The best way to convey the importance of rich content on the web is by comparing it to a regular brick and mortar business (or real life business as some call it). When it comes to any “real-life” business, it always comes down to two things:
Quality: The quality of the product or service a company sells can have a great impact on the way people perceive it. And this is especially true in the long run, since most businesses will show a great amount of sales on the first days of business only because people want to try new things. However, customers will keep coming only if they know they will get a quality product or service.
But nonetheless, when it comes to physical businesses, there is one aspect that can be far more important for its sales.
Location: Contrary to what many people think, a business doesn’t always need to provide the best quality in its products or services as long as there is not much competition nearby and most importantly, as long as it is located in the right place. This is because if a business is located in a very transited area, people are bound to run across it and may prefer to buy from such business regardless of the quality (as long as it is acceptable), than to go out if their way (and waste time) in order to get a better product.
This is why for so many companies, location is always their top priority and why the saying “Build it and they will come” has become so known among business people.
But going for success online demands a complete change of paradigm and a different approach altogether. Online, most entrepreneurs think that it is all about selling; when the truth is that it is all about content.
Let’s take a deeper look into this.
The Internet is one of the most important things to happen to the world in modern history, but if you think about it, its usefulness lies not in that we can now buy things from anywhere in the world (this is important but not crucial), but in that we can find information about almost anything.
The Internet is all about knowledge
When people go online, they search for information, for solutions to their problems. Even when they are not searching for anything in particular people still prefer to look for information. For everyone, the Internet is a searching tool where they go for research and to find information of the highest value that can help them with very specific needs, be it a problem they want to solve, an idea they want to complement with more information and a variety of other things.
And here is where the opportunity presents itself for any business trying to be successful online. Such opportunity does not reside in location, and not even in advertising (not in the long run at least), but in providing potential customers with trustworthy and helpful information that pleases them and at the same time makes search engines happy.
Because the truth is that even if advertising on the web can be very effective, it will only be so as long as you keep paying for it. The moment you stop paying for ads, you will stop getting results. This is a dependence situation every company wants to avoid, especially if it is a small business. And this is precisely what can be achieved by providing valuable and keyword-rich content. With this kind of content not only will your readership will be satisfied, but search engines will rank your website higher and higher every time.
Why is content so important as compared to writing a sales pitch?
There are many reasons why providing content is far more effective than just going for a sales pitch, here are some of them:
No brand: Unless you are one the “big names” in your business sector, most likely you still have no brand recognition at all, which makes your chances of making a sale out of the blue near zero. First you need to establish some kind of connection with your prospects and only then (after you build trust and credibility) go for the sale.
No perceived experience: No matter how knowledgeable you are about your business, for any prospective buyer coming to your website, you are just a newbie, and a stranger. Therefore you need to build your credibility first and sell afterwards.
Of course there are many more, but for these reasons alone, you should not make sales your first priority. The priority of your online business not only when starting out, but at all times should be to have a website full of useful and helpful information that can help you be perceived by all your readers as an expert in your field. This in turn will build your credibility and your brand since people who arrive to your site and find something useful will start to trust you and to see your business not as a business, but as a useful companion.
Create a bond with your prospective customers
Remember that online, people buy from those they like, know and trust. A bond has to be established first before any attempt to sell anything. That is why for online business owners, the focus has to change from being an entrepreneur to become an “infopreneur” instead. Provide your visitors with the information they are seeking and making the sale will prove to be very easy afterwards.
Now, the best and fastest way to be recognised as an expert in your field is to be very specific in the topics you offer information about. The web offers a wide array of topics so trying to be everything for everyone will only lose you potential customers. Offer information on as many topics as your business is related to, but be very specific when offering that information. Don’t spread yourself too thin or you will lose business instead of gaining it.
That said, once you start focusing on offering valuable, targeted content to your readers you will be in a position of tremendous advantage in order to make a sale. However, don’t forget that your customers are not the only ones you need to keep happy, search engines are just as important. And since they are part of the equation, you need to keep your content not only full of valuable information, but also SEO compliant in order to achieve better positions on search engines.
In the long run, the valuable information you offer your readers and potential customers, paired with a smart keyword-rich page layout that compels search engines to prioritise your website will bring you a steady flow of sales, a great amount of followers and a growing business.