BUSINESS BUILDING -- Quality online content is key
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|Monday, 30 August 2010|
A broker's online marketing strategy can be let down by poor quality copy. Toby Marshall explains how good quality online information can help improve your business tenfold.
By: Toby Marshall
Did you know that your website should only be 20 per cent of your online marketing strategy?
A further 30 per cent of your online strategy should be dedicated to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), as this is what actually gets your site found through search engines.
So what's the other 50 per cent? This 50 per cent is what most SMEs neglect to their online marketing detriment: the words, or ‘copy'.
Words are paramount, because if people get to your site and what they read doesn't interest them, or convince them that you are offering a great service and are an expert in your field, then the battle is lost. Fancy design or attractive flash videos won't convince them. The right messages that reach out and engage them will.
Words also play a major role in enabling your target market to find your website through Google.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD COPY
First impressions do count. Whether it is the first time meeting someone or clicking on your site, how you present yourself offline or online can be the fine line between success and failure.
For internet marketing, if your site's copy is poor, it could be their only impression. The words are more important than all the glitz and glamour of the site design.
If people start reading and find the site is not relevant to them, or looks like it was written by a high-schooler, then they won't be convinced that your company offers a professional service and can adequately address their needs.
Now you're probably thinking about all those other skills a marketer needs to generate leads and convert them to sales. Well, the truth is that marketing only works when you have successfully managed to convince the target audience of your message. You simply cannot achieve that without well written words.
YOUR WORDS NEED TO:
• Attract the attention of the readers
• Inform them of your services
• Persuade them of the benefits of using your services
• Convince them to take your advised course of action
Well written words do the heavy lifting on your website in terms of developing the initial client relationship. People do not simply buy a $5,000 or $10,000 service from someone they don't know - words are the beginning of building up a relationship of trust that eventually leads to a sale.
It's amazing how many people don't realise that marketing is not a one step process; it is about a number of steps that work in convincing the person to make the purchase.
The words on your website need to begin and guide the journey from ‘just browsing' to ‘yes, I'm ready to commit'.
Well written words on your site will ensure that your audience stays there for longer periods of time.
Google sees this and will increase your position in the search engine results, as your site appears more relevant the longer people stay on it.
Good copy also is an opportunity to do a little PR for your business. You can use the words on your site to position your company as the expert in the field.
You do this by making your site into a resource for people to learn more about your industry or service, or by offering tips to solve some problems for your potential clients. It also sends the message that you are ‘the one' to go to when the browser is ready to become a client.
Remember, the words on your website are a whopping 50 per cent of your online marketing strategy. Ignore them at your peril. If they don't help customers find you online, and you don't reach out and convince customers once they do find you, you don't have effective online marketing.
THE GREAT WEBSITE COPY FORMULA
• Capture and hold the attention of your potential client - if a client doesn't bother to read, they certainly won't bother to use your services
• Gain their interest through engaging in content that tells a story and speaks to the reader as an individual, addressing some of their fears and desires. Focus on them, not on your business.
• Arouse desire within the reader for your services by promoting the benefits and positioning them as the best solution for them: the solution to the problem they've been experiencing.
• Empower the potential customer to take action. This could be anything from getting the client to read the next page or follow a link, to signing up for a newsletter and getting in contact with you to arrange an appointment. Your words must contain a message that prompts potential clients to act in a certain way. Or else what is your website achieving?
Toby Marshall is the managing director of Lead Creation - a specialist in small business marketing and professional services