What types of information are considered “must-haves” on B2B vendor websites, and which are perceived to best establish credibility? Newly-released survey results [pdf] from KoMarketing Associates and Dianna Huff take a broad look at the essential components of a B2B vendor’s website – and the elements that are the most likely to turn off prospective buyers. While the results are often simple, the study finds that they’re sometimes ignored.
Identifying 10 types of content assets, the survey indicates that – not surprisingly – the most important asset for establishing credibility is thorough contact or about information, cited as “very important” by 51% of survey respondents. (The lack of this information is also the leading reason that respondents leave B2B websites due to reduced credibility.) Case studies, white papers and articles were next, cited as “very important” by 31% of respondents, closely followed by a client list and testimonials (29%). Interesting, assets such as blog posts (14%), media mentions (13%), video content (10%) and social media activity (10%) are considered critical types of content by few respondents.
In fact, only 6% of respondents said that social media activity impacts their decision-making process “a lot.” And while an additional 30% said that it’s important but not a deal-breaker, that proportion was matched by the share (37%) who said it was simply not a factor. Respondents were a little more enthusiastic when it came to blogs, with 47% seeing them as impacting the decision-making process “a lot” (7%) or being important without being a deal-breaker (40%), versus 24% saying they’re not a factor. Moreover, 85% said that a blog can assist to some degree in establishing a vendor’s credibility.
A website’s mobile capability is also not considered an important facet of the decision-making process, at least according to this set of respondents. Across all identified types of assets, respondents were far more likely to say they view the content on a desktop than on a tablet or iPhone (the researchers admitted a strange error in not using “smartphone” rather than “iPhone” in the text, which may well have impacted the findings).
So what do buyers consider to be “must have” content on vendor websites? Pricing information (43%) is the most critical, followed by technical information (38%), case studies/white papers/articles/blog posts (38%) and shipping information (37%). And, of course, about two-thirds need to see a company address and contact information. Frankly, it’s surprising to see this even mentioned, as one wonders what vendor websites are lacking them. Reduced credibility, to be sure.
Nevertheless, some of those assets listed above are often missing, per the study. When asked what types of marketing collateral is lacking on most company sites, a majority of respondents pointed to case studies, white papers, articles and blog posts (54%), with many also indicating a lack of pricing information (50%), product reviews (42%) and technical support details (42%).
As for the home page – presumably the first contact the buyer has with the site – the information that most respondents want to see available are products and services (90%), about information (61%), marketing collateral (37%) and testimonials (36%). Social media buttons (24%) and a blog (22%) are less important.
Finally, the study also examines elements that cause buyers to leave websites. The results suggest that the most annoying elements are auto-playing video or audio and animated ads – with these also considered the most interruptive elements. It’s also important – for the 39% who prefer to contact vendors via a contact form – that the forms not ask for too much information. By a large margin, buyers prefer not to release their phone numbers (60%) or address information (53%), while they’re mostly comfortable with all other types of information, such as company, title, role, and email address.
About the Data: Conducted in October of 2013, the survey was taken by 175 people. Survey respondents include Presidents and CEOS, COO/CFO/CTO/CMOs, Managers / Executives, Directors and VPs, Analysts and Specialists, and Consultants. The majority of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 64, with 4% between age 18 and 24 and 9% over age 65.