A website that’s professional, consistent and easy to navigate will be a huge component of any company’s online marketing strategy. For companies with a business-to-many (B2M) model, however, building a website can be harder than usual. These organizations need to create a website that’s both high-quality and effective at appealing to an audience consisting of individuals and businesses who may have wildly different needs.

 

It’s definitely possible for a B2M website to be highly effective at capturing both businesses and individuals — but the site will need to meet some unique design standards.

 

This list will help you tell if your B2M website is meeting customer standards. Ask yourself these questions:

 

1. Do You Have a Unified Brand Voice?


While some elements of your website will need to be specialized — built for only businesses or customers — your entire site will need to appeal to both to stay relevant to all visitors.

 

Developing and maintaining a unified brand voice may be a little tricky, especially as you’ll have to balance the needs of your individual consumers against those of your business clients. However, a consistent brand voice is necessary if you want to be seen as professional and valuable to your audience.

 

2. Do You Appeal to Your Entire Audience?


And do you meet all your audience’s needs?

 

One of the unique challenges that B2M businesses face is that their audience likely has divergent needs. As a result, a B2M website will need to appeal to that company’s entire customer base.

 

shipley energy

 

Shipley Energy’s website shows how you can cover your entire audience at the same time without sacrificing clarity or confusing visitors. The two forms break down into business and residential services. They list out the different services available, quickly communicating what the company provides. This setup ensures residents and businesses get directed to the right pages based on what they need.

 

Simple design elements like separated lists are great if you want to be sure your services are easy to navigate. This arrangement can work even if you’re appealing to two or more very different audience segments on the same page.

 

3. Are Your Links and Calls-to-Action (CTAs) Clear?


In a similar vein, keeping internal links and CTAs clear can ensure customers access the resources they need. If a button or link leads to a service that’s intended for just individuals or businesses, adding extra language can steer every visitor in the right direction. Doing this may require adding in some extra links or creating additional pages that break down services based on the audience. The clarity these changes create can go a long way in making your website easier to navigate.

 

Upwork offers an example of a freelancing platform that achieves this well.

 

upwork

 

This form is built for businesses and individuals looking to hire designers for their projects. It also includes a link for individuals wanting to promote their services on the platform.

 

There are more visible links for freelancers elsewhere on the site, but this link ensures that anyone who has gotten lost looking for the freelancer sign-up page can be redirected.

 

4. Are You Taking Advantage of Product Similarities?


Some of your products and services may be marketed to both individuals and businesses. For goods like these, you can focus on core features or similarities to keep pages valuable and relevant to both audiences.

 

If you have products marketed to both audience segments, you can design pages and product lists so you avoid splitting traffic and keep your website easy to navigate.

 

5. Is Your Website Easy to Navigate?


For any business website, a navigation header or toolbar with links to essential pages — like a list of services and products, an about us page and contact info page — will be important. These navigation elements make sure the website is easy to navigate, allowing customers to reach crucial information no matter where they are on the site.

 

For a B2M business, these same features are also critical. But, you’ll also want to be sure they make the site easier to navigate while considering your audience’s divergent needs.

 

For example, if you have separate pages for business and individual services, are you including them in site navigation elements?

 

adobe

 

Adobe’s navigation bar provides a great example of this idea in action. All services are available and easy to access from the site’s header — including ones for individuals and businesses. No matter where a user is on the site, they have quick access to Adobe’s full product line.

 

6. Are You Supporting All Your Customers?


Both businesses and individuals will have questions, concerns and issues that need to be resolved — but their problems may not be the same.

 

Your support forms should consider all the possible problems your audience may have and collect enough information to direct the complaint to the right staff member. If you have a live chat or chatbot, make sure qualified reps are assigned to each customer’s issue. It may also be a good idea to invest in cross-training your customer service team so they’re equipped to handle concerns from both audiences.

 

Building a B2M Site That Works


For B2M businesses, building an effective website may be a little tougher than you initially think. Your site’s design will need to consider the needs of your entire audience, which can make common design elements trickier to build. You will need to create support forms, product listings and navigation headers to accommodate both audiences. You’ll also need to make sure your brand’s voice is consistent, even as you speak to different audience segments.

 

Doing this will take some extra work. The benefits of a website that fits your customers’ standards, however, will outweigh the costs.

 

Author

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.

 

 

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.

 

1. Create Clear Deviations


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

 

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.

 

2. Asymmetrical Layouts


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.

 

3. Focus on Your UVP


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 hilleducation

 

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.

 

4. Split Screens


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.

 

5. Offer Discounts


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

 

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.

 

6. Add Video


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.

 

7. Tailor Your CTAs


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.

 

idcautomatic

 

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.

 

8. Utilize Dark Mode


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.

 

What 2020 Will Bring


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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