Market Ideas #1
Hang up the phone
Find out what information your customers want & need and use that to build your website content.
Useful, timely content is the single most appealing aspect of the Internet to web surfers. It's not bells & whistles. It's good, solid information. Most small business websites focus on a few stock pages (About Us, Contact Us, Links to Useful Sites, etc.) neglecting to give visitors any information outside a description of who they are and what they do. Then they wonder why people aren't flocking to their site.
Stock pages are like the punctuation in a sentence. They have to be there so everything makes sense, but on their own they don't make for very interesting reading. To come up with original pages that apply to your company ask yourself, "Why is my business phone ringing?" If you're answering the same questions again and again, you've got a starting point for website content your customers can use.
Case Study: Sierra Garden Supply
The site was getting a fair amount of traffic, but visitors were coming and going with no real impact on the business. We had the owner keep a notepad by his main phone line and have his employees jot down one or two sentences about each incoming call. If the same type of call repeated, they'd make a tick mark by it. After two weeks it was easy to see the bulk of phone time was spent answering questions about how to care for various plants in the first few weeks after they were planted.
We added a website section on plant care for different species and included specific product recommendations (fertilizers, watering systems, etc) for each. Over the next month, the owner had his employees give a brief explanation to callers and then direct them to website for more detailed information. Not only did repetitive phone traffic begin to drop, but sales steadily increased for the products mentioned. The new content gave customers a reason to visit the site, saved employee time and provided a consistent sales message that worked.