Don’t annoy them. Help them.

Yesterday I talked about how the promotional side of marketing was no longer just about trying to stand out from the crowd. On the internet, which is now by far the most important place to reach new prospects, it’s all about being found. But if you thought I was suggesting that traditional publicity channels were now redundant, far from it. They’re just a smaller part of the mix.

In the old days, things were as easy as shouting as loudly as your budget would let you. Successful promotion involved attracting the attention of prospects and trying to force them to hear your message. You can still do that, to an extent, but people are far more likely to ignore your interruptions than they ever used to be. Few industrial companies have the budget to be heard when customers have their hands over their ears.

Instead, you need to be there when they come looking for you. Whatever question they’re asking, you’re more likely to be found if you’re showing you’ve got the answer. Imagine an exhibition organiser saying you could have as big a stand as you wanted, at no extra cost. You’d order one large enough to show every single size of every product you could lay your hands on, wouldn’t you?

Your website needs to be the same. If you make blue and red widgets in large, medium and small sizes, that’s six pages you need, not one saying “we make all sorts of widgets”. Because customers will be searching for “large blue widgets”, or “small red widgets” …not “a range of widgets in different colours”. Nobody types that into Google, yet you probably have a page which says just that, because marketing in the past could be about generalisations. Not any more.

If you make widgets which can plug 10 and 20cm gaps, then make a page which says you can “plug a 10cm gap”, and another which says you can “plug a 20cm gap”. Why? Because customers will be looking for something to “plug a 10cm gap” or to “plug a 20cm gap”. They won’t be looking for “a comprehensive gap-filling solution in a range of sizes”.

It’s all about content, and then more content. And then even more content.

After that, go and help people find it. Ensure your pages are formatted to be found by the search engines and appear nicely in their results. Get links from other websites where prospects might be looking. Yes, that might even mean advertising. Just make sure you’re participating in something which is helping the reader, not wasting time trying to interrupt them.

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