Marketing has changed dramatically in recent years, specifically in terms of how consumers respond to information. Common methods of getting the message out about a company’s products and services like direct mail, print ads, radio and TV ads and cold calling are losing their power. Most consumers use the internet for much of their communication, shopping and paying their bills. What they read online, in their e-mail, and on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook as mediums influences their decisions, though experts disagree on how much that influence weighs.
Your Website is Your Opportunity to Interact with Your Customers and Prospects
Your website can be a powerful tool – It tells your story. It pitches your products and services. Too often, though, consumers visit websites only to turn around and leave. One-way sales messaging provides little reason for a consumer to stay on the site. With no reason to stay, there’s no way to convert this visitor into a customer. No longer does a glorified brochure website serve you well. Your website should be a marketing asset – something that draws visitors in and gets them to engage with your company.
Solution: create consumable content.
Content gives visitors a reason to engage. Today’s consumers want to get to know you and why you’re different. And they use the Internet as a vehicle to educate themselves and learn from “experts” in their area of interest.
Consider this: With the evolution of how people use the Web, the way people make purchases has also changed. The traditional purchase process has been turned on its head. Traditionally, there was “information asymmetry” in the sales process. This meant that the seller had most of the information about the product, service or company and the buyer had very little. As a result the seller had leverage in the sales process. This is no longer true. Today, web-enabled buyers are doing their own research and have very likely qualified you in some way before they even become known to you.
Creating quality content on your website allows you to provide valuable information to consumers considering purchases, whether in their business or personal lives. The availability of good content entices consumers to return to your site, or to follow you through social media. As such, you become a hub (lots of two-way interaction) rather than a megaphone (limited one-way interaction), fostering consumer engagement.
Your Own Expertise is Your Best Content
You are your own best source of content! What have you learned from being in the industry? How did you decide to differentiate your business from your competitors? What are three things most people don’t know about your field?
You are the expert! Your personal knowledge, skills and expertise are ultimately what consumers will base their purchase decision on. Remember: people don’t do business with companies. They do business with people they like and trust.
Use your company’s story, skill sets, and history as content that allows your prospects to get to know you. Creating engaging content base on your expertise allows your products/services to sell themselves and allows a prospect to develop a level of trust with you and your company.
Online Content Ideas:
- Blog Posts: 1-2 page articles and posts on new, interesting topics relating to your products/services and the industry at large
- E-Books: in-depth discussion of a subject or how-to outline of a concept or process
- White Papers: 5-10 page papers educating the marketplace about trends, challenges, and methods in your industry
- Videos: 1-2 min. about your industry, processes and products
- Webinars: Live, interactive presentations made to a group online about a relevant topic
- Podcasts: 10-20min audio programs, “talk shows” or interviews on industry topics
- Webcasts: Live video shows educating or interviewing about industry news and topics
Developing a Program
At this point, people are usually nodding their heads, with an understanding that content can help them engage with visitors to their website and that engagement can lead to conversion from visitor to lead to customer. It’s the next part that’s difficult for most companies: developing the program.
Most of the time we hear “we don’t have anything interesting to say,” or “we’re not writers,” or “have you seen how engineers try to explain things?”
That’s where we come in. in a one-hour assessment of your marketing efforts, we can help you identify the areas in which you could make an impact online and give you ideas for how to turn your website from a pretty brochure into a productive member of your sales team.