Your website should present the brand and purpose of your company. A good example of this is BNI International's website -- it serves both as a informational resource to learn more about the organization, but also demonstrates networking skills. Pay attention to the right hand bar with links to partner sites.
Linkage Relationships, Connecting relationships that extend a companies sphere of influence laterally. A strategy of collaborative objectives between like organizations to increase strength or stability.
Websites can distribute information about common objectives, making the information available to the largest audience at the lowest cost. How do you share information about common objectives?
Websites provide a tool to exchange information (i.e. dialog) on a specific topic with a two-way channel. By sharing and being open to new ideas you invite details your own people have not discovered.
Develop relationships with other organizations as it increases your mutual strengths, performance, mutual learning, and trust. See strategic alliances. The web (including email) can reduce costs in this area, but increases the privacy burden.
Use the web as a platform for joint efforts. This includes password protected or collaborative technologies to share information. Always keep in mind security, need to know, and privacy of distribution.
Work with partners to produce consolidated publications. This strategy can save costs and provide a single source for customers to gather new information. Cost savings include content production, distribution costs, and information gathered.
While I don't like the "make money on the web" commentary, this page has some great tips on building customer relationships with a website. Often "on-line marketing" consultants don't integrate the corporate message with other marketing mediums. Each customer will have their own preferred method of receiving the information you have to offer -- while many prefer the web, only a percentage of the population has Internet access.
Focus your content not on selling, but sharing benefits of your offering. People don't want to be sold, by providing useful information about how your product will help them, the relationship becomes less adversarial.
Automate much of the give and take of building relationships. Any give away offers should be provided in an automated fashion easy for the visitor to receive. Integrate on-line and offline document fulfillment for hard goods.
Concentrate on helping visitors find what they are looking for first. Before you try to make an offer to the visitor, help them find what they are looking for. A web based customer interaction is 80% providing a solution with 20% offering additional products or services to solve problems or extend your value.
Forget search engine optimization for the B2B website. Focus on direct marketing to your ideal buyers and placement with partner sites highly trafficked by target buyers. Use pay-per-click search engine advertisement for specific keywords buyers use. (If you provide valuable content and do these things, the search engines will find you.)
Stand out from the competition by making part of your website a resource for the industry. Dedicate part of your site to advance the industry, even referencing the good points of competitive products. This part doesn't have to be on your corporate brand, in fact, it could even have a brand of its own. The key is value to the reader.
Focus on visitor conversion to prospect qualification or a sale. All content (educational or otherwise) brings visitors closer to sharing their contact information with you or purchasing your offering. Design your site to qualify customers and sort leads accordingly -- you do this by providing value to readers.
Let strategy and site objectives govern design. Your site must be functional before flashy, give your customers exactly what they want. It's more important to meet your customers need than have a site that is pretty to your internal staff.
Group content in a way that makes sense to the visitor. The way your company classifies information isn't necessarily the same as a customer expects to receive it. Use terminology relevant to the visitors needs.
Provide a glossary for terms outside the customers understanding. Make it clear what definitions you put on words, especially is they are unique to your organization or industry. (An example of this is the Glossary of Strategic Relations Terms in Business for the Center)
Use a content management system that makes publishing easy. Choose a system that makes content approval, management, and distribution easy for your organization -- if possible, even integrate with print content fulfillment. Various systems are available, select the one that best supports your objectives.
Make it easy to for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for. Use relevant indexes to identify those items visitors may be looking to solve specific problems. Build your indexes around visitors needs even if multiple indexes are necessary.
Integrate data elements from sales and marketing into web data capture. Collect only the information you need to expand the business relationship (i.e. move the prospect to a buyer, or a customer to a repeat customer.) Make it easy to collect and keep this information accurate.
Use a logical linking method that supports a Semantic Web. While some content management systems are good at sorting information, their URI links don't provide a common syntax useful to people. Choose a system that provides simple links that make sense to both people and computers.
Justin Hitt teaches executives how to create strong business relationships that can increase profits while improving customer loyalty. To learn more about business relationships visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798