Useful information helps you inform people, qualify buyers, and build trust.
It’s possible to do a lot of things right with your business website marketing, but still get it wrong.
You can do a great job of:
- building awareness
- using the right social media channels
- designing a cool, eye-catching website
- writing ads that get good click through rates
- developing a competitive offer
But if the lead doesn’t trust you, you’ll have lower conversions rates than you should.
The Savvy Online Consumer
Web marketing continues to evolve. At first, a website was little more than a digital yellow pages ad. Then, as it became more affordable to go big in design, websites became vanity projects. Recently, easy to use content management systems lead to sprawling, disorganized sites designed by amateurs.
But into today’s SEO and lead generation efforts, a new need emerges. It’s focuses on connecting with prospective clients, developing a longer-term relationship, and building trust.
An effective way to gain this trust is focus your website content on answering prospects’ questions. A website that is mainly a learning center can be every bit as effective (if not more) than a site that just centers on a sales proposition.
A great example of this in the pool industry is from Marcus Sheridan at River Pools. He was so successful at growing his business by using content for lead-generation, he parlayed it into a career in marketing.
Browse through their website, learning center, and blog. It’s filled with answers to every question you could come up with about in-ground pools. In fact, when you go to their homepage, the target audience and call to action is not to sell a swimming pool or push someone into getting a quote. Instead, it invites people to educate themselves about their pool options:
As you browse the content, you get your questions answered. You can see testimonial videos from happy clients. And at various places, the call to action is in place, giving you the chance to request an estimate.
And the website, overall, does a fantastic job of engendering trust.
Today’s online consumers usually start their buying journey doing research. They want information to help understand their choices.
Yet most business websites hit consumers right away, over the head, with a sales message. It’s the old asking for marriage on the first date mistake, and it’s more costly today than ever.
The first problem we’ve eluded to. Salesy websites fail to connect with the online consumer’s initial need: helpful information. Today’s buyers are more savvy than ever. They’re empowered by the internet to get solid information to base their decisions on. A clever sales message – alone – sways increasingly few buyers (and they’re often the worst leads).
The overt sales efforts are met with more and more skepticism. For example, I’ve recently seen commercials (one for a jewelry retailer, and one – believe it or not – for a car dealership) where the value proposition is that the “buying guides” (they don’t even call them salespeople) don’t work for commissions.
David Ogilvy’s classic advice has never been more true:
There is no need for advertisements to look like advertisements. If you make them look like editorial pages, you will attract about 50 per cent more readers.
The River Pools website has an unspoken value proposition: they know what they’re doing and they want to help you choose the right pool for your needs. In fact, almost their entire website is devoted to providing free information.
The result is that River Pools is the resource online for inground pools. They dominate the market in their area.
This “content marketing” is the educational voice of their company. It’s a fantastic sales strategy because it’s not a direct sales strategy at all.
SEO Loves High-Quality Content
There is a second, vitally important factor. Google loves this type of website. They know the consumer buying pattern, so they now heavily favor websites that offer high-quality content and useful information. If you want to rank for important keyword searches, this is the type of content you need to create.
If you want to show for direct-response advertising landing pages, you’ll have to use PPC to rank them.
Take the high road. Assume your clients are intelligent and will make a sound decision. Then help them make it. If they trust you and your offer is a fit, you’ll do well.
This article was first published on Pool Marketing 360®.