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    When you create content for your website, you’re trying to capture the most goal-oriented, impatient audience in the history of the planet. You have to work very hard to get them to stop and pay attention.

    Think about your own behavior on the web. When you search for something that is important to you—”why is my baby coughing,” “best hotels in Cancun,” “insomnia,” etc.—you want the answer NOW.

    When you land on the search-results page (SERP), you have ten links to choose from. Do you carefully peruse each one? No! You scan down the page as quickly as you can consume the information and click the first link that appears as if it might solve your problem or question.

    You give that page only seconds to load and once it loads you once again scan down the page as fast as you can consume it. If it doesn’t scream, “Here is the answer,” you go back to the SERP and try again. Because you know there are billions of other web pages. If it seems to have answers, you stay and read.

    Indy 500 drivers

    Sometimes it feels like using content to capture eyeballs on the web is about as effective as handing out business cards on the racetrack in Indianapolis. But content is all you really have. How do you capture this audience’s attention?

    By creating content that is R E L E V A N T to the needs and desires of your target audience. (I didn’t say it was going to be easy.)

    Content can be words, graphics, images, or video. A page needs to be constructed with a purpose in mind and the question each page should be able to answer is:

    What problem am I solving?

    Because if you’re not solving a problem for your target audience, why should they stay?

    If I’m only one of thousands of people selling blue widgets, why should anyone choose me to do business with? What differentiates me from the herd of Blue Widgelopes? My understanding of the needs and desires of my target audience and my use of content to show the BENEFITS of doing business with me.

    • Feature: integrated radioluminescent zircon switches that are 3.57 cm wide.
    • Benefit: it’s easy to find the wide, comfortable glow-in-the-dark switch.

    Gravitate makes you smarter and richer

    A feature of Gravitate’s website is that it has a blog. The benefit of reading it is you’ll come away with information that you can use to improve your website and get more business. See? You’ll be smarter and richer. That’s one of the Unique Selling Propositions we offer.

    Why it’s difficult

    One of the reasons that thinking and creating in terms of benefits is so difficult is because you have to know your target audience. I mean REALLY know them.

    • What is it that drives them to seek your products or services?
    • Where are they in the buying process when they land on your pages?
    • What will quickly identify the benefits for them and help them find what they’re looking for?
    • What call-to-action will convert them from web traffic into a customer?

    There are many more questions to ask and it should be something you never stop asking. The more you know about who you’re trying to reach, what they want, and what motivates them, the better you position yourself and know how to describe benefits.

    (Seriously, I didn’t even imply it was going to be easy.)

    We’re in the same boat, believe me. I drive my poor coworkers crazy with talk about web conversion. I’m a student of human behavior, have a degree in psychology, and I’m always trying to better understand what makes people take action on the web. Not just for Gravitate but for our clients as well.

    Because guess what? You cannot actually manipulate people into doing something on the web that they don’t want to do. What you can do is be aligned with what it is they already want and help them find it on your website. It’s that simple. And that difficult.