In part one, I addressed the importance of brand and messaging in relation to lead generation. Brand and lead generation might not be obvious bedfellows, yet a clear and distinctive brand will hold your customer’s hand from that initial engagement, through to acquisition and beyond.
Today let’s turn our attention to UX. Whilst some of the techniques used to drive leads through your website and into action, can be applied in isolation from any brand considerations — used together, they are your Lead-gen power-couple.
Your website is where this beautiful relationship blossoms:
Sitting between your outbound marketing activity and your sales team, your website reassures and reinforces your purpose and value to all of your customers and stakeholders (brand) and yet it also needs to provide distinct messages, signposts and actions for each audience (UX).
For B2B this can mean customers in varying roles, from the typical user of your product or service, right up the chain through procurement and onwards up to the C-Suite. Not to mention your potential employees, investors, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.
Let’s revisit a slide from part 1:
You’ll need to think about the motivations and goals of each of these personas and start mapping their journey though your web site’s content.
Whether you’re working with your existing site, or planning a new one, work through some typical scenarios and see if you hit any pain-points.
For instance, if your product is a tech platform, can your developer customers validate their interest and present their findings to the wider team? Can your customer’s CEO get the reassurances they need to sign-off on the purchase? If your product or service operates across different sectors, can you demonstrate your prowess for each of them?
Keep your structure as simple as possible and make sure your signposts are clear. You may find that your site structure and navigation itself, becomes a reflection of your product and its benefits:
Take a second to consider whether your site navigation and structure can not only guide customers to the right place, but also reinforce why they are there in the first place.
Asana do this very well:
Creating pages for specific customers or use cases is important, and not just for SEO. Regardless how sector agnostic your product may be, your customers are reassured if you can demonstrate knowledge of or experience in their sector or role. Again, back this up with relevant endorsements and case studies where you have them.
You’ll need to weave a narrative through the site that starts with your value proposition but then forks into supporting messages, each squarely aimed at your different audiences and personas.
This should then be reinforced by any kudos and social proof you can conjure up. This can be tricky, especially for start-ups when actually it matters most. I’ve seen some questionable tactics recently — but honesty is essential.
Insights, thought leadership, blog… Call it what you like. It’s an essential part of the marketing mix these days. I bet we’ve all cranked out articles just because we felt we had to. Great for SEO and social, and it’s what we’re meant to do right? Well actually yes.
But God is in the details, both in terms of the real value you’re putting out there and the relevance to your offer and audiences. The key to this is to really think hard about it from your customer’s perspective. Is what you’re putting out there genuinely useful and not just a box-ticking exercise with some long tail keywords thrown in?
Long tail keywords are of course important at this point, but not at the expense genuinely meaningful content. Don’t feel like you have to be the fountain of all knowledge either. Sometimes, simply sharing a problem within your sector or posing relevant questions is just as valuable to demonstrate how embedded you are in the issues your customers care about.
So your articles are getting traction. One piece in particular has struck a chord and is blowing up. But you’ve made a rookie error — you haven’t provided any orientation on your article pages. Don’t fret. This is an easy fix. By and large, all you really need to do is to include your value proposition with a clear link to find out more.
But often this is forgotten. Just remember, not all your site visitors come in through the front door.
This is what it’s all about. This is the big one. The big boss at the end of level 10. All of your efforts have thus far been to cajole and guide your audience through your site and into action. Turning prospects into leads.
But calls-to-action are more nuanced than that. Again it comes down to your various audiences and their stage in the buying process. Of course, that big ‘sign up’ button is important. But assuming they’re not quite there yet, what do you want them to do? Return to your site plan or wireframe and work though the various scenarios and user journeys. Are there any dead ends? Make sure you provide options to read more, save for later, download content, share, follow and sign-up… at every end point.
Now I haven’t mentioned testing. But it goes without saying that you should always test your assumptions. This means user-testing , A/B testing, or simply scrutinising your analytics.
The missing glue
So there you have it. You have your brand game tight and your UX nailed down. But spare a little thought for visual design. What some of my non-designer friends amusingly refer to as ‘colouring in’.
Whilst one of the harder parts of our work to quantify, visual design is the glue that bonds brand and UX. It’s the alchemy that can make that button on-brand whilst giving it the correct emphasis and hierarchy.
It can provide the nuance to persuade and engage. Creating cool or kudos as required. So sharpen your pencils and get colouring.