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December 2010
Converting Sales Relationships with Content Engagement
By Kip Cozart

     A primary role of commercial Web content is to inform, persuade, educate and sell our products, services and ideas to our prospective customers and those who influence our marketplace. Many websites underperform, delivering few if any tangible customer leads or interactions. Too often, poorly designed websites provide only passive content, allow anonymous use by the visitors, send prospects to cumbersome online “contact forms,” or indiscriminately refer potential leads to a generic telephone number.

     Well-crafted Web content can accomplish much more. Here are several approaches to help you engage your prospects more quickly, spark an faster exchange of information, accelerate the growth of customer relationships with more frequent and more meaningful online “conversations,” gather new insights about how visitors react to your content, and convert more online activity into more profitable and measurable results. Think “Proactive Engagement.”

     Start from the customer’s point of view… To generate more qualified leads through online content, first put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Prospects are looking for immediate information and assistance. They are resistant to being “pitched” or “sold.” So, give them what they want. Arrange content to address your customers’ most compelling needs first, in effect offering a measure of service before the sale. If they feel that your product meets their needs, then prospects will be far more receptive to engaging in a meaningful dialogue with you.

     Connect with “bite-sized” pieces… Increase the number of first-time responses by inviting visitors to interact with you in numerous quick and simple ways that are integrated throughout your content. Instead of forcing prospects to complete a time-consuming “contact form” requiring multiple entry fields, embed a small 3-field “Ask a question” box into the sidebar of each page, asking only for the person’s name, reply e-mail address and freeform question or comment.

     Once the initial email message is received, obtain more complete contact information through a friendly, non-threatening conversational exchange. Other bite-sized interactions include “live chat” texting, “click to call” phone support, single question polling, and “mouse-over phrasing” inserted within standard text that instantly reveals expanded information within simplified content.

     Make every Web visit count… Use “cookies” (tracking code) to monitor and record the individual behavior of each visitor connecting to your website. As the visitor surfs and interacts with page content, a personalized “user profile” can be recorded based on the “click path,” indicating the specific content the visitor is most interested in obtaining.

     This supplemental profile is seamlessly attached to any direct communication, such as an “Ask a question” submission, providing a deeper understanding of what most motivates the customer. If the original “cookie” remains in place, the profile can be updated during each return visit. Moreover, user profile trends can be evaluated on a macro level to identify product perceptions and new sales opportunities.

     Content provided by CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company providing a full array of services to businesses and organizations to enhance and produce effective Web, e-mail, multimedia marketing initiatives and business process improvements. For more information, contact Kip Cozart at 704-543-1171 or visit www.cccommunications.com/resources_articles.cfm.

 

Kip Cozart is CEO of CC Communications, a Web design, programming and Internet media company.
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