Winning Customers: Content vs. Conversions?

May 29, 2012
Which is more important: great content or an easy-to-use website?

No matter your business, the goal is the same: your customer has a problem, and you need to convince them that your solution is the best. Hence many marketers’ advocacy of creating helpful content that draws your prospects to your solution. But when it comes to content creation and actual conversions, are you robbing Peter to pay Paul?

The problem

In his recent article “Welcome to ‘Less is More’ Marketing,” digital marketer Mitch Joel expressed concern that although many companies are creating more content, they’re spending less time optimizing their websites to make it easier for prospects to become customers.

There are hundreds of books and blogs shaped around discussing “usability” and “user interfaces,” but it all comes down to making things as quick and easy as possible; for example, Avinash Kaushik has said that for each second a prospect waits for your web page to load, conversion potential drops by 7%.

Your content may be great, but if even your most loyal customer can’t easily make a purchase on your website, off they’ll go — possibly to your competitor.

So which is more critical to your business’ success: content or an easy-to-use website?

Finding a balance

Okay, so that was a trick question — it’s actually both. You need to create content that pulls prospects in and convinces them to purchase, and you need to make that purchase process as friction-free as possible. This creates happy, loyal customers who are more likely to engage with your content again, and then purchase again.

It’s a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Both aspects are important, but which comes first, an easy-to-use website or great content that brings visitors to that website?

Fine, that was another trick question. You can start wherever you like, but the idea is to always be tweaking your content and your website to find the optimum elements that bring prospects in and make it easy for them to become customers.

Where to start

Take stock

  • What condition is your website in today? Is it easy for people to make purchases, or do you often receive complaints that the process is too complex?
  • Use the Website Speed Test to get an idea of how fast your website loads. If it’s too slow, you’re probably losing business.
  • How’s your content strategy looking? If your last blog post was from 2010 and your Twitter feed still has the default egg image, you’ve got some work to do.

Get help

  • If you’ve never heard of HTML and WordPress is “too complicated” for you, don’t try to rebuild your website yourself. Hire a competent freelance developer or web shop to do it for you — and remember, your website is an investment, not an expense.
  • Develop your content strategy and start publishing! If you don’t have the skills or time to write your own content, you can hire a content agency or freelance writer to do it for you.

Once you’ve got the nuts and bolts in place, never stop refining your website or content strategy. Customer engagement and feedback is a great way to help you optimize your strategies and keep them coming back for more.

Need a leg up?

If your website or content strategy needs some help but you’re not sure where to start, why not sign up for a free website consultation? We’ll talk with you about your website and possible ways to make it work harder for you — all with no obligation on your part.

Sign me up!

[Image: dkwonsh]