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Most owners of small-to-medium B2B businesses understand the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO). They know that it’s critical in attracting visitors to their site, and they know that when done well it can attract a highly targeted type of visitor, and do so in large numbers.

But what happens when these visitors arrive?

In reality the only thing more important than attracting visitors to your website is ensuring they become customers, particularly in B2B where new clients can be harder to come by, but tend to be more valuable. 

If you feel as though your job is done after implementing an effective SEO strategy, you’ll inevitably end up with a store full of browsers rather than buyers.

How does your B2B company increase its website conversions? The following five tips form a solid starting point.

1. Measure your B2B conversion rate

In order to successfully increase conversions, you’ll need to focus on the metrics that matter. ‘Conversion rate’ is the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, or more often in the case of a B2B website, leaving their details.

Conversion rate might seem a simple metric, but it is perhaps the most insightful that a website owner has at their disposal. The number indicates exactly how effective your website is at selling your products, services and brand, and gives you the information you need to launch any number of B2B conversion rate optimisation (CRO) strategies aimed at increasing this percentage.

What represents an ‘average’ B2B website conversion rate? The number varies from industry to industry, ranging from less than 2% in B2B tech to almost 10% in professional services. Remember that these numbers are the average, and you should aim to be significantly above them. 

So how do you get there?

2. Create buyer personas

Now that you’re armed with a metric to measure your success, one of the first steps in your CRO journey should be to gain a deeper understanding of your customer. Knowledge is power – if you know your customers inside out, you’ll know the strategies and tactics that will convert them.

Buyer personas are fictional characters designed to represent a particular group of buyers. You give these characters names, demographic information, backstories, hobbies, needs, pain points and goals. Once created, buyer personas give you the opportunity to focus on converting someone, not just anyone. They focus your conversion efforts and can be useful for your marketing and sales teams too.

3. Simplify the customer journey

The word ‘conversion’ will mean different things to different B2B businesses – for some it will equal a purchase or subscription, for others it will be the completion of a contact form. But whatever a conversion looks like to you, you need to make the journey to it as short, simple and smooth as possible for your website visitor.

Clearly lay out the path that you’d like the visitor to take. Give the visitor a good reason to follow that path – offer an incentive like a free consultation to those who leave their contact details, or a special introductory deal to those who make their first purchase. Ensure your website is mobile-optimised, your conversion demands the fewest clicks possible, and that you take payment in whatever way your customers would prefer to make payment.

4. Chase up abandoned carts and forms

Imagine you went to the supermarket and saw four out of every five people walking away from their half-full carts and out the door without making a purchase. Not a very believable scenario, right? Well, with the global cart abandonment rate sitting at almost 80%, that’s exactly what happens online.

Online shopping carts are abandoned for any number of reasons:

  • The buying process is too long or complex
  • The user interface is unfamiliar and unintuitive
  • A customer has no intent to buy, and is simply window shopping
  • Products are found cheaper elsewhere
  • There are technical issues
  • The website doesn’t offer the customer’s preferred payment option

While most of the reasons above have their own fix, the reality is that you’ll never stop cart abandonment (or the B2B conversion equivalent – half-filled out contact forms.) You can however mitigate this issue, and capitalise on the incredible opportunity it represents, by using technology to follow up with these non-committal visitors.

By automatically emailing any visitor who abandons a half-filled cart or a half-filled out form, you can greatly increase your website conversion rate without lifting so much as a finger. A wealth of affordable (and sometimes free) tools have been designed to do exactly that.

5. Encourage and capitalise on social proof

People trust people. This is the simple reason why social proof – online reviews, ratings, posts and comments about your brand, product or service – is so valuable, particularly to B2B businesses.

Where a B2C business might find more than enough social proof success in setting up a Facebook profile and Google My Business listing, B2B companies may need something more. In order to get larger deals and more meaningful relationships across the line, your B2B organisation might lean on testimonials from current customers, in which they explain the difference that you’ve made in their own words. Case studies filled with hard data and direct customer quotes can also prove incredibly valuable.

Once you’ve generated this social proof, you should put it pride of place on your website so that it propels a visitor toward conversion.

Getting a visitor to your website is only half the challenge – you still need to turn that visitor into a customer. If the average B2B business put as much focus on CRO as they do SEO, they’d set themselves up for success.

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