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I wonder how many business principals out there ever take a good look at their Web sites. Not many, I'll bet....

Too many sites just plain miss the point. The fact of the matter: what can and should be a great marketing tool becomes a source of frustration to the customer. Yet, I think a helpful, insightful Web site can be a positive asset to every B2B company and help to create a satisfactory customer experience. Whether we're analyzing our own businesses' sites or go to other businesses' sites because we're in need of specific services, the same issues exist. It's just plain challenging to get the information we're looking for quickly and easily unless we redesign our sites to become customer friendly.
Service companies' web sites should clearly and succinctly speak to the customer: this is who we are, this is what we do, and our sole purpose is to service you. You have needs and problems and we can help you to solve them. We understand you and your business because we specialize in your industry sector. How nice would that be?
We all have to remember: two things matter to customers above all else: their needs and their ability to establish a relationship with the service provider who can and will address those needs satisfactorily.
Intelligently designed Web sites speak to customers one on one and engage them, beginning a dialogue, from the home page on. Good sites allow customers and businesses to qualify each other quickly and efficiently. Smart businesses leverage their brand identities and unique positioning, clearly differentiating themselves from their competitors, making them a "go to" resource for the customer.
Sensible, service-oriented businesses do not present extraneous information online (how annoying is it to wade through all of that, or try to find your way out of it?) Instead, they streamline their sites to reflect only that which is truly important to the customer. The core of these sites outline the services offered and tie them in to specific customer needs and benefits.
Well-designed Web sites are easy to navigate. The language is clear and succinct. Contact information appears on every page so that the customer doesn't have to scour the site to find it.
B2B and service providers would do themselves, and their customers, a great service if they made their Web sites part of their overall marketing effort in creating a better customer experience. All concerned would profit from it.

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Ted Mininni is president of Design Force, Inc. (, a leading brand-design consultancy to consumer product companies (phone: 856-810-2277). Ted is also a regular contributor to the MarketingProfs blog, the Daily Fix.

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