Is Your Website a Hub?

Is Your Website a Hub?

In the olden days of marketing, a company might have a nice brochure that outlined a product or the company’s services. This brochure could be handed out at trade shows, and stuffed into envelopes for mailings. When the Internet came along, early Web designers took this brochure and created a beautiful website with the same content. This gave rise to the “brochureware” website that is killing marketing and sales in today’s Web.

Today, your website needs to be far more than a broadcast tool – your customers don’t want to be bombarded by a megaphone spouting your marketing message. Your website needs to be a hub that invites customers to learn about your product and services in a collaborative way – utilizing all the power that the Internet has to offer – without “broadcasting” at them.

75% of Your Focus Should Be What’s Happening OFF Your Website

Consumers don’t want to hear what you have to say about your product. They know you’re trying to sell something. They want to hear what other people have to say about your product. You can create a powerful hub by bringing that information together, in one place, for your prospects to review.

Focus on cultivating communities outside of your site that give people a way to connect with you and your products:[list style=”arrow”]

  • Yelp reviews are a great example. Encourage your happy customers to review your business on Yelp. Customers will be far more swayed by 30 4- and 5-star reviews than by your own assertion that your business is great.
  • If you target a specific demographic, have a presence in Web communities that cater to that demographic. If your product is geared toward motorcyclists, for example, spend some time posting on motorcycle forums. Don’t bombard or spam with your message – spend time building ties within the community. This will naturally lead people back to your site.
  • Reach out to thought leaders in your niche. Encourage them to give your product or service a try. They may be able to help you refine your offering through valuable feedback, and if you manage to get a positive review from one of these authorities, you’ll be in a great position with your demographic.[/list]

Make People ON Your Site Aware of What’s Going On OFF Your Site

Once you’ve invested in establishing a presence off your website, it’s important to let people who visit your site know about it. Make it easy for people on your site to find out what other people – off your site – are saying about your business or product.

  • Post a link to your business’s Yelp reviews
  • Link to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube Channels
  • Provide links to any media appearances – if you’re in a magazine or make it onto a popular website, share it with your visitors
  • Link to blog posts or reviews that other people have written about your product or business

When possible, if you’re legally able to do so, excerpt the most relevant or flattering content on your site. It’s great to post links to these things, but it’s even better if people can see what others are saying without leaving your site. Ask the blog writer if you can post an excerpt with a link back to the full review. Post positive emails or feedback on your site. Quote the people who love your product or service.

Avoid doing this excessively, because then you’re back to “broadcasting” at your visitors – but a little judicious praise-sharing can entice potential customers and encourage them to pull the trigger, or at least read more about how awesome your offering is.

Make your website a hub where your visitors can find out about all the positive stuff going on off of your website. Those are the things that will really count with your prospects, and it’ll transform your website from a boring old marketing message broadcast to a place where visitors will want to stay and learn.

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