Today, I have Kacie Main here with me to discuss how to create great content. Specifically, we are talking about content on your website – your home page, about us, philosophy, service or product pages, etc. These are your main sales pages.
People come to your website to learn what you’re all about, what you sell, how you sell it, etc. Your website content is vitally important for business growth.
Now, I don’t write but Kacie does, and she has a very interesting perspective on this topic. She also has an active podcast, so she’s used to working one-on-one or with teams to extract important information.
Let’s start with the home page. That’s like the window – or the front door – into your website. What are some of the components of a home page that you look for as a website visitor?
First and foremost, I want to know what the service offering or product is. And it’s interesting, because I have a different perspective on websites since I started working with you. You have a formula of how they should be laid out and what works. And now I see why.
I’ll visit some websites and the information at the very top of the site may be valuable, but it’s not necessarily the first thing I want to know. For example, I went to a fitness equipment site recently and right at the top of the home page was information on the app they have to go along with their piece of equipment. And I understand that’s maybe a new feature that the business wants to promote, but as a first-time visitor to their site, that’s not the information I’m coming to find.
I think sometimes companies get caught up in what they want to tell people, not what people are coming to their site to learn.
Yes, that final sentence is so important – what people are coming to your website to find. In a previous video, we discussed a HubSpot survey that found that 76% of users want websites to make it easy for them to find the content that they want.
That starts on your home page.
Exactly. And this is something you can find in your website analytics, but I imagine your home page is the first page the majority of your new users are going to visit. Your return/repeat visitors will quickly navigate to a different page to find exactly what they’re looking for. But your new visitors are probably starting on that home page, so they’re new to your company, products, and services. They need to find that beginning basic messaging, not information on a company’s latest feature.
So, the core offering. I think you also need to include your company benefits. And remember your benefits are different than your features. The benefits focus more on the end result.
After the benefits, focus on the features of the actual product. So in the example Kacie gave with the fitness website, the app would go in as a feature, not necessarily the leading message.
Exactly. Because I’m coming to the site and you’re trying to sell me on the app. I don’t even have the product yet so I’m not at the stage where I need to know about the app yet.
Right. The home page is also a place to showcase any content marketing you are doing. So, if you have a podcast, YouTube video series, or a blog, I like to showcase those things towards the bottom of the home page.
So, the formula is:
And I think that additional content shows the user there is more information should they want it. It helps position companies as the expert in that industry because clearly they have a lot to say about it, whether it be on a podcast or blog. Especially if the blog focuses more on industry-related topics as opposed to consistently talking about your product or service.
That content brings added value to your website visitors and shows that you know what you’re talking about more than just your specific product.
Exactly. And you brought up a good point earlier that often people wind up at your home page when they really start investigating and shopping. Maybe they’ve seen some banner ads or social posts somewhere. But they’ve now gone to Google to find your specific brand.
So, another vital thing for a home page to include is the action that you want them to take. More than just “buy now.” What is a first action they can take? Perhaps it’s joining an email list, clicking to go to another page that gives more information, or some other call to action.
That helps you rank visitors into two tiers. First tier is people that are ready to buy and second tier consists of other actions to get people to move through the sales funnel.
That’s a good point. So you have to know what your sales funnel is and what second tier actions could help move people through it. If you have a product or a service that’s higher priced, people may not be ready to make the sale.
That goes back to something you talk a lot about and that is further educating people because that helps them buy into your product/service. For example, sticking with the at-home piece of gym equipment. Let’s say it’s something that focuses on balance. Maybe I’m not yet ready to purchase, so push me to a video or downloading an infographic that explains why working on balance is better for my overall health or fitness routine.
That’s going to provide me with more value, which starts a good relationship with the brand. And it also positions the company as an expert rather than just trying to sell me a product.
Oh, 100%. That’s a huge point and it leads us into the other two sections that I want to cover – the service or product page and the about us page.
The about section typically deals with company philosophy and culture, your team, and your leadership pages. Most clients I work with don’t realize that the about section of their website is the second most visited page. So this information is wildly important.
I think you have a good window into this. What should companies include in the about section? What should you put in a team bio? And how do you extract information to make a team philosophy and culture?
Okay, so I’ll back up a little first. I think this is really important, especially these days. Danya, who works with us and is younger than us, is all about who is behind a brand. What’s the founding story? What’s the company philosophy? It’s very important to her generation.
