In my nine years of experience working with clients, I have noticed that there is a huge struggle for many to determine what content should be on the website. An estimated 90% of business websites in Africa are not contributing to the business’ bottom line.
What should customers do?
Websites must make the customers take an action towards becoming a customer. An effective website must have content that helps visitors to take the desired action.
The desired action could be any of these and more:
1. Start using the service online.
This applies if your service is something that a person can start using right away.
2. Fill contact form.
This is quite overused I should say. In general, the more specific a call to action is, the better the quality of the business leads generated.
3. Place an order.
Asking website to place an order for your product or service helps them get started on the process of acquiring it. Allow clients to show interest by placing orders for products or services that cannot be bought online.
4. Buy online.
Possible on websites where purchases can be done online. Some people are sceptical about the possibility and viability of online shopping in Africa. The truth is it’s growing and becoming very stable. Africans trade online a lot; they do that mostly on foreign websites.
5. Book a meeting.
Booking a meeting with a professional is the ideal call to action for services that need a physical meeting. Using different online tools, the business website can give people a chance to book for meetings with professionals.
6. Read the article.
In cases where the business is about producing content. The desired action is to get visitors engaged. Sadly, many content producing websites do not pay attention to the user experience, which greatly affects their goal – engagement.
7. Install an app.
If the business is pushing for app installs, the content should help the visitors to take that action. A website for promoting an app should make allow the visitors to get the app installed from the website. This action should be encouraged on the website.
8. Download a file.
Where we want people to get an eBook or other files, the download a file is appropriate. Encourage the visitors to take the desired action with the website content.
9. Many others.
There are many other calls to actions that can be used for better conversions. It is important for any business to know what exactly they expect their website to do for them. The content on the website should encourage the website visitors to take that action.
Any website, which does not help people take the desired action, is failing to achieve its primary objective. Produce content that compels website visitors to take the action.
Determining website content
Here are some things to consider in determining what the website content should be:
Among your products and services, there are some key things that must be prominent. A commercial bank website, for example, needs to focus on opening accounts and management. The rest of the services are complementary. The bank should clearly make the account centric services more prominent.
Whatever makes the business important to clients must be prominent on the website. The commonest mistake is to make prominent services, which the business is trying to push instead of what people are looking for.
There are questions that people ask about your product or service. It is very important for the client to have that information up front. As much as does not harm the business, give the details about your products and services.
When a person has visited your website, it is as good as coming to your office. Would you ask someone who walks through your door to make a call for extra information? If not try to give as much detail as possible to the audience coming to your website.
3. Content focus
Much of the content on a business website must be product/service centric. It is highly discouraged to use any company’s profile as the website content. For the B2C business model, the company profile does not speak the right language and does not give enough details about the product/services. Use the website to speak to specific individual people who make decisions about buying your products or services. You need to know whom the website is addressing – target audience.
4. Target audience
To do well online the content must be aiming at a specific buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fake character that represents the ideal client for a product or service. The information to gather in generating a buyer persona includes background, age range, gender, goals, fears and reason for using the product.
The more details you have about your buyer persona the easier it is to write directly to them. Content generated for a specific buyer persona; it becomes more effective towards that group.
In the real world, any product is likely to have more than one buyer persona, create content that speaks directly to each of the represented groups.
5. Generating brand/business/product evangelists –
What happens after a sale is what get people to become evangelists for any business or not. You can use your website to support your customer both on demand and organically. Making helpful information always available and easily accessible via the website is more important than having a very responsive online support team.
6. Business action on the website
Allow prospective customers to take actions that get themselves into your business ecosystem. In that ecosystem, there should be different players in it – prospective customers, new customers, old customers and former customers as well. The only way to allow prospective customers to take action on the website. Actions include downloading guides, booking for meetings, buying something online, subscribing to mailing lists etc.
Tips for website pages
1. Home Page
This is the most important page on the website for people who come to the website directly. The homepage of any website should clearly tell what the business and website is about. The prominent thing on the website should be about the most profitable products or services. There should be a call to actions on the homepage to lead people into specific pages.
