- Web Design
Standard to Standout: B2B Websites
Have you come across a truly standout B2B website recently?
- Essential B2B Website Features
- Consistent Brand Identity
- User experience before conversion
- CTA placement
- Subtle animations
- Interactive elements
- Bespoke illustrations
- Multiple touchpoints
- Progressive forms
One that has made an impression and that you’ll be going back to for inspiration?
We’ve found standout B2B websites to be few and far between. That’s because most of the B2B websites you’ve come across are utilising a similar formula:
✅ State a Problem
🙋♀️ Offer a Solution
🚀 Provide a Call to Action
The reason why most B2B websites use this formula is simply because it is safe, with proven results achieved by similar recipes for several years. However, with the market as crowded as it is, organisations are falling under the radar because they are struggling to stand out.
As a science, the UX of B2B websites is still relatively young – with serious investment from businesses only occurring in recent years. But with this tried and tested formula for the space, users are becoming more discerning, making harsher judgments and differentiating between competitors based on more refined factors. The most successful and standout B2B websites use engaging headlines, test their calls-to-action frequently, and can clearly communicate their value but to really stand out, your website needs to be captivating and memorable.
In this blog, we’ll run through the finer details of B2B web design, get into the nitty-gritty of how people respond to certain types of imagery and copy, and hopefully inspire you to take the next step with your own B2B website.
What features are essential for B2B websites?
Winning websites nail their foundations before experimenting with content and colour. There are 8 foundations for most B2B websites and they are:
🎁 Product Benefits
💭 Social Proof
We’ve written about each feature in more detail in our B2B Websites That Convert: The Essential Handbook. You can download it, completely free below!
A consistent brand identity
A unified brand identity is about far more than just your website’s look and feel. It’s about building a strong brand identity across your digital channels by establishing a tone of voice, consistent and sophisticated visuals, and recognisable content. You want your customers to be able to recognise your brand without needing to squint for the logo in the corner.
Your brand identity is how your customers know and build a connection with your organisation. If you are inconsistent with your brand identity, it can be confusing and undermines your credibility. A notorious example of a confusing rebrand was Twitter’s move to ‘X’ in 2023. The rebrand featured replacing the famous blue, bird logo with an X, as well as a new slogan, ‘Blaze your Glory!’ formerly, ‘Let’s talk’ – much more fitting for a platform designed for users to share their thoughts. Twitter had long established itself as a popular social media platform and had even made it into the dictionary but following the rebrand, Twitter users were left feeling confused about the future of the platform.
User experience before conversion
For B2B, user experience is about far more than just conversions. Without building a relationship with your users, they will never reach the point of trust required in order to convert. Good UX is key to increasing conversions because it is one of the key factors that determines whether users want to stay on your website long enough to convert. Aspects of UX that directly impact conversion rates include:
🏃♀️ Website speed
📣 CTA placement
Poor UX can be frustrating for users, but by understanding your user personas and their journeys, you’ll be better equipped to design a website that helps them reach their desired goals. For example, Crucible helped Mortgage Brain design their website according to their user personas. By ensuring a focus on users, we ensured their goals were met with minimal friction and a personalised journey. For more details, we’ve written a full case study for Mortgage Brain.
There are established rules in CTA placement. For example, a CTA should be placed at the bottom of a form – not before it, and if you need it to appear on every page, it should be placed in the top-right corner of a website’s header. However, the effectiveness of a CTA goes beyond its placement.
For navigational purposes, it makes sense to incorporate at least one CTA on every page. You want to give your users the option to explore your website and its content further. But with this, the main consideration is the CTA’s relevancy to the action being taken. Consider how you can use a CTA to provide further value for the user or help them reach their website goals faster.
CTAs must also be consistent throughout your website. It’s best practice to decide on one or two colours that will make up the CTAs on your site. Using multiple colours for your CTAs can be confusing and you can run into issues with contrasting colours and legibility. It’s essential that your CTAs’ colour combinations are compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), but it’s also important to choose colours that will really jump out of the page.
It’s also important to consider how your CTAs are worded. They should prompt an action and be specific. Vague CTA copy such as ‘Continue’ or ‘Test it out’ can break the user’s expectations, which can be frustrating. Opt for accurate and specific CTA copy that promotes clearly understandable actions such as ‘Donate now’ and ‘Start free trial’.
Subtle animations have the potential to bring your B2B website to life. Animations direct users to important elements and reinforce key messages. Done correctly, they can enhance user experience and increase engagement and delight, but it’s important to be focused when using animations. It can be easy to overwhelm visitors if you overuse or misuse animations on your site.
When using animations, consider your audience and brand identity. For example, a healthcare website is unlikely to opt for flashy animations but a product management tool might incorporate animations that help to demonstrate its product.
Interactive elements add new dimensions to static websites. Incorporating interactivity into B2B websites can be surprisingly effective. Interactive elements encourage users to engage with your content and personalise their experience. If you’re looking at hundreds of websites every day, the one that has incorporated an element of interactivity or play is likely to keep your attention for longer.
Standout B2B websites must be efficient and clear in their messaging and value proposition to be effective, but by demonstrating your value, you’ll be able to connect with your users in a more meaningful way. Monday does this well by using its actual product to define the main CTA that users can interact with. Users immediately know how the Monday software will solve their problems by interacting with the selections, removing the need for any additional copy.
While stock images are still popular, increasingly they are seen as a sign of poor trust signals in B2B websites. Users are smarter and more accustomed to this type of visual content and can be easily turned off if a site is packed with ‘Woman Smiling’ images. Standout B2B websites are investing more time into creating bespoke visual content that can turn complex concepts into beautiful and easily digestible visual assets. They can make your website truly unique and can be tailored to your brand’s identity.
Basecamp’s homepage has been praised for its ability to demonstrate value, provide social proof and represent its target audience. They’ve opted for a bespoke illustration on their homepage that is also interactive. Users can switch between conversations the two characters are having in the illustration until they find a relatable situation. It’s an effective way to combine bespoke illustrations with interactivity.
Your website should be easy to navigate, with clear CTAs that guide users towards their desired objectives, whether it’s making a purchase or filling out a contact form. Aim to incorporate multiple touchpoints designed for the specific user persona based on where they are in their journey. For example, you can help nurture a lead by providing them with case studies relevant to their sector, or retain a customer with a dedicated support and knowledge base.
Hubspot is successful on their website at building effective and personalised touchpoints. Through automated workflows, Hubspot customers are being led through bespoke journeys tailored to their specific goals, each incorporating multiple touchpoints. They’ve been successful at combining marketing with sales and if you’ve ever ended up on the Hubspot pricing page, it’s likely you’ve been contacted by a sales rep as well.
A great way to enhance your B2B website is by providing low-commitment forms to capture data that you can use for marketing purposes or customer support. Progressive sign-up forms provide the option for users to submit essential information (ie. their email address and first name) in exchange for valuable content with the option to include more information the next time they fill out a form. They allow marketers to gather data gradually over time and can be a great tool for nurturing your users throughout their journeys, without the need for one long winded signup process at the point of initial conversion.
Looking to power up your B2B website?
At Crucible, we’re proud to exceed client expectations with our website designs and digital marketing. We are experts at the foundations but we won’t overlook the finer details – our goal is to help you stand out from your competitors. If you’re looking to take your B2B website to the next stage, get in touch with the Crucible team or plan your website project with our free website strategy template.