Brochure-like websites, containing nothing more than basic contact information and product/service descriptions, are becoming a thing of the past even for manufacturers, retailers and contractors. We see it across the board in dozens of industries and market verticals. Real, useful content attracts real customers, and that content works to bring them to you and your website 24/7/365. This content works for you tirelessly in search engines without ongoing pay-per-click expenses or social media advertising.
A large percentage of your customers are most likely starting their search in a sea of companies offering similar services, so it is crucial that you come out on top. You need to be what we call a domain expert. Your useful and timely information will establish a trusted relationship with your customers long before they pick up the phone or walk through your doors. Once you have truly helped your future customers with your content, you will have left a lasting impression of your brand in their minds that will truly complement and reinforce your traditional advertising efforts.
Think about it - you've been working in the water industry for years. You've learned a thing or two about a thing or two, and that information might be extremely useful to a potential customer. Even if your target audience is not a direct end user, you may find that consumers are doing their own research and becoming specifiers for their contractors themselves.
But where do you find content? Well, if creating good content was easy, everybody would be doing it - but it doesn't have to be impossible.
Here are four tips for finding content for your website:
1. Think local: If yours is a regional business, think about news, information, trends and regulations that are important to your area. Are there new local codes? Boil alerts? Contamination concerns? Get it out there to your customer base. You're in this business daily, so you know your regional news inside and out. Share the word on the street!
2. Be useful: What are the pros and cons of the various systems that you sell? What are five things your customers should look out for on their next installation, based on your experience? What should they ask competing bidders before settling on a bid?
3. Listen carefully: You are hearing from multiple sources of information in your industry on a daily basis because it's crucial to your company's success. Are you covering all possible information sources, though? Be sure to follow industry leaders and experts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, at a minimum. Each social media platform makes it easy to find domain experts to follow and tune into. Don't forget to follow your municipalities, associations, trade publications and crucial keywords as well. Use Google Trends (www.google.com/trends) to see what people are searching for and drill down into related searches and trends over time.
4. Dig into your e-mail "sent items" folder: Do you find yourself repeating the same answers to the same questions over and over for your customers? Harvest those responses from your sent folder and put them to work as excellent, rich content for your site. You know what your customers want to hear about because you tell them the answers on a daily basis already.