Honestly, most visitors come to your website for what you do more than the brand and the business itself. It is very important to make sure that your website is about what you do and less about the business.
When placing the important products/services on the homepage, the priority of the products/services to the business must be considered. If you have more than five different products and services it is advisable to put the most prominent ones on the homepage.
The details on the homepage about each product/service should help the user identify it only. Very deep details on each item on the homepage should be dedicated to a separate product/service page. That is where the ‘read more’ and ‘learn more’ call to action become handy.
The slides on the homepage should be a representation of specific products/services that the business offers together with a subtle call to actions to take people to the more details pages on each product. It is not just images of happy customers in this case, but happy customers for particular services, which we have more details to give those interested. Beautiful slides leading nowhere are not a smart idea.
Details about the company’s history, mission, values and vision could be displayed here in a teaser style leaving the details to be about us page.
2. Product Page
Each product must have a dedicated page. The product page is what we want to be displayed by search engines when people search for that product. The product page should give as many details as possible about the product.
The details may include:
- Product description to a nonprofessional but with enough technical details to appeal to an expert user. Assume the visitor is meeting the product for the first time.
- Product features – all details including the obvious should be added here. The more you write about your product the higher the chances of landing high rankings in search results. These include colour shades, height, width etc.
- Call to action – ask people to do something here. Buy or place an order and any other relevant action. Having a different call to actions may be advisable e.g., buy now or signup for discount notices or contact a salesperson.
- Testimonials from current or past users can bring about some social proof here.
- Frequently asked questions about the product. This is important in overcoming the objections that a potential customer may have. The FAQs themselves may not be listed on the product page in full, including a link makes them more visible.
3. Service Page
Same as product page but detailing the service.
4. About Us
This page should give details that help the customer get convinced that you are the best business to deal with. The content here should be customer-centric. The language should not be direct selling but it gives the customer confidence to work with your business. And not all facts about the business should be added to this page unless they help with the goal or getting customers to buy from the business.
There are cases where the team behind the business must be put on the website to add credibility to the business. In such cases, only business and business culture relevant details about the team members should be given.
The core thing about this page is to give details that will increase trust and confidence in the business. People usually come to this page when they want to take the next step but they need to know who they are dealing with.
5. Contact Us
Give all the details about all the possible channels of getting in touch with the business. In some cases, it may be very wise to include some contact details on each or some website pages.
This page contains images/videos about things you want your targets audience to have a feel of. Use this section to highlight your team in service delivery, a happy customer or your product in use.
This is not for you to add any image you prefer but only those, which can and will help the target audience get convinced that working with you is a good thing.
7. Action pages
The pages dedicated to customer action are very important. They should have fewer distractions. In most cases, it makes sense to remove even the menus and the footer. This is to help customers focus on completing the action at hand with minimal distraction.
a. Shopping page
The page should showcase the products which customers can buy. The shopping page must make it easy for people to do the shopping. A general recommendation is that allows people to experience the shopping experience be they register. The focus of this page gives a good customer experience.
b. Check out page
all unnecessary questions must be removed. The less mandatory details they provide, the quicker they are able to make the purchase before they change their minds. One-paged checkout pages are encouraged.
c. Landing pages
These are the pages dedicated to specific marketing campaigns. It is highly discouraged to send campaign traffic to the homepage in most cases. Landing pages are important for two things. Firstly, they can provide content for that specific promotion or campaign in more detail. This allows the person who clicked through to feel that they are not lost. Secondly, landing pages have the capacity to make the customer take action right on that pages without going anywhere else. This increases the conversion rate.
8. Blog page
This is where you are free to write content that your users may need but is difficult to fit into the business pages above.
Blog content can be used to achieve the following:
- Position the business as an industry thought leader. This is to show domain areas expertise.
- To teach customers about your products/services and why they need to use them
- To support the current customers
- To help prospective customers take the right action – to buy.
Planning is very important in building websites. A good plan will cover details on what customers should be able to do on the website, measures of progress and what needs to be communicated to from the website.
What do you think? Is there anything I missed and you want to add? Can you give me feedback on the point you agree or disagree with? Let us the conversation going.