Thanks to the internet, consumers are more educated than they had any hopes of being during the heyday of the Yellow Pages. If knowledge is power, then the shopper of 2010 is big enough and strong enough to stomp skyscrapers in Tokyo. Armed only with a keyboard and mouse, or even a smartphone, today’s consumer can price check a product or service against thousands of others in the same span of time it takes to open a phone book, much less look through one. So what does this mean in terms of internet marketing? Well, most importantly, it means that information is the currency with which to buy consumer attention.
So for the average business owner, what does this entail? How can a business owner compete against dozens, or even thousands of competing businesses worldwide without resorting to a price war that will hurt the industry?
For starters, it’s important to understand how today’s shoppers search for places to spend their money. If someone needs an item, they’ll begin with a search for it in a search engine, like Google, or Bing. This means that at the outset, SEO and SEM will be vital for putting a website up there within easy reach -the eye level shelf of the online supermarket, as it were. But once a customer finds a site, what entices them to stay?
Customers now are drawn by not only pricing, but by the opportunity to better educate themselves about what they’re buying. There’s no such thing as blind faith when it comes to parting with money. It’s important for business owners to put aside their fears of telling consumers too much. What that boils down to is this: by telling your clients everything there is to know about what you do and how you do it, you’re not going to lose any business.
However contradictory that may seem, it’s important to understand that by providing as much information about your skills and knowledge as possible, you’re subtly showing your visitors that you clearly have a firm understanding of your industry. Not only are you skilled, but you’re willing to let them into the select club of people who know and appreciate what you’ve got to offer.
What generally happens as a result of this peeling back of the curtain is that your visitors will quickly realize how much more there is to your work than they could possibly do themselves, and they’ll find that even though they understand how you do what you do, they’ve got no interest in doing it for themselves. For example, a website that sells gourmet candy could give away the recipes for their hottest selling items without losing a single visitor. Without the access to the fine ingredients, the industry machinery, or the economy of production, no homemade batch of the candy will every taste the same or look so perfect, and the same visitors will still be buying, time and again. The only difference is that now they have a true appreciation for what’s being sold.
Of course, there is something in it for website owners, too. Adding plenty of content to a page in the form of articles or blog posts will give any SEO effort a big boost. Even without the benefit of how information influences customers, there’s no doubt that optimized content on a page will influence search engines.