Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Why Websites Should Provide Problem-Solving Info


Today, what's the primary purpose of the website for a major brand? Should content from social media drive traffic to the brand's website? Or should brand sites drive traffic to social sites? If a brand’s social media activity gets more traffic than its website, is it necessary to maintain both? These are the key questions that eMarketer attempted to answer during their latest market study.

Perhaps 2013 is the time to rethink the inherent goal and objectives for maintaining a corporate branded website. Regardless, when potential customers search for online information during their buying cycle, they eventually arrive at a company's primary site.

That being said, eMarketer believes that product marketers are typically spending more effort to engage with customers outside of their company website -- on Facebook and numerous other social media channels.

Brand web pages are still a primary resource for people seeking information about products and the companies that make them, according to the findings in a new eMarketer report entitled "What's a Brand Site For? Engaging Consumers Across Multiple Channels."

eMarketer referred to several sources of comprehensive market assessments, for additional insights.

An October 2012 market study by nRelate found that 48 percent of online shoppers said they trusted content from a brand's web site. No other source of content could match the "trustworthiness" of a corporate websites, according to their survey results.

However, in yet another market study of internet users in the U.S. and Canada, conducted by Epsilon, the percentage of respondents who named company websites as a trustworthy source of information was much lower -- 20 percent of American and 16 percent of Canadian internet users.

Moreover, a joint study by Accenture, dunnhumbyUSA and comScore showed that 64 percent of the top 25 Consumer Package Goods (CPG) brands averaged less than 100,000 unique visitors per month to their brand websites.

eMarketer believes that ignoring this traffic could be costly. Why the concern? The same market study also found that, on average, visitors to CPG brand websites spent 37 percent more than non-visitors on those branded products in retail stores.

But marketers are still experimenting, regarding where to place their content assets, with mixed results.

"We’re constantly trying to figure out what is the right content for which channel," said Amanda Mahan, creative director at Clorox. "With Hidden Valley Ranch, recipes are the most popular content on our website. So, naturally, we thought we'd just put them on Facebook. It turns out they are the worst performing piece of content that we do there."

Apparently, the context for an online visit matters a lot. "It’s a different mindset when [our customers] are on Facebook," Mahan said. "When they come to social channels, they want to have fun and share. When they come to our website, they're looking to solve a problem."

So, there's the key take-away -- corporate branded websites can better serve the needs of customers and prospects by providing more problem-solving information and other related content. Of course, this is especially true for B2B marketers that sell complex products or services.