B2B vs. B2C Web Design: Key Differences
Who isn't online? I don't get it. 9.2% of Americans still don't use the internet. Babies? Toddlers? That's all I got. The point is you're either a fetus or a Luddite if you aren't online. The rest of us? We’re addicted.
Who isn't online? I don't get it. 9.2% of Americans still don't use the internet. Babies? Toddlers? That's all I got.
The point is you're either a fetus or a Luddite if you aren't online. The rest of us? We’re addicted.
But surfing the web for business vs. yourself is totally different. Your website should reflect that or it isn’t working.
B2B websites are like dinner with your boss - professional and trustworthy. B2C websites are like a first date - fun and engaging, maybe even brash.
Why? Vastly different customer journeys - the "how and when" customers make decisions.
Let’s dig deeper.
Killer B2B web design
A blue-ribbon B2B website is like good cowboy boots: stylish and functional. These sites serve a specific purpose: to drive longer sales cycles. This typically means boatloads of educational content to guide prospects through marketing funnels.
We call it inbound marketing. Your site is a sales pitch powered by generosity. The more problems you solve, the more leads you get.
Do not underestimate the time and unique skill set you need to hit this target.
Rule: make it easy enough for your mom
Business owners are brainiacs but it doesn't matter. Make your website so easy and friction-free that your non-techie mom would be able to navigate it without asking for help.
Three things to keep in mind, for your Mama’s sake:
- Navigation is super clear. This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many websites get this totally wrong.
- Text is informative, but not jargon. Remember, your Mama doesn't want to wade through a bunch of nerd talk. Neither do your prospects.
- Major on majors. What are the most important things? Make it obvious!
- Major on minors, too. Allow for no errors, anywhere.
Look, it’s either user-friendly or it isn’t worth the $60k you paid for it - even the pickiest mothers can appreciate that.
The ABCs of B2C web design
Let’s not overcomplicate things. You have one challenge here: can you create an online experience that speaks to your target customer and converts directly?
Think Amazon, Walmart, Dollar Shave Club, Black Rifle Coffee, and many many many others.
Consumer tolerance for not finding what they’re looking for online is zero. They either want an answer or an immediate transaction. Decision-making is almost instantaneous, and sales happen WAY before they click “pay now.” Remember that.
How do you do that? Easy navigation, immediate information, beautiful design, and the least copy necessary to sell. Easy!
Drill the end user into your noggin
Whether B2B or B2C, hop into your customers’ shoes. What do they desperately need?
- They have their credit card information saved in their browser.
- They have a boss who only needs an excuse to buy your software.
- They’re itching for some new kicks.
What do you do?
Know how your customers buy your product
The B2B purchase process is complicated and long. In enterprise software, sales cycles rarely dip under nine months. Get used to multiple decision-makers, approvals, legal red tape, and higher stakes.
You better believe B2B buyers will research before making a purchase. They'll compare options, read reviews, and understand the market.
In contrast, B2C website visitors are more impulsive - one decision-maker, one approval, and much lower stakes. They're less likely to do extensive research, and they're more likely to just "click and buy.”
B2C psychological factors
Emotions drive consumer behavior more than logic or reason.
Trying to choose between a Samsung phone and an iPhone? Both essentially have the same features (sorry but they do). However, Apple products have a brilliant way of getting customers to feel a certain tribal confidence. They’ve convinced us that iPhones are a superior product - which seemingly justifies the hefty price tag.
In the end, you and I both tend to buy an iPhone because we want a piece of this gorgeous brand in our pocket. Emotional, aesthetic connection overrides logic.
B2B psychological factors
Emotion also plays a role in B2B decision-making. It's just that the consequences are more…consequential. As such, B2B decision-makers are more likely to consider:
- What are the risks of doing (or not doing) business with this company?
- Do we feel like this company has our best interests at heart?
- What will our clients/customers think?
- How do we feel about this company?
The perfect website layout
If you're starting a layout from scratch, there's a whole heck of a lot to consider. But don't get overwhelmed. You've got to think about the navigation, the colors, the images, and of course, the content.
B2B layouts - selling to suits
If you’re selling to suits you'll want:
- A clean and professional layout
- Balanced colors from a professional brand palette
- Images that are corporate in nature, but still warm and not overused
- Well-written content, free of errors
You’ll also need highly valuable content assets for long sales cycles. For instance, if you sell mobile device management software, you’d need:
- Executive Summaries
- Case Studies
- Use Cases
- And more
B2C layouts - selling to Susan
On the other hand, if you're trying to Susan on her day off:
- Go for a more creative layout
- Use brighter colors and more interesting images
- Casual content - even edgy content - and absolutely minimal.
It’s a sort of game. How little content can you use to simplify your user experience and convert? How are graphics and images a part of this? It’s a skill set only a few marketers have.
Fleeced or fair? How much do pro sites cost?
You’ll love this - it depends. But if ya don’t wanna get fleeced, so keep reading.
B2B web design pricing is usually based on the value of the project, while B2C pricing is typically a flat rate. Cost will vary but we’ll help you out.
