2022 Website Trends: Goal Alignment with Ishaan Shakunt
We spoke with Ishaan Shakunt the Founder and Head of Marketing Strategy at Spear Growth a performance, marketing, and SEO enablement agency that helps fast-growing B2B SaaS and digital transformation companies achieve their aggressive growth targets.
Ishaan is also an expert in all things B2B performance marketing and SEO enablement.
In this interview we discuss:
- Website goal alignment
- Moving away from pretty to informative websites
- Importance of frictionless sign-up forms
To start, give a high-level introduction of your background
I’ve been running Spear Growth for a year now. Over the year we worked with a lot of companies. We now focus on two things - performance and SEO and specifically for companies in the growth stage, seed to Series C.
We had a lot of fun and we’ve worked with some really good companies and it’s been an amazing year.
What are some gold standard websites that you love right now?
If you look at the goal right, any good thing in marketing should help achieve the goal. But the goal of a website is really different.
For example, most people will just say - the goal of my website is either generating a free trial or schedule a call. (And hey, I only speak about B2B SaaS that’s all I know). But then there are a lot of other goals you can consider.
For example, one goal that we were looking at for ourselves was increasing the average ticket size of our website. Other goal was just qualifying leads. I’m the only salesperson in my company.
For us, that was very important that we don’t waste all that time or just reduce the time on sales calls through more clarity on the website.
I think every company should just start by looking at what are the challenges that we can solve through a website.
Website #1: Darwinbox
The first one is Darwinbox. They’re a unicorn company. They are in the HRMS space. They’re large enough, but their competitors are companies like SAP.
Now, obviously, SAP is larger than them and it’s sort of considered the default. And in a product like HRMS or in a lot of these products, there’s no reason to list out the features. Everyone knows what the features are and you just cannot compete on them.
How do you even differentiate somewhere where you cannot differentiate on a lot? And when it’s a platform play? Because in like a lifecycle of a B2B SaaS company, every company eventually becomes a platform and they’ve reached that stage. They’re large enough for that.
You have to differentiate using an emotion. They’ve done that extremely well. They decided that we are the new thing and it makes a lot of sense given what’s happening in the industry, in the world right now.
Explore an interactive demo of the Darwinbox homepage:
See why Ishaan choose Darwinbox as one of his gold standard websites.
Website #2: Zluri
The second one is Zluri. And again, you’d have to understand the industry to understand the brilliance of this one.
They’re in an industry where no one understands what they do. None of their customers or very few of their customers understand what SaaS management platform is.
If you are in the space, if you’re using SaaS, you probably should use Zluri.
The messaging that they have they understand exactly how their customers are doing things now. And it captures that perfectly.
They have focused on clarity. They don’t care about differentiation and they don’t need to because no one even understands what they are. Then if you look at the gifs that they’ve used, they are probably the best use case usage of gifs to communicate clarity that I’ve ever seen.
It makes it so easy to understand what they do and how it works for their audience.
What are top trends you’re seeing for websites this year?
One very interesting trend that I’m seeing is that most websites used to have stock images. Even SaaS websites used to have either stock images or like these very cool graphics or just like drawn out figures which did not show anything.
They didn’t add any value, just took up space.
Movement away from that and more into using screenshots. I’m not even talking about like demo websites. You don’t have to go all Navattic level for that. Just use more screenshots, use Gifs, use a video demo.
Don’t gate your case studies because you want people to read those things. Showcasing what you want to showcase upfront is happening a lot more. A lot of the space that was earlier taken up with just making the site look more pretty is being replaced.
That’s something I just really love right now.
What is a trend you’re ready to see end this year for websites?
Long forms to schedule a demo. We’ve tested this out a lot. Even having a two-step form just changes the conversion rates enough to just do it at this point.
It’s a lot more possible and necessary now. One, because market trends have changed. There’s so much competition that you aren’t the only option. You have to sort of give in to how people want to buy instead of trying to force people to buy according to how you sell.
The second is tech is allowing us to do that. For example, tools like Zoominfo or any other data enrichment tool telsl you who that person is.
What are some of your favorite tools for website design or optimization?
One would be just audience intelligence.
I don’t know what to call it but understanding who’s coming to your website and you don’t need fancy tools. You can just use a free LinkedIn Pixel for this where you can just look at who is coming to your website and what company they are from. And you can use that to change the messaging on your website.
The second piece of tech that I’m seeing on the website that I prefer is anything that helps let people reach your goal. If it’s scheduling a call, some people are doing great job with chat bot. Some people are using really good form conversions, call schedulers.
It’s just reducing a lot of friction between coming to the website and then taking the action that you had to take.
The third one, I think everyone’s used this by now, but something like Microsoft Clarity or Hotjar just to look at who is coming to your website, how are they behaving? And I don’t think a lot of people look at those as much as they should.
Even if you’re not in a CRO position. If you’re in product marketing, look at how people are behaving. Look at where people are clicking.
If you’re in performance marketing, look at the audience that you’re bringing. How are they performing versus a different audience? Just sit there grab a cup of coffee and just watch recordings on the website.
Tell us more about Spear Growth and how to improve B2B SaaS pipeline and revenue
The companies that benefit the most from working with us are companies in the growth stage looking to scale. There’s a lot of chaos and that needs to be managed right?
If it’s in the performance marketing, we have scaled like crazy repeatedly, we know where things break.
For SEO, we don’t have a lockin at all. So if you’re looking to scale something, you want to keep your content in-house, you have web devs at that point of time. If you need an extra push, extra support from an SEO standpoint, that’s again where we come in, we just come in, we give that extra push and there’s no retainer.
We’ve just engineered these services for growth companies specifically. So if you’re someone that you think could benefit from something like that, just schedule a call with me to see if we are the right fit for you or not.