Why you need adopt a Data-Driven Mindset for your B2B Website
Discover how to leverage Growth-Driven Design (GDD) to build a website that resonates with your target market and drive revenue.
Published: 08 Dec 2023
11 minutes read
Building an effective website is key to establishing a strong online presence.
However, suppose your website is continuously failing to generate quality leads or hit your target. In that case, this is a clear sign that your website isn’t aligned with your customer’s requirements.
With the needs and behaviours of customers constantly changing, it’s time for your B2B business to adopt a growth-driven design (GDD) approach for their website.
In this blog post, we’ll explain the benefits of adopting a data-driven mindset for building or revamping your website. But before we do, let's delve into why we’re seeing a shift in website development.
The Shift in Website Approach
Websites have traditionally been positioned as static online brochures. However, marketing efforts are now being guided by social media platforms, with 75% of B2B customers using the likes of LinkedIn, X and Instagram to make informed decisions.
We’re now seeing more B2B businesses using their websites to generate demand through activities like content marketing. With 67% of B2B marketers using content marketing to generate new leads, their website is being transformed into a rich source of information that solves potential buyer’s problems.
What’s more, with over 55% of customers saying they’d rather buy directly from a brand, than through a reseller, B2B businesses, including manufacturers, are now exploring avenues to sell using a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach.
However, simply bolting an e-commerce function to your existing website isn’t enough. The need for informative and helpful content remains significant, as explained by Ian Guiver, Managing Director of Axon Garside.
“Most B2B buyers who initially land on your website online aren’t ready to buy, nor are they looking for a supplier. They're interested in understanding their problems, and exploring different kinds of solutions. Only then are they looking for suppliers.
“The big opportunity to deliver ROI is to make your website a rich source of information that helps potential buyers address their problems and find solutions. This helps you build trust, which is essentially what every business needs.”
Three Approaches to Website Development
There are many elements involved in developing a website, from mapping out each stage of the buyer’s journey to knowing what pages you need for the website and outlining the content you need on each page.
But when it comes to building a website, there are three main approaches to keep in mind:
The “Big Bang” Method
The “Big Bang” method, a term coined by Ian, refers to the approach of creating a website completely from scratch or revamping an existing one.
Before building a website, the web development team researches and extracts all possible information about the customer to map out the buyer’s journey.
This research-led approach relies on obtaining knowledge from the internal departments within the organisation. In most cases, there’s little data available, leading to an element of guesswork.
This can result in disagreements amongst team members and hurt productivity.
Growth-Driven Design (GDD)
Instead of developing a detailed sitemap upfront, the goal of GDD is to create a small website consisting of core web pages, which act as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
Building a smaller website with fewer pages reduces the development and launch time. Once the website is published, you can add new pages and elements and adjust the design based on data and customer feedback that you’ve gathered.
Data-Driven Improvements for Legacy Website
Most established businesses will already have a website and have achieved a healthy search volume. After all, over 51% of B2B companies have heavily invested in their website development.
However, to stay relevant in an ever-changing landscape, you may need to change your offering and adjust your messaging.
“Over time, the needs of your customers will change, and you may have to adjust your offering. To ensure your legacy website maintains its relevance, you need to take the principles of GDD and apply them to how you would iterate your site going forward,” Ian said.
The Benefits of Growth-Driven Design
As mentioned, adopting a GDD approach saves you from guessing the direction of how you develop your website. But there are other, more significant benefits to adopting a data-driven mindset.
1. Measure and Improve ROI
The one key metric for every B2B business is Return on Investment (ROI), especially for e-commerce sites.
However, even if you have a brochure site that doesn't have e-commerce functionality, it’s vital that you’re able to track leads and determine which pages are playing a role in driving traffic to your website.
By adopting a data-driven mindset, you’re in a better position to safeguard your ROI in the long term, as Chris Dunkerley, Head of UX and UI at Axon Garside, explained:
“The whole launchpad (GDD) process helps to drive the kind of content you create, the overall design theme and the user journey you plan out. But more importantly, this approach helps to safeguard your site’s SEO strength and ROI in the long-term.”
2. Make Better Data-Informed Decisions
High-quality data is the cornerstone of critical decision-making. Whether it’s making improvements to your website, optimising content or reviewing your marketing campaign’s performance, your data should help you navigate which direction you need to take.
Ian outlined the importance of accessing the right tools like Google Analytics to help you make the right decision.
“If you don’t have access to historical data, this can lead to inaccurate guesswork. If you’re thinking about redeveloping a site, you’ve got to have some tools of measurement on your old site to give you that data.”
What’s more, 75% of businesses haven’t got Google Analytics 4 (GA4) set up properly.
“Not having GA4 set up properly will not give you the ability to track the right conversions or interactions. To ensure your business is seeing everything leading to a new website, it’s best to get an expert to have a look at your GA4 set up and configure it to your requirements,” Chris said.
3. Improve Overall UX & Deliver Effective Marketing
A data-driven approach allows businesses to gain insights into user behaviour, preferences and pain points. This knowledge can be used to optimise the website's design, layout and user journey, which play a fundamental role in improving user experience (UX), conversation and the quality of leads.
