Monday, August 16, 2010

How useful is your content?

Previously, I wrote about how you can ensure that your web content is readable. But it doesn't matter how readable it is if it's not useful. Here are four easy ways to make sure that your content is useful to your customers:

  1. Create customer profiles and personas.

    Who are your customers? Exactly? Create 3 or 4 primary customer profiles and personas that define who they are, what their needs are, and what they want to accomplish on your site. What are their personal or business motivations? What do they most value? What helps them to make a final decision? Think about the type of content that may be useful to them that they don't even know they need. Use facts and data (to create profiles) and then weave those into engaging characters (or personas) to help you accurately focus your content.
     

  2. Make it easy for your customers to do something useful.

    Your customers may want to contact you by e-mail, by phone, or by online chat. They may want to subscribe to your blogposts, leave a comment, or provide a product or service review. They may want to order your product or services online, refer you to a friend, or compare your products. Discover what they want to do on your site, and make it easy for them. (Tip: Customers don't often know what they want until they experience it!)
     
  3. Help your customers to learn something useful.

    Most prospective customers will come to your site to learn more about your business or products and services. They may also want to learn about your customer service and support policies. Be generous and transparent in your information. Gone are the days when you could provide a morsel of vague information and expect customers to contact you to learn more. They'll just move on to another site that gives them the information they're looking for. Existing customers will come to your website for customer service and support, to purchase additional products or services, and, if you provide truly useful content, to learn more about something relevant to your business and their lives. That type of content (also known as content marketing) often takes the form of blogs or newsletters, and not only keeps your customers coming back, but is often widely shared among prospective customers.
     
  4. Provide content that encourages customers to make a decision

    Most prospective customers won't make a purchasing decision until they have sufficient information about the product or service, and trust in your company. Why should they buy from you, instead of your competitor? Have other people just like them been happy with your product or service? Why should they buy Product A instead of Product B? Which of your products or services is best for them right now? What happens if they're not happy with their purchase? Again, be generous and transparent in your information. Prices, taxes, fees, additional charges, and return policies should be clear, unless you have a good reason not to publish that information. Testimonials, customer reviews, and customer comments help to instill trust. If your product or service offerings are extensive or confusing, help your customers to determine which is best for them.

2 comments:

  1. This is not just a great post but also sound advice. Online documentation has become so pivotal towards an enterprise's success and the slashing of product support costs.

    But don't take it from me! A recent article on Forbes.com written by the CEO of MindTouch reveals some jaw-dropping stats on the impact which meaningful documentation makes: http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/07/customer-service-fulkerson-technology-documentation.html

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  2. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.
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