Because of this, your standard of presentation is a vitally important element of the sales process (whether you’re an ecommerce business or just looking to sell the prospect of working with your business).
And something often overlooked for presentation is content quality. You might sell a great product or have a fantastic navigation, but if your content is mediocre, it will undermine your credibility and encourage potential customers to look elsewhere.
If you get your content right, though, it will rapidly communicate what sets your business apart, motivating visitors to engage with your website and your brand in general. In this piece, we’re going to look at how you can use content to significantly increase the value of your website.
Create content for every stage of the sales funnel
Nine times out of 10, a prospect will journey down a lengthy sales funnel before becoming a customer, client or partner. Although the exact structure of your sales funnel will depend on unique factors such as industry, product, price, and audience, every successful business bases its content strategy around three key stages: awareness, consideration, and purchase.
At the awareness stage, potential customers are looking for answers in the form of educational content that can help them solve their problems. Effective content types for customers at this stage of the sales funnel include white papers, blog posts, infographics, and social media posts.
After getting in front of your audience, you need to convince prospects that your product or service is the best fit for them. At this consideration stage, benefit-driven landing pages, case studies, webinars, and explainer videos will help customers decide whether your business proposition is the best choice.
At the end of the sales funnel, it’s all about sealing the purchase. Your target audience is interested in what you’re offering but needs an extra nudge to convert. Testimonials, reviews, free trial sign-up pages, and content designed to alleviate buyer hesitation should therefore be the main focus.
Hire a copywriter for your most important pages
The average business website does an adequate job of explaining its product or service to a potential customer — it’s much rarer for a website to clearly explain why someone should do business with them instead of a particular competitor.
Customers want to know how your product or service will save them time, money and effort. Web copy is crucial for conveying this information. A good copywriter will deliver the message without sounding salesy while building your brand image and weaving your USPs into a story that compels people to take action.
For your most important landing pages, great copy increases customer engagement, click-through rates, conversions, and ultimately purchases. If your business competes in a crowded market, hiring a professional copywriter will set you apart from the competition.
Convert more customers by connecting old content to new
Internal linking is often overlooked when creating and publishing new content, but it shouldn’t be — it not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better user experience.
Using descriptive and relevant anchor text, you can direct customers to related content they might otherwise have missed. In addition to sharing link equity around your website more evenly, internal linking increases time on site, decreases bounce rate, and boosts conversions by strengthening your sales funnel.
For a quick win, try finding older blogs that rank well and adding internal links to your newer posts. Just remember to use different anchor text and keywords when linking to the same page, or else Google might judge your behavior quite harshly.
Increase your web traffic with guest posts
Contributing high-quality guest posts to authoritative websites is a proven tactic for boosting search engine rankings. Remember that the first objective of any guest content you produce should be to usefully inform your target audience. If you can achieve that, your website will reap several value-adding benefits.
Most blogs that accept guest posts will happily link back to the sites of their contributors, making it a mutually-beneficial exchange of traffic. In addition, you can use guest posts to set yourself up as a thought leader in your industry, increase your pool of potential customers, and stimulate social shares and follows.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to create a fresh guest post, why not repurpose some of your existing content? Try gathering up the copy and imagery from a page on your site and turning it into a downloadable ebook (there’s no shortage of software to help design your ebook if you need some assistance). Free resources offer a lot of value, so you’d likely find that plenty of websites would happily repost your ebook.
Guest blogging can also work wonders in reverse. Invite people in your niche to blog on your site, and they’ll likely want to share the resulting articles on their websites and social media accounts. The added exposure will bring in even more new prospective customers.
Don’t forget video
A recent report by Cisco reveals that video will account for more than four-fifths of total Internet traffic in the U.S. by 2020. At the same time, science shows that the human brain processes visual data 60 times faster than text.
In the digital age, connected customers will proactively look for video content on your site. Make sure that your videos feature expert material that’s both memorable and easy to digest — these factors are crucial for achieving high levels of awareness.
Because it will perform well and be highly shareable across all devices and platforms, fully embracing video content will also boost your SEO efforts. Featured as part of a varied and high-quality content mix, it will help you rank higher in search results.
Create social proof with reviews and testimonials
Social proof refers to the influence that other people’s actions have on our behavior, both online and offline. The ‘proof’ factor ties into the default assumption that the things that most other people are doing or saying must be the right things to do or say. For this reason, social proof is a very powerful tool in the modern retail world, acting as a virtual word-of-mouth recommendation.
In brick-and-mortar stores, deciding between two products often comes down to look, feel, and personal taste — but you don’t have that information online, so you need outside help, which is why 61 percent of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase.
If it doesn’t already, your business should use social proof to greatly improve the value of your website. We all rely to a significant extent on reviews, client testimonials, certifications, and influencer opinions — offer high-quality social proof and you’ll be perceived as an authority.
As we’ve seen, overhauling and expanding your content can massively increase the value it provides to your visitors, thus improving your metrics across the board. With your website being the cornerstone of your online operations — and content upgrades being very cost-effective — can you really afford not to make content a major priority?
** About the Author: Kayleigh Alexandra writers for Micro Startups, a community dedicated to sharing startup stories and charity marketing tips. Visit the blog for the latest entrepreneurial insights from around the world. Follow them on Twitter @getmicrostarted.