Do Your Customers Think You Have An Information Void?
Many marketers think about their information offering in a siloed manner. As a result, prospects may not be able to find or access it. To ensure potential customers have the information they need to answer their questions and remove the barriers that keep them from purchasing, here are forty-two ways to provide relevant shopping information.
Website. Remember that visitors can enter any page via search or another link. Therefore make every page an entryway to your offering.
- Navigation. Does it present visitors with an overview of your offering? Depending on the depth of information and/or complexity include a sitemap so visitors can tell where they are.
- Search box. Give visitors another option to find the information they need.
- Product/Service Pages. Provide an understanding of your offering. Include customers comments where appropriate. Link to other relevant information on your website and blog.
- About page. Let prospects know who’s behind your organization since people buy from people they know.
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Do they really reflect the questions that customers want answered? Check email and customer service logs.
- Contact information. Include phone, physical address, and email options. Consumers will use any entry point to ask product and customer service questions.
- Top selling products. Let visitors know what’s hot.
- Social sharing options. Since purchase decisions tend to made by more than one person, facilitate information sharing to reduce time to purchase.
Social Media. Prospects may check with family and friends on social media platforms before you realize they’re considering a purchase. This is one of social media’s tracking challenges.
- Social media profiles. Do you have profiles or targeted pages on relevant social media platforms, such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+? Do you and/or your customers answer product related questions?
- Wikipedia listing. Where relevant, is there an entry for your business, product and/or important business executives?
- Photographs. Is your product photogenic? Think visually—products and customers. Use photographs on Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and blogs.
- Videos. Create videos including how-tos, entertainment and live events. Post them on your website and YouTube. Remember to include a non-Flash version to reach people on iPhones and iPads.
- Twitter. This can be useful to engage prospective customers with relevant, timely information and/or customer service.
- Discussion boards and/or forums. These are useful for complex products that consumers need help understanding how to use. These can be third party or on your own site.
- Presentations. Post senior executives’ presentations on slide sharing sites to maximize reach.
- Q&A sites. Answer relevant questions to your product/service. Customers may ask questions before and after they’ve purchased.
- Meetups. Attend or host relevant meetings to get prospects and customers involved. Think wine tastings and knitting circles.
- Social commerce. This includes a wide range of options such as ThisNext and Kaboodle where prospects share products they like.
Blog. To maximize your blog’s ability to provide relevant information, integrate it into your website.
- Categories. Give visitors an overview of your blog’s information.
- Tags. Provide an alternative way to search your blog.
- Titles. Draw readers in with strong product-related titles.
- Link. Where appropriate, link to product pages (and vice versa.)
- Comments. Respond to reader comments to let visitors understand your content better and provide another entry way into your company.
Email. On-going housefile communication provides another opportunity to convert potential customers.
- Newsletters. Provide meaty content that links to appropriate product information.
- Special offers. Since consumers often have a special email account for retail communications that they check before purchasing, make it easy for them to purchase directly or print out a coupon.
Third party media sites include a variety of media and social media options.
- Search. Does your products appear for the organic and paid search words prospects and customers use?
- Review sites. Think broadly for your offering. Include options such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
- Targeted niche media. Are there specialized publications your buyers read? Do these media provide product reviews and other insights? Can you contribute guest articles or advertise?
- Amazon. Bear in mind that consumers check Amazon’s reviews because they’re often more extensive than other sites.
Mobile offers additional on-the-go information options.
- Mobile website. Do you have a tailored mobile website? Remember customers check information while they’re in retail stores, yours or your competitors. At a minimum, include your physical location and phone number.
- Mobile search. Are you present on mobile search when prospects look for you on the go?
- Apps. Where appropriate, do you have a mobile app to reach customers? Think information needed on-the-go.
- Location based services. Do your prospects use these services? If so, are you present?
- Maps. Can customers find your location? One place they turn to is mobile maps to get directions.
Product packaging. Prospects may read your product packaging for special information.
- Relevant ingredients. Use plain language consumers understand.
- Website address. Include your website URL so prospective buyers can get questions answered when they’re ready to buy.
- Phone number. Give potential customers another way to reach you while they’re shopping. Remember customers don’t always trust store clerks for good information.
- QR code. Let potential buyers scan your product to get the information they need to close the sale.
In-store content. Don’t overlook how you can provide information in your store.
- Demonstrations. Show shoppers how to use your products. Let them see what’s involved. William Sonoma shows how to cook using various products.
- Provide samples. Nothing sells like a free sample. Trader Joe’s is the king of this option.
- In-store television. This is another alternative for showing prospects how to use your products.
- Knowledgeable Staff. Don’t forget that your staff should do more than stock shelves and check customers out.
When prospects and customers look for information, whether it’s to decide what to buy or how to use your product better, have relevant, useful content where they want and need it. The bottom line is that if you don’t answer their questions, they won’t purchase or, worse, may return your products.
Are there any other forms of purchase friendly information that you would add to this list? If so, what and where would you post the content?
Here are some related articles of interest.
- Understand Mobile Content Consumption – Market research included
- Mobile Goes Shopping
- Are you a content marketing rock star?