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    2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2008 8:41 PM by lalithabrahma

    Driving Sales Through Web Content

    tscheer Wayfarer
      If you run a small business, there is a good chance
      that you have something important to say to your buyers. Whether it's
      about your products or services, best practices, or even shopping tips,
      there are opportunities on the Web to not only help your customers make
      better buying decisions but also for you to earn additional credibility
      that could directly lead to future sales.

      Online content, in all of its various forms, is causing
      marketing and PR to come together in ways that don't really exist
      offline. Unfortunately, many small and independent business owners have
      the misconception that online content such as blogs and news releases
      are only useful tools for large companies and Web-based firms. The
      roughly 10% of small brick and mortar shops that do venture online to
      promote themselves are perhaps on the right path. When your buyer is
      searching on the Web for something, content is the same regardless of
      how its dressed up, so don't worry if you aren't versed in the latest
      Flash techniques. Moreover, in the interconnected Web world we all live
      in, it is content that drives action.

      If you hold specialized knowledge in your field, or have
      simply picked up a few things over the years, why not share this
      information online and bring targeted traffic to your site? The fact
      is, every business has information that can contribute to the education
      of the marketplace. You need to ask yourself, "How can I get that
      information out there?" Adding a simple weblog--also known as a
      blog--to your company's site could, over time, generate significant
      traffic, additional credibility, and ultimately new customers. But you
      shouldn't limit yourself to daily or weekly contributions. Make a
      decision to dedicate at least 45 minutes a day online, posting
      meaningful comments, answers and questions of your own on forums and
      blogs related to your industry. Positioning yourself as an authority in
      your industry will drive solid traffic to your blog or website as long
      as you provide a link. In fact, over time, you could develop an
      expert's reputation within your niche community.

      Just as important as it is to get out there and drive
      traffic to your site through generating relevant and quality online
      content to your audience, it's equally important to create a call to
      action on whatever landing page or blog site is hosting your article.

      In The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott, this point is emphasized:

      +Companies that understand the new rules of
      marketing and PR have a clearly defined business goal - to sell
      products, to generate contributions, or to get people to vote or join.
      These successful organizations aren't focused on the wrong goals,
      things like press clips and advertising awards. At successful
      organizations, news releases, blogs, Web sites, podcasts, and other
      content draw visitors into the sales-consideration cycle, then funnel
      them toward the place where action occurs.+

      Lesson learned: At America's Best
      Companies, we strive to educate the point-and-click generation of today
      so they can recognize the unique products and personal services that
      small businesses offer. Because it's the local shop owners who are the
      masters of their trade, they are the ones who we, as consumers, want to
      hear from when we browse the Internet for information on things like
      hair care products, bicycle maintenance, cooking tips, gardening, home
      improvement and more. So for the small business community, it's time to
      speak up.