Identifying Problems is the Key to Engaging Website Copy

Identifying Problems is the Key to Engaging Website Copy

Guest writer Joanne Costin brings practical tips for writers this week in her blog post on “Identifying Problems is the Key to Engaging Website Copy.”

When writing copy for your website, it’s important to identify the problems your products and services solve. You may not realize it, but they are a magnet for website traffic. Uncovering how your products and services solve problems is good for both business and drawing potential customers to your website. 

Listen in on conversations about your products and services on social media. Participate in discussions Forums and within LinkedIn groups to learn the language of customers. For example, I recently used a Reddit forum on layout robots to help me write a client blog post on the topic. 

Problem-focused web content can even lead to new applications for the product. Knowing what equipment works best in a specific construction application adds value, as does versatility. Take a lesson from WD 40 — a brand built around more than 2,000 uses of the product. In this post, they share applications for a new product, the WD 40 precision pen. 

Here are some effective ways construction marketers can find “problem” talk for their website:

1) Create your very own contractor forum.

2) Ask customers to submit new applications for your product.

2) Conduct customer interviews among diverse types of customer groups such as landscapers vs. building contractors. 

3) Monitor forums for questions related to your products. Start a Q&A column or blog on your website.

4) Develop an advisory board for your product comprised of people who use the product or service regularly.

5) Solicit product usage tips from the professionals and build community around information sharing.

6) Give fans reasons to interact with you. Find a worthy cause to unite you.

7) Celebrate your customers. Submit photos of customers using the product to feature on the site. Reward great photos as well as interesting product applications.

You can’t solve a problem until you fully understand it. Make uncovering problems part of your process and see where the inspiration leads you. 

Joanne Costin is an award-winning business journalist, content writer and content marketing strategist with more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry.

You can reach Joanne at

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Guest writer Joanne Costin writes her blog post this week about the importance of testimonials. In your business, testimonials from your employees are key to attracting and retaining staff.

Harness the power of employee testimonials.

I’ve been writing a lot about tight labor markets and various strategies to attract and retain workers. It has me thinking about employee testimonials. While you may be familiar with using testimonials to sell customers on the value of your dealership, you may be overlooking an opportunity to use them in your recruitment efforts.

When I recently spoke with Dick Finnegan, an expert in reducing employee turnover, he talked about “the stay interview.” The interview is a way to improve trust between employees and supervisors because the No.1 reason employees leave or stay is the relationship with their boss. Five questions are at the heart of his method to improve retention 20-50% among a wide range of clients. I love these questions, but not just for the value they bring to the employee/supervisor relationship. Answers to the first three questions could be the foundation for a strong employee testimonial. 

The questions to ask:

  1. When you travel to work each day, what things do you look forward to?
  2. What are you learning here?
  3. Why do you stay here?

Even if an employee has a positive view of their job and their company, if you ask them for a testimonial without providing any direction, chances are the final product be lacking. However, if you ask questions that nurture a conversation and require employees to think, the results will be more powerful. 

The case for employee testimonials or employee stories

Employee testimonials are underutilized in recruitment campaigns. Candidates today want an honest look at the daily responsibilities of the job and insight into the company culture. Who would be better to offer that than your employees? The power of a testimonial comes from its authenticity. When the language is real, the faces are real, and the messages are real, testimonials provide that insider viewpoint that is often missing from other sources. 

The first focuses on the day-to-day responsibilities of the employee and the elements of the job that bring satisfaction. In a 2022 Jobseeker Report from Employ, 41% said they left a job within 90 days because their day-to-day role wasn’t what they expected. Presenting an accurate picture of the role is a key step in improving retention. If applicants understand the role and can see themselves in the role, they are more likely to stay and be successful. This video from Wagner Equipment Co. highlights the role of the technician. 

The second question focuses on learning. With 20% of jobseekers leaving for growth opportunities, having your employees discuss what they have learned on the job can help you showcase your commitment to personal development. Candidates also want to hear about potential career paths. If your employee’s story includes a promotion from technician to technical support or management, it’s one that prospective job candidates will notice. 

The third question, “Why do you stay here?” speaks to company culture, to trust and a feeling of belonging. Unlike health insurance, higher wages, or other benefits, trust is something employees can’t be sure they will get at a new company. Whether it’s exemplified in the way the company treats workers dealing with an illness or the way managers respond to employee suggestions, the reasons why employees stay reveals the culture of your organization. RDO’s conveys this effectively through its Why Work Here video. In an effective testimonial it’s the details that matter and make each story personal. 

Does it look like I belong here?

Dealerships and construction companies alike continue to struggle with attracting women and minorities to roles. One of the reasons is that applicants just don’t see themselves fitting in. Testimonials and other imagery on your website can go along way to showcase an inclusive environment. John Deere makes a powerful statement about inclusiveness to women through a collection of stories about women in construction on its website. 

