Seeing yourself as others see you

Blog post

It’s amazing how we pay such little attention to things that haven’t changed. That’s fine if those things are doing what they need to do, but it’s less fine if they could really do with being fixed. Those of you who, like me, have moved home recently will probably be well aware of this phenomenon. I’d stopped noticing the dead branches in the back garden and the door that needed a coat of paint—until I decided to sell my home and suddenly woke up to the impact they’d have on my ability to sell the house.

We suspect that quite a few websites are suffering from this same, very human, predisposition to stop noticing flaws that have been around for a while. We’ve been busy over the past few weeks putting ourselves in the shoes of website-perusing potential clients at different stages of the buying journey for a variety of services. And it’s been quite an eye-opener, with more than a few dead branches in back gardens and numerous doors needing a coat of paint. Here are three things that—if our research is anything to go by—may well need fixing on your website, in relation to your sector or service line:

  1. Make it easy to find information about your sector or service line. And ensure that all relevant information can be accessed from an obvious starting point. For an outsider, it’s confusing and off-putting to be faced with multiple, seemingly unrelated, starting points. And we were shocked by how often we struggled to find any kind of obvious starting point for key services.
  2. Promote relevant thought leadership. Our research shows that thought leadership has an important influence at all stages of the buying process but is sometimes not promoted to visitors interested in a specific sector or service. Make sure visitors are seeing your best and most relevant thought leadership. And if someone has read an interesting and engaging piece of content related to a specific topic, make sure that they are pointed to other relevant information such as case studies and service information, as well as further thought leadership.
  3. Offer an easy next step. Surprisingly few firms offer an easy next step to engage further around a sector or service. With the odd admirable exception (e.g., a clear call to action to sign up to an analytics newsletter) users are—at best—told about a firm’s email address or social media account, or pointed to the LinkedIn profile of an expert. Take the opportunity to get their details and regularly deliver relevant content to their inbox.

Every piece of research we see points to the already huge, and ever-growing, role websites and content play in the B2B buying journey. It’s well worth taking 20 minutes to put yourself in the shoes of a member of your target audience. If they didn’t know your site, would they find the page you’d like them to find? And once there, would what they see encourage them to address their own issues and also encourage them to put you and keep you on their shortlist?

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