You can learn a lot these days from a Google search. Or, at least that’s the idea. Recently, I found myself searching for local bicycle shops. My bicycle needed a tune-up and my daughter had outgrown hers.
I found two shops that professed to offer service and sales. Unfortunately, neither of their websites provided what I was really looking for — information. I wanted insight on how hard it was to tune your own bike, how to size a bike for a growing teenager, and what types of bikes might be good for the casual rider yet durable enough for kids.
Granted, this is an example from my personal life. And, much of the information I wanted could be found elsewhere on the Internet. But, the lack of informative content isn’t limited to bicycle shops in my local area. Good content is often hard to find. Just think of your own search patterns. How many sites do you visit before finding what you are looking for — on any subject?
It’s a shame and a missed opportunity for any business online today. Especially since an overwhelming percentage of B2B and B2C customers use information from websites to guide their buying decisions.
MarketingSherpa reports in a recent study that 80% of B2B customers found the product they needed online versus being contacted by the company.
And, a study by BIA/Kelsey showed that 97% of consumers research online prior to purchasing — even if they intend to buy locally.
In fact, a company’s website is so critical MarketingSherpa says that:
“ … the role of a company’s website has been elevated from simply a spoke in the marketing mix to the hub of the marketing strategy.”
That information is powerful and profitable for web writers. Let me explain …
A hub, of course, is generally defined as the center of a wheel or axle. The spokes reach out from the center to the edge of the wheel, and when joined, create a complete circle just like a bicycle wheel.
But, being the tech geek that I am, that analogy also brings to my mind an image of a networking hub.
A networking hub is a centralized device that uses cables to connect computers, printers, and other devices to a network. A networking hub isn’t constrained to a circle — the cables, or spokes if you will, can be any length.
A website is more like the networking hub. It can have content of all different types (the spokes), yet not all of it will be equal. Some will be long spokes, such as an active blog with many posts. Some may be short, such as sales pages in an online catalog. The spokes for a website could include:
- Sales pages
- Social media
- Support pages
That certainly isn’t an all-inclusive list. It will also change over time with the Internet marketing trends. For example, at the moment, social media is becoming the big spoke. Next year, it may be something different.
But, companies are really starting to take notice of how important their website really is.
Inbound marketing budgets increased 15% in 2010 according to a study by Hubspot. Yet, even increasing budgets doesn’t guarantee quality websites and content. The MarketingSherpa report goes on to comment that,
“ … you have to produce content that your prospects yearn to read, listen, or view. Otherwise, they probably won’t bother to, and your content investment is wasted.”
That is where you and I come in. As well-trained web copywriters, we can ensure that our client’s investment in content is well-spent. Using the premise of the hub, we can:
- Make their spokes stronger with well-written content.
- Make the spokes longer by adding useful information.
- Add spokes to their hub.
- Help all the spokes work together to present a single voice, brand, or image.
As an example, let’s say you’ve been hired to write a sales page. A sales page alone isn’t a very big spoke. Here are some ways you could use these new ideas:
- Making the spoke stronger. We can make the sales page engaging, offering readers something that piques their interest and keeps them reading — ultimately making them more willing to purchase or fork over their contact information. This includes painting a picture or telling a story, using testimonials, offering proof, and increasing credibility — any and all the good copywriting techniques that are often left out of website content.
- Helping the spokes work together. Did you notice the sales page you are writing seems to be different than others on the site? Do they all seem different, or somehow inconsistent? Suggest a review of the website for consistent tone, brand, or image. Then, help them pull together a website that represents the company properly on every page.
Now you understand how central a company’s website is to its marketing strategy (or, that it should be if it isn’t) and how you can help. You can share this knowledge with your clients. Whether you are just putting together a proposal, or handing in the final product, you could suggest any of the ideas presented here if you see the company needs a stronger website. (And most of them do!)
In the examples, all of the suggestions expand the work beyond the basic sales page, and would incur additional fees for you to complete. You’ve increased the helpful content on their site, strengthened their spokes and hub — and you’ve improved your bottom line in the process.
There is an enormous amount of work out there for web copywriters as companies realize the necessity and power of their website. But, the power requires a commitment — investing in good, persuasive content that converts and generates leads. And, you are just the one to provide it, making good money for your efforts.
To get started if you’re looking for clients … Just do a Google search on a topic in your niche. You’ll probably find many companies that desperately need your help to improve their hub.