A B2B web site resource center is a key hub for any B2B marketer looking to transform their web site from a billboard which prospects view but bounce off – never to return again – to a trusted resource where prospects engage over time as they move through their buying process.
This can be an important vehicle for delivering relevant content, and through this capturing useful information about prospects that is used to manage the ongoing nurturing of these prospects in order to accelerate their buying process.
We saw an opportunity to develop a best practice framework for B2B web site resource centers by examining existing resource centers from best in class companies such as Marketo, HubSpot and Eloqua; online publishers such as newspaper web sites; and other sites that manage large volumes of content (e.g. recipe sites).
With our company’s location in Waltham, MA – we are privileged to have access to a wealth of local resources in content marketing and marketing technology – so we took this as a project to the Bentley University graduate school course: Human Factors – Managing a user-centered design team.
Our challenge for the team was to develop a set of specifications and wireframes that represented best practices and were technology platform agnostic.
After a two-month project, the team delivered a user interface design incorporating these best practices:
- Enable users to sort by topic or role with greater importance than content type
- Group information by topic, by tag, or relevance and allow users to sort content in ways that match their mental model
- Place new or “fresh” content in a prominent location
- Utilize teaser text, thumbnails, and tags to increase “scanability” and provide users with a preview of content before they click
- Utilize a “premium content” call out to both communicate value and manage user expectations for “gated content”
- Provide content abstract and content preview in view when asking users to supply details (e.g. forms) so they know “what they will get” in exchange for “what they give”
- Design modular solutions that allow for maximum flexibility and scalability
These best practices were drawn from extensive research with useful nuggets including:
- Tags provides categorization and alternative ways to navigation content (Smith, 2007).
- “Social Proof,” the online version of word-of-mouth, should be leveraged to increase perceived credibility, value, and trust of content (Goldstein et al., 2008).
- Usefulness can be communicated using a thumbnail on rollover to present additional information before a user clicks (Aula, Khan, Guan, Fontes, & Hong, 2010).
To view the full set of wireframes, view this Collection from our PowerPoint and video library.