As a marketer, you put a lot of effort into creating content that attracts visitors to your website. It is a disheartening feeling to be gaining traction on traffic numbers but seeing that bounce rate climbing too. You ask yourself, “Why are my visitors not interested in engaging with me?” “Why are they closing my website without taking any action?”
Never fear, discouraged marketer, I may have the answer!
The 2014 B2B Usability Report – researched and published by Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates – came about in an effort to establish what B2B vendor sites do well (and poorly) when it comes to usability. One section of the study specifically deals with why vendors would leave a website. These are their findings.
The Biggest B2B Website Blunders That Chase Visitors Away
10. Stock Photos
Do you recognise this man?
He’s quite a popular bloke and can be found across tons of websites representing everything from a business analyst to a doctor!
16% of responders state they leave a website due to stock imagery being used. When questioned as to why it caused them to click back, 30% stated that stock imagery reduces the credibility of the business. This ties in nicely with a Marketing Experiments report, which found that photos of real people out-performed stock photos by 95% for lead generation on B2B websites. You aren’t going to engage with a company you don’t deem as credible.
What to do instead:
Use custom imagery, whether that means real employees in actual locations or specially designed graphics. These help tell your brand’s story in a unique and authentic way and builds integrity in the mind of your prospect.
9. Do It Yourself Sites
Skimping on hiring a professional website design and development company to create a custom website can cost you in the long run – in credibility. 21% of responders landing on a business website created on a ‘free’ platform will leave immediately. There is nothing appealing or unique about a do-it-yourself, “cookie-cutter” website and people can spot them instantly.
If you don’t have the internal skills to design and develop a professional website then outsource. Designers keep up to date with current trends and can offer you guidance with other aspects of website creation too such as SEO implications and user experience.
8. Sliders (Rotating Banners on Home Page)
B2B buyers are busy people and generally have a goal when searching the Internet. They don’t like to be interrupted or distracted from their mission, most especially when they are in research mode. Home page sliders – also known as carousels – with images rotating in a sequence cause 35% of the survey responders to leave a website.
Keep them focused:
Eliminate any elements on your website that can be seen as distracting. Any images that scroll or move without input from the page visitor can disturb their train of thought or process. Opt for static images (just not stock images, for Pete’s sake) that reinforce your messaging.
7. Not the Right Vendor
This is a point the research publishers could have elaborated a tad. It is very difficult to deduct how, or with what criteria, the respondents deemed the vendor to not ‘be right’ at first glance. Yet half (50%) of them stated they would close the site as they felt they were wasting their time. The only scenario I can imagine would possibly be landing on an incorrect website after inputting a guess at a URL. I know I have done that a few times and then been frustrated with the fact that it is an entirely different company.
Check your online ‘competition’:
Without knowing the exact criteria to establish whether a vendor is right or not, it is tricky to impart any advice for how to ‘be right’. If I am on the right track with my scenario above then perhaps the solution is to ensure that you own a URL as close to your brand name as possible and do searches to see other companies with the same or similar name that would come up in results.
6. Intrusive Live Chat
I’m literally starting to get worked up even thinking about that pop up asking me whether I’m enjoying the browsing and offering to chat. Thankfully I am not alone. 60% of the responders claimed an intrusive chat request would cause them to close the page.
If you must:
There is nothing wrong with providing an option to engage in a live chat IF the visitor so chooses. Avoid the creepy, ‘I’m watching you’ angle of popping up and saying ‘Hi’ when the visitor least expect it. Provide the functionality and support if you must, but allow the visitor to initiate the conversation.
5. Tiny Text (“Mouse Type”)
Squinting makes wrinkles and I for one have enough! Smaller font sizes make copy difficult to read and it is enough to put 62% of the survey responders off enough to close the site without reading.
General rule of thumb is to keep your font size around 12 – 14 points for body copy. Remember to also take your font choice into consideration, as ‘fancy’ fonts can be difficult to read on screens.
4. No Contact Information / Phone Number
Are you going to trust a company that doesn’t look like it has headquarters or any way to get in touch with someone ‘real’? I don’t think so. Omitting contact information and / or contactable phone numbers on a website was a deal breaker for 79% of the B2B buyers surveyed.
This is easily remedied by ensuring your full contact information – including mailing or operating address, phone, fax and email address – is prominently displayed on your website.
3. Lack of Message
Another big time waster for busy B2B buyers is not being able to gauge what it is your company actually does. Lack of message or not being able to tell what the business offers was cited by 83% of responders as a reason to leave a site with haste.
Keep them interested:
Work hard on your home page copy and ensure that within the blink of an eye your visitors will be able to understand what it is that you’re offering. While not specifically detailed in the report, it’s a good idea (and the inbound way of doing things) to make sure that you’re presenting the information in a way that shows how you solve your prospect’s business issues. Lose the egocentric-company speak and jargon and opt for solution based copy in your buyer persona language.
2. Animated Ads (That Crawl Across the Page) / Popups
There are you, happily browsing along and the next thing there is a big flashing banner slap bang in the middle of the page or flying about, disrupting your reading pleasure. In my mind there is no logical argument for the use of animated advertising or popups on your B2B website. 88% of the survey responders agree, stating that they shut the page immediately.
Don’t annoy your prospects:
If you’d like to highlight something specifically rather make use of side banner real estate or appropriately positioned CTAs.
And … top reason why prospects leave your B2B website is ...
Drumroll please ….
1. Video or Audio That Plays Automatically
A resounding 93% of the responders will shut a site that automatically plays video or audio files when opening.
By all means, go ahead and include video or audio, but just don’t automate the play. If visitors want to view the video or listen to the audio let them do that on their own terms.
Do you think your website could be doing a better job at keeping prospects interested or engaged? Remember without the chance to convert them, your lead funnel will stay empty. Go check that your site doesn’t contain any of these primary annoyances causing your potential leads to bounce!