Questions, Personas and a path to your door.
Knowing your market and who the people in it – is the first order of business. What are their questions? Problems? Needs? How do they think about their issues? Do they know they need “augmented staffing solutions” or perhaps they just need “help? now!” Knowing this is essential to the way to approach your market but also how to talk to your market – and, for our purposes, how you develop, organize and push your content. Understanding how they go about making business decisions is important – this process needs to inform your content, the organization of your website and the ways in which you can support your user’s path to purchase.
Validation – Checking the box that says you’re legitimate
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Your site should be professional, clear and up to date. Even word-of-mouth prospects will likely visit your site to see if you’re real. The sophistication of your brand and marketing depends on many factors (budget, goal, market, resources) but … at the most basic level your website should say, yes, they exist and then – yes, they do what I was told they do. Everyone is busy and moving at a clip – don’t expect people to have patience, spend time or give you the benefit of the doubt at this early “check-the-box phase” …take the time to make the site clear and a reasonable representation of your presence in the market.
If you don’t have time to build out all the content you’d ever need then don’t pretend you do. Start with the basics – just as your users are going through a funnel and moving through a decision-making process – you are too.
After you’ve got a site that doesn’t make you want to hide under the bed – put yourself in the shoes of your buyers/users. These are your ideal users – craft personas with clear personalities, titles and real-world issues. A persona doesn’t need to have every issue you plan to solve – just a typical set or even individual problem. Assuming that personality follow the fictitious buyer through the process.
I think I have a problem – I’d like to understand my problem better
You are not going to the buyer with a solution – you are letting them wade through content and offerings to find their solution – maybe it is you, and maybe it isn’t. You do not want people you can’t help – or who are looking for something else – wasting your time. The first offering you make is content that can help a buyer understand their problem better. In the old way – when you had a hammer – everything was a nail. Now you can talk about different approaches to building things, and a buyer can learn about all sorts of approaches and begin to see you as a source of knowledge and reputation.
Ok, I have a problem – I’d like to understand how problems like mine are solved
The next step in the buyer’s process determines the ways these problems are solved – your content should have something to offer in the form of case studies, examples, testimonials – so the buyer can see the way these problems are solved – and how you’ve solved them.
Interesting, maybe you can help me
Give people ways to reach you and incentive to do so. Forms, email links, phone numbers, forms for proposals.
Remember that just about everyone uses the internet to find information and just about everyone wants to get further down the road before their harrassed into making decisions. Let them come to you for answers – just make sure you have the kind of content that they’re looking for based on their place on a purchasing timeline.