Websites are a valuable tool for B2B organizations and their buyers. They act as a place buyers can turn to throughout their purchase journey, especially since the pandemic. However, a poorly designed B2B website can have buyers turning elsewhere, and what B2B marketers may think is important on their website doesn’t always align with the needs of buyers, per a survey from Orbit Media Studios and Ascend2.
Overall, the majority of B2B marketers (78%) and B2B website visitors (79%) agree that B2B websites play a critical role in buyers’ decision-making. Also, for the most part, the top website characteristics B2B marketers think are important align with the ones B2B website visitors believe to be influential. These two groups are in agreement that websites should answer questions (52% of B2B marketers vs. 54% of B2B website visitors), be easy to navigate (51% vs. 52%), dispense expert advice/insights (40% vs. 39%) and have video and visuals (23% for both).
However, while marketers cited social proof (44%) and a compelling message/story (44%) as important characteristics, visitors were less likely to think the same (27% and 24%, respectively). Instead, in keeping with another survey that found that consumers were turned off from purchasing a product after being led to an unattractive e-commerce site, B2B website visitors were more apt than marketers to think a beautiful design is an influential website characteristic (22% and 12%, respectively).
Useful Website Features
The misalignment is more pronounced when looking at what B2B website features marketers think are important versus what visitors find useful. Visitors are far more likely than marketers to value features such as search boxes (69% vs. 26%), live chat/chatbots (45% vs. 23%) and dates on blog articles (24% vs. 10%).
On the other hand, 8 in 10 marketers believe that calls to action are important, while unsurprisingly, only about 3 in 10 (28% of) website visitors find them to be useful.
Gated content is another feature that more marketers (32%) feel is valuable than visitors (13%). That said, although marketers have been weighing the pros and cons of gating content for years, it turns out that B2B website visitors are more likely to agree that they are willing to provide contact information in exchange for relevant content (65%) than B2B marketers would agree that collecting visitor information through gated content is important to their success (44%).
Important Content Formats
Other than videos, which both B2B marketers (42%) and website visitors (44%) find valuable, marketers and visitors, again, do not see eye-to-eye on what content formats are most useful.
Marketers feel that how-to articles/blog posts (66% of B2B marketers vs. 42% of website visitors), case studies (45% vs. 33%) and white papers (20% vs. 10%) are most important. Yet, website visitors find reviews/testimonials (59% of website visitors vs. 36% of marketers), original research/research-backed insights (49% vs. 37%) and infographics (30% vs. 20%) to be most useful.
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About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 429 B2B professionals, 236 of which self-identified as B2B website visitors and 193 self-identified as B2B website contributors.