We've said it before, we're saying it now, and we'll undoubtedly have to say it more times in the future: Content is King when it comes to inbound marketing. If you're designing website content that people don't want to see or don't have an interest in, your SEO efforts are not going to yield the results you're looking for.
Now, second-tier inbound marketing strategies like link-building and keyword optimization are certainly important pieces of the puzzle, don't get me wrong. However, at the end of the day, it is your content that will almost single-handedly decide whether you're converting visitors into sales, or into bounces.
The key to this is focusing on the User Experience (UX) when designing website content. The more friendly and compelling you make your site, the more visitors will hang around to buy something.
Designing Website Content With The User Experience In Mind
To focus on the user experience, you must first know who your customers are. UX is really all about looking at your site and your content through your customers' eyes, to try to gauge how they will see it. The best way to do this is to create a series of customer profiles, to try to get an idea of your customers' views.
In these customer profiles, ask and answer questions like:
How old are they? (What generation do they identify with?)
What's their average income and education level?
Why do your products appeal to them?
What are their political or social inclinations?
What other products / companies do they like?
What interests do they have outside of your industry?
Your customer profiles can be as broad or narrowly-defined as you want, but fundamentally, they should give you an at-a-glance idea of who your average customers are and what they want out of you, and out of life.
Then you can start designing website content that appeals to them specifically, rather than throwing spaghetti at the proverbial wall.
Quality, Relevance, and Value
Content breaks down into three simple concepts that embody good content design: Quality, Relevance, and Value. Remember, these are all entirely subjective ideas, and what really matters is how your audience responds to them.
Quality: This should be self-explanatory, but it bears repeating: If your content offers no interesting or new ideas, you're going to have a hard time selling it to skeptical customers with an entire Internet of content to choose from. Don't forget that your approach or writing style can also be a part of this. Just look at the success Woot! has had with its postmodern and often self-deprecating comical sales blogs. They knew there really wasn't anything new to say about selling TVs or T-shirts, so they found a new way to say it instead.
Relevance: Here's where your customer profiles really come into play. Your content should be picked, as much as possible, based on what your customers want to see rather than what you want to talk about. Of course, in the best case scenario, these two ideas go hand-in-hand. That's what breeds the best blogs.
Value: Especially when it comes to a Call to Action, you should always remember that modern customers are absolutely aware of the value of their personal information. Even if your video or eBook is free in terms of money, customers know that they are still trading a commodity when they give you their email address or phone number. As such, your content needs to be compelling enough to make them want to complete that transaction.
Focus On The Customer, And They Will Come
The entire UX philosophy really can be summed up by saying, "Look at your site through your customer's eyes." Focus on designing website content that appeals to them, and you'll have a successful site.
What tricks do you have for keeping the customers' needs in focus?