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How to create content that increases sales

9 March, 2012

More content is being created in 48 hours than what was produced from the beginning of time until 2003 Eric Schmidt

With this amount of content being produced, you need to stand out in your industry and produce desireable content. This blog post will address how you can create top killer content.

Senior management has no respect for content

Unfortunately, delivering great content is a very challenging task (not impossible). The reason  is that senior managers have little respect for content;  Content is a low level commodity and is just a cost. The reason is that content cannot be measured, and content becomes the little details, of which they have no time for. When you try to justify working on valuable, shareable content you end up working on something else instead. At Hurtigruten, the brochure content is published and the request then goes to the web manager to upload to the site – This will sound familiar to many web managers and this needs to change!

Talk about the lost money

And here is how you get senior management to listen; A top 3 Google ranking can double o even triple sales. Searching for “Cruise Norway” in Google and Hurtigruten is nowhere to be found. With 60% of web traffic visiting the top 3 results in Google means killer content is important. According to Google Analytics, “Cruise Norway” produced 282 visits in 2011 yet Google finds 39 million results – That means Hurtigruten is missing out on a lot of traffic!

Once you can associate content with increased sales and high converting web pages, management will start to listen.

How to create valuable web content

The Hurtigruten web team follows five principles in delivering customer centric websites. This has lead to the decreased customer service emails from all 21 global websites. In addition, the sites continue to increase sales year on year. now sends more traffic to the booking process than all Hurtiruten sites (except for Norway). In fact, within one year, referal traffic to the consumer booking engine increased from 180 visits per day (Jan 2011) to 1,300 visits per day (Jan 2012)An increase of 600%. The principles that are followed are;

  • Start by saying no and don’t just add content because others feel it is important – You are the site manager and you know what’s best!
  • Get to the point and cut the crap! Value your readers time and don’t use filler content
  • Skillful linking means linking to what the word says. Don’t duplicate the visitors actions and ask them to repeat tasks
  • Simplify each page and try not to do so much. Focus on 1 or 2 action points per page and always be forward linking
  • Remove old and unused content. Searching for an old product or outdated product and then realizing at the checkout it’s not valid is annoying. So keep your content fresh!

Great content is a great user experience 

Customers want to get in and out of your website and quickly as possible. You need to provide relevant content that is easily accessible. Use web analytics and customer feedback to understand how customers use your site. By implementing 4Q survey, we have identified that price is what customers want to see on the web – The result was to create a Pricing Guide, which has quickly become the third most viewed page on the site and thus, increased traffic to the booking process.

Your website is not a murder mystery

A more customer focused website that is truly customer centric with great content that speaks the customer language, not the organizations lingo will succeed.

In 2011, Telenor reduced their website from 4,000 pages to 500. This resulted in a drop in customer service emails by more than 40%! Strip away all the filler content from your website. Instead, create a clean website that focuses on exactly what your customers care about most.  Create a list of the top 3 tasks for your website and it will become very clear what you should be focusing on:

For Hurtigruten it is;

  • Book a voyage
  • Product information
  • Contact information

The take away – All three should be highly visible on the home page.

And finally, as a web manager you will have access to web analytics. Take actions based on data, no more debates are required as to what should and shouldn’t be on your website – A page with 5000 views is more meaningful than a page with 50. Use this data to your advantage when creating and delivering that killer content!

This post was inspired by Gerry McGovern and top task management. For more information on Gerry, you can visit his website.

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