In addition, you can use the data to adapt your marketing efforts to meet changing consumer demands. This includes delivering personalised experiences and messaging that resonates with your target audience. You can also track the data, improve your understanding of where your leads are coming from and measure the overall pipeline velocity.
“You need to look at Google Analytics to understand the source of your web traffic, what their intent is and the search terms they're using. You need to be looking at their journey and how far they go into the site, what pages are being clicked on, which you can do through Google tools or an all-encompassing marketing tool like HubSpot,” Ian said.
4. Save Time and Resources
With a data-driven approach, you get a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t. This saves you from having to figure out what you should optimise on your website and identify which marketing strategies are doing well, saving you both time and resources.
For instance, your manufacturing company can take advantage of sales data to identify emerging product preferences so you can adapt your product offering accordingly.
Chris mentioned how accessing the right analytics can even validate or invalidate assumptions you may have about your business.
“If your GA4 is correctly set up, you’ll often find interesting data come to light. Quite often for the different clients I’ve worked for, I’d assume that a business will have high mobile usage, but the data would say that’s not the case. On the other hand, if the data tells me over 60% or 70% of your audience comes from mobile, this indicates you have high mobile usage and you need to make your website mobile-first.”
Building a Growth-Driven Design Website
Building a data-driven website involves several steps. Chris provided a top-level overview of the key stages involved.
1. Understand Your Audience
First, you need to get a clear picture of your audience. User research will help you identify your target audience's needs and preferences and gather insights on user behaviour.
“The first key step is to understand who your target audience is and how they’re engaging with your website. This’ll help to shape the foundations for what kind of website you need to build and what deliverables you need to take into consideration,” Chris said.
2. Content Analysis
The next step involves conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of your content. Also known as a content audit, this analysis helps you identify which content is performing well and which isn’t while pinpointing areas of opportunity as well as potential threats.
“One main advantage of conducting a SWOT analysis of your content is that you might uncover a piece that’s been on your website for a long time and brings no value. It also helps you identify any evergreen content that’s been driving conversions,” Chris said.
3. Track Performance History
The third step is to look at the performance history of your site. If you're able to look over data you’ve accumulated over the years, you’ll uncover trends in your lead generation activities. You’ll also be able to associate any drops in lead generation with certain events.
“If you've got data that stretches back a number of years, then you can identify which pages have converted the most leads, and this starts to feed into your Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) methodology. If there are pages driving significant traffic but not generating any leads, then you need to see what you can do to improve those pages’ performance,” Chris explained.
4. Assess User Behaviour
When tracking the performance history of your website, you have the foundation to assess your end-user’s behaviours. Using heat map tools such as Hotjar, you can familiarise yourself with how your user interacts with your website. This is especially useful to determine the underlying reason for low-performing web pages, as Chris explained:
“With Hotjar, you can watch recordings of users on pages with high traffic and low conversion and see what they're doing. Here you can see if your user is doing what you want them to do on the website.”
To further understand the usability of low-performing web pages, Chris also recommended getting a colleague or a customer to test the website in front of you. That way, you can gain real-time insight and ask questions directly.
5. Build & Test
Once you’ve gathered all your data, it’s time to build your website, deliver a compelling UX and ensure all the interactive elements on your website are intuitive and easy to use for your user.
Once developed, you then need to rigorously test them to make sure they work to your requirements.
“You should regularly and thoroughly test your website; this includes both your marketing and digital activities. Whether it’s via A/B testing, reviewing high converting pages or ads, testing should always be a priority,” Chris emphasised.
Drawing The Line Between a Data-Driven Website and Business Requirements
When building a data-driven website, you need to find a balance between creating websites based on your data and specific business requirements.
Examples of business requirements include adhering to the needs of stakeholders such as employees and suppliers. Employees would request that the new website work seamlessly with existing systems like Sage 200 and Microsoft Dynamics. Suppliers may want forecast reports so they can properly allocate their resources to fulfil demand.
The process of developing an MVP should consider both aspects and should be tailored to fit the specific needs of your business. Of course, with every business being unique, determining the size of the MVP will vary between five to even 100 pages.
After all, the main goal behind developing your GDD website is to ensure it’s well-positioned to conduct effective analysis, optimisation and deliver results. As Ian explained, the MVP approach shouldn’t be seen as a cost-cutting exercise.
“Sometimes, businesses will opt for the MVP approach because they want to constrain the budget. The problem with this is that if you create 30% of the website, launch it and then spend the next six months adding elements that don’t align with the data, you’re not delivering any value to your customer.
“The more time you spend doing things that are entirely driven by what the business wants, the less time you spend doing stuff that's driven by data. This leads to attaining results that fall further away from your target.”
Unlock Your Business’ True Potential With Data
Building a successful website requires more than just great design and content.
By adopting a data-driven mindset, businesses can leverage the power of data and continuously review and optimise their websites based on customer behaviour, preferences, and business goals.
This approach enables businesses to become more agile and adaptable, helping them meet customer expectations, enhance user experience and generate more qualified customers. Ultimately, helping you achieve long-term online growth and success.
With the right tools, strategies, and mindset, your business can unleash the true potential of its website and drive meaningful results in today's digital landscape.
So, embrace the data-driven mindset, and watch your website propel your business to new heights.