This past week, I’ve been engrossed in planning a much anticipated trip to New Zealand for later in the year. The entire process has been eye-openning from both a consumer perspective and from a content marketing perspective, so I wanted to share some of my insights with you.
[tweetherder]Your challenge, as a small business, is not just to entice consumers to buy, it is to educate them to buy.[/tweetherder]
Initially our family was going to travel from Australia to New Zealand in July, so that the boys could experience skiing. I never thought it would be so hard to find information on where to go snow skiing, where to stay and what equipment you need. However, as I found out on my quest for information (as we were originally planning our trip for mid-year), information on all the options is buried deep in the recesses of ski holiday websites. I mean, come on!
I ended up emailing requests for information to a number of different companies to try and get some more definitive answers. One company simply emailed back a pro forma response (massive fail), and others did go to the effort to respond, but one or two got back to me a bit too late (when people are ready to buy, they don’t want to wait around for you to get back to them). I was wanting to book our flights over the weekend and nobody responded to my inquiries until Monday. By then, we’d already changed our plans to travel in November.
As a consumer who happens to have a large family (not your standard 2 adults, 2 children), I found trying to find information about skiing in Queenstown frustrating and confusing. I was surprised that many of the websites I looked at had very little information. Most didn’t even have articles or blog posts. Those that did, definitely stood out from the crowd. We’ll go skiing another year, once I’ve figured it all out.
Later on, I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if there was a blog dedicated to skiing witha large family.”…. maybe that will inspire one of you to start one, or maybe it will inspire one of these companies to create one. At the end of the day, I wanted to read about other large families’ experiences in finding suitable accommodation, hiring ski gear and hitting the slopes. I’m sure it must be out there somewhere. I just couldn’t find anything this time.
Understand your customers expect to have their questions answered, and they will go looking for the dirt on you, especially if your asking price is high.
We were looking at renting a campervan for our travels across both North and South islands, and the variety of information and pricing was astonishing. So, how did we make a decision? Simple! We checked out their content, the reviews on Rankers and forum responses on Trip Advisor.
As it was, the campervan company we chose, was not the cheapest, by a long shot, but it had consistently high review rankings. The language on their website was aimed squarely at people like us. It was all about ease, freedom and honoring that this will be a journey of a lifetime. They also had detailed videos on their website showing the insides of the campervan and showing how to use everything, and exactly where to find everything.
The cheaper company we looked at was a better known brand name. However, their website had very little by way of answering our burning questions. There were tiny diagrams showing the campervan insides and there were two different models that looked exactly the same, with no explanation of their differences. I had to email and ask if the vans were certified self-contained for freedom camping (a term they use in New Zealand for camping in free campsites which have no amenities). When I looked on Rankers for reviews, they were consistently all over the place. Common themes were lack of cleanliness, items not working, and poor service.
There was a thousand-dollar price difference, so it wasn’t a straight forward decision. However, after taking it all into account, my gut feeling was that the more expensive company would be less hassle, and when you’re travelling in a campervan for a whole month with three boys, you don’t want hassle.
How can you put yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes? What can you do on your website to make buying decisions easier for your customers?
Content marketing is about educating potential customers so that they can make informed decisions. To do that you need to employ a range of tactics to ensure your customers have peace of mind when they buy from you. Content marketing is not a one way process. If your customers are consistently giving you bad reviews on third party websites, you need to take a good hard look at your operations and make changes to ensure your customers enjoy a better experience with you.
If you have a comment about your experiences looking for information from business websites, I’d love to hear from you. You’re invited to leave a comment below!