How B2B web projects are often about finding the right messages – and making them work.
We recently did a smart website revamp for the service provider Sentraali, encompassing their B2B customer service center and the popular 0100 100 consumer directory brand. We asked our Sentraali account man Kimmo Vanhakangas to tell us about what was involved and whether you can really call this kind of project a site redesign.
“Usually when companies order a new site design, they have user-experience and service design in mind. In these cases, the company has a clear brand, communication style, business goals, and customer needs defined, so it’s quite a familiar process for us.
B2B companies often have a different starting point: they have their organizational and product-related materials but lack the customer-oriented approach. When we start digging deeper, it usually becomes clear that companies need help in communicating the value they offer to their customers. So our first job is to help them define the right messages. With Sentraali, we began with the key messages and continued by making these messages work,” Kimmo says.
“We were quite surprised by the vast amount of work the site redesign required. We had to reflect on many issues and terms we had previously taken for granted, especially from the point of view of our customers,” says Kaj Lindholm, CEO of Sentraali.
1. Finding the right messages
“With the Sentraali website redesign, we helped to redefine their value proposition, key messages, and market position. We started by making sure everyone in the project had a common vision of why the business exists, what is the unique added value it offers, and how this could best be communicated on the new site.
A key element in any successful site renewal is finding a communication style that is easily understandable to all visitors,” Kimmo continues. “It has a lot to do with customer needs.”
2. Making the messages work
“When the key messages are crystallized, the next step is to make them work,” Kimmo explains.
In Sentraali’s case this involved:
- A new, simplified site structure
- A fresh new design
- Consistency in content production
- Holistic metrics to support continuous improvement in messaging and content
- Easy site maintenance
Dramatically simplified site
“We wanted to help potential customers find Sentraali and to perceive the company as a reliable customer service partner, as well as encourage them to make contact. With this focus, we managed to cut the number of pages and the amount of content by half. It helped us to focus on content quality and really fine-tune all the aspects and details of the renewed content,” Kimmo says.
Careful content production to support the new brand and messaging
“Even though we cut the amount of content by 50 percent, the site still contains tens of pages of copy, infographics, and visualizations. Every piece of content on the new site was carefully planned to ensure a consistent message and style, and to make it easily approachable,” Kimmo points out.
Fresh, consistent design
“We wanted to differentiate Sentraali from its competitors. The competitor landscape was quite static, so we aimed for a fresh approach that would be easy to grasp. An effective use of a big, ambient background video gives a modern, easily approachable feeling for customers,” Kimmo explains about the design. “Sometimes using something that’s popular and trendy, like a big background video, might just be a gimmick, but when it’s done right and with a purpose, it can really be the core of the user experience.”
Mobile comes first
“A significant percentage of Sentraali’s visitors are mobile users – and the share is growing dramatically, along with the overall trend for mobile browsing. The new site has been designed for mobile users from the start. Designing responsive, mobile-friendly sites has impacts on content planning, user-experience design, and technical design. When designing a responsive site we always start by defining the main messages and features for a limited mobile view and then build from there,” says Kimmo.
Metrics show the way
“Analytics is at the core of digital marketing. We always build a continuous measurement plan and process to closely follow and react to actual site statistics. We apply a holistic approach where we follow not only the site statistics, but also the statistics from search-engine searches, social media, and other channels. This gives us a clear view of how the user arrives at the site. Based on these statistics, a continuous process is set up to evaluate and react to messages and content on the site.”
“With our extensive experience of working with organizations in marketing activities, we know how crucial it is to make site maintenance and content updates easy. There needs to be an easy way to add new messages or modify existing ones according to the goals of the business. We thought through the maintenance element of the site very carefully and applied our experience and best practices to make the process simple and motivating,” Kimmo concludes.
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