You've decided to build a website. The experts have been hired to create a stunning design. Underneath is a powerful content management system (what’s that?) that can do almost anything. You're well on your way to a smashing success story.
Oops! You may have forgotten the absolute most important part of your website: content.
As web developers, we often hear clients say, "You're the expert. Do what you think is best." We really appreciate the confidence you place in us and it is true that our experience & knowledge gives us us the expertise to build your website. Yes, it's true that our copywriters can write effective content for your website (and we'll work together with you, since you're probably the best person to talk to regarding what you do, why you do it, how you do it, your industry, your target market segements, etc. Some clients prefer to write the content themselves, however, and we're willing to work in tandem in that configuration as well.
The point is: it's wise to be willing to invest your time (read: you do it) or money (read: we do it) to create the persuasive, unique, engaging and effective content your visitors deserve to see on your website.
Writing unique copy isn't easy and it takes more time than you expect if you're doing it right. Writing effective copy is even harder. Writing engaging copy for your (different types of ) visitors not to mention organizing it for the web medium can be even harder. This is why we usually recommend letting us help ease the pain a bit, but we're always happy to give you pointers if you'd prefer to do it yourself.
Remember: people don't visit your new website for design, they are looking for content.
The ultimate goal of your entire website, from the content to the design, should be to answer your potential or existing customer's questions. Yes, it reinforces your brand and gives your company credibility. Yes, people need to see photos of your products. Yes, they need to know what services you provide. Yes, good SEO on your site is smart. But what they really, really want to know is if what you’re providing will be a solution to a need they have or make them better.
“When your content is mediocre, it’s nearly impossible to get people to pay attention. But when your content is amazing, it’s easy to promote it. It’s easy to drive traffic. And it’s much easier to pull in qualified leads.” (http://unbounce.com/content-marketing/create-content-that-converts/)
Understand your target market.
Consider your content generation from your customer's perspective. What questions are your current customers asking? What do you talk about on the phone with potential customers? What are the needs they are feeling? Involve your sales team, secretaries, or anyone who answers the phone or interacts with your customers. Get around the table and see what they're talking to customers about. Ask your installers or service tech's what customers ask about. Make a list of the advice and stories you tell over and over again. You need to be able to engage your customers to express the value of your products or services.
Ask yourself these questions to get started.
- What specific needs do my clients have?
- What are the common pain points in your industry / product / service?
- How do you as a company add value and benefits to your customers and their needs?
- Are there any new technologies or solutions that would attract customers or establish your credibility?
- Why do customers choose your company / product / service over the competition?
Include photos with people from your company or customers. If at all possible, invest in quality photography - your business image is affected by your photos. It will add credibility and a personal aspect that will help potential customers feel safe with your company. Include photos or references to unique or uncommon work you've done - extra points for buildings or attractions you've worked at which people easily recognize. Use stock photography sparingly!
Write case studies.
Why? They help customers see how you are able to take a need and give a solution. Remember, customers are looking for solutions to needs and ways to make themselves better. You can demonstrate how you were able to guide existing customers in areas that they weren’t even aware of (value add - it creates credibility and a safe feeling – and good feeling are important!).
Use "call to actions" with feeling. Instead of “get a free estimate” use “get help for your family's health” – you don’t even really need to sell them on the product or service right now, but rather work on having a conversation with them, finding their pain/need, and building trust that you have the best solution. Show genuine interest in understanding their needs which proves that you truly care for them as a person.
Don't forget the company history / about us pages.
Don't underestimate this. Most people do care about the companies they work with. It would be good if you could write a couple paragraphs about the history of your company, including:
- when the company started and who started it
- how or why the company has grown
- an overview of what has changed and stayed the same over the years
- the company mission & vision
- any other interesting tidbits or unique achievements
- what makes you unique?