Let’s start with an idea that has become increasingly central to our philosophy at Foster Web Marketing: your business website is the core of all your marketing efforts.
Your website is the hub. Every contact you have with a prospective new patient, new client, or new customer should impel that person to your website to find out more about you and to make it plain that doing business together is ideal for both parties.
Immediately, you see three implications from that idea, right? Right away, it’s clear that an effective website has to be the very first thing you build, because everything else will lead to that destination. The second implication is that your website will always be “under construction” as long as your business is open. There will always be opportunities to introduce new content, update old and outdated material, and keep your site vital and attractive to new visitors.
The third implication is the one we’ll deal with today: if your website is the key element of your marketing efforts, then the content you post to your website has to be the very best you can assemble. It can’t be routine hackwork—it must represent your very best writing. Clients and customers keep your business thriving. Your marketing plan sends new clients to your door. The writing on your website makes your marketing functional. There is a direct line of cause-and-effect between the quality of writing on your website and your business success.
The conclusion: if you’re the one writing your website’s content, then your livelihood depends on doing it right. Don’t mess this up.
Writing to Inform
Every piece of content you add to your website should be richly informative to the reader.
If you can’t quite manage “richly informative,” then set your sights to an easier target: each piece you post should have at least one useful fact that the reader can’t easily find elsewhere. The “one true fact” rule means you can’t get away with generalizations. You need to demonstrate deep knowledge of the topic area with appropriate supporting evidence—usually by hyperlinking to material that will reinforce your message.
Of course, being grounded in fact is just the start for an informative piece. You need the piece to be well-written in order to capture and retain the reader’s attention. Good grammar and diction are absolutely required in the body of the text. Supplement this with engaging meta content—headlines, titles, and the like—that will guide the reader through the piece and subtly show how you have organized your ideas to the conclusion.
Why all this stress on information? Because, if you do it right, you leave the reader with a sense of obligation. When he gets to the end of the page, the reader will be thinking, “Wow, this writer just gave me facts I can use—for free. He or she must know a huge amount to share important stuff without charging. I wonder what else is on this website?” The reader is already moved to express gratitude and remain engaged with your site. That’s a key step in converting prospects to clients.
Writing to Persuade
Early on, blog posts were opportunities for casual Internet users to editorialize on issues of the day. That’s not often the case with today’s commercial websites. Businesses are too wary of alienating some of their potential clientele by taking firm stands on controversial issues. Modern business blog posts are usually in-depth examinations of narrow issues already mentioned in some other content. Overt persuasion and argumentation are uncommon.
But persuasion is a vital secret component in your website writing. Each additional page that the reader encounters should convince her a little more that the information she’s receiving is reliable. Her trust in the website author (and consequently the business) should steadily deepen. This trust-building process is the clearest demonstration of the power of your website; it’s what moves a person from a marketing prospect to a potential client.
Trust is a fragile thing. You have a lot of competitors online, and the cost is low for a prospective customer to shift her allegiance from you to a rival. That means—look, you knew this warning was coming, didn’t you?—that an incorrect “fact” or a poorly written webpage can shatter the bond of trust easily. Your prospective client will scurry away like a mouse frightened when the kitchen light suddenly turns on.
Writing to Succeed
If you are in a personal service business—and that includes all medical and legal providers—your clients need you only intermittently. You need a steady influx of new clients to maintain your company and, not incidentally, keep paying everyone at the office.
Communicating with prospective clients is the answer. Today, that means creating and sustaining an online presence that begins with a core website and branches out into social media, pay-per-click advertising, and other, more aggressive options—but the website is the place to begin. It’s also the place where you will return every week or so to add new content; if you don’t, then you risk seeing your business wither and die. And that would be tragic indeed.
At Foster Web Marketing, we have a great supply of ideas that will help your content writing be heard clearly amid a throng of competing voices. Browse through our blog entries, download our book on writing great content, or contact us by phone or live chat to learn more.