The Direct Link Between Content Management and Sales
by Art Hardie
Table of Contents
I. Content Management Overview
C. What is Content Management?
D. Web Editing Without Content Management
E. Content Management
F. Methods of Content Management
II. Direct Link Between Sales and Content Management
B. The Direct Link
D. Public Relations
E. Sales Power
F. Customer Service
Content Management Overview
This paper focuses on the Web’s value as a critical instrument in external business communications, and specifically its impact on sales.
For adequate background, we will first provide a standard definition of the business process:
Business is the simple trading of goods and services for cash or other goods and services. A successful business delivers its goods and services in a fashion that satisfies its current client base and generates new sales. Sales are the lifeblood of any business. Cut off sales, and money disappears.
We must also define the Web’s value as an information source for business:
The Web has provided consumers with more power than ever. Comparison shopping can now be done worldwide from one computer terminal. Information about and the ability to buy thousands of products and services is available in on the Web.
Essentially, the Web has become a virtual “online shopping mall” that replaces window shopping with Web site shopping. You may or may not realize it, but consumers and other businesses shop your Web site.
Many business people unfamiliar with marketing like to say, “My Web site is just an online yellow pages ad.” Nothing could be more false. Your site is a vital component of business communications and is your storefront to the world. Before most people do business with you, they review your Web site.
This white paper has a bold but simple thesis:
The direct link between Web content management and sales is based on enhanced communications, resulting in an affordable, ROI-producing boost in your site’s public relations, advertising, customer service and sales generating value.
What is Content Management?
Content management is defined as the ability of non-technical business people (not webmasters or IT professionals) to edit the content (images, text, links, etc.) of a Web site in a “what you see is what you get” environment without requiring HTML programming. This includes creating new pages, deleting old pages and updating text, images, audio, video, and links.
Web Editing Without Content Management
Without content management, Web site editing requires professional knowledge of HTML and FTP protocol.
The standard business flow for Web site editing without content management starts in the business office. Individuals working within an organization first identify the need for new information to be placed on the Web. Information is authored, then gathered for transference to a third-party or in-house webmaster. The webmaster then receives the updates, places the new information in a professional Web design program and codes the HTML language for accurate Web presentation. The webmaster then uploads the HTML files to an FTP site that stores the files and images for display when a visitor lands on your URL.
With the efficiency inherent in today’s content management systems, the procedures of Web editing with a webmaster seem redundant and expensive. Time is lost in formatting and coordinating a transfer of new data to the webmaster. Next, the webmaster programs the new data with HTML for Web display. A webmaster’s time is not cheap, therefore each time a business wishes to edit its site, they pay, often $50 to $100 per hour. Finally, more time is lost while both parties approve of the new content’s display and address needed changes or corrections. Often, by the time these processes are complete, the Web site is ready for another round of changes.
Web Editing Without Content Management
Eight steps involved:
1. business people author new content
2. format new content for transference to webmaster
3. transfer new content to webmaster
4. webmaster receives data and inputs into HTML coding program
5. webmaster uploads HTML files and images to FTP for Web display
6. webmaster communicates completed updates to client
7. client reviews webmaster’s updates for accuracy
8. repeat cycle if further changes are necessary
Internal: labor and time for eight steps
External: webmaster fees, $50 to $100 per hour
Content management as defined earlier, powers non-technical end-users to instantly edit Web pages and eliminates the need for a webmaster to program authored content to a Web site. The webmaster, essentially, is replaced by a program which presents a user with a “what you see is what you get” editor. Within the editor, users can edit text, add or delete images, add links, and engage in a number of other layout and design activities. Once the user saves the updated Web page, the software acts like a webmaster by automatically converting the author’s vision into appropriate files for Web display.
Web Editing With Content Management
Three steps involved:
1. content authored into editor
2. content saved in editor
3. changes reviewed
Internal: time for update authoring
Methods of Content Management
Various methods of content management exist, providing end-users with a variety of options: enterprise-wide, mid-level, or basic. Selection of the appropriate system depends on business size and needs.
Accessing a content management system for Web editing can be executed with a licensed software program installed on user machines or through systems accessed through the site itself.
The licensed software alternative is the less popular of the two options because its use is restricted to the terminals on which it’s installed and licenses for additional instances are expensive. The latter option, which allows you to access the editing protocol via the Web, provides remote access through any machine with a Web connection and a browser. Most content management solutions are heading in the Web-accessed direction.
The Direct Link Between Sales and Content Management
In the immediate short term, a content-managed Web site generates ROI through savings in monies and time normally allotted to a webmaster for updates. Other than webmaster savings, what is the business value of content management? The answer…increased sales through responsive, affordable business communications.
