An email from Ian the other day posed some interesting questions from a content marketing perspective, and Ian has been good enough to allow me to post his question, and of course the answer to the blog.

Over to Ian: 
Congrats on the insight you provided on your blog regarding FB timeline changes – it was a refreshing and easy to follow read, as was the rest of your blog which I have been reading through, and will now be on my favourites list – so please keep the great tips coming
Just wanted to pick your brains if that’s ok?  I am helping a friend who runs a double glazing firm, and at present is getting around 100 unique visits a day, and is ranking quite well for long tail queries i.e. PVC Windows Cardiff. How would you take this to the next level?  With regard online marketing – they have not really touched Facebook yet – as there is some resistance in what value/leads this channel could provide

They have an active twitter presence, but at the moment it’s just used mainly to push out sales chatter for most of the day (not great I know) What other online marketing channels could I investigate to help drive more traffic to the site?  I was thinking of a competition online which is a good traffic source and can lead to valuable customer data or running Facebook ads where they can target their demographic audience? 

The Response! 

Thanks! I’ll take the general compliment about the blog, but that particular Facebook article you are referring to was written by a guy named Paul who runs an internet business. He did it for me as a favour! In fact, Paul (who you can contact directly from the article) is far more able to talk to you about the tricks of SEO and general internet / classified advertising and so on, you may want to consider giving him a shout directly? Though bear in mind, he makes his living with that stuff, so at some point he may want to charge you!
To be fair I’m more into sales and marketing strategy rather than website tactics and so I suggest you consider a couple of questions that immediately spring to mind.
The next level means what? Doubling or trebling the traffic? Or actually starting to make money from the site?! Two different things
As mentioned SEO and Google rankings, ad words, Facebook ads etc, are all among the many ways to drive traffic to your site. While being targeted to your prospective clients demographic, the doesn’t necessarily mean that the people who visit you will be in the right buying frame of mind?
The competition idea is similar. Good way to drive traffic for sure, but tends to attract people who want to win your product, rather than buy it.
Making money
To make money from the site it needs to do two things, brand the business so that visitors get the right experience and trust the company they are looking at, and secondly, offer a way to purchase. This might be as simple as a telephone number to make an appointment to see someone, through to the ability to order the product they want right off the website. But It doesn’t matter how good the site is, if the visitor doesn’t want your product they won’t buy.
So either think of the site as a window onto the brand as it were, or alternatively, an actual selling portal. And if its to be a selling portal, you need to drive prospective buyers there, not just traffic.
Setting the site up as a shop window is one thing, and to be fair is what people usually do. It will have pictures of installations and happy customers testimonials, an introduction to the company and the people who run it. All smiling happily as the sun shines down on the wonderful business that I am sure it is.
This type of site is for people who are generally searching the internet for possible suppliers and in addition, people that you are engaging in some other way. Its called the ‘information search’ stage. This other way might have been the more traditional telephone or foot canvassing routes, or probably most efficient would be traditional media. Broadcast media is great for this, TV is still expensive to do well so radio is perfect. Lots of people are reached, and with the right sales message in the ads, you can drive significant traffic to the website.
Here’s the theory
We need to be clear at what point in the buying cycle we are targeting people in order to match the website to that. So:
1)      Need Identification – the client has to need what we are selling – usually achieved spontaneously or by F2F for instance
2)      Information search – only after a need is identified, we tend to gather info to help us assess the correct purchase
3)      Evaluation of Alternatives – narrowing it down to a short list
4)      Purchase decision – the close as it were, deciding on the product, installation date, finance etc
5)      Post purchase analysis – this is where to client decides whether they had sufficient value and tell people about it! good or bad
So most sites will be aimed at people at stage 2 and 3
If on the other hand, we just want to sell from the site, then we are aiming at people at level 3 and 4. The site needs to be of a different design – focussed on price and added value – finance options etc.
Again, traffic needs to be driven to this site, and this might suit a more ‘classified advertising’ approach a la Google / Ad words / FB etc – but again there needs to be a critical mass of interested parties, so traditional especially broadcast could be considered too. If the organisation is set up to deliver / sell to all over the UK then the on-line campaign is certainly the one that will require most investment.
In addition to either of these options, every business dealing with customers should consider what they are doing with SMM. This is an opportunity to talk to their customers directly, and have genuine conversations with them. A powerful branding tool, it needs to be done correctly to get most value. Here’s a very brief over view:
1)      Target followers – these are people who have bought and will buy and might buy
2)      Content – you need to provide these followers with value – a ‘windows’ blog? Tips and hints on looking after windows, what to look out for, what to avoid, special offers etc
3)      Authentic Helpfulness – be open, be generous, be authentic. Help people publicly with their concerns? Share bad stories and how you made them better on-line
It all adds super power to the brand and people’s perception of it
I would pay particular attention to this element as the public perception of the double glazing industry is still a bit on the low side! So a business that so obviously focussed on customer care and can so clearly be trusted, is the one that people will go for
How’s that’s for starters? As ever, let me know if there are any questions that follow on, and I’ll be happy to try to help. And please, also get specific technical help to learn about driving traffic. Just remember unengaged traffic is not necessarily the panacea it can be made out to be!
Thanks Ian! Great question, and I hope that’s a help.