There might have been a time in the early days of online marketing, when having a website as an online brochure, one that said a bit about what you do and how to contact you, had some value. For most businesses those days are over.
For one thing, there are now so many websites that just getting found in the first place is becoming more challenging. It’s also the simplest thing in the world for your customers (potential ones and existing ones) to do their research on competitors to see whether you really are offering the best value. If your website doesn’t make a clear case for why you deserve somebody’s business, they can easily find one that does.
I’m going to be blunt here: if your online marketing is based around a website with content you pulled together yourself, is all about you rather than your customers, and is not part of a coordinated on-line marketing plan, you might as well save yourself the maintenance and hosting charges. Here’s why.
Online Marketing – Customers Do Their Research
Increasingly, customers use the internet to research the things they want to buy. This is true in the business to consumer and business to business arenas. If a potential customer compares your site to one with content that is written from the customer’s perspective, focuses on their issues, and explains clearly the added value of their solution, where do you think they will spend their money?
Google Loves Good Content
Read any report or Google press release on the development of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and they will tell you that good quality content is the way forward. Google owns 90% of the UK internet search market and wants to ensure its users have a good experience. That’s why it is getting ever more sophisticated in its ability to distinguish between good content and poor content. The stuff it deems to be poor quality, out of date and not helpful to its users is downgraded.
Are Your Competitors Building On-Line Relationships with Your Customers?
Publishing online content such as blog articles, infographics, videos and so on is a great way to reach new customers. Publish things that people are interested in and, no surprise, they read it. Every bit of content they consume is building awareness and trust and developing the relationship. Eventually they become a new customer. ‘New’ customers, however, are rarely new in the sense that they have just started to exist. They are just new to you, which means they used to be somebody else’s.
You might think that you have a large and loyal customer base and don’t need to keep them engaged by publishing content; but do your competitors see it the same way? Are your loyal customers gradually being made aware of competitors’ offers, not through overt marketing, but by somebody continually providing them with useful, relevant and well produced information? Are your existing customers gradually turning into their ‘new’ ones.
Content Strategies Help SEO
Even if you have a great website, you still need to be thinking about a content strategy. That’s because Google rankings are increasingly influenced by the things that happen outside of your website. Not only does a content strategy help you reach a new audience, it also increases search traffic. Here’s a few reasons why:
- A wider range of content means you can optimise for a wider range of more specific search terms.
- Google rewards sites with regularly refreshed content – blogs are a great way to generate a flow of new content.
- Good new content generates social media activity. Google measures these ‘social signals’ and uses them to rank your site.
- Good new content generates good quality links back to your site. Again, Google measures these.
All the indicators point to the fact that online content is an increasingly critical factor in deciding tomorrow’s winners and losers. If you’re not already investing in content, don’t assume that your competitors are being as slow off the mark.
I’m the founder of RSH Copywriting, a content development business in South West England. I help businesses develop coherent content plans and improve their on-line marketing with engaging content. Call me on 01823 674167 to see how I can help you. See More: Content Marketing South Westby