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Stickiness; web and catalogue – engaging content that drives sales

Getting customers or prospects to stay on your website or read your catalogue, long enough to place an order, is a challenge. Web designers have a great word for this: ‘stickiness’.
It applies to anything that makes your visitor hang around long enough to make an enquiry or place an order. Extra content that can engage, inform and stimulate the visitor will inevitably influence their buying decisions.

But like most things in the digital age – it’s been done before. From very early days at Catalogues 4 Business we saw the benefit of including loads of extra content that drove the reader to a sale.
• One of the biggest factors in selling is trust; people buy from people or brands they trust.
• One of the big benefits in giving your customers information is, it builds authority and infers expertise; people trust authority and expertise.

So if you are selling a product, it is not only beneficial to highlight the features, it is imperative that you sell the benefits. And by supporting this with useful guidance, and relevant content, you can engage your reader and start to build trust.

When I worked for a well-known B2B health and safety supplies company (many moons ago) we knew that nothing drove sales like legislation. Fire regulations, COSH regulations, Safe Handing etc, etc, all triggered buying sprees. Customers had to buy products to keep within the law. But often we would turn it on its head and ask them if they knew what the legal requirements were for a particular industry, and then sell the products to help them comply.

We provided well-researched, highly informative text blocks, giving reasons why the product should be bought. This level of perceived expertise negated any risk on behalf of the buyer and was a key part of building a trustworthy brand.
The more complicated and technical the offering, the more information you should give. A good example of this is ‘How to choose your….’ or ‘Key features to look for…’ panels on a page of products. By heading up the discussion, and inviting the reader to share your knowledge, you are adding a layer of value above and beyond that of a simple ‘item trader’.

It also works extremely well in B2C. By engaging the reader in stories about the product, explaining what makes them unique and why you are selling them, it builds confidence. And tweaking the emotions helps too. Remember you are never selling a product – only the benefits that product brings. So with B2C you have to focus on how the product you are selling can enrich the buyers life.

By including extra content you highlight to your readers that you know more about the products than they do; it builds confidence in your brand and reassures them that they are making the right decision.
It is what all good sales people do, and good sales people build ongoing relationships. And your catalogue is a sales person! And your transactional website is an online catalogue! What works for one often translates to the other.