Over the past few months, I have looked at getting your website right as the base for a sound marketing campaign.
Great: now you have an online platform from which to promote your brand and direct customers to (in addition to your actual bricks-and-mortar locations, of course).
Now all you need is the right website content to boost your brand. Just as a branch without any stock wonít attract any business, a website needs a regular supply of content that is well-written, useful and interesting in order to bring visitors.
These key rules will help you to populate your website with content that achieves all of these goals.
Written content is the bedrock of your website; it helps you to be found by search engines and informs visitors about what you do and sell. Typically, your most frequently visited pages will be your homepage, product categories and contact details. However, the best websites are regularly updated with fresh content, and are always seeking new ways to engage with visitors.
Thatís where blogging comes in. A blog is a versatile tool. It can be used to highlight particular products or suppliers within your portfolio. It can give advice on common problems, or spotlight services you offer that customers might not be aware of. It also provides a great way of promoting your brandís personality, whether by telling people about any fundraising youíre involved with.
Google has recently updated its guidance on how to get the best out of blogging and now advises a word count of between 360-700 words. In other words, while blogging works best when itís friendly and informal, there has to be some substance to your content or Google wonít recommend it on search results.
Oh, and if the majority of your trade comes from the local area, then make sure your blogs are relevant so you can Use Your Website to Get Local Trade.
Content isnít just about blogs and articles. Some of the best content is visual. Video is massive: YouTube reaches more people than any channel except Facebook and some predict that video will account for over two-thirds of all website traffic by next year.
Video is perfect for buildersí merchants. Show some of your most popular products (or, better yet, ones youíre passionate about but which arenít getting the sales you feel they deserve). Hints and tips on how to find the right solution to a particular problem work really well.
Infographics are also great. As the saying goes, ďa picture paints a thousand words.Ē Thatís even more true of infographics, which combine images with key statistics to get people thinking about the products and services you offer. Theyíre very addictive, and more likely to be shared by your audience.
Whatever content you use, itís vital to make sure that Google and other search engines can easily find it Ė otherwise nobody will know itís there. Iíve discussed the importance of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, in a previous blog about how to Make Your Website Work for You, but itís worth saying it again. Everything you create should be driven by subjects that matter to your audience. Not only will it make your website easier to find, but it will make your visitors appreciate your brand because youíve given them exactly the content they were looking for.
Thereís lots of technical stuff behind the scenes where itís perhaps best to invest in an outside agency who can advise on SEO. Yet common sense trumps everything else. Whatever content you create, ask yourself Ė if I was a potential customer, does this content excite me? Is it useful or interesting? Does it make me want to find out more about this company? If the answer to these questions is Ďyes,í then itís worth doing.
Next month Iíll begin to look at how you can promote your brand beyond the website, via public relations and social media.
Simon Kinnear is director of communications at Balls2 Marketing.