clearly state the solution you propose.
Once you have your value statement, select design elements and a color palette that focus your message. For instance, if your value statement is an easy-to-use device or mobile app, you may want to feature a hero shot of your product. Alternatively, if you are offering enterprise software, an image that focuses on what your software achieves — collaboration, or growth — may be more effective. No design elements should be random, and everything should seamlessly reinforce your central message.
2. Simplify to Focus User Attention.
Often, businesses believe that to appeal to their prospective client, they must be comprehensive about their offerings. However, too much information can confuse your user and prevent them from taking the next step toward conversion. Remember that your website initiates a sales conversation, but it doesn’t have to give everything away. There are two easy ways to simplify your website UX:
- Reduce the number of choices — and highlight what matters. To avoid overwhelming the user, limit the number of choices. If you offer a slew of products, select a few that you believe are representative of your services and highlight them on your first page. Think about what you would like the user to click on, and feature the element prominently. This could be as simple as using an attractive icon, increasing the font size, or placing the element “above the fold” so a user does not have to scroll.
- Reduce the number of clicks. Every additional click increases the chance that a user will bounce. As a general rule, effective UX design connects users to an end action in as few steps as possible — be it signing up for a free trial or downloading a brochure. To simplify the process, make thoughtful, logical reductions in the user pathway. Additionally, disclose the number of steps upfront whenever possible to communicate the ease and effortlessness of signing up.
3. Make Your CTA Pop
The design and placement of your calls-to-action (CTAs) matter. Whenever possible, position your CTA “above the fold,” ensure that it is not surrounded by distracting elements— make sure it’s brief and easy to understand. For instance, if you offer a “free trial” option for your software services, feature it prominently alongside your value proposition.
If your CTA requires a form, ensure that it asks only for essential elements, like name, company, and email. If a form requires multiple pages, a visitor who may have otherwise signed up may opt to leave.
4. Always Experiment, and A/B Test Key Elements
Customization is key to a successful company website. Various factors can impact how prospective customers respond to your site — and it is hard to predict the layout or particular combination of elements that will produce the best results.
Don’t be afraid to experiment regularly with new elements, and make A/B testing a standard practice for optimizing design. Here, data is key — rely on analytics to guide you toward what is and isn’t working.
When A/B testing, change one key element at a time to see how the change impacts lead generation. Common elements to consider include headlines, the placement and size of CTA buttons, or pictures and forms. If something is not working, keep experimenting. Learning what works best for your audience will take time, but will ultimately lead to longer time-on-site and more conversions.
Final Takeaway: Focus On Balance
As with anything else, balance is key when it comes to web design. Excellent sales collateral may be less effective if users bounce before signing up for a brochure or whitepaper. But while reducing clicks is a good rule of thumb, it doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing important visual elements. Intuitive, visual storytelling may not be a natural fit, depending on your industry and the services you offer, but our experience suggests that every industry can benefit from these key principles.
There is no exact framework that will be effective for everyone. If you would like to learn more about tailoring your web design to your business, we invite you to contact us.