If Design is King, Content is Queen
Will Brisbane, April 13, 2020
A company’s website is the storefront of their business; it’s the sign on the door. The website provides first impressions and there’s only one chance to make a first impression. A 2013 study by GE Capital Retail Bank showed that 80% of consumers start their search process online1. In today’s digital world, I’d be willing to bet the farm that figure has not decreased. This means people are looking at your website before deciding to do business with you. By looking at a company’s site you can get a feel for the business that they do, the quality of their work, their professionalism, the caliber of their people, their corporate moral fiber, and the level of their talent. You can see what’s important to them. You can tell what drives them. You can tell what they do and what they want to do and sometimes those are two very different things. You can tell what they want to sell to you. A good website will also tell you the level of satisfaction and, if applicable, return on investment you can expect if you do choose them.
But none of this is news. Your marketing team tells you this and this is why your design team is constantly tweaking your site to make it more visually appealing to visitors. After all, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive2. This is also why you’re implementing analytics, doing A-B testing, investigating personalization, and a handful of other tools that help you to refine your site.
But what about your content? What does your content do to ensure you get the most out of your web presence? A 2008 study from Omnicom Group stated that engaging your customer gives you a 15-20% increased return on investment3. The 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report showed an overwhelming majority (82%) of respondents indicated that content had a significant impact on their buying decision with more than half indicating they viewed two to four pieces of content4. Whether it’s marketing a product or a service, you are selling yourself as an expert and your content needs to show visitors that you are exactly the business they are looking for. Content can come in a number of flavors: blog posts, case studies, infographics, product data sheets, reviews, testimonials, or whitepapers. 76% of buyers rated thought leadership content as an important factor when conducting research for a vendor4. All of these help to establish your credibility as an expert in your field which will ultimately help to attract customers.
Quality content can also help to attract talent and establish your site as a source of cutting-edge information. Whether an individual is actively on the job market or not, they are often mindful of what else is out there. They are mindful of who the competition is. They are mindful of the relative quality and rankings of their competitors and potential future employers. If an individual finds themselves looking for information in a given field or answers to their problems and they stumble upon your website time and time again, they’re going to start recognizing your website, your company, as a resource, a wealth of information, a source of knowledge, and a place where cutting edge talent exists. So, when it comes time for them to either look for a new job or improve themselves before trying to take their career to the next level they know where to look; having that kind of persona is going to help to attract the top talent.
Being that resource will also help you to attract top clients. That same individual who finds themselves frequently on your website finding information, answers to problems, tools to make their jobs easier, or opinions on new technologies they haven’t had time to look into but are applicable to their space should be finding that information on your site. This will lead to being recognized as cutting edge subject matter experts. The day may come where they’re working for a company and their manager, director, CTO, or CEO comes to them and says “Hey, we’re looking for a partner to help us with ______, what do you know? Who do you know? Who do you recommend? Who can help take us to the next level?” That’s the time you may be being beat out by your competitors which is not something you want to let happen.
As a final side note, with content it’s sometimes not what you say but how you say it. One of the most important things in communication is tone. You can say the same thing a dozen times but if your tone changes the message changes. The tone of your website says as much about your business as the content that you put on it. If you’re a startup with a focus on youthful culture that you want to express, by all means communicate with a casual tone but be weary of crossing the line into the realm where you’re not taken seriously. Regardless of your culture, your tone should tell me that you are experienced and capable of elevating businesses to the next level.
And if it doesn’t tell me that,
it’s not telling the content consumer that,
it’s not telling potential talent that,
and it’s definitely not telling potential clients that.
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1 GE Capital Retail Bank’s Second Annual Shopper Study Outlines Digital Path to Major Purchases - https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130712005396/en/GE-Capital-Retail-Bank%E2%80%99s-Annual-Shopper-Study
2 27 Eye-Opening Website Statistics: Is Your Website Costing You Clients? - https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions
3 Neff, J (2008) OMD proves the power of engagement, Advertising Age, 15 July.
4 2015 DemandBase B2B Buyer’s Survey Report - https://www.slideshare.net/Demandbase/2015-b2b-buyers-survey-report