Business development expert Ian Brodie swapped a traditional, corporate website for a content-rich site full of useful advice. His strategy paid off and he is reaping the rewards, as Sonja Jefferson of Valuable Content reveals
Buyer behaviour has changed. Today, most people's first port of call is the internet. But they are not looking for you, they're looking for answers to their business problems. So you'd better make sure that your website is packed full of valuable information that answers their questions and positions you as the trusted resource they seek.
Proving the power of good content is professional services business development expert, Ian Brodie. Ian's experience shows how powerful the "valuable content" strategy for your website can be.
Changing website strategy
Ian swapped a traditional, corporate website for his current content-rich site, with impressive results. "I decided to invest in a new website a couple of years ago," he explains. "Like many business owners I was incredibly frustrated with my existing site. I'd stumped up quite a bit of cash for what I thought was a good-looking website. I'd written compelling, client-focused copy describing the problems I had helped clients with and the benefits they'd get from working with me. I had testimonials, case studies, service descriptions - everything. Well, everything except clients."
Ian continues, "Almost no one came to my site (despite paying for some search engine optimisation work). Those that did visit didn't hang around for long. At the same time I was hugely enthusiastic about what an effective website could bring me. As a sole practitioner I knew that my time was at a premium. I was spending a lot of time working to win business by going out networking, pitching, presenting and meeting people. I knew that if I could just get my website working for me it could bring me in business."
Ian already had a separate blog - an outlet for him to share ideas on marketing and business development. He soon noticed that his scruffy-looking blog far outstripped his professional website in terms of traffic, and in terms of the connections it allowed him to make with potential clients and peers.
"Because my blog had useful articles on it, other websites and blogs had no hesitation linking to it and highlighting my articles to their readers. When I used social networks such as Twitter and LinkedIn, I had somewhere to send people to read more useful information (rather than just promotional puffery about myself which never goes down well)."
Building relationships with visitors to the site
"Visitors stuck around far longer on my blog," he adds. "They made comments. Some of them even emailed me to ask questions. I emailed back and we began to build a relationship. This never happened with my corporate site. I started getting emails from people asking how I could help them in their business. Clients were coming to me!"
So Ian abandoned his professional, corporate website. He got the blog tidied up and put all the stuff about his clients and his services as sub-pages of the blog. He kept the focus of the new site firmly and squarely on delivering what we call "valuable content" to keep readers engaged and coming back for more - and to get other sites linking to him to raise his Google rankings.
"Thanks to this strategy, I now get the majority of my clients via my website - and as I'd hoped, I don't have to go out and trade my time anytime I need new clients," says Ian.
So what can we learn from Ian's experiences? It's clear that the most important factor in website success is the quality and depth of its content. Valuable content really does help you sell.