The internet has changed the way that many businesses do business and think about online content. Over the past decade e-commerce has gone from being a buzzword to a global marketplace expected to be worth $1.5 trillion by the end of the year (http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Global-B2C-Ecommerce-Sales-Hit-15-Trillion-This-Year-Driven-by-Growth-Emerging-Markets/1010575). There are millions of businesses cashing in on the opportunity to sell online – most are now using content marketing as one of their key tools.
But what if you don’t sell online, whether by choice or because of the service-orientated nature of your business, as is generally the case for everything from restaurants to hair salons? For businesses such as these, the web should still form a major part of your marketing strategy, and content marketing is important, even if you don’t need product descriptions and the like. High quality online content written by a professional copywriter can help your business in a number of ways.
Using Content Marketing to Create appetite
If you’re selling your products or providing your services from bricks and mortar premises, you might ask what good it does to bang on about them online. Plenty, is the answer. As well as using it to actually buy products, people use the internet as a discovery tool for identifying things that may interest or be of use to them, whether restaurants, entertainment venues, garages or anything else.
Online content can be used to appeal to those interests and needs, and to generate an appetite for what you specifically have to offer. A professional copywriter can highlight the many benefits of your products and services, and give them colour and character.
Even if you don’t sell online, content marketing can also provide would-be customers with any information they need prior to a visit to your physical premises. This might include the prices and specifications of particular products, your opening times, contact details and anything else pertinent. Your website is also a good place to publish a list of frequently asked questions, which can reduce the strain on your customer service staff.
Paint a picture
The content on your website should do more than just provide information though; it’s an opportunity for you to distinguish yourself from your competitors. If it has a consistent tone and style underpinned by well thought out marketing messages, your content can give a real sense of personality to your company. As well as building an overall brand image, your website gives you the chance to inform customers about the background of your company, the experience of the people behind it, and the philosophy behind everything you do.
The internet is a two-way conversation, and through blogs and social media a skilled copywriter can build a valuable dialogue between your business and its customers. This can benefit you in a number of ways, as it allows you to:
- Build trust between you and your customers/ clients
- Find out more about what your customers like and don’t like
- Address potential concerns that customers may have
- Keep people informed about what you’re doing and developments within your industry
Finally, as you grow your audience and – specifically – capture email addresses, you may suddenly be faced with a large database of customers hungry for your products or services. While your core product may remain offline, that database can be monetised with offers, joint ventures or new products. You might even find yourself wanting to sell online after all.