Research by Gartner, including studies that my team has done for the last several years focused on technology buying as well as new studies done by the team at CEB (now Gartner), clearly demonstrate one thing.
Your Web site is the most important asset for prospective customers (and it’s pretty important for actually customers) across all stages of their buying process.
Buyers consistently rank Web sites as the marketing asset that is most likely to get their attention and they rely on it heavily. At the same time, we consistently hear from buyers that they find Web sites extremely frustrating. Their frustrations typically stem from several factors:
- It is hard to find the information they are looking for
- The information is confusing or contradictory
- They aren’t confident they can trust what they read
- And, they are regularly confronted with gates that add effort (see my last post) to their research process (and, from their perspective, are not needed and potentially cause them to abandon to avoid getting into the “MQL or Bust Machine”)
This infographic from the CEB Marketing Practice outlines the resources that buyers rely on with quite a bit of detail (based on their most recent research). Two key things to note include the heavy utilization of a computer (over tablets and smartphones) for research efforts and the continued use of Web site resources late in the buying process. Maybe before you invest a ton in making your site mobile accessible, you should invest in making it good for computer users across the entire buying process, then add mobility options.
From the work I do regularly reviewing messaging on Web sites, I see a few patterns of problems. The biggest is the assumption that buyers have fully identified their needs and requirements before coming to the Web site. That leads to a site that is all about providing product information with little to no information about value and use cases. Even when use cases exist, they are often so light and full of fluff that they provide no value.
To drive improvement, I’d assess your Web site in terms of it’s ability to make it easy for prospects to find and get answers to three questions