Website Evolution 2 - Focus on the Consumer

By John McTigueAug 6 /2009

I wanted to expand on some ideas presented in a recent post, Rethinking the Small Business Website, focusing on what kinds of content are most effective in small business websites these days.

The entire conversation in marketing is shifting from your company's message to information or offers that provide consumer value. A recent panel at the New England Xpo for Business at Boston concluded that "companies should be thinking more like publishers than salesmen."  By providing valuable content across the board, in blogs and social media sites, in advertising, and throughout your Web site, your online presence becomes an asset to your community of followers who become loyal to your brand and are far more likely to purchase your products and services. Here are some things to think about when you consider your online publication and website strategy:

  1. Anticipate the interests and needs of your online community, and fill those needs. Create blogs that address those subjects and invite people to comment or respond by asking questions, like "how do you feel about this?" Continue the discussion in social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and refer them back to your website/blog for details and comments. Discussions like these build relationships and often lead to direct contact and, eventually, sales.
  2. Go easy on the self-promotion. You can refer to your own offerings indirectly by saying something like "in our experience providing Inbound Marketing services..." This will tell your readers that you offer these services without hitting them over the head.
  3. Stay current. Do your homework. Access your RSS feeds and other news channels to make sure you are on top of the latest developments in your area of interest. Target your blogs, updates and announcements to the latest industry news. This enhances your published content by making it timely, relevant and valuable to consumers.
  4. Publish early and often. Be the first to make an announcement if possible (journalists have been doing this for centuries). Publish every day, if possible. This establishes you as committed and exposes your information to the broadest possible audience.
  5. Be accurate. Take the time to double check your sources. Always link to your sources to backup your claims. This establishes you as credible and trustworthy, which ultimately builds your loyal community and clientele. It also helps with SEO!

What's the payoff? The real power of Inbound Marketing lies in the power of the referral. If you become a trusted resource, providing valuable, timely, accurate information, your reputation will spread and your business will grow.

The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn and Twitter.