Google, in its Webmaster Design and Content Guidelines, recommends that you create a useful, information-rich site.”
By “useful,” Google means that you should create content that’s helpful to your audience. For a company that sells products and services to other companies, this means creating content that helps buyers decide if they should do business with you.
That’s pretty straight-forward — and most companies do this naturally by creating content for the Products or Services section of a website.
Focusing on the Products / Services section is good, but the second part of Google’s recommendation is equally as important: create an “information-rich site.”
It’s here that companies often fall short — usually because business owners don’t know how to create this content or even what to create.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned to incorporate a number of strategies to help small businesses create the foundation for an information-rich website. I like using these strategies for three reasons:
- They help flesh out a company’s story and add significant credibility.
- They help differentiate the company in the marketplace — moving the company from “commodity” to “speciality.”
- They don’t cost any extra money in terms of development (the way a white paper or e-book does) and they’re super easy to implement.
What are these strategies? Well, I lied a little bit. It’s actually one strategy (create content) applied over six sections of a website. These sections are:
- Markets / Industries
- Why We’re Different
Let’s look at each section type.
In addition to Products or Services, companies often have unique capabilities that set them apart from their competition. Showcasing your capabilities gives prospects a very good idea on how you can help them. Posting your capabilities also shows you’re much more than a commodity supplier, which is something I hear frequently (e.g. “We just supply commodity products”).
The screenshot shows a page from Lacerta Group’s Capabilities section. While its core product line is thermoformed packaging, Lacerta Group offers highly specialized services, including concept and design, mold making, and tooling.
The benefit of offering these services in-house is that Lacerta can provide exceptionally high-quality, reduced costs over time, and faster time-to-market as the prospect doesn’t have to go shopping around for companies that offer these services.
Markets / Industries
Another way to strengthen your company’s message — and help prospects determine you’re the right company to solve their challenges — is to create content based on the markets or industries you serve.
This is especially helpful if the type of product you create is custom to each client. Royal Label Printing Co., for example, makes custom labels for various industries, including pharmaceutical.
Instead of trying to group content pages around application types, Royal Label instead created Industry pages, with each industry page spotlighting the specific industry challenges the company helps solve — as seen in the screenshot.
With this type of content, prospects can immediately discern: “Yes, this company understands my challenges and has the experience to help me.”
Another under-used opportunity to create supporting content includes the Applications page (or pages). With Applications, you can feature additional ways your product or service can be used that your prospects may not have considered.
This is especially useful if your product has been used once or twice in a particular application — and you’d like to create a new market around it. In this screenshot, you can see how Remote Medical Technologies core product can be used in a number of different applications, such as Forensic, Tumor Boards, and Veterinary Pathology.
Or, you can use Applications to feature stories of how your products are used within a larger context — useful if you’re an OEM and your product is part of a larger piece of machinery or process.
A Portfolio is a collection of stories (or what I call “mini” case studies), that show how you’ve solved challenges. To be effective, the Portfolio section should include text and images, although text is fine if you can’t post images, as you can see in this screenshot of one of Veteran Development Corporation’s Portfolio pages. (The sentence in the red box reads, “Photos not available due to project being classified.”)
I highly recommend that you include text with your images versus posting images only.
Think about it this way: when you show your vacation photographs to your friends, you accompany these photos with your own soundtrack. In other words, you tell the story behind the photos. If you didn’t, people wouldn’t have a clue as to who or what they were viewing.
It works the same way for your Portfolio. You may understand what a particular image is communicating. Your prospects, on the other hand, don’t have a clue.
Accompanying your images with supporting text also helps with SEO, of course. But I’m more concerned about making the Portfolio useful for your prospects versus helping the search engine find and index your content.
Why We’re Different
The “Why We’re Different” section is something I’ve been advocating to clients for a few years now. Again, it’s supporting documentation that helps prospects decide whether they should move forward in contacting you, and it helps set your company apart from the competition.
You can approach creating this information in a couple of different ways. Greenway Golf, for example, has both a “Why We’re Different” page and a section consisting of five pages that explain their philosophy regarding turf management:
- Stem-to-Stern Approach
- Grass Selection
- Chemical and Water Use
- Environmental Management
- Putting Green Philosophy
This information is quite important, as it sets Greenway apart from other golf course maintenance companies.
And last but not least is the FAQ page. I love FAQ pages because they’re so simple and straight-forward.
You can create FAQ pages based on the questions you’re continually asked by prospects when doing initial consultations. Or, you can group questions together about how your process or product works or what it’s like working with you — the way Greenway Golf does.
As you can see, it’s fairly easy to create content that:
- Supports your products and services
- Adds credibility to your message
- Showcases your expertise / knowledge
With this type of content, you set the foundation for creating a website that shows your company is the authority on a topic, which can also help with search engine rankings. Creating this content also fulfills Google’s guidelines for creating an information-rich website.
But most important, with this type of useful content, you help move your prospects into deciding they need to contact you. After all, they’d be crazy not to — you’re the expert!