- Has the pandemic swung the pendulum from mobile back to desktop? Or, should marketers be focused on building out their presence on both?
- In B2B settings, your website still matters a lot; ensure you optimize for engagement on every screen size.
- Continuously test and learn. Look carefully at your site usage statistics to get an overall sense of when and for what visitors are landing on your pages.
- Don’t forget internal audiences as key consumers of your website content, too.
Remember when a website was the center of the universe? Way back when, before everything became an app and everyone did the bulk of their casual browsing on their mobile phone. Back at the birth of HTML5 and the promise of one site for every platform.
Websites seemed to be the biggest project every marketing department took on every 24-36 months (or every time a new CMO was hired).
Then everything went mobile. Phones and tablets had us all thinking about new layouts, responsive design, and the “lean in” experience of a phone vs. the “lean back” experience of a big monitor on the desktop.
A website became part of a comprehensive multi-channel strategy to ensure we could get the right information to the right customers at the right time. And every 24-36 months (or every time a new CMO was hired) we did it all again.
Did 2020 change things?
Coming out of the pandemic year, things shifted. In the B2B world, most of our customers and prospects were working from home. Road warriors became home broadcasters, and everyone is buying up 4K webcams, standing desks, and monitors. Would this be the resurgence of the desktop paradigm?
I looked back at the analytics for our website at Acoustic.com to get a feel for the balance between desktop and mobile visitors over the past twelve months (as a new company, data before that is suspect).
Short answer: mobile visitors were between 20%-25% across the year. Not much real change and actually higher than I had seen previously.
But the real usage differences show up when you look at the pages visited, the time spent, and the conversions. Through this lens, desktop is doing the hard work of getting leads and mobile devices (especially tablets) are for visitors reading blog posts and case studies.
This split is what we would expect in a B2B website, even given the unique situation of 2020.
Serving many use cases
Your B2B website still matters a lot, but you have to think about the ways in which it will be used in the future and how best to support them.
Here are some guiding principles:
- Responsive design remains key, and pay particular attention to the elements you need to hide or change for smaller screens. If you are not seeing very many form-fills on mobile devices, don’t optimize for it. You can also look at some of the services available to provide Click-to-Call or Text, if your sellers are equipped to handle that.
- We all already know that Content is Sovereign, and that will remain true. Consider that it is often easier and more preferable to consume longer form content on a tablet. Can you build a website that takes this into consideration?
- Elaborate demos and long video have very different impact at different screen sizes. What can you do to build for this? Look carefully at your site usage statistics (including time/day) to get an overall sense of when and for what visitors are landing on your pages.
- Is your primary website the gateway to other specialty websites (such as support, partner portals, product dashboards, etc.)? How do you treat the mobile experience of each of these sites? Assuming your primary site is for information/selling, what are you doing to create interesting customer experiences in other use cases? Maybe that product dashboard could become an interesting mobile app.
Back to basics
In my experience, marketers sometimes forget just how visible and important the company website is for everyone else in the company.
We spend so much time thinking about it as part of our overall demand creation strategy, and we often end up looking at it through the lens of endless analytics, user paths, and campaign landing pages.
For many others in the company, they tend to look at the home page and then whatever product or service for which they are personally responsible. Then they send you an email complaining about it.
Thinking about your website has to consider all the users and all the various use cases. Explaining to someone in development that a particular page they are focused on gets very few visitors forces marketers into an unpleasant corner.
If the page is just there for SEO, explain that, but also ask if you are fully using all the content you have built. Often the bulk of your demand creation action is happening on campaign landing pages – pages that the casual visitor may never see.
How do you demonstrate to others in the company how the website functions as a complex system touching visitors at every stage of the customer lifecycle? I recommend back to basic explanations of the why as well as the how, supported with data. And, always be open to learning something new that can make your website better across all devices.
Norman Guadagno is Chief Marketing Officer at Acoustic, the largest independent marketing cloud, and a member of the ClickZ Advisory Board.
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