You can’t just redesign your website any old how. We demonstrate this using a client’s website (www.ringring.be) that we aligned with a B2B inbound marketing strategy as an example. This means that content revolves around solutions delivered to the client and a significant part of the site is dedicated to conversions.
Our collaboration with The RingRing Company (RingRing for short) started at the end of 2016. After several weeks of desk research and interviews, both internally and with clients, we were in a position to present a marketing strategy for the coming year: a strategy focused primarily on inbound marketing. By coincidence (or perhaps not), RingRing launched a reworked, more extensive website at the same time. A website redesign without a marketing strategy in place? How shall we put it … that’s a bit like buying all your furniture without knowing who you’re going to live with, or where. Luckily, common sense is deeply ingrained in RingRing’s DNA, so we took charge of redesigning the site as well. Phew!
Do you sell products or solutions?
Do you know RingRing? For those that don’t, RingRing is a Belgian company offering automation solutions for customer communication by SMS, email, chatbot, or IVR (Interactive Voice Response, which means automated phone calls). So it provides technologies that we use every day: to pay for parking or tram tickets by SMS, to vote for a contestant on The Voice with our smartphones or to receive unique passwords by SMS. RingRing does all of this! It comes up with all the practical solutions for users like you and me, tackling the concrete challenges that businesses want to overcome.
So what was the snag with the old website? Instead of focusing on potential customers’ problems or challenges, it showcased the technologies that RingRing used to solve them. Anyone who has ever read a single blog post on inbound marketing knows that frontline communication should revolve around customers’ challenges and problems. Obviously that was part of our marketing strategy and our starting point when rethinking RingRing’s website. We said: let’s forget the names of the products (since they are often only used internally) and the technologies that potential customers are unfamiliar with, more often than not. Let’s take a customer-centric approach because, in RingRing’s case, future customers are more likely to type “Satisfaction survey by automated phone call” into Google than “Satisfaction survey by IVR using API or cloud-based solution”.
The paradox of SEO
So the second task was to develop relevant, customer-centric and SEO-friendly content. From a technical point of view, RingRing’s old website responded very well to all the SEO criteria. Conversely, in terms of content, there were enormous gaps. This paradox is very common in B2B sites, a phenomenon that is perfectly summed up in the title of this article by Neil Patel (the godfather of SEO): “SEO Copywriting: How to Write Content For People and Optimize For Google” – an article that we can warmly recommend.
Creating relevant content for the reader (the potential customer) and for Google was not very complicated with RingRing. In B2B marketing, a type of content that always works is customer cases, and in terms of customers, RingRing’s portfolio is really impressive: more than 800 references. And they are not small fry either: their customers include Proximus, BPost, VOO, De Persgroep and Nespresso. With such rich raw material, our copywriters were like kids in a sweet shop. The second advantage was that the solutions RingRing provides to their customers’ challenges are transparent. They know their technologies inside out, understand their customers and always choose the solution that is the simplest for the end user. This is a godsend for content creators.
Conversion, the holy grail of an “inbound” website
The third main problem with the old website was the severe lack of conversion possibilities. There were links or buttons with a Call To Action (CTA) here and there, but they were hard to find (= too small, too “standardised”) and they did not grab visitors’ attention (= too discreet). What should you do in cases like these? The main thing is not to bank on your potential customer falling under the spell of the magnificent photos or illustrations that you have taken days to create, copywriting that hits the spot first time or, above all, all the little effects (carrousels, sticky headers and funky hover effects, to name but a few) that your designer has fought tooth and nail to get onto the site. Because – just like you – your potential customers are working on a dozen things at once, so they are not going to spend hours drooling over your website. Consequently, if they do visit your site for whatever reason, you only have milliseconds to convince them to stay on it, and then there is only one thing that counts: conversion. We calculate this by measuring the site’s CRO (conversion optimization rate).
Contact us, contact us, contact us
To be honest, it is not always easy to find a relevant CTA in B2B, and sometimes we wish we were selling trainers and t-shirts instead of products or services for professional use. Which CTAs should you choose so you don’t have to resort to the standard buttons such as “Contact us” or “Sign up for our newsletter”? Fortunately, looking for good stories and creating content is what we at Outsource do best, and the majority of our clients are adept at content marketing. RingRing is no exception to this rule, so we were able to place CTAs with maximum conversion potential including: downloading an eBook, a blog article, an informative video, and the possibility to test a service for free. The latter really was the icing on the cake: test your services with potential customers in exchange for their email address. So at RingRing, visitors to the site can test the power and simplicity of professional communication by SMS, completely free of charge, by signing up to the site. And yes, as is often the case, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
A last takeaway: design the website on paper
If you are reading this post, there is a good chance that you have already participated, in person or remotely, in the creation (for older readers) and/or redesign (for digital natives) of at least one website. I have done a fair few such projects myself, and it has been a real adventure every time. From strictly controlled projects (“We redid our style guide last year: the logo always needs to be there, and we never use those words, or any English terms, and make sure there are equal numbers of photos of women and men. And no, you can’t use that font”) to overly chilled-out ones (with a briefing like “Guys, you are the creatives, I don’t know anything about it so do what you want”), each project had its own array of problems and mutual frustrations. Oh, sorry, I mean experiences :).
On the RingRing project we also had our fair share of doubts and disagreements. It is then that we had to demonstrate the most creativity and listen most attentively to the customer. Personally, I think that most effective meeting we had was done 100% on paper. Why? Because the back-and-forth exchanges by email, phone or messenger about PDF mock-ups or test web pages just weren’t working any more. Because too many people were involved, using different vocabularies, and because certain sensitivities were sometimes difficult to spot. So we needed to change our approach. In order to approve a good twenty choices that would determine the rest of the project, we set down all the important elements of the site on paper (header, CTA block, CTA button, blog, description, form, footer, etc.), printed several copies of these and cut them out. Then we met up, armed with a roll of sellotape, and stuck our web pages to the walls… on paper. The result was a giant step forward, but more importantly we had fun, everybody had their say, and everyone confirmed their role. In short: it was a key meeting for the project.
Have you also realized that your site only talks about your products or services but not about the solutions they provide for your customers? When it comes to conversion, do you think there are more effective options than the “contact us” buttons on your website? Then it is high time for you to meet us!