The Valuable Content survey into the online habits of UK business people

Sonja Jefferson

Content marketing surveys are coming thick and fast at the moment, as agencies and commentators try to quantify the business benefits of an inbound marketing approach. We’ve conducted a quick survey of our own, asking 100 of our business contacts their views on what works and what doesn’t on the web.

The clear message is that a strong, user friendly website is crucial if you want your business to thrive, and that a good social media presence is essential, not optional, in today’s business environment.

Thanks very much to everyone who answered our questions.  Now read on for the results.

 

Headlines

  • 92% of people researched online before buying new products or services.
  • 79% had recommended products, services and people on social media.
  • Only 1% of people had bought products or services via telemarketing or newspaper advertising.

Your marketing budget is far better spent on the web, creating a valuable site with content relevant to your buyers, and sharing this across social media than on telemarketing and other old style marketing methods.

92% of our buyers bought as a result of online research; 1% bought via an approach from a telemarketer or a newspaper ad. That’s an even greater disparity than we would have predicted.

Begs the question: are you still selling like it’s 1992?

Further analysis

You will find the full results below, but here is an overview of what we learned.

1. Relevant content is the most important factor for business people looking for a website they can trust — even ahead of design. When asked to name the three most important features that make them trust a website, 62% of respondents said “relevant content” followed by “reviews or ratings” (57%) and “quality of design” (54%).

2. If you want to grab attention, think visually and creatively. Strong images and headlines were most influential, pulling three quarters of respondents to websites first.

3. There are many ways to lose people from your website. Buyers are impatient and slow to load sites are the biggest turn off – 89% of people are irritated at being kept waiting. Other ways to lose them are:

  • poor site architecture – 79% hate not finding what they’re looking for
  • showing out of date content turns 77% of people off
  • poorly written content is a no-no – 64% of people really don’t like it.
  • jargon gets peoples backs up – 57% say it turns them off a website
  • adverts annoyed 51% respondents, and sales spiel turned off 49%.

4. Think mobile when you’re creating your website. 26% of people would leave your site is it doesn’t work on their phone.

5. Twitter and Facebook still rule, followed by Linkedin.

6. Engaging in social media isn’t optional. You have to be there. 61% had engaged suppliers or bought products through something they picked up on a social media site.

7. 79% of people had shared good buying experiences on social media – 60% had shared the bad stuff.

8. Blogs are mainstream. 87% of our survey read them every month.

Full results

Why do you go online?

  • 83% to research/find the answer to something
  • 73% to buy
  • 57% to be entertained
  • 57% to socialise
  • 55% to network
  • 27% to sell

What are the three most important features that make you trust a website?

  • 62% Content that’s relevant to me
  • 57% Reviews or ratings from other sources
  • 54% Quality of the website design
  • 36% A business story I believe in
  • 29% Testimonials
  • 29% Portfolio of clients I rate
  • 20% Good case studies
  • 13% Blog
  • 6% An impressive company brochure to download

What would turn you off a website?

  • 87% Slow to load
  • 79% Can’t find what I am looking for
  • 77% Obviously out of date
  • 76% Pop-ups
  • 64% Poorly written content
  • 64% Difficult to read
  • 59% Doesn’t answer my questions
  • 57% Jargon
  • 57% Poor design
  • 56% Hard to find contact details
  • 55% No useful content
  • 54% “Do you want to enter this site?” message
  • 51% adverts
  • 49% Sales spiel
  • 42% Over-designed
  • 27% Not easy to see who the site is aimed at
  • 26% Doesn’t work on my phone
  • 17% Doesn’t mention the people that would deal with me

In the past 6 months, have you bought products or services as a result of any of the following?

  • 92% Research online
  • 71% Recommendations from friends
  • 43% Social networks
  • 19% Online advertising
  • 14% TV advertising
  • 5% Direct mail
  • 1% Telemarketing
  • 1% Newspaper advertising
  • 0% Radio advertising
  • 0% Door-to-door selling

What are the three most important features that make you trust a website?

  • 62% Content that’s relevant to me
  • 57% Reviews or ratings from other sources
  • 54% Quality of the website design
  • 36% A business story I believe in
  • 29% Testimonials
  • 29% Portfolio of clients I rate
  • 20% Good case studies
  • 13% Blog
  • 6% An impressive company brochure to download

Which of the following types of content grab your attention the most?

  • 76% Images
  • 75% Headlines
  • 58% Relevant written content
  • 19% Video
  • 5% Audio

In the past six months, have you engaged a supplier or bought a product mentioned on a social media site?

  • 61% Yes
  • 39% No

Have you recommended products, services or people on social media?

  • 79% Yes
  • 21% No

Have you shared negative business experiences on social media?

  • 60% Yes
  • 40% No

Which social media sites do you regularly use?

  • 76% Facebook
  • 72% Twitter
  • 63% LinkedIn
  • 44% Youtube
  • 26% WordPress
  • 22% Google+
  • 22% Pinterest
  • 17% Instagram
  • 10% Blogger
  • 9% Vimeo
  • 5% Tumblr

How often do you read blogs?

  • 24% Occasionally (1-5 a month)
  • 31% Regularly (5-15 a month)
  • 22% Frequently (more than 15 a month)
  • 13% Never

Respondent profile

  • 100 UK business people including business owners, sole traders and employees.

How about you? Does this reflect how you buy products and services? What are your main bugbears when it comes to the web? We’d love to know.

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