Most people have seen the movie, Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner, but if you missed it, no worries, I’ll give you the gist. A guy builds a baseball field on his farm after hearing voices instructing him to do so. This results in the ghosts of baseball greats arriving on his field to play ball and eventually transforms his average joe farm into a lucrative ball park.
So what does this have to do with the Content of a Website?In today’s Internet driven world, businesses are starving for ways to drive traffic to their websites. Gone are the days of print copy and billboards. It now all hinges on attracting people surfing the web to visit your business’s site. Think of yourself as a farmer and this blog post is a little voice in your head whispering instructions on how to build a field that will positively impact your business and satisfy customers. See where I’m going with this?
Before we dive into good content, let’s talk traffic. Everyone knows that identifying the right focus keywords is the way to establish what keyword searches will be ideal fordriving prospects to your site. But while keywords are good, it’s easy to get caught up in packing your copy full of them and diluting your genuine message. One of the things that Google has been pushing recently is the need to naturally incorporate keywords into your content. While everyone wants to have the benefits of the Google algorithm working in their favor, your customer is the main priority and inundating them with focus keywords for the sake of traffic will only win you a slap on the wrist from Google.
Okay, now that they’ve arrived on the page how do I cater it for them? What if I want them to see a specific product or service? How do I specifically target that prospect?
I’m glad you asked. Let’s get into CTAs. I went to college in Chicago, whenever I hear CTA I think of the Chicago Transit Authority. I’d always have to ride the CTA train to and from school and it took forever. It would have been great to have a train that took me right to the doorstep of my apartment or right to the hall of my classroom, especially in the winter. However, like you, I know that CTA really stands for Call To Action. While it isn’t a train riding on an elevated track through a huge city, the premise is kind of the same. The CTA Route is the link between the regular content and content that is more attractive to your customer based on their interest. Basically, you put your customer on their own private train to a destination they would prefer. CTAs can use all kinds of different wording to attract attention from leads, including:
- Download my free eBook
- Start a free trial
- Make an appointment
- Schedule a free consultation
But CTAs, like trains, are only as good as how they look and operate. I never liked riding on trains that looked out of date and were barely functional. Trust me, customers feel the same way with your site. CTAs should be just as appealing as a brand new, high speed train:
- Visually striking with copy that inspires you to click the offer
- Brief: A couple of words is best, no more than five is ideal
- Action-oriented: Begin with a verb like “Download” or “Register”
- Located in an easy-to-find spot that follows organically from the flow of the webpage
- In a contrasting color from the color scheme of the webpage, while still fitting in with the overall design
- Large enough to see from a distance, but not so large as to detract attention from the main content on the page
- Easy to understand and clear: Be sure to state exactly what the visitor will get if they click on the CTA and go to the landing page
Your site has only seconds to capture interest. Your main goal is to be provocative and insight the proper response you crave from your target audience. Try to stay fresh as any sign of inactivity on a site is sure to drive prospects away. Frequently creating content for your site is like going to the gym. Yes, it’s a lot of work and sometimes you don’t feel like doing it. Maybe you even allow yourself a splurge period here and there where you don’t tend to your content at all. But like working out, continually doing this on your site will only help you in the long run and will keep you on track. The worst thing you can do is neglect your sites content and become lost in the noise of the internet.
But what else can we do with content? Can it go beyond looking nice and giving background info? Better yet, can it be helpful?
In 2001 Marcus Sheridan founded River Pools with two partners. It was your average pool and spa company and they were keeping their heads above water financially. But when the housing market collapsed in 2008, they were in deep trouble looking down the barrel of bankruptcy. That’s when they discovered content marketing. Their strategy was to be the best teachers in the world on the subject of inground fiberglass swimming pools. They did this via blogging on their website. They generated content that was beneficial to their customers because they supplied answers to much sought after knowledge. This decision saved their company. Marcus uncovered the golden rule of content marketing: “They ask, you answer.”
“My philosophy is that if anyone has asked me a question about my business, regardless of what it is, it’s my job to answer that question…preferably on my website.” Currently, Marcus’s company gets more traffic than any other pool company site on this planet and his business has now expanded into providing social media coaching for other businesses. So don’t underestimate the power of blog posts.
The fact of the matter is that creating interesting content isn’t enough, you have to ensure that you’recorrectly leveraging SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get prospects to your pages. But additionally, you must remain relevant to your customer in order to establish interest and ensure engagement. The bottom line is, your content needs to be what your customers want. Had Kevin Costner built a Football field instead of a ball park, he would have diverted his baseball ghosts and had nothing but a farm with a weird field in the middle of it and no crops to grow. You don’t want to be a guy on a farm with a weird field in the middle of it with no crops to grow.
Create content that’s relevant, helpful, and enticing. Do it frequently and do it well.
Are you ready to start creating the right content for your site?
Image by John Ray Harrison via Flickr CC