Say what you want about Microsoft, you’ve got to love their strategy to create relationships and sell products to small businesses. They are doing many things right, and a few things wrong that need to be corrected…let’s review.
I received an email with this link promoting Microsoft Office Live Basics for Small Businesses. Live Basics enables businesses to reserve a domain name, create and update a web site, and create a centralized email hub for up to 25 email accounts (this part competes directly with Google Apps for small businesses, which I use).
It’s not the product that necessarily caught my attention – it was the content on the site. There are two key areas to focus on: Articles and Tips and Community and Blogs. The site has over 250 articles and blog posts dedicated to small business solutions, many focused on small business online tools, tricks and techniques. Most articles are written by professional freelancers, which Microsoft is probably paying for (good move).
On the home page of the Microsoft Live Small Business site they promote an eBook from Startup Nation on the 11 ways to Create a Successful Web Site. Kudos to Microsoft for partnering with a recognized small business name such as Startup Nation. The eBook is free, but sign up is required. By giving up some information, you’ll also receive a subscription to their Microsoft Advisor eNewsletter. Microsoft is employing the basic “free on free” technique of giving you something large for free (eBook), then getting something regular for free (the eNewsletter), in exchange for your email address.
Microsoft has the process down and is doing most things right when it comes to delivering content to target customers. That said, here are a few things Microsoft should look at to improve the site:
- Why all the advertising? As I was reading the content I just couldn’t understand all the advertising (usually from Sprint or MasterCard). There are obvious reasons for Microsoft to have advertising on the site, but I believe that it goes against the higher purpose of the website…to get small business owners engaged in the site, familiar with Microsoft small business services, and ultimately, sign up for a service or content product. TAKEAWAY – Ditch the advertising…it’s distracting and interruptive. Getting rid of it will help keep your customers focused on what they truly need, small business solutions.
- No sample of eNewsletter? I really wanted to see a sample of the eNewsletter before I gave them my personal information. TAKEAWAY – Add a sample to give people a taste…you’ll see higher conversion if the content is good.
- No comments? With today’s technology, it is almost expected to have comment capabilities set up on articles. TAKEAWAY – Add comment capabilities to articles to create a more vibrant and interactive community.
- The Blog is a servant to the articles? The blog postings rarely offer a new take on small business solutions. It seems to exist to promote key Microsoft articles or give technical public service announcements. I’m not quite sure of the purpose. TAKEAWAY – Create a team of dedicated small-business experts as bloggers that create new insight into the challenges of small business.
Overall takeaway – Microsoft is doing some great things with online content marketing, but even the biggest and best companies in the world don’t have the content process entirely figured out.
- 42 Content-Building Ways to Attract and Retain Buyers
- How Poor Marketing Kills Great Content
- Ford Magazine Spells Disaster
- The Genius of Joel Osteen – Content Marketing Expert
>>If you liked this article, try Junta42 for more.