Creating website content is easy; with the right platform, anyone can publish a website or start a blog. In fact, many people have done this. But content alone doesn't equal online success. People don't respond to content just because it's there; they do so because they trust the people producing it.
The Internet is full of well-meaning websites. Unfortunately, the bad players have done enough damage to make people suspicious of every site. It isn't enough for your clients to just convince potential customers to visit and buy from them; they have to convince them why they should. To do that, help them follow these four guidelines.
1. Promote your unique value.
The one thing you'll hear from communication experts, especially in tough economic times, is that it's not about price; it's about value. Sure, money can be an issue, but even the most price-conscious consumer would rather find that unique value than pay the lowest price, so make sure your content provides it.
You could talk about having the lowest prices on the web. But price hunters aren't loyal customers, and if you constantly underprice your merchandise you'll eventually lose money with each new sale. So find another way to bring people back. Post blogs about trends and new products in your industry. Write product copy that highlights the unique features and benefits of your merchandise. Offer advice and answers to frequently-asked questions before another website beats you to it.
2. Reveal as much about your business as possible.
People sometimes make big promises without telling you how they'll fulfill it. Some people complete a job without giving any idea of how they did it. Unfortunately, in a world where corners get cut and numbers get fudged, it's important to share details about your business so customers know exactly who they're dealing with.
Write an About Us page that describes your business and its history; offer some details about your expertise and background, particularly what makes your business different from the competition. Also, remember that people want to know more about what they're buying, so talk about how your products are made and what they're made of, or how you deliver your services. Finally, give specific benchmarks. Don't just tell people they'll do better; give realistic benchmarks in percentages or dollar amounts.
3. Show visitors they're not alone.
A handful of people love being the first to try something; marketers call them early adapters. But most people prefer to try out a business or product only after it's been around a while and, more importantly, has loyal and happy buyers. These are the people who need to see evidence that they can feel good about buying from you.
The best way to do this is through the interactive features of your online presence. Talk about how many happy customers you have - McDonald's always told you how many burgers they sold, and it worked out pretty well for them. Feature prominent links to discussion boards or social media feeds, where visitors can see the praise and concerns from fellow customers. Don't forget to highlight glowing testimonials and case studies; when people see you've done this before, their confidence in you goes way up.
4. Be professional at all times.
Maybe it's because we're in an election year, or maybe society has just gotten nasty. But the fact is we're living in very hostile times. It seems like you can't get away from profanities and slurs on the web, but that's no reason to join in. In fact, not doing so will make your site look more professional - and more trustworthy.
Start with your own demeanor. Even if flip, sardonic humor is part of your brand, keep it above the belt. Don't use profanities, and never launch personal attacks. Make sure your visitors follow suit, especially on discussion boards and social media. Don't freak out if someone says something inappropriate; just remove the post and send a gentle reminder. But don't be afraid to kick repeat offenders off your site. Customers want to buy from professionals, and nothing looks more professional than clean, respectful content.
A great offer can get people's attention, but that attention will be fleeting unless they know they can trust what your clients tell them. Publish content that builds trust and their customers will feel more confident about visiting their sites and dealing with their businesses.