Website development: from online business card > marketing machine

8 min read
Apr 29, 2024 1:35:17 PM

The B2B buyer journey has changed, websites today are the go-to resource in the search for answers. Answers that your content can provide. At least, if your website acts as a well-oiled marketing machine. In this article you will read what types of websites there are and what you can do to give your website a central place in your marketing. Crucial here is choosing the right Content Management System (CMS), which will help determine the extent to which your marketing is future-proof.

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From online business card to lead magnet: the differences in websites

From glorified business card to interactive brochure and from marketplace to lead generator, websites come in all shapes and sizes. For most companies-and their customers-a digital business card is no longer enough. Their website plays an essential role in the process of acquiring new customers. The website is a (content) magnet to attract visitors and aimed at then converting them into leads.

In addition, the website often plays an important role in delivering the service, product and customer service. Customers log in to make changes, place orders or make payments. Digitizing these types of processes not only makes things easier for the customer, but also provides the opportunity to provide a better customer experience (CX).

How good the CX really is depends on the structure and design of the website. An architecture firm's website may be experienced differently than an accounting firm's website. Whereas in the first case aesthetics are valued, in the second case trust plays an important role for the design. That same design also gives you an impression of the market segment for whom the website is intended. A phone provider's website is aimed at direct conversion, while a kitchen store is mainly trying to acquire leads. After all, nobody buys a kitchen based on some online pictures, so that requires a different CX.

As you can imagine, companies that practice the basics for a CX-driven website well will get more return from their website.

How do you turn your website into a well-oiled marketing machine?

Customers search, orient, compare and buy online. And the intensity with which they do so is growing: not only does an increasing part of the customer journey take place online, but research also shows that B2B buyers invest more time in their own online research (27%) than meeting potential suppliers (17%). If you can't be found or strike the right chord with your website, you're screwed. Did you know that about 60% of potential buyers only consider one or two companies? And 75% of them only visit your website once. That means one chance to leave a good first impression. In this respect, online is not so different from the offline world.

Whoever manages to win over the visitor will have the opportunity to further engage them.

Content is one of the most important factors in making your website a lead generator. That is, by providing the very information they are looking for throughout the customer journey. This is how it works: in many cases, visitors search for a solution to their problem via a search engine. You can provide answers via your website, for example in the form of a white paper or other content. In practice, it may take several web visits before the visitor accepts your offer. The buying journey never takes place in a linear fashion. Sometimes it helps to give the visitor a reminder by bringing attention to the white paper again through an ad on another website (for example, a news site) or on social media. Ultimately, relevance is rewarded with a download, and the visitor becomes a lead. Leads can be nurtured further by further inspiring and assisting him in the purchase journey, for example by sharing knowledge & decision aids via email.

The role of websites in the marketing mix

If one medium has won its place in the marketing mix, it is websites. For about 20 years they have played and will continue to play an indispensable role in company marketing. They also say "social media come and go, but websites remain". A strong website, delivers long-term results. Good articles provide new leads year after year. And a backlink you scored in the past continues to contribute to higher search engine results.

A big advantage of having your own website, is that you set the rules. Of course you have to comply with privacy regulations and other laws, but you decide how to proceed. The data you collect on your website is also yours. You can use this data in your Customer Data Platform to further improve your sales process.

Because your website plays such a central role in all marketing, it is important to invest in a future-proof website. You do this both by investing in technology, but also in content, for example by blogging.

Blogging
Blogging is still one of the most effective ways to attract visitors. Why? Because it is a good way to add value to the market, by answering the questions visitors have. If you do that well, you successfully build your brand's authority. Because by sharing your knowledge, you show that you are a reliable partner. Even though it sometimes feels a bit unnatural to give away knowledge for free, in the end it provides value for your visitors. And last but not least: blogs pay off because the written word can be read well by the search engine, which is rewarded by higher positions in search results.

Creating a new website: which CMS suits your organization?

No-Code is hot. You used to need programming knowledge to get a website built yourself, but today that's different. Anyone can get along with a modern Content Management System (CMS). That's good, because now that the website is central to your marketing strategy, it's important that both the marketing and sales teams can get along with your CMS. Some well-known examples of CMSs include Wordpress, Drupal, Hubspot and Sitecore. Which CMS suits you best is not easy to answer. It depends entirely on your situation and your growth ambitions.

A website is often the hub of your other marketing tools. Think CRM, e-mail marketing program, social media etc etc. So one of the criteria for choosing the right CMS is which integrations are needed with your website, and how well the CMS can handle them. After all, you don't want your website to become slow or vulnerable due to plugins and links. These extensions often need to be updated, and this sometimes leads to technical glitches. Sometimes a provider of an important plug-in quits and then you have to find another solution. In addition, some plug-ins may not work well with each other.

