Since the advent of social media, marketing has become a relationship business. In the past, marketing was one-sided; brands decided what you would consume and how. This model no longer works. People talk to each other and can take down a company if they’re not happy. Sony’s BMG music division comes to mind. As in all relationships, there has to be a quid pro quo, or an exchange of value for value. So the question is, when someone visits your website, do they see a value-for-value relationship?
Some may think that by “value,” I mean a savings or discount. While that CAN be a value, it’s not what I mean. By value I mean do they see a benefit in coming to your website:
You see, there’s only so much time in a day and too many brands are vying for that time. Therefore, since they can only read or see so much, why would they choose you over XYZ company? And, XYZ does NOT necessarily have to be a competitor in your industry; however, they ARE a competitor for the attention of your demographic (your market audience).
If you do a good job, they will keep coming back. If you do a great job, they will subscribe for something and eventually buy and/or refer. You want the latter, so you can build a database you own and continue the conversation. This is how you fill your pipeline and create brand evangelists.
So the value they bring is their email address; the value YOU bring falls into three categories:
Let’s take a look at these one at a time.
If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know I constantly harp on user experience. Why? Well, because if it’s not done well, the rest won’t matter. Few people can look past a boring, cluttered and poorly navigable website, to find the information they want. If it’s a chore or offends their sense of taste, they won’t bother. This is reflected by your bounce rate (how fast someone leaves your website after arriving).
Moreover, if your website looks poor, they will assume it’s because you have no money. Their thinking is simple: if you had money, you would have hired a professional to do it well. So the subliminal fear is if they buy your product or service, will you be around to warrant it and give support?
Your website must have impact, be easy to navigate, breathe and deliver your message with clarity, while not overwhelming the reader. It must provide interaction and engagement, not just be an online brochure of static information.
Providing something just to have content on your website is a bad formula. If someone reads a poorly-written article that wanders and has little substance, they will judge your intelligence and service by it. While many great services and products are provided by people whose talents are NOT writing and/or designing – people judge you by the words you use! It may not be fair, but it is reality.
You need to have articles written that will educate, inform, entertain and help. They must have tips, case studies, how-to’s or provide a fun read to give a brief break to a hectic day. The reader must feel he or she gained something by spending time on your website.
Your pages (not to be confused with your blog articles), must be written professionally, creatively and concisely. Many believe the more they say the better. Not true. Remember, simplicity is the highest form of sophistication (Leonardo Da’ Vinci). Simple is NOT easy.
However, sometimes, much information is warranted. In that case, you must learn to hide it in plain view. Using tabs and/or accordions, downloadable white papers, videos, etc. will provide the information, yet make it tolerable.
Most people read blogs because they want answers to something – help. Which is why longer blog articles pull more. In your blog, quantity is acceptable; on your pages, conciseness is best.
Imagine I decided not to write more than 500 words; therefore, I made this article short on substance. If I didn’t take the time to give a complete thought you could apply, would you appreciate the article?
If you were looking for tips and how-to’s on how to make your website more effective, would you prefer a longer article with good complete points? Would you read the entire thing in order to fully understand what you should do? Absolutely!
If your website becomes known for quality information that provides solutions, you will not only have subscribers and repeat visitors, you will have many referrals.
Now, there are other things to consider from a marketing standpoint, like calls-to-action, conversion forms, other factors of on-page SEO, creative marketing copy writing, etc., for a strategically and tactically effective website. However, none of that won’t matter if these three points suffer.
Look at your website with an unbiased eye. Ask others to do so as well and give you feedback. You may not like what you hear, but it will be worth its weight in gold.