In keeping with this month’s theme of how to grow your business with strong relationships, here are suggestions on how to provide your customers and prospects with the content they want.
But first, a story.
Before the pandemic hit, I was a regular at a little Italian restaurant over the hill from my house. When relatives would come to visit from out of town, I’d take them there. How can you go wrong with homemade gnocchi, massive salads, crab bisque and tiramisu? At least two of the four Fridays in every month, I was there. I believe the best way to end a week is with a mint mojito and grilled crab cakes with asparagus. Where did we go on weekends when we craved an Italian frittata or strawberry stuffed French toast? Yep, the same place.
Last year, this family-owned restaurant suddenly closed. The sign in front of the restaurant simply said, “Thank you, healthcare workers”.
When the initial shock of our new normal — wear a mask, stay six-feet apart, wash your hands — wore off, I joined everyone else who wondered about favorite restaurants. The news featured sad statistics on how these small businesses and their employees were fighting to survive. I occasionally looked at the website and Facebook page for my town’s little gem of a restaurant. Only there were no updates. Would they ever reopen?
Imagine how I felt when I drove past this place a few weeks ago and saw their sign now said, "To-go orders, Friday".
Yet again, I went to their website; nothing. Luckily, I discovered their Facebook page now lists that week’s limited menu accompanied by mouthwatering photography and the phone number to reserve your meal. True, these are unique circumstances. However, you really shouldn’t make a person work so hard to give you their business. I’m sick of my own cooking. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have searched so hard to find the content I wanted.
Here’s a plan to make sure your customers and prospects find the information they crave, exactly when they need it.
Start with the Buyer’s Journey
If you’re not familiar with the buyer’s journey, you can read all the details here. It means realizing not everyone who lands on your website is ready to act. So, provide the type of information needed for each step of the decision process.
The first step in the buyer’s journey is the awareness stage. This is when the person realizes they have a problem. The second step is the consideration stage. At this stage, the buyer has identified the problem and is researching options to solve it. The third step is the decision stage. That’s when the person is ready to click on your call to action button.
Don’t Build It and Forget It
When a new website is in the design stage, it’s rarely just one person who makes all the decisions on behalf of the client. It takes many meetings to craft the perfect message. If you invest countless hours making sure the navigation, images and copy is on-brand, don’t neglect it.
Even the most stable business experiences change. How will those changes be made to the website? As your digital marketing agency is building your website, you should identify who will be responsible to keep the content current. Here are just a few of the questions you should consider:
- Will you need to meet quarterly with the product managers to update your product page?
- If you have a company blog, who will oversee writing your content?
- What’s your backup plan if the person who’s your ‘web guru’ leaves your company?
Schedule a Yearly Check-Up
Get In the habit of reviewing your website once a year. Some people find it easy to routinely conduct a content check on the anniversary of the day the website launched. Or, if your business is slow between Christmas and New Year’s, this could be a good time as well. Pick the time of the year that works best, block off a few hours on your calendar and click through every page. Make sure all the links still work and all the products and services are still offered.
If you need changes that will affect the navigation, we’ll be happy to help. Resist the urge to add a link to a PDF. Instead, invest the time to think where a person would logically look for that content and add a page, if necessary, where that information belongs.
Or, if you cannot easily add content that speaks to every step of the buyer’s journey, it might just be time to redesign your website.