A business to many (B2M) model is unique in the ways they utilize web design to reach both segments of their audience. Some choose to create a main landing page with separate areas for business and consumer customers. Because of the many needs of B2M companies, there are some specific trends in design that come to the forefront each year.
The latest report from the Small Business Administration shows there are about 30.7 million small businesses in the country. There were 433,000 startups but 400,000 closures. The fact that openings and closings are almost equal shows that businesses have to be on top of their game if they want to survive in a highly competitive, global economy.
No matter what type of business you run, it’s smart to stay on top of trends in online marketing. However, for a B2M business, it’s even more important to know how best to serve both sides of your firm. Here are some trends we think you’ll see in 2020 and beyond that apply to B2M models specifically.
Even though you may have a single website to serve both consumers and other businesses, it is important that you have separate areas to address the needs of each unique audience. There may be some services and products that overlap both segments of your customer base. However, there are likely at least a few areas that are different.
Amazon is well-known for its consumer offerings and has been studied by many marketing experts in an effort to repeat its e-commerce success. However, it also offers a variety of business services. One way that Amazon meshes the two is by offering a separate area listing the many business services and partnership offerings. Note the lists of different ways business owners can work with Amazon or how you can start your own business.
You’ve likely noticed more and more sites going away from a grid design to a more free-floating layout. This trend applies to any type of website and not just business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). It is an evolution in the way online browsers work and shows that sites are current on technology and understand the trends. An asymmetrical layout gives you a lot of flexibility to mesh both your B2B and B2C offerings.
Your unique value proposition (UVP) is what you offer that none of your competitors do. Good design embraces your UVP and puts it in front of your audience. It doesn’t matter who your audience is. It’s important to communicate why they should choose you over any other brand. Including your UVP in large type or a video or some other feature on your landing page is smart for any business model.
McGraw-Hill Education serves educators and school systems as well as consumers (students). Their landing page highlights the types of textbooks and services they offer, but then it also has an area for teacher and professional development. They present their UVP above the fold with the words “We combine learning science and the art of teaching to empower success.” It’s their mission as a brand and shows where their focus is no matter which audience they’re serving.
Have you noticed the half and half screens popping up on some websites like Born & Bred in recent months? The new design trend basically takes the screen and splits it down the middle. The two halves are related and yet separate at the same time. This is a perfect design for a B2M business that serves two distinct audiences. Expect to see this design trend crop up often in 2020.
For companies that sell products, offering bulk discounts to businesses is one way they serve their B2B customers while still selling to the general public. Ordering more than a certain number of a product triggers the discount. Many companies also offer points reward systems to their repeat customers or allow businesses to set up automated orders so they can set it and forget it when it comes to supplies.
Quill’s website meshes their consumer and business sides into a cohesive unit. However, as the user shops, they see that ordering a certain quantity triggers a discount. The site also puts information about their rewards program near the top of their landing page.
Buffer’s 2019 Social Media Report shared that 85.5% of marketers publish some type of video content. Your website is the perfect place to share this content and educate your buyers about what you have to offer. Those consumers who buy from you might not realize you specialize in business services. Yet, some of those people may start their own businesses this coming year. On the flip side, business owners may not realize personalized products you carry for individuals but might be interested in making a purchase for their own household.
Educate your audience about what you do and what you have to offer. Videos are a quick and easy way to share information about your brand’s story.
No matter what type of business you run, your calls to action make a difference in your conversion rates. For B2M businesses, CTAs might be particularly important for a B2M model to guide and direct the correct users to the right areas of your site. A strong CTA uses action words and doesn’t hide what will happen when the user clicks on the button. Test different words to find the ones that resonate with your specific audience.
idc-Automatic offers garage door installation and repair to homes and businesses, serving many different people. Note their strong CTA on their home page that reads “Learn About Our Repair Team.” This is information that applies to both business owners and consumers as they’ll want to know the experience of those working on their garages.
Dark mode web designs have a modern edge. You probably noticed with one of the recent iOS system updates that you now have the option to choose dark mode or light mode. Many web designers are copying this as more and more people use mobile devices to access the Internet. Create a site that adapts automatically to the settings on the user’s phone and thus shows them your site with their own personal preferences. You can also offer a manual setting to view in dark or light mode.
While it’s impossible to predict every web design trend 2020 will bring, business owners can certainly look at trends at the end of 2019 for some clues. Technological advances also impact how you should present your site to visitors and what additions might have the most impact. Some things stand the test of time, such as writing strong headlines, keeping your audience in mind and adding CTA buttons. The rest is a matter of testing what works with your different buyer personas and finding some common ground between your B2B and B2C customers.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
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