I think companies sometimes end up using unoriginal, boilerplate messaging in these sections. And as soon as anyone reads it, they know if it’s just a slightly different version of some impersonal messaging they’ve read on countless other websites. People want to see something different. They want to know who you really are.
First, you must know who you are as a company. And then you have to communicate that in a way that is true to you and fits your brand.
Honestly, the best way I’ve found to extract this information is by interviewing the founder. I need ask the deeper-rooted questions. Not just what you do but why do you do what you do? How do you do it? What’s important to your culture and your employees beyond the product?
It’s that information that will start to build a relationship with your customers. And it’s super important to the younger generations coming up. They want to know who’s behind a brand, and they want to know your philosophy because to them, that ties to the quality of your products.
For example, I like to use skincare products that are more natural and doesn’t have a bunch of toxic ingredients. So I will often go to the about section of a skincare brand because that’s where I’ll see if they’re dedicated to organic ingredients, sustainable practices, etc. That makes me more loyal to the company because their values align with my values.
You brought up the word why and I think people want to know what your why is. It’s important for companies to have a why – why do you do things the way you do them? Why did you start the business? Why do you have certain features?
Don’t just say you’ve created a great service. Show people the infrastructure that you have to actually provide that service. People eat this type of information up because they’re curious at that level. For example, we hear about companies going green every single day. That’s not interesting information anymore. But if people see the story play out – if they learn where you source from, why you manufacture a certain way, what you do with your waste, etc. – it’s great content marketing.
Yes, because it’s interesting. It’s an interesting story of how businesses come to be, how ideas come up, how they change and why – that’s interesting to people. I think sometimes companies are reluctant to really share their story because it usually involves learning things the hard way.
But for me, if I’m ready about a company that admits they realized they were doing something wrong so they changed something, I appreciate that. It shows you care what your customer experiences are, you listen, and you make changes. I think sharing that story of growth or change is interesting and shows that you’re a business that ultimately cares.
I think what you just said will help a lot of business owners because people are pivoting in the way they’re delivering messages now. Instead of hiding the changes they made, seeing them as a negative, they’re turning it into a positive and actually talking about it.
The About Us page is the best place to convey your company philosophy and culture. And if you’re not good at writing that yourself, like me, then you need to work with someone like Kacie. Find someone you feel comfortable with helping you extract that information.
And not to promote all us copywriters, but sometimes business owners and even the marketing person within a business are just too close to the information. You’re so close to the business and the product that you can’t always step away and take an outsider’s view to see the hole in how or where you’re communicating this information.
You can’t read it from the perspective of someone new to the company to understand what questions they might have or what information they might find interesting. You’re just too close to it. That’s why it’s helpful to have an outside perspective come in and ask all the questions because it can surface information that might be really valuable to your potential customers that you never thought of because it’s second nature information to you.
That’s a monster point. I want to segue into how to put a good team bio together. Having personal bios for people on your team on your site is a great place to include information on your company philosophy and culture as well.
I think that really depends on your company and your culture. If you have more of a casual, fun culture and your team has unique interests and they’re okay sharing that, then you can include that information in a fun way. But if that doesn’t fit everyone on your team, then don’t force it just because you think it’s a fun, marketing idea. Because then you’re not being genuine to your brand and website visitors will pick up on that.
You must know your brand and your voice and then stick to that. Stick to what’s true for you rather than try to follow others because it will fall flat.
I think that’s something that’s rampant in our industry – marketing agencies trying to be too cute. Clients come to you for business reasons; they’re not necessarily interested that you have two cats and love pickles. I love pickles but that’s not on my profile page because that information doesn’t fit the vibe I’m going for with my company.
I think there is a time and place for that kind of information, and it ties into a bigger strategy. You want your website to have a certain vibe, voice, and serve a certain purpose. Maybe your social media is where you get a little more fun and show behind the scenes stuff because you’ve found it’s a different audience that’s visiting your social media vs. your website.
I think it comes down to planning and being intentional about your voice, your brand, and what you want to accomplish with your website, and with your social media.
I agree, and that’s probably a topic we’ll cover in a later video.
