We all know that, before making an approach to a potential supplier, most buyers will go online to get insight into that organisation’s background, products, services and capabilities. Yet even with this knowledge, there are clearly a number of organisations and marketing teams whose company websites simply don’t communicate well, and/or fail to make the right impression. Time to take a critical look at yours?
Here are ten handy tips that could transform an inert online presence into a lead-generating powerhouse.
Tip 1: Look at your site as though it’s by someone with whom you’re considering working
What would you want to find out about a prospective partner/supplier ahead of making an initial approach? Size of the business? Abilities? How long they’ve been trading? What sort of people run the place? Who do they work for/with, both now and in the past? What sort of work have they done? Are there any recent awards and commendations? Published latest case studies? What do their clients and customers say about them?
Maybe their environmental credentials count? Or their social responsibility achievements? How involved do individual staff members appear to be? Are newsletters, blogs, and articles up to date, or months/years old? Do they look professional? Is it the kind of business you’d want to be working with? The list of questions is endless.
Let’s face it.
You want to know what makes them tick, whether there’s a commercial, social and ideological fit between your business and theirs.
And if you want to know all that, so will somebody who is taking a look at you.
With this in mind… how does your online content stack up?
Tip 2: Keep it clean, clear and logical
Does this really need to be brought up?
Well, yes it does. What’s the one thing that upsets all of us? The frustration of not finding the article/item/page we want when we’re on a mission.
Maybe that’s because the main navigation is confusing. Perhaps there are random drop-down menus hiding the path to our goal. Or endless scrolling through repeated content and images removes our will to live. Or those unwanted pop-ups that keep popping up. Sometimes what we’re looking for doesn’t appear where we’d logically expect it to be. Then again, there are those pages that are so crammed with content all shouting “read me” and you haven’t a hope of finding what you’re after.
So you leave the site in high dudgeon, swearing never to return.
Of course, your site’s nothing like that…. Is it?
Tip 3: Make it conversational
Sounds a no brainer, but is it that simple? Well, actually it can be a real skill to be able to write in a way that your target reader will feel comfortable. Producing an article that’s informative and engaging, and appeals to a wide audience that could include to emerging marketing managers, seasoned directors/CEOs and driven entrepreneurs isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. To make sure you’re talking their language, should you pepper the piece with jargon? (No you shouldn’t.) Should you write a lengthy tome to try to prove that you know more than they do? (It’s a no again.) How about showing off your knowledge with a cut-and-paste job of the latest industry thinking and research papers? (Don’t ask – you already know the answer.)
Maybe you should ensure that you content serves to project your insight and passion, engages with like minds, and promises a long and rewarding relationship.
If that doesn’t sound feasible with your current resource, maybe it’s time to consider consulting a professional content agency.
Tip 4: Keywords – a recipe for success
Implanting effective keywords into content is a bit like following a recipe.
Firstly, pull together all the keyword ingredients that make positive impact on search engine algorithms.
(If you don’t know them, or haven’t got them to hand, consult an SEO specialist.)
Then review your own website content to see which of them are there .
Once you’ve done this, put them to one side and compile a list of all those missing, or without sufficient prominence.
Produce additional or replacement items, pages, links, images, etc and introduce to the site.
Review regularly and watch your ranking improve.
Refresh content frequently, adding new keywords to the mix to maintain your ”flavour of the month” positioning
Tip 5: Split pages into easier-to-read chunks with strong or involving headlines
The way that we read online differs from how we read printed copy. We typically spend much less time looking at pages online, so in order to be effective, not only does online content have to be engaging, thought-provoking and of interest, it has to come in small, manageable paragraphs, punctuated by headlines.
According to recent research, when reading pages online, 80% of readers read the headlines, but only 20% read the copy that followed. And that’s with effective headers.
Time to get a fresh pair of eyes to look at how well your content comes over?
Tip 6: Build trust by providing enough information
It’s a popular misconception that you shouldn’t say too much about your business, services or products online, or others could steal your ideas…. and your business.
Yet paradoxically, the more open and truthful you are, the more appealing you become to prospective clients and customers.
Don’t be afraid of being honest about the pride and beliefs you have in your business, it’s abilities, intentions, sector involvement and aspirations, there are businesses out there that want to find out more about the inner “you”. Don’t be afraid to add links if they support your thinking and content, most readers say they would open them in a new tab to look at later, and be grateful for the provision of the additional information.
Tell it like it is. Just make sure that you avoid hyperbole, copying other people’s ideas and concepts, and pretending to be something you’re not.
Over time, effective content will help your business to build empathy and respect in the marketplace.
Tip 7: Create a homepage that’s easy to navigate, and subject specific landing pages
This follows on from Tip 2, and is where the simple solutions pay dividends.
Website designers don’t always have the reader in mind when presenting their creative executions; navigation bars and architecture can sometimes get in the way of a really stunning layout or page treatment. And once a stylish template for the home page is struck and approved, there’s a danger that it is replicated throughout the site for “brand consistency”. (Sound familiar?)
It’s not always down to the design. We can become so used to working with our own website that finding our way around becomes second nature – we don’t need navigation, context and logic to help us, we just know where everything is.
But look at it from the point of somebody seeing the site for the first time.
Does the home page give a succinct summary of your business? Is it clear how visitors to get to where they want to go? And having left the home page, is it obvious from the landing page that you’re where you wanted to be? If the answer to these questions isn’t a resounding “yes”, then there’s some work to be done
Tip 8: Include images, infographics, links and videos
Yes, it’s true. A picture can be worth a thousand words.
Well, the right ones can anyway.
And so can an infographic, a short video, in fact anything relevant and visual.
Online is the perfect medium for imagery of every kind. It’s readers respond to having illustrations within the copy; they recall the information better, they appreciate the brevity of the content of an infographic, and welcome the relief provided by videos.
Imagery brings websites to life and makes them more personal.
Plus, of course, non-copy content fairs well in search engine algorithms.
Time to add a few pictures to your site?
Tip 9: Integrate contact details and a call to action into every article or page
This is a must. Make it easy for readers to contact you regardless of where they are on your site. Once their appetite has been whetted by your content and your call to action has been heeded, they’re likely to ask for more information if to contact you is a quick click away on the same page… but if your site leaves them needing to find the only “contact us” button which is on the home page top navigation bar, then chances are that’s a lead that’s lost.
The easier you make it for readers to contact you, the more leads will be generated
Tip 10: Update regularly and read/re-read frequently to dispel typos and bad grammar
Of course you’ll be adding to your site regularly, and refreshing content frequently… won’t you.
And if you can’t do so, you’ll be looking to engage a professional content writing agency to do the job for you.
To finish, a final plea. Please check your site for typographical errors and bad grammar; all your best endeavours can be nullified by carelessness.
If you think that your online content could be improved, we’d be delighted to meet up and have a chat. At Konductor we have a team of accomplished writers educated to degree and PhD levels. Our working backgrounds cover education, business development, construction, and marketing. What we share is a passion for writing, and an unerring commitment to providing our clients with premium content and collaboration. We also have our fingers on the pulse. We keep a steady eye on contemporary trends and new ways of sharing content. This means not only utilising social media, but doing so in a way that gets your organisation noticed. We have developed strong relationships with trusted providers of video and animation. This means the breadth of content we can deliver can satisfy all and any organisational need.
From fun micro-blogs, to research driven, substantial whitepapers, and from infographics, to professionally produced videos; we’ll work with you to provide the content to make your business thrive