Competitive Advantages From Information-Rich Websites
Developing powerful website content can be one of your most productive, longest-lasting, biggest-bang-for-the-buck marketing moves you’ll ever make. Here’s why:
An information-rich website packs a lot of punch. It’s a necessary component in generating high search engine rankings that drive traffic. It answers the most common customer questions, reducing customer service calls. It also helps convert lookers to buyers, and buyers to devoted fans. It’s not often that a single marketing vehicle can do all that!
Most marketing efforts yield fleeting benefits. Catalogs may stay around a few months. Magazine ads, a month or two. Postcards and direct mail are read over the trashcan. Emails are generally gone within a day.
A well-crafted website keeps working for you indefinitely. And the more content you add to it, the harder it works.
The Many Faces of Content
Content also can take many forms, including articles, past newsletters, customer reviews, discussion groups, FAQs, a blog, or microsites connected to your main site.
All of these yield benefits, and can be added to your site in stages over time.
If you’re stumped for new content ideas, help is all around. For instance, looking at questions from customers is a logical starting point.
Also keep an ear out for common misperceptions. Customers may not ask about a particular point, but their comments reveal the fact that further education is called for.
Study competitive websites to see what type of information they provide that you’re not.
Pay attention to lecture topics at local nurseries. Scan magazines for subject ideas. Join related online discussion groups.
We are often too close to our own businesses to realize what interests our customers. What’s obvious to us is often not obvious to them.
Not a Writer?
The biggest perceived hurdle for many companies is not having staff members who are skilled writers. There are two easy ways around that.
First, many types of content don’t require writing skills. For instance, set up customer product reviews … start an online discussion group … hold a photo contest (captions required) … or ask for testimonials. Lo and behold, your customers do the writing for you.
Second, outsourcing writing is often the most economical answer. Select the right vendor, and you’ll get quality work that pays for itself many times over.
If you’re considering outsourcing your writing, consider these three questions:
Do you like their style? Is it clear, concise, engaging? Conversational, not stilted? Does it sell, with finesse, when appropriate? Writing styles can be hard to change, so make sure you see writing samples that impress you.
What do their other clients say? Are extensive revisions required before copy is ready, or do they nail it at the outset? Do they deliver on time? Are they professional? Do their fees include multiple revisions? Check references to ensure you’ll get trouble-free service.
Do they know your industry? Although good writers are used to learning new subjects, the more they already know about your product and your market, the faster and easier the job will be.
Some 58% of shoppers say they now do online research before making purchasing decisions. It only makes sense to do everything possible to help them buy by providing the information they need while at your site. That’s only possible through content, one of the best long-term investments you’ll ever make in your website.