Focusing on the needs of military has helped Southern Company earn recognition as a best place to work for veterans. Testimonials on their website convey the aspects of working at Southern Company that appeal to veterans as well as military spouses

Where to reach prospective employees

You may think placing your testimonials on LinkedIn is the only way to go, but Zippia reports that while 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn, 55% use Facebook, 47% are using twitter and 14% use Instagram to reach prospective employees. Because 37% of all job seekers are passive, the company reports that social media can be a useful source of hidden talent. 

Zippia reports that 79% of job seekers use social media when searching for jobs. Job seekers use social media to vet potential companies in the same way employers use it to vet candidates. Instead of a “We’re hiring” message, a post that speaks to what the role is about or why people stay in their job will differentiate your dealership. 

Similarly, your career page should be more than a list of job openings. Employee testimonials clearly belong here, along with other essentials such as benefits.

In a tight labor market. employee testimonials are a powerful tool to help dealers recruit prospective employees. Asking the right questions will help solicit the responses that will accurately convey the day-to-day rewards of the work, the learning opportunities, and your company culture. 

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Three Reasons to Invest in Your Website

Three Reasons to Invest in Your Website

Learning Without Scars is proud to introduce our new contributer, Joanne Costin. Joanne Costin is an award-winning business journalist, content writer and content marketing strategist with more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry. She is a frequent contributor to the ConExpo-Con/Agg 365 newsletter as well as Inside Unmanned Systems magazine and president of Content for Biz, a content marketing agency. Her inaugural blog post, “Three Reasons to Invest in Your Website,” is a must read for all businesses.

Everyone by now understands the power of the internet and your website.

Your website provides 24/7 customer service

You know, more than anyone, that customers often need answers during hours when your business is closed. While you, your sales and service staff are home with their families, it’s your website that is delivering customer service. 

Starting with the basics, update your locations and hours on your website as well as your google listings as needed, including special holiday hours. In addition, be sure multiple points of contact are provided.

As an industry journalist I visit hundreds of websites each week. It amazes me to see how many websites fail to list the most basic information, like phone numbers. Instead, they often rely on a contact form that in many cases goes to a spam folder, or someone who chooses not to respond. 

It’s been my experience that, perhaps, one in 10 companies ever replies to contact form inquiries. Even worse, what message does it send to customers when they are not provided the means to leave a message because the voice mailbox is full? 

This has happened more times than you can imagine. Are you sure it’s not happening to your customers?

As labor remains in short supply, a website focused on customer service can remove some of the burden on your staff while expediting the resolution of customer problems. Younger customers, for example, tend to prefer contact via chat or text. 

A live chat solution might provide answers to questions quickly while directing customers to the right person. Live chat platforms are necessary in this digital age. In fact, 61% of B2B organizations are currently using live chat, so don’t overlook this important component.

Self-service options on your website provide another way to help customers with simple tasks like online ordering, billing or service inquiries. Also, do you provide a frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) area that could provide quick answers to customer questions? What about offering frequent blog posts to answer common questions, like those about preventative equipment maintenance.

In 2023, how customers view your customer service may largely be determined by your website.  Salespeople are getting less time with customers, your website is getting more Gartner research has identified how B2B buyers’ increasingly rely on digital channels throughout the purchase process (these might include supplier websites, third-party websites and social media). B2B buyers spend just 17% of their total purchase journey with sales reps. In addition, with the average deal involving multiple suppliers, a sales rep is afforded about 5% of a typical customer’s total purchase time.

In a 2021 study from McKinsey & Company, sponsored by AED, researchers found that despite anticipating a substantial increase in fully digital sales, only 14% of respondents listed digital sales among their biggest opportunities in the future of selling.

Your website is your most important sales tool. Be sure your site is easy-to-navigate on all devices, providing the information that buyers need to simplify their purchasing decisions. 

According to research from G2, 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a trusted review. Consider that buyers constantly seek third-party endorsements. Product and service reviews and customer stories give life to your products and brands and enhance credibility.

Website copy should focus on customer outcomes and solving customer problems, rather than focusing on the dealership itself.  

Your website can help you find new customers

A website optimized for search engines can help your dealership find new customers for products within your local area or outside it.  Many equipment buyers start their journey with an online search. Keyword research can help you identify the search terms buyers are using, and with the help of blogs, videos and other content optimized for those keywords, your dealership can see an increase of visitors from across the web or across town. Ranking in organic search results can yield long-lasting benefits. 

How much is your website worth?

Your very first website was probably no more than an electronic brochure. Today, your website has an opportunity to be as valuable as any physical location of your business. Websites can boost online sales. They find and engage customers. They help resolve customer issues and get customer questions answered faster and more efficiently.

It’s time to capitalize on your website with investments in both content and functionality with the goal of improving the digital experience of your customers and boosting your company’s sales and profits. 

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