While it may sound basic, you’d be surprised by how many advertisers underestimate the power of including rich, relevant content on their business web sites. Or for that matter, keeping consistent with their search advertising to ensure that the content they are promoting—be it a product or a service—is where the consumer’s click actually takes them versus a generic home page. Let’s face it: if a consumer has to go digging on your web site for the item or information they’re looking for, chances are they won’t stick around long enough to make the conversion you want.

What I’m sharing here isn’t new information but may serve as an important reminder to not overlook even the most basic marketing tool—your web site content—and how you can be most effective when using it in conjunction with advertising efforts, particularly with online advertising.

On a large business scale, one obvious company that does a great job with fully utilizing rich content on its web site is Amazon.com. Each year, I buy a book from Oprah’s book club list for my wife’s birthday. If I conduct a search for “Oprah monthly book club” on Google, a text advertisement for Amazon.com with the headline “Oprah Books Club” appears. Clicking on this link takes me immediately to a list of books from Oprah’s book club, complete with a huge selection of great content, such as images of the book covers, user reviews with ratings, excerpts from the books, pricing and free shipping information. All of the important information a consumer would need to make a purchasing decision is marketed in one place and reachable with a single click.

Applying this at the local business level, it is important for advertisers to understand the value of their content and the importance of marketing that content in the most efficient way for the consumer to convert, regardless of whether the conversion event is to buy something, make a call, send an email, print a coupon, find your address—whatever it is that you want someone to do.

A good way to examine how your business is doing with this is to think about the various methods you are using to get in front of consumers (search, offline, word of mouth, etc.). Consider what expectations the consumer may have from a visit to your web site based on how they found your business and the type of information they might be seeking. Let’s look at a few examples:

Search advertising. A consumer that clicks on an ad that is specific to a product will expect to go directly to the relevant product page with the best content to make a decision. Being directed to a page with poor content on the products may be confusing. Even worse, directed to a generic home page with little content may result in more work and time to find the product than the consumer is willing to invest. In addition, a page that doesn’t include the relevant information the consumer needs (price, shipping costs, availability, or address and/or hours for a brick and mortar location) can result in frustration and ultimately a negative experience with your business for the consumer.

Direct mail or offline advertising. When using coupons or offline campaigns to direct consumers to your web site, it’s a good idea to use a landing page or specific link that replicates the look and feel of the “promo” you referenced in the advertisement. Not only does it offer the opportunity to track and measure campaign effectiveness but provides consumers with easily identifiable content, which reassures them that they are in the right place and are seeing exactly the right information.

Word of mouth. On a very basic level, a consumer who hears of a business or service from a friend may first try to look up the business name by its URL (i.e. while looking for Joe’s Shoe Store, I might type in www.joesshoestore.com). If your business name doesn’t align with your business’s web address (i.e. your business URL is actually www.josephsshoes.com), there’s a good chance you may be missing out on new business. Sure, the consumer may next try to find you on a search engine but why take that risk?

When it comes to content, everything from how an advertiser describes his or her business or services, to the metadata (such as images, video, contact information, a blog, etc.) that’s included on that web site needs to be carefully thought out and made meaningful to the consumer reading it. It is an opportunity for a local business to build trust with consumers by providing the best content to inspire the consumer to make a purchase or a service appointment with confidence, which can have a direct and very positive effect on your sales.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column

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About The Author: is business development director at Marchex.

Connect with the author via: Email



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