Content is undisputedly the hook that will get online visitors interested in your company. Designing content to transfer desired knowledge to your site visitor is a way to provide value before they've been asked to purchase anything. It's impressive. It builds your expertise in their minds.
The key to content creating demand, is to design a call to action into your web pages. I know, I'm becoming a broken record on this stuff. Online sales tools can be simple and elegant, but no one will be persuaded to use them without a reason. If your content doesn't deliver value, why would a prospect think that your company will?
Ben Bradley's Expedient Marketing blog post today is about Lead Generation via Better Content. He posts a process his company used to help a client increase quality lead generation and achieved stellar results. This line of the post says it all, "...good content is the key to making your marketing messages drive sales results."
Some of the steps he outlines are really critical to your web site's success as a marketing vehicle.
He advises you to do a competitive analysis. If you haven't done this and you don't do it repeatedly to keep up with your competitors, start now. There's no better way to work on creating a value not being delivered by your competitors than to monitor what they do well, and what they don't.
Content Strategy. Ben has some great advice about using a combination of your website content and how promoting articles through syndication is effective. He's right. Keywords and Google Ad Words are also key in generating traffic.
Two of the most important points are: Integration of your website and marketing efforts. I stumbled over this one, because it's so obvious. But, without it, I'm not sure how your company will compete successfully in a continuously webified (you know what I mean) world. The second one is converting site visitors into leads via opt-in email capture. Without knowing who your qualified prospects are, marketing to them is a crap shoot.
Expanding on this further, make sure you know what they did or were exposed to on your site so you can tailor communications to their interests. It's no longer enough to just add email addresses to your mailing list. Think about how truly delighted a prospect will be to get a follow-up email with more quality information on the subject they are trying to learn more about.
You can also use this knowledge to accumulate statistics about which of your content is hitting the mark and driving the most interest. Then determine how to give them more, or expand upon the ideas without becoming redundant.
So, when you plan your content strategy and put your online interactive tools into play, make sure you've got a strategy for next steps. It may not be perfect, but you can refine it as you go. I can't tell you how many companies I seek information from online that I never hear from again. Then there are the ones who pester me with information so radically different than the information I was interested in that they become a nuisance. It's obvious I'm just an email address to them.
Be proactive, but when you deliver value, make sure it's going to be perceived as a value by the prospects who've enrolled for more of the same. Delight them with your interest in what they want, not what you want to give them.