HubSpot is a CMS in which some important marketing functions are already built in. This provides a stable environment, running both primary sales and marketing functionalities, both a CRM, pipeline management, forecasts, CMS, email marketing and social media. HubSpot is a Software-as-a-Service solution. Because HubSpot runs in the cloud, you also don't have to worry about updates, maintenance, hosting and security of the platform.

Three prerequisites for a future-proof website

Visitors are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to a good Web experience. The list of focal points for a good customer experience is endless, but there are three so-called "basic conditions," aka hygiene factors, that ensure visitors give your website a chance:

Speed
Topping the list: your website's loading time. Nothing is as killing for your web performance as a slow loading time: an extra second of loading time means that conversion can drop by 4%. Therefore, a faster page also generally ranks better in search engines. There are two things that affect the speed of your website. The hosting is an important factor. The second is the website's programming. The cleaner the code on a website is, the faster it will load. So make sure the CMS you choose performs up to standard.

Responsive and accessible
Second killer: a non-responsive website. An increasing portion of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices. In 2019, an average of 53 percent of visitors came from a mobile device, and this percentage is growing. So it is essential that your website is properly accessible for mobile devices.

This goes beyond just resizing images and navigation. Mobile users prefer larger buttons, simple menus and larger fonts. Paragraphs are also becoming shorter so that a paragraph fits on the phone screen.

Privacy and data protection
Data protection is increasingly in the spotlight. This means complying with privacy laws, including taking a critical look at the data you collect and the purpose for which you do so. Is it in the interest of the visitor? In addition to the rules about data processing, a secure connection with an SSL certificate is also important. This prevents the traffic between the visitor and your website from being viewed or manipulated by third parties.

What does a website cost?

It is one of the most frequently asked questions and at the same time one of the most difficult to answer: What does a website cost?

The cost of a website varies greatly. Do you want a static website, for example a simple online resume? Then you can outsource this with only a small investment to a handy one-person company that knows how to use Wordpress, for example. After all, Wordpress has a rich database of templates and plugins, allowing you to get off the ground quickly. The downside of a template is that others can also choose this template, making your website not unique. Also, a website based on a template is not CX-driven; after all, it is not designed for the ideal customer journey.

Looking more for a website with serious B2B functionality? Then you have to rely on a developer and CX specialist, who will take your customer as the starting point for the (functional) design. A service like HubSpot is predictable in terms of cost; you pay a fixed monthly fee for the software, which also includes updates, maintenance, security, and hosting.

HubSpot CMS Costs
  • Starter (from 21 euros per month)
  • Professional (from 331 euros per month)
  • Enterprise (from 1104 euros per month)

Development Costs

A website with serious B2B functionalities can be developed from as little as 15,000 euros. We call this a launchpad website.

The goal of a launchpad website is to get your new website up and running as quickly as possible. The most important, must-have features are included in this phase. You can think of it as a springboard for the ongoing change and improvement of your new Web site and the growth of your business.

Important cost aspect: integrations
Almost no CMS has all the features you need. Therefore, integrations with other tools are often necessary for your website to act as a central hub for your online marketing. Integrations are an important cost aspect, so it is an important factor to consider when you are looking for a new CMS.

Take WordPress, for example. The CMS has a rich directory of plug-ins and extensions, for example, there are dozens of plug-ins that provide a link between your website and Google Analytics. Experience shows that users often find it difficult to judge which of these plug-ins is the best. And honestly, it is. Because it requires technical knowledge: which extension is the best programmed? Which one has the "cleanest code"? Which website developer is the most reliable and offers the best service? Often the test is put to the test, which affects things like website speed or reliability.

Furthermore, a CMS like WordPress is limited to basic functionality. To easily add a meta description to your pages, you need an extension in WordPress. A-B testing is also only possible with additional plug-in. Linking to your email marketing software adds all kinds of extra code (and thus loading time) to your website.

HubSpot has the advantage that important features, such as search engine optimization and A-B testing, just come standard in the CMS. You also get access to the entire HubSpot suite that includes a CRM, Service program and email marketing software. Should you still be looking for additional integration with an external application, HubSpot has an App Marketplace where you can find additional features for your website. These integrations have been verified by HubSpot, so you can rest assured that you can safely install them on your website. Many of the most important integrations were developed by HubSpot itself or by the developer of the application to be integrated.

Wondering what HubSpot can do for your website and your online marketing? Then contact us to discuss the possibilities.

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