I looked at 200 U.S. small businesses and found that they often fall short with call to action opportunities on their web sites.
For example, 96% of small businesses don’t offer how-guides, white papers and similar thought leadership reports on their home pages. In fact, 70% don’t display clear calls to action for additional conversion opportunities on their home pages, such as specials, e-mail newsletters, demos, and interactive tools.
Many small businesses have considerable room to improve with B2B web site lead generation.
Online Marketing Coach looked at 200 U.S. small business web sites for the “Small Business B2B Call to Action Study.” They included manufacturers, law firms, accountants, architects, construction companies and a wide range of other services and products (consultants, IT consulting, web designers and more).
For our study (presented by Small Business Trends), we randomly selected the web sites from a ReferenceUSA database of businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
Clearly, the web sites feature basic design elements like a primary navigation, logo, text and images that refer to services and products. Most web sites lack prominent calls to action, such as text or graphics referencing incentives like guides, demos, resources, e-mail newsletters, etc. Our report includes examples of the worst and the best we found.
We have also created the “Small Business B2B Call to Action Checklist,” a tool you can use and adapt to size up and track your own efforts (e-mailed with this study).
Here are highlights of the study:
- 96% don’t offer guides, white papers and similar reports on their home pages
- 70% don’t display clear calls to action for anything on their home pages, such as specials, e-mail newsletters, how-to guides, demos, and interactive tools.
- 72% don’t have any calls to action on their interior pages (we looked at several pages on each site)
- 82% don’t reference their social media profiles (text or images)
- 27% don’t include a phone number on their home pages
- 31% of web sites with a phone number don’t display it in a prominent place (they often just bury it in the footer)
- 68% don’t include an e-mail address on their home pages
- 38% of web sites with an e-mail address bury it on the home page (often in the footer)
Here are some examples from the study:
Home Page Guides / White Papers and Other Reports
We didn’t look for a mention on the first screen (scrolling was acceptable). Whether referenced in text or in an image, we looked to see how many of the businesses offer the educational reports (PDF format, informational videos, etc.). And yet, only 4% of B2B small businesses promote this type of educational content.
Other Calls to Action (Home Page)
Some web sites offer a variety of calls to action besides guides and white papers. They include corporate brochures, e-commerce, demos and opportunities to sign up for newsletters. But 70% don’t use notable options like these to connect with visitors.
The study includes several examples of how small businesses fail to effectively use calls to action, such as poor web design planning that can turn visitors away. Here is an example:
It just doesn’t look professional to keep a web site live with a missing logo.
However, some small business web sites in the study do manage to create reasonable calls to action. Here is an example:
Home page response form
Many web sites make it tough to connect with them. Phone numbers are buried along with small links to e-mail addresses. Even the “Contact Us” gets lost among many other navigation choices. But sometimes small businesses create well-designed forms that request basic information without going overboard with the data collection.
Other studies have looked at some of this data for all small businesses, not just B2B. Or, in some cases, the studies combined small and medium-sized businesses.
A 2013 Online Marketing Coach infographic, “Small Businesses Keep Missing the Mark Online,” referenced several studies from the last couple of years. Here are a few of the highlights:
- 58% of U.S. small businesses don’t have websites (2012 Google and Ipsos survey)
- 62% of small businesses don’t rank for a single keyword phrase on the first page
- of Google (2012 Online Marketing Coach study)
- 75% of small businesses don’t include an email link on their home pages (2012 vSplash SMB DigitalScape)
- 49% of small and medium-sized businesses lack a phone number on the home pages (2013 vSplash SMB DigitalScape)