How does online content contribute to business growth? I was invited to talk about this topic at this year’s Jumpstart seminar of the Young Entrepreneurs Society – University of the Philippines chapter. From my talk, here are some highlights on the things that online content does for today’s businesses – be they brick-and-mortar or cyber-businesses, startups and established ones alike:
1. Make your business searchable
The very first thing that online content should do is to make your business found by customers. On the Internet, you don’t exist as a business without content, period. Especially when you’re starting out, you have to invest time and effort to establish your online presence.
To help you with “search engine optimization”, you need to research the keywords that your users are searching for. Your website should also be compliant with industry standards, making sure that metadata and correct tagging are in place. To increase the likelihood of your target customers finding you, you have to be in social media platforms where it makes sense.
2. Establish your credibility
Content is also your key to gaining your customers’ trust. It’s how you can communicate that you’re a dependable business to transact with. To do this, you need to develop a consistent brand personality across touch points. You may have the most polished home page on your website, but if your Facebook account is not updated for several weeks, people will wonder if you’re still in business.
Remember too that before users transact business and give their money to you, they would most likely research you on Google, check your social media pages, and read testimonials, if any.
3. Lead the sales funnel
Now, let’s discuss the important part: closing a sale. Online, there’s a concept of the sales funnel, each stage with a different “call to action”. The customer journey starts with awareness, which you do by reaching out to users with viral or educational content through blogs, webinars, or multimedia.
Next is conversion. After getting initial attention, you’re now talking to potential customers. These people are now up for convincing through video demos, product descriptions, and how-to guides to pull out their wallet for you. When they decide to purchase, you then want to ensure that your checkout process is easy to follow and smooth. At this stage, reinforce their decision with user reviews.
4. Support your users
Going back to the checkout process, the user interface of your sales form are also very critical words. These are “content” in their own right. You have to be intentional and anticipate potential errors.
Once you’ve got customers, you also want to maintain contact through tutorials and tips, email offers, etc. for future business.
User-to-user support also helps in decreasing time and effort spent on answering questions, troubleshooting issues, or amplifying word-of-mouth about your brand.
5. Create a community around your product or service
In retaining customers and gaining loyalty, you have to give them a reason for coming back. Some of the content that could do this for you are the humble FAQs and how-to guides, which are useful in learning more about your product or service.
To create a community around your product or service, you can leverage people talking about your business. Recognize your brand advocates by mentioning them in social media, developing affiliate programs that earn them a portion of the sale, or giving them exclusive offers, such as discounts.
Do you have question or tip on anything related to online content? Post your comments below!