Companies also must think about the access points people are using to come into the website. So now let’s talk about service and/or product pages. These are two areas I focus a lot of time on with clients and give a lot of ideas and suggestions for because a core philosophy here at Soud Marketing is that 50% of the success equation is traffic coming to the site, and the remaining 50% is the website experience. This is the content that you have on your service pages to actually connect with and sell users.
Both parts of the equation are equally important. An issue I see with a lot of service pages is that they are simply too thin. They don’t answer enough questions for the user. Usually, when clients come to me because their ads have plateaued or are underperforming, there’s usually something we can do to bolster their ad accounts. But the website experience is typically lacking as well.
So, this is my biggest pet peeve – when service pages (or any website copy) are using company language instead of copy that visitors can see themselves in. It’s a subtle shift but it’s an important one. The way you position any aspect of your company should come from the customer’s angle.
Especially your product and service pages need to address the questions a potential customer would have when coming to the site. It’s about making the information valuable to the reader while weaving in what you do and how you do it. Ultimately, it has to be educational to the user or again, it just falls flat. People don’t want to read company jargon that is talking at them; the way to read valuable information that’s having a conversation with them.
A big word there is education. You need to educate people on various aspects related to how your service works or what your product does. What are the benefits of using it or having it? Really give some thought to the features of your business because oftentimes, there are features that you don’t think are a big deal but are a huge selling point to potential customers.
Educating about your process is also important. People gravitate towards that information. They want to know what it actually takes to create your product or provide your service.
Sharing reviews and user-generated content is very impactful today as well. And I’m big on having updated photos on your site, so if you haven’t scheduled a photo shoot in a while, get that on the calendar. Videos are also a great way to educate.
People are starting to diverge in three different directions: 1) they love videos, 2) they love audio, or 3) they love the written word. I’m trying to move clients to have all three of these on their website so users can obtain the information in their preferred method.
That’s a really good point. All of life – and especially in the content world – has become very personalized. As a consumer, you can choose what information you want to consume and how you want to consume it.
It wasn’t that long ago when people only had the morning and evening news and the newspaper. Now there’s podcasts, websites, etc. that are super niche. People are now used to getting their way with how they consume information. So, yes – if your website can include all the options, it’s a better catch-all because you’re putting information out there in all the various ways people might want to consume it.
And I will add that in terms of reading, we do not have attention spans anymore. People don’t read. That’s why popular sites all feature listicles, subheadings, bullet points, etc. If you have large blocks of copy, people are not going to read it.
Written copy must be scannable. People need to be able to scan the content to get an idea of what’s included, and then they’ll decide if they want to read the information.
I’m glad you went there because I wanted to segue into talking about content layout. This is something companies really need to think about.
In a previous video, I discussed whether you need a website redesign or if you just need to spend more time with your content. The layout of your content is equally as important as what’s in it. If it’s in block paragraphs, a lot of people just aren’t going to consume it, doesn’t matter if you have great stuff in there.
So, break up your content and use shorter paragraphs, bullets, numbers, etc. Utilize infographics and images to give things context. Get creative with it.
Yes, and just to give some context – I write for a couple big sites and the best practice is paragraphs that are no more than two or three sentences. They do not want paragraphs longer than that.
So again, you may have great copy, but you just need to spread it out a bit. Instead of separating multiple points with a comma, put them into a bulleted list. A lot of times you can use your same content, just reformat it into how people today like to read.
Yes, the content is still your company philosophy, your benefits, your features, etc. But go to each of those individual service or product pages and make sure you are giving people a full scope of what you offer, why you offer it, how (or the process) you offer it, and make sure it is easy to read.
Easy to scan and you want the scannable format to hook people in to want to read more. Perhaps make your subheadings questions someone might be thinking about your company. Make is scannable and try to pull them in.
Exactly. I want to end on this one bonus note – one piece of content that you can add to every service or product page that very few people do is an FAQ section. It will answer people’s questions right on the spot. If you don’t know what those frequently asked questions are, ask your customer service team. I promise they will know. An FAQ section will help beef up the page, it’s good for SEO, and it will help you close more sales faster.
And I would add to that – do not be afraid to include the difficult questions or ones that you don’t feel like you have a great answer to. If it’s something people are thinking, then just put it out there and answer it. Even if it’s a question you’d rather avoid. If it’s something customers are thinking, ask it and answer it. People will appreciate it.
That’s it for today! I hope you all found this helpful. I promise you – if you heed this advice, you’ll increase sales.