Is your website content hurting your business?
- Madeleine Work
- Communications Strategist
Your company’s website is often the first point of contact between your company and a paying customer. If the first thing clients see is a confusing jumble of text and random images, they are prone to leave the site as quickly as they came—and the website is unlikely to play any notable role in attracting potential clients.
Now more than ever, well-organized website content that clearly communicates information to your target market is essential for increasing sales. The first step to clarifying communications? Deeper understanding. Without a clear idea of what exactly needs to be communicated, your company’s website is likely to be full of nothing more than empty prattle.
Use your website to generate leads.
A well-structured website with useful and informative content could be all that’s standing between your company and a potential sale. All this starts by understanding your business and the target audience.
1. Understanding your business
If the goal is to convince a target audience that your business provides better products than a competitor, your company needs to understand three things: who you are, what you do, and what makes you unique.
This is especially important for B2B businesses. Potential clients are going to be surveying all the options before making a final decision, and failure to distinguish your business may push these potential clients away—and towards your competitors.
The first thing your business should ask is: What makes your business different?
Many companies hire brand consulting agencies to help them answer these questions. Brand consultants will spend several weeks interviewing a company, their agents, distributors, and customers, to benchmark their standing in the industry. This is all in an attempt to understand the company’s core capabilities and values, and how they compare to competitors.
This research culminates in the definition of a single concept that distinguishes a given company from their competitors. This single element then drives communication strategy and future communications—without this driving force, company communications often waver from the core message and values, resulting in weak and unconvincing content.
2. Understanding the target audience
What does your target audience need? Does your company meet those needs? If you don’t have the answers to these questions, your attempts to develop communications that convince your target audience to trust you will be as effective as eating soup with a fork.
Many companies neglect to exert any effort to understand potential clients’ needs. Instead, when introducing a given product, they will simply list out all the features without focus—assumedly to avoid accidentally leaving out anything important. Or, more accurately, to avoid leaving out anything the company (often incorrectly) assumes would be important for potential clients.
The “leave nothing out” approach works under the dangerous assumption that potential clients are going to spend their valuable time painstakingly reading through an exhaustive list of specs to find the feature that speaks to them. For example:
“Our company’s new XYZ model offers different options for passenger capacity and length. Passenger capacity possibilities range from 50, 75, to 100 people, while vehicle lengths range from 25.2 m, 35.4 m, and 42.1 m.”
In contrast, the “focused strategy” hones in on select benefits—as opposed to features—that the company deems to be important to their target audience:
“The XYZ model is our most fuel-efficient model yet, giving our clients an edge in a highly competitive market.”
The “focused strategy” pinpoints select attributes that potential clients value, both directly speaking to your target audience’s needs and also drawing attention to features that give your company a competitive edge.
Introducing products from the client’s point of view is especially important for B2B companies. Too often, B2B companies will assume that their clients’ status as “established businesses” will give them the patience to sift through an endless stream of specifications. In reality, business decisions aren't made by businesses, they're made by people. People don’t want to dig through a bunch of nonsense to find valuable information. Indeed, one study reports that 55 percent of people spend less than 15 seconds on a website page—this implies that if visitors can’t immediately find the information they need, they simply click away.
The easiest way to improve your website content? Create brand communications with a purpose.
When companies fill their websites with a confusing mass of unorganized information, they can drive potential clients away. In contrast, by taking the time to clearly introduce products and services—from the standpoint of the target audience—businesses can transform groups of complete strangers into loyal consumers.
By better understanding your business and target audience, you can create brand communications with a purpose. Focused brand communications send clear messages, making it easier for your target audience to engage with you—and perhaps even trust you with their business.
Too many Taiwanese companies offer industry-leading products and services, but fail to clearly communicate these products and services to potential clients. A little bit of clarity in web communications can go a long way to attracting the right client—especially for firms hoping to expand into international markets.