Web pages are among the most important types of content in your inbound marketing arsenal. They serve as your company’s introduction to potential clients.
Making a good impression right out of the gate is key — you never get a second chance to make one, as my mother says — which is why I’m always surprised by the sheer volume of poorly put together web pages I come across in the industrial sector.
To help give your web copy a bit of direction, here’s a breakdown of the main elements every page should have.
Everything should have an introduction. And I mean everything, in life and in content. This blog post has one, as does the blog post before it. The eBooks we offer all have them. Our web pages have them. Some are quite brief while other’s are on the longer side (I’m personally guilty of the latter), but they’re always present.
Introductions are important for a couple of reasons. They help ease a reader into your content, ultimately making it more readable — and readable content is content that people linger over. If somebody who accesses one of your web pages can’t figure out what the page is about quickly, usually within about 30 seconds or so, the likelihood that they leave the page increases dramatically. That’s a lost lead.
Introductions can also help to guide readers. A young procurement manager, still wet behind the ears, might be a little unsure of what they’re looking for or if they’re in the right place. A good introduction will let them know quickly. And it won’t hold old pros back — a seasoned veteran knows their way around and can simply skip the introduction and head directly to the body.
The body is the heart of a web page, it’s meat and potatoes.
The goal of a web page (with some exceptions, discussed below) is to provide potential clients with valuable information. Providing such information is the crux of inbound marketing, greatly increasing the chances that plant managers, purchasing managers, design engineers, and other industry pros will want to work with you.
If you have a web page about the benefits of aluminum for the aerospace industry, then the body of your email had better be filled with that information, instead of an informal, rambling treatise on the general state of the aerospace industry. A web page about machining capabilities should focus on machining capabilities that you possess, not those you don’t.
I think you get the idea (and yes, for the record, those are examples of real web pages that I have come across).
Conclusions And Calls To Action
CTAs, CTAs, CTAs! We’re always going on about CTAs, or calls to action, here, and we’re not going to stop any time soon. That’s because they are hugely important.
You can have a virtually perfect web page but, if you don’t prompt a potential client with an action, they won’t take one. They’ll read your page and go about their business. But if you include a strong CTA, nestled in a brief conclusion summarizing the page, you have a much higher chance of converting a potential client into an active lead.
Exceptions To The Rules
Every rule needs an exception, and web pages are no different.
One major exception to the guidelines above are landing pages. Landing pages have one purpose and one purpose only — get a potential client to trade their contact information in exchange for a high-value offer like an eBook.
In this way, landing pages function much more like an email than a web page, and can be much more marketing-centric than standard web pages. They should be roughly the length of an email, too; a short and sweet 150 words or so, as opposed to the roughly 500 words generally recommended for a web page.
Landing pages are portals to sources of information, not the sources of information themselves.
I read through the web pages of companies operating in the industry sector all day long and, not to be rude, but I have seen examples of extremely bad web page writing.
These guidelines might seem like fairly basic stuff, and frankly they are, but when non-professional writers get into the thick of things, it can be all too easy to lose site of the bigger picture. Its just a natural thing that happens when somebody tries to do something outside of their expertise — if I ever attempted to design a part component of any type, I’d make every mistake in the book and the results would be a disaster.
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