Many organizations rely on a website to be their #1 sales tool. They pour thousands of dollars into building just the right website with a great design, robust shopping cart and plenty of bells and whistles.
At some point in the website building process, they might think about the content that goes on the website. It’s the last thing they do before rolling the site out. It’s an afterthought.
Your website may be your #1 sales tool, but it’s the content of the site that makes that tool work. Pictures, programming, tools and other fun stuff can be important in making your site visibly and functionally appealing to your visitors, but it is the content that sells.
When you take time to create strong, user-focused content, visitors will find the information they need to make an informed decision about trying your products and services or supporting your cause.
Content: Beyond Reading To Engaging
Every visitor comes to your site with a host of unanswered questions:
- Will you meet my needs?
- What are your qualifications?
- Are you trustworthy?
- What are your policies?
- Do you have just the right product for me?
- What can I expect if I work with you or buy from you?
These are just a few questions your content should be able to answer. But your content isn’t there just to answer questions, it’s there to interact. To speak. To tell. To compel each visitor to move forward through the conversion funnel.
Implement these 10 tips to create content that engages your visitors:
- Establish your voice. Your website should have a unique voice, distinguishable from any other site on the Web. Essentially, it needs to have a personality. Every page of your site should be written with the same personality, giving the visitor a certain level of comfort as they continue to read and revisit your site. Your site’s voice doesn’t need to be outlandish, but it should fit you and your industry well.
- Use active words. Active words help visitors participate in your site rather than just passively read it. With active words, the reader becomes immersed in your content and feels as if they are a part of an unfolding story.
- Eliminate typographical errors. Your website should be free of all typographical errors. While an occasional spelling or grammar error can be shrugged off, if your pages have more than a couple errors, your credibility can be called into question.
- Make it skimmable & scannable. Many visitors like to skim your content to quickly find what interests them before they commit to reading more deeply. Write and format your content so that the main points can easily be gleaned without in-depth reading.
- Focus on your customers. Make your content about your customers. Focus on their wants and needs and what they will receive rather than what you will do. Write more about them than yourself.
- Speak to visitor personalities. Your content should use words that speak to different visitor personalities. Each personality has a different need, and addressing those specific needs makes each visitor feel as if your site was created just for them. This “camaraderie” will help them move through the conversion process.
- Talk about benefits over features. Features of your product or services are an important sales tool; however, discussing the benefits your visitors will receive is far more convincing. Features are logical, but decisions are made with emotion. Benefits address visitors on the emotional level, giving them justification to making a purchase.
- Eliminate spammy text. Make sure your content can be read aloud without sounding unnatural. Some try to add too many keywords to content for ranking purposes, but this diminishes the ability of the content to actually sell. Plus, in the wake of Google Panda and Penguin updates, your site may actually lose rankings because of this. Your content must be an effective sales tool. Keeping it free from junk SEO helps keep the focus on the customer.
- Add calls to action. Every page of your site should contain at least one call to action within the content. Without a call to action, you are failing to help visitors take the next desired step in the conversion process. Use your content effectively by using calls to action to guide the visitor through your site and conversion funnel.
- Link out to other sites. Depending on when and how often you do this, linking can be a negative. However, linking to other authoritative websites can be a great way to establish your credibility. Be sure your links are used to bolster your own authority or provide visitors with information you don’t have, but don’t interrupt the conversion process to do so.
Many e-commerce and product-driven sites try to sideline their content in order to get the visitors to the product. However, products are not the only thing visitors want.
Information is what helps sell the products or services you offer. Eliminating content also limits an important part of the visitor’s quest for information that answers questions, provides justification and gives them a reason to continue. Use your content to draw visitors in, engage with them and compel them to action.
Image credit: imagehitevo / 123RF Stock Photo
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