Support Sales with Quality Content


Companies are slowly getting the message that marketing hype and pushy sales tactics turn Web customers off. Some organizations understand that customers value good content and are posting informational articles to their sites in support of this. Obviously articles and other content support the sales of their products as well. But customers will find them truly useful if they are concise and informative, in a factual manner that suits the Webnot the pushy style of late-night TV commercials. Keep the marketing language to a minimum; let the content speak for itself.

One of the best places to fill people in on your products or services is on relevant informational pages. Ads or links to buy products that are well integrated within the content are seen as helpful because they're available when people most need them. Regrettably, some sites we studied did a great job of providing informative articles but missed opportunities to sell their productsor even let people know they sell them.

Remember, people don't always get to your site's home-page. Search engines often take them through deep links directly to specific pages inside the site, which means that they may never see your offerings. Placing product mentions or links to product pages in an article ensures that people will know you carry products relating to their interests. People won't need to browse your site any further if your articles answer their questions.

Four Reasons for Informational Articles

  • They enhance credibility by showing your expertise and genuine motivation to help

  • They help customers differentiate between alternative products

  • They provide information to support customers' purchase decisions

  • They contain keywords that enhance search engine visibility and increase traffic to your site


They Don't Have Products, Do They?

In one of our studies, people searched pg.com (the Procter & Gamble site) for food products that might be appropriate for a new kitten. Most were unable to accomplish this simple task. After exploring the site for an extended period, they didn't think that the site recommended kitten food.

There was a link labeled "May we recommend a product for your cat?" But it was far off in the left-hand margin, which people often associate with unimportant information. It would have been advantageous to embed this link in the body of the article so that it was noticeable.

To its credit, the site made it easy for people to get to the right place. The upper levels of the site had a prominent and clear link to "Pet Nutrition & Care," and the articles in this section were interesting and informative. Even the site's search engine brought up relevant articles for "kitten food." But the product links were overshadowed by the other elements on the page and people left without realizing that it actually sold the product it was promoting.

The P&G site has well-written articles that kept the interest of people in our study, but many who were researching what to feed their kittens left it thinking that the company didn't sell anything. The link to "All Pet Nutrition & Care Products" was at the bottom of the page, so it went unnoticed. The Feature Products header didn't clue people in to the fact that the company made products because titles underneath such as Does Your Cat Have a Sensitive Stomach? appeared to relate to article content.

www.pg.com


People were disappointed with the Nestlé Web site because it doesn't offer product recommendations. The Baby Foods section provides only superficial information about different brands. Nestlé misses the mark by ignoring consumer-related questions and focusing primarily on branding instead. For example, selecting the Alete brand baby food only provided branding history. People expected to find the products, information about which babies they're intended for, and the benefits.

"It talks about breastfeeding, but not about the product. I would like to have categories for formula according to the child's age, milk products, etc."

"They don't actually give me much information."

"I just read a little bit about their baby foods, but I can't find anything [more in-depth]. There's nothing that you can click on."

"I didn't like that bit of information; it didn't explain much to me."

www.nestle.com

More Information

For 207 design guidelines on e-commerce usability, as cited in this chapter, go to www.nngroup.com/reports, and see "ecommerce." For guidelines on presenting the complex products found on business-to-business sites, see "b2b."





Prioritizing Web Usability
Prioritizing Web Usability
ISBN: 0321350316
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 107

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