B2B Website Prices
B2B deals can be tricky. Pricing varies based on your company, scope, and decision-makers. Small startups just need something quick and effective, while large enterprises have specific objectives.
Expect to pay $3,000 on the [extremely] low side, and $80,000+ on the high side. Yeah, there are some huge websites out there. Tack on extra if you need lots of content to support your sales process. (you probably do)
B2C Website Prices
B2C websites that work are tailor-made to aggressively leverage the deals their business or product offers. Pricing is pretty consistent - unless you need an elaborate eCommerce platform.
Typically all you need is 5-7 conversion-optimized pages. Copy should be extremely limited and paired with compelling graphics/images that capture attention and give a quick overview of your offering.
Expect to pay $3,000 to $10,000 depending on your complexity. Add more for eCommerce. But it'll be worth it when those sales start rolling in.
Bad design is worse than no website
Like first impressions, you don't get a second chance with your website. It’s the face of your business - the billboard of today.
It's how customers will find you and learn about your products or services. And just like a brick-and-mortar store, you want your website to be inviting, easy to navigate, and engaging.
B2B web design is a snooze fest most of the time. They rarely deviate from dry, corporate brochures - about as interesting as my fingernail clippings.
But just because your site needs to be informative doesn't mean it can't also be fun and engaging. You’re still talking to humans, right? Take a risk, for Pete’s sake.
Here are a few tips for designing a B2B site:
The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is overused, but 100% true selling direct to consumer. In the age of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, people consume visual content at breakneck speeds.
When online, they expect the same level of simplicity and convenience. B2C websites have to be visually appealing and easy to use - or they fail.
Your traffic should feel powerful and in control - mounted on the back of a unicorn - the moment they land on your page, and it all starts with a great design. And if it can go viral, well, you're lucky.
- Make it easy for buyers to find what they're looking for
- Only one or two clicks between them and their purchase
- Ensure their information is safe and secure
Nothing can beat a B2C website that's as gorgeous as it is functional.
Get more clients with an irresistible CTA
A CTA (Call-to-Action) is that button that tells you to do something. Without CTAs, we'd all just sit around staring at pretty pictures on the internet.
CTAs for B2B websites
If you're selling to businesses, you'll want some key CTAs. But they’re unique to support a slower sales process.
It’s pretty rare that you’d have a “Buy Now” CTA in this context. Instead, you’d have "Sign in" or "Get a Quote" or “Get a Demo.”
This process is a sales courtship with the sale happening later - person to person.
CTAs for B2C websites
The simpler, the better. That’s it. Try to get your traffic to do one or two things only. Think persuasive, not pushy.
A simple "Add to Cart" button will do just fine, or “Add to Favorites,” so your customers can save items for later if they're not ready to buy.
This is a scale game. Quick transactions solve quick consumer problems. Keep it simple, and your visitors will thank you for it.
Get more leads using punchy contact forms
You can either buy leads or generate them for yourselves. You clearly want an optimized website…so while you’re at it, just implement meaningful forms to earn opportunities.
Every person that opts in for newsletters, inquiries, demos or quotes is a hot lead. Or a competitor. But let’s keep it optimistic.
Keep in mind how you create your contact form depends on your target audience.
B2B contact form
Forms are a necessary evil. Period. But for B2B sites, they can help you out.
Don’t be afraid to ask for information. Do be hysterically afraid of adding friction. Keep it brief. The more questions you ask, the more likely you will get a qualified lead. If you want ZERO form submissions, ask too many questions.
It’s a booger to get this right, and hinges on how effective your site is. Best advice? Test it and tweak it. Then test and tweak again.
B2C contact form
I read Dante’s Inferno. I think the 6th layer of Hades was filling out a contact form. Most contact forms are way too long, and they ask for too much. They're also weirdly vague, and you have no idea what the company will do with your information.
B2C website contact forms should only capture the minimum required information to help someone solve a problem or get more information. Otherwise visitors simply click away ticked off.
The most acceptable B2C forms are opt-ins that add value. Think subscribing to a newsletter, getting 15% off your next purchase, 15% off for a referral - that kinda stuff.
Otherwise, keep your forms nonexistent everywhere except your customer service or contact pages.
B2B and B2C web designs are two different animals
You can't put a B2B web design on a B2C website and expect it to perform. It's like putting clogging shoes on a bear. What’s the point. So in summary:
B2B web designs must be professional, inviting, and easy to navigate. The content must be well-written and informative without being too "salesy." B2B decision-makers are looking for solutions, not another sales pitch.
B2C web designs must be attention-grabbing and visually appealing. They must be easy to use, with a clear path to purchase. And, since B2C customers are often more price-sensitive than B2B buyers, it's crucial to showcase specials and discounts prominently.
Need some help?
Yonder Agency is a full-service digital marketing agency. You need customers, we help them find you online.
We especially like customers who have:
- Websites that work…but are hideous
- Foxy websites…with no decipherable purpose
- Brilliant branding from 2005...but cringey today
- #1 Ranked SEO at Christmas…forgotten by Google today
- Technically accurate content…written by that robot thing from Lost in Space
Interested? We’re here and we listen.
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