Posts Tagged online content

Am I Perfectly Clear?

Making a bad choice between the content a company WANTS to put on its website and what it SHOULD put on its site can often mean lost sales. Web content professionals know the best results happen when a site provides the customer with clear, honest information that includes comparative analysis, pricing, and product demos.

Sometimes that means the sales department has to step aside and let the content producers tell the story. Hype has to be kept at bay. Lauren Carlson, CRM Market Analyst at MarketingAutomationSoftware.com recently wrote an article, “What Software Buyers Want From a Vendor’s Website”, that highlights the most important content a product-based website should include:

Lauren hits on many key points Online Content Producers agrees with:

  • Be Clear: Give a good overview of the product, give the reader as much information as possible to make a good buying decision. Use comparison charts that clearly point out features and benefits. It’s fine to provide brochures and other collateral material, but make them downloads. Don’t let them clutter the site message.
  • Put the Price Upfront: Don’t bury pricing. Hiding the price suggests that its too high or that its a bad value. Don’t be cagey or dodge what is one of the most important facts of your buyer’s information gathering process.  You may think forcing prospects to contact you for pricing gives you have a chance to  sell them. In fact, the opposite is true. Customers are more likely to move on to another site where they can find the information they want.
  • Demos Draw People In: Easy-access demos are a key to retaining visitors to your site. Be sure they work on all platforms and browsers – including the iPad and other mobile devices. One of my favorite demo sites is cloversites.com. Visitors can quickly and easily test its website building tools. No sign up required, just click and start trying it out. I’ll bet their conversion rate is higher than similar sites that try to capture all my info before they’ll let me in to play. Clover knows their product is so good that I am very likely to buy once I see what it can do for me.
  • Provide Reviews: Let people see what customers say about the product. Online reviews make a large impact on buying decisions. If you are afraid of customer reviews, you likely have a problem that even the best site content can’t help.
  • Be Honest and Fair – Always: I added this one, but I am sure Lauren agrees with me. Don’t get carried away over-pitching or embellishing your products or disparaging a competitor. Not only is it wrong, and not nice, but with the transparency of the internet you will live to regret it.

The best test for any online content still is – “Is it clear?”

TEDxOrangeCoast – Content Lessons Learned

There is a strong sense of altruism that emanates from TED and TEDx. The TEDxOrangeCoast team joined a global community of volunteers committed to bringing great ideas to the local communities in which we live. Hopefully each team member is a better person and professional because of the experience.

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We each learned new things. In the case of Online Content Producers, TEDxOrangeCoast was a real-time workout in pushing out important content to a new audience. We misjudged the local community in regards to awareness of TEDx. Being longtime aficionados, we assumed more people in Orange County were too. In the end TEDxOrangeCoast was a great success, but we were worried there for awhile. Each member of the team had some teachable moments. Here are mine:

1. Always, always, research your market.

No matter how great you think your product or idea is, there is never a reason big enough NOT to do your audience research. The more Kool Aid you have drunk, the more reason to research your market.

2. The right media mix still includes print.

By misjudging brand awareness we discounted print, and realized too late that much of our audience had to be reached through business journals and print newspapers.

3. There must be a Chief Content Officer directing content.

A Content Strategy Plan and Editorial Calendar is mandatory. A detailed plan spelled out content topics, dates, publication platform, keywords, tags, etc., and allowed the marketing team at Brandtailers to utilize the content to its optimal value. The content was the message, and taking the time to plan a strategy for delivering that message is essential.

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The TEDxOrangeCoast team has scattered for the summer as we each dive back into our businesses. In the meantime, the content lives on. I hope you will take some time to watch the talks and enjoy the “great ideas worth spreading”.

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The Trouble with TEDxOrangeCoast

If you want good content – online content that will bend and grow your mind, mosey over to TED.com. If you haven’t listened to a TED talk before, I think you’ll thank me. If you have, you already know what an incredible resource this non-profit committed to “ideas worth spreading” is. Being able to watch and listen to talks by some of the most amazing people of our time makes TED one of the best tools for lifelong learning.

But, despite all modern technologies connecting us at the click of a button, there is still no replacing the in-person human experience of connecting with other people. TEDx was born from the understanding that by empowering independently organized groups of people in their own communities to organize TED-like events, human connections would be made, great ideas would be shared, and maybe – just maybe – communities would be more innovative as a result. TEDx events are created by volunteers who are passionate about sharing, learning and coming together to make good things happen. So, what’s the trouble?

It’s a new concept, unlike any other conference. You can’t compare it to anything you’ve been to before. You have to submit yourself to being fully present. To listening, learning and interacting. That means taking time away from your usual day. It means turning off the phone. That’s the trouble. It’s so unlike anything you have ever done that you might be inclined to dismiss it and miss an incredible experience. Don’t! Take time-out for TEDx. For me, its TEDxOrangeCoast on May 19th. If you are nearby, hope to see you there. If not, seek out TEDx in your own community. Just like the tip about TED.com, I think you’ll thank me!