Over the years, I’ve had the chance to build, review, and write for dozens of corporate websites, and based on my experience, I’ve come to one conclusion:
It’s time to radically rethink the corporate website.
When we talk about corporate websites, we are specifically referring to B2B (business to business) company websites. Consumer-centric companies have long known that they way they present themselves publicly is incredibly important because the perception of the brand as a whole is what allows them to be successful.
So why is a corporate website still so important?
Your Business Card to the World
Nowadays there are dozens of different channels to communicate with your customers, and yet your website remains the central hub for it all. At Mäd, we always consider it our business card to the world. It’s the place for definitive information about who you are, what you do, and it speaks volumes about the type of organisation that you are.
Details are important. An airline that is not able to ensure that your in-flight meal tray doesn’t have coffee stains on it, is probably not doing a great job of maintaining its jet engines.
B2B Corporate websites are dead.
A New Trend.
Traditional B2B corporate websites tend to generally look rather bland and are often hopelessly out of date. However, SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, have broken the trend.
They act like consumer companies, but actually, they service businesses.
Each of the companies shown here has had spectacular successes in the last few years, and that is because they’ve taken the consumer-centric obsession with design and brand, and applied that to the B2B model.
Taking our Votiva Rebranding Case Study as an example, which company would you prefer to buy from based on the before (left) and after (right) images?
And it’s not just about the design, it’s about positioning the brand. Votiva, they are the #1 B2B business in their particular business vertical, and yet their previous website positioned themselves as yet another player in the market. Their new website, on the other hand, clearly positions them as the company to work with.
So, what are the steps to making your corporate website more consumer-centric?
Goals & Content First.
The issue is this: it’s incredibly difficult (as well as time-consuming) to create an effective design without having an idea of the goals and content requirements of what you are designing. It’s the equivalent of working in a vacuum.
The main consideration to taking a new corporate website live is normally content. The design and development can normally be planned out and executed ahead of time, but the responsibility for content normally falls on an unfortunate internal team member that already has too much on their plate, and this can cause lengthy delays.
If the final result is passable, it will have been entirely coincidental, or it will have taken a huge amount of effort to refactor the design based on the content received at the end of the process.
This is the best approach:
- Decide on your high-level objectives.
- Define your target audience, and ask yourself: What do *they *want?
- Look at your existing content, and review where the gaps are.
- Fill the gaps.
At Mäd, we prefer to tackle the full scope of work including photography, copywriting, web design and development. So there is an integrated team working towards the same objectives, working closely to ensure that all the details are taken care of.
Design, Design, Design.
Placing design as a keystone in your strategy is never a bad idea, especially now that everyone has got used to the stunning design by the likes of Apple, Google, Uber, and dozens of other leading technology companies.
Business is relational, show your human side!
Customers, including other businesses, are always fascinated by the behind-the-scenes work that happens to make a great product or service.
This means that this is a fantastic opportunity to engage potential customers in something they care about. Having a lively news and blog can add that personal touch to your corporate website, and if done really well it can turn you into a resource where customers turn to for advice and information.
The best way to approach this is not to relegate it to a handful of individuals in your organisation, but to make it a group effort
Developing thought leadership.
The best thing you can do for your corporate website is to turn it into a resource. A place where your current and future customers visit to understand the latest trends, learn about your industry, and to receive advice on best practices.
If you can achieve this, you will receive a steady stream of incoming requests to implement your written ideas in other companies.
But the best thing is this – you position yourself on top of the pile compared to your competitors.
A strong corporate website can differentiate you from your competitors, and act as a standard for your industry, but it needs a consumer-centric approach. It’s important to remember that we even B2B companies sell to human beings, not faceless organisations.