B2B websites still flounder in trying to connect with prospects. There are many issues that we can shine a light on, but for today, let's talk about those dreaded laundry lists. You know what I mean. Those endless, scrolling lists of links to stuff that make your website visitors' eyes glaze over.
Even worse, is when those lists have no context. They may have headers separating the lists of links, such as white papers, articles, Webinar archives, solution briefs, etc. The norm is listing the titles to web pages and collateral and making them hyperlinks.
The problem is that it's hard to discern why to click or what's at the end of the click. This creates uncertainty and friction. Without context, your website visitor sits there thinking:
"Should I chance it?"
"Can I get back if I click?"
"Will it be what I think it might be?"
"Will I be wasting my time?"
Faced with all of those internal thoughts, it's often easier to click the back button and move on.
We've all been confronted by the wall of text. Faced with the daunting task of trying to read that dense copy, we abandon ship. The effort just isn't worth it. Well, the same is true with link lists.
Link lists are simply overwhelming to busy prospects.
B2B Marketers are taking the easy way out when they toss collateral up on pages as lists of links. Even with descriptions accompanying them, often these lists are all over the board in terms of addressing the buying stage.
How link lists miss connecting with website visitors:
- Early, mid and late-stage content are all jumbled together.
- No promising pathways are created to lead your prospects to the content they need. (Remember that prospects may not know what they need until you show them.)
- There's no promise or expectation set for why they should click.
- Too many choices create confusion, making it easier to just say no and leave in search of context that matches their needs.
There are a few reasons that this link madness happens:
- Websites with inflexible designs where templates dictate display based on siloed designs. For example, solutions in one area, customer stories in one area and resources in yet another - all disconnected from each other.
- Lack of content strategy based on the buying process that puts the focus on filling the slots in the web page templates, not on telling a story designed to help buyers take next steps.
- Not considering how website visitors arrive on the site via search and what else they may need when they get to that destination.
I'm not saying a website cannot have link lists. What I am saying is that we need to make them useful. Most of them are not.
Go look at the link lists on your company's website and ask these questions:
- How can you improve the user experience?
- Can you arrange them in a way that builds a story?
- Are your descriptions clear and compelling? Do you even have descriptions?
- Do you deliver what you promise when they click?
- Is everything gated?
- Where else is the content used, or where could it be used to create a more satisfying experience?
- How old is the collateral? Have you just kept on adding links without regard to freshness? What do you think your prospects think when they download a white paper from 2007—or older?