Bad content? No content? No sale

Sep 19, 17 Bad content? No content? No sale

Bad content? No content? No sale.

Look at your website. Go ahead — we can wait. We want you to tell us what your website says. What kind of content does it have? Does it talk about your company, your products, your services? Most likely. So far, so good.

Now: does your site have at least one section offering helpful information unrelated to your company? A white paper with tips (and if the tips are “Buy from us!”, it doesn’t count). A news tidbit from your industry. A newsletter with an interesting article like the one you’re reading now. Anything that doesn’t explicitly sell your stuff.

Check again. Like we said, we can wait. But we have a feeling that the answer is, “No,” or maybe, “Yes, but only like three articles that our intern put up two years ago.” And in today’s world, that’s a problem.

Yes, it’s another article about how the internet is changing things.

But it is! Most companies simply can’t rely on expensive ad campaigns or cold calling alone to get the job done anymore. This type of stuff is called “outbound marketing”, and while it still has its place, it’s had to move over and make lots of room for “inbound marketing” — people taking their buying decisions into their own hands instead of waiting for the next commercial to tell them what to buy.

So: here’s how lots of people buy things now (we’re betting that you’ve followed this process more than a few times recently):

Type (replace this with your favorite search engine if it’s not Google)

Search for what you need

Click on a few links to check out the company/product

Decide to buy, either on the spot (not likely) or in the near future when your “I need this” feeling becomes critical

See what happened there? The only time the company gets to talk to the prospect is in step three — on the company’s website. This is important, because if a site is boring, unhelpful, suspicious-sounding, or worse yet, not even in the search engine, the prospect is gone in a flash, and so is the sale.

How can we talk to people like this?

Think back to a few paragraphs ago. We know it’s hard (the internet has ruined our short-term memories, hasn’t it?), so feel free to go back and look. It’s the part where we’re talking about your website. Do you understand now why it’s so important to have interesting content?

Imagine that your site was among those reviewed by our happy Google searcher. As we already established, you probably don’t have many (or any) helpful tips, articles, etc. — Instead, it’s mostly information about you. And while you may find yourself very compelling, your prospect probably doesn’t. Why should they? There’s nothing in it for them. Without compelling content to make the visitor “stick” to your site, you’re simply another face in the crowd of Google results.

Let’s keep our imaginary prospect going. Now we see him as he checks out another website. This one has some company/product information, sure, but it also has all kinds of cool content that catches his eye. A blog, some videos, that kind of thing. One piece, in particular, has him interested: a free report. All he has to do is enter his email address, which is fine — there’s virtually no risk there (it’s only an email address, not his mother’s maiden name).

It worked!

Our prospect went from casual search engine browser to a member of an email list in less than a minute. Now, he’ll get updates on the company/product that he’s interested in. Maybe he’ll also catchword of that company through a press release or comment on a blog. All of this exposure will add up, and before you know it, he’s finally ready to pull the trigger and buy — and guess which company is at the top of his mind?

None of this would’ve happened without that neat-sounding bit of content on the website. If the website had been all about the company’s brand new factory in Kalamazoo or their millionth widget sale, he would’ve left, never to return. But it’s not just about that free report — it’s about the site as a whole.

After all, another prospect may not be interested in the report, but the blog may catch their eye. If its content is good enough, they’ll find themselves coming back to read the entries again and again, and before long, they’re a fan of the company. Same result, different content.

Content matters.

If there’s one thing to keep in mind as you ponder your company’s place in the market, it’s this. If you’ve got it, you’re well on your way to better sales and better customers. If you don’t, you might want to give us a holler.

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