The 5 Key Ingredients To Actionable Content
Your audience is fatigued. These days, there is a lot of digital noise. Anyone can make a website, blog, or post to social media. Anyone can say anything- all the time. We are in a world so overloaded with content, we just click on the first few things that the internet puts in front of us, and we accept that. We have to. To comb through the millions of pieces of content (exponentially growing daily), would be close to impossible — if not, a terrible misuse of our time.
My point being, once a potential customer finds your website, that in its own, took a lot of work on your part.
Don’t blow it!
You’ve got your audience’s attention — what are you going to do with it? A major mistake companies make is assuming users know exactly what they should do on their site. Here’s a secret (they don’t). They haven’t put in the weeks, months and years you have into knowing your product and how great it is. They don’t know your culture, jargon and worst of all — they don’t know what problems of theirs you can solve. And they’re tired. Don’t make them think.
Your users aren’t going to dig around your website to figure out why and how they should do business with you . You have to make it really clear, easy and persuasive as to why they should want to do business with you. To achieve this, there are a lot of formulas and acronyms and theories — but if you boil it all down, you’re left with these simple rules that apply to every aspect of sales and thus your website…because your website should be your best sales(wo)man.
So here we go:
You know the problem your user has, but they might not. Or they might not realize that YOU can actually solve this problem they have.
I once worked with a medical textile manufacturing company. They had a tubing that could allow faster transfusion of blood than other tubing. The problem this was solving was reducing the time it takes to transfuse blood in situations where there isn’t always a lot of time. This wasn’t mentioned anywhere in their content, except for in a downloadable PDF 5 clicks away from the homepage. It was very unlikely a prospect would ever discover this and be motivated to do business.
Whether you’re an agency or selling hammocks or creating the next breakthrough in science, you need to state the problem you’re solving so your users can relate and identify themselves as a beneficiary of your product or service.
You’ve identified the problem for you and your user, now you need to tell them you have a solution. Identify what your solution is. Identify how your solution solves the problem. It’s really that easy.
Tuft & Needle has a great website to display this. You can see in the clip below, their website features the problem they’re solving — bad sleep due to uncomfortable mattresses. The immediate next thing is the diagram showing their solution to the problem, by showing the features that make their mattress comfortable.
Maybe you have a lot of competitors in your industry, and your potential customer has a lot of options for solutions to this problem of theirs — what makes your solution different and better? What are the benefits to your product?
Maybe you do sell hammocks — but your’s is lighter so it’s easier to carry than other hammocks. Or you sell toothbrushes, but yours is environmentally friendly. I don’t know what your benefits are, but you get the point. Find every benefit your solution has and be sure to highlight them.
Again, check out how Tuft & Needle highlights some benefits of their product.
Ok, you got your audience to your site. You showed them the problem they’re having and how you can solve it with all these great benefits they weren’t expecting…but now what?
You user needs to easily be able to make the action you want them to. If you don’t know what action you want someone to take on your site, you need to figure that out. A call-to-action should be the first thing a user sees on your website. Usually in the hero section (top of the site), this is a simple sentence (or two) telling the user what action to make and a button (“sign up”, “try for free”, “request a quote”, “order now”, “shop”, etc.,) that takes them directly to that action.
Netflix has a great Call-to-Action. It’s clear, addresses what they offer and their benefits.
5. Social Proof
Have you heard of the story of The Shed at Dulwich? The Shed at Dulwich doesn’t exist, it was a spoof restaurant in London. A guy started making fake social proof for his “restaurant” (which was just a shed in his backyard) online and before long real people were making reviews for a restaurant that they’d never been to and getting put on a fake wait list for reservations months away. Eventually the reviews snowballed and it was ranked ONE OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN LONDON. We’re not talking some small village in Europe; we’re talking London, a world hub of fine cuisine. World-class chefs were raving about this restaurant…
Point is, we’re in a review world now. I buy everything from paper towels to bike tires off of Amazon based purely on whatever has the best and most reviews.
Your prospects and customers work hard for their money, it’s a decision to choose to spend that money with you, and a decision they want to know they won’t regret.
On your homepage, highlight quotes from your customers raving about how much they love doing business with you and why. If it makes sense, provide an option to leave reviews for your products and let potential buyers see those reviews. However you can, show prospects how happy your customers are so you can help ease any reservations they may have and assure them they won’t regret picking you.
Have any questions?
Identifying and communicating the problem, solution, benefit, action and social proof is the foundation to how you should communicate with your customers and prospects. There are of course several ways to execute, and other gems you can include — but if you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed, start with these basics.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below!