The Direct Link
Sales drive a business. A great product or service can’t produce profits if the sales effort is inadequate. So how does a Web site with content management realistically step in and boost sales? The answer is four-fold:
- Public relations
- Power to the sales force
- Enhanced customer service
Companies advertise to communicate targeted messages designed to achieve a variety of results:
- branding reinforcement
- promotions of products and services
- company awareness
Traditional media for advertising include newspapers, magazines, television, and radio. In recent years Web advertising has grown tremendously and revenues for 2003 are expected to exceed $5.2 billion, according to analysis from Goldman Sachs Internet researchers.
A Web site, when visited by your target market, can produce the same results as, if not better than, advertising by:
- reinforcing your brand and corporate identity with first-class design and timely, well-written copy
- promoting your products and services with product information pages, services descriptions, an online catalog, etc.
- boosting awareness of your business amongst your target market with a strong Web presence that communicates your company’s culture and missions
- delivering marketing messages to a willing member of your audience; other forms of advertising invade media and people often dodge the messages (changing the channel, flipping the page, etc.); with the internet, people choose to visit your site and are willing to ingest your messages
Content management can bring these qualities to bear for your site by giving you the power to update content in real time as your business objectives evolve, with no costs attached.
Static site construction hampers such crucial timeliness and updating frequency that content management facilitates (by eliminating the need to coordinate with a webmaster.) Many companies never successfully clear the static site hurdle and create a basic Web site, struggle to keep it updated, and fail to see its value in business communications.
On the other hand, a vibrant, up-to-date site can be a tremendous advertising tool giving your target market a reason to visit and ingest your marketing messages. Content management delivers the flexibility to achieve that desired outcome. Your site can be updated everyday, or every hour, at no reoccurring cost to your organization so you can convert your Web site into a targeted, information-rich advertising tool.
Public relations is a long term method of marketing that seeks third-party affirmation through personal relationships between brand and consumer. PR relies heavily on changing public perception and generating genuine word-of-mouth. Because PR pursues such an involved mental approach, it often takes several years to fully develop and produce solid results.
Public relations manifests itself in a variety of methods. The most common ones are:
- press releases and media relations
- public speaking or other information distribution establishing you as an industry “expert” or “resource”
- special events
- product giveaways and promotions
A content-managed Web site that can be easily and frequently updated provides a company with an online platform to disseminate rich information to a target market, thereby boosting PR efforts. Press releases can be immediately published to the Web, an e-mail newsletter can be published and routinely updated, information about partnerships with charities and special events can be updated on your site (and you could easily post photos from events), and product giveaways can be promoted via the Web.
Since content management expedites Web editing and eliminates updating costs, adding news and information becomes a quick, profitable activity that can transform your site into a valuable information resource to customers and the general public.
A Web site with content management can be updated instantly, at no cost. The concept, repeated throughout this paper, is important because many of us still believe that Web site updating is laborious and expensive. With content management, it’s the exact opposite…efficient and affordable.
It’s necessary to establish that point because you must understand that content management makes Web editing so easy, that even your sales team can use the Web site regularly as a tool.
Content management makes it possible for sales people to create Web pages specifically for their prospects. Such pages can be custom created by sales people and could include:
- product images and information
- reference materials
For sales purposes, a Web site is an instant means to distribute information nationally or internationally. And creating a specific page for a potential client, displays a strong corporate image and concern for customers.
Positive word-of-mouth equals positive cash flow.
The pursuit of third-party affirmation is often the driving force behind many PR and advertising campaigns, but genuine word-of-mouth is best attained through an exemplary record of customer service and satisfaction.
With a content managed Web site, you can give your company’s customer service a noticeable shot in the arm by empowering you to immediately disseminate information directly addressing customer needs.
Such applications include:
- showing proofs to clients
- displaying new photos of product
- communicating price changes, changes in a production schedule, etc.
- providing a specific, helpful customer contact form
Again, it’s important to note these Web site functions have always been possible. But accomplishing such updating required money and time for webmaster programming. Content management removes that cumbersome step in the Web editing process and puts you in control of real-time business communications through your Web site.
With content management, budgeting for a webmaster is no longer a concern and your site’s potential is limited only by ideas and business creativity. The instant control, with no costs attached, will redefine the role of the Web site within an organization, especially considering the exponentially increasing number of Web savvy business users.
This paper outlined the direct influence content management has on increased sales as a real-time extension of your business communications. Such uses for your site have always been possible and many companies have used their Web presence to great success, but prior to content management, involved Web objectives were costly, entangled projects. With content management, enhanced corporate communications and Web marketing is at your fingertips, with no maintenance costs.
If you have further questions about content management, please contact QED Technologies. We develop agency-quality Web sites powered by our innovative, user-friendly Impromp-2 CMS.
| DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware. |
More Website Content Articles
More By Developer Shed