Your company is comprised of experts who are all incredibly knowledgeable about your field. They probably studied the topic in college and maybe even earned advanced degrees. When trade shows, expos, online courses, and the like appear on the calendar, these experts always welcome the opportunity to learn even more.
Do you ever wish there was a way to pick the brains of these experts for the benefit of your company? You’d then put all the info somewhere accessible for your customers, leads, and prospects to pore over.
It turns out, you can. It’s known as an online knowledge base.
What Is an Online Knowledge Base?
An online knowledge base is a database dedicated to showcasing relevant information and content related to your company. It includes all the knowledge your company’s employees and experts can funnel in. Any applicable tricks, tips, best practices, documentation, and FAQs would go into this knowledge base as well.
Since it’s all hosted online, your clients and customers can easily access your database, reading it when they please. Also, due to its presence online, you can update the knowledge base consistently. By always adding fresh and relevant information, you keep your company on the cutting edge of customer service.
Okay, so now you know what an online knowledge base is. You could even be contemplating creating one for your company. The question is, how can having one of these knowledge bases increase your sales? Read on, as we’ll tell you!
- Educate the Lead in the Early Stages
A lead has just arrived on your website. Perhaps they found you through your social media presence, your advertising, or even a guest blog post.
They don’t know a lot about you at this stage, so they’re just sort of poking through the pages on your site. In these early days, if they were interested in learning more, they might opt into your email newsletter. They could even call you and schedule a consultation to discuss your products/services in more detail, including pricing.
From there, you don’t quite know what will happen. The lead might be intrigued enough to try a free trial of your products/services. They might even make a purchase. Just as likely, they could disappear off the face of the earth.
That’s why what every company wants is prospects. These are a step up from your average lead. They enter your sales funnel already educated about your products/services. They’re often more likely to buy than an average lead.
Imagine this: now your website has an online knowledge library. The prospect finds this information database. Remember, they already know more about your company than the average lead. In this case, a database fills in the gaps.
There’s now less resistance to buying your products/services. This prospect leaves your knowledge base knowing just about everything they could about your company. If they’re ready to make a purchasing decision, it will follow shortly thereafter.
- Write Well to Attract Traffic
In the intro, we mentioned how an online database includes data such as tips, best practices, and FAQs. It’s not a blog post or a landing page you’re writing, but that doesn’t mean good content etiquette should go out the window.
You must treat your knowledge database the same way you would any other page on your site. It deserves only the most exemplary content. That doesn’t mean you have to start writing in a stuffy, stilted manner. You want to provide information, but you can do so in a friendly, even conversational tone. Don’t go too informal, but don’t stuff your knowledge base with jargon, either.
After all the primary goal of this knowledge base is to inform your leads, prospects, and customers. If reading through your information is insufferable, the database loses all its effectiveness.
Writing well doesn’t just make reading through your knowledge base a more pleasurable experience, but it also boosts traffic to the page. This, in turn, can increase sales.
- Answer Questions Leads/Customers Haven’t Even Thought of Yet
Let’s continue talking about what needs to go into the writing of your knowledge database, shall we?
You’ve got your tone down, which is great. Now you’re beginning to craft exemplary content mined from the collective knowledge of experts in your company.
As you do this, think from the perspective of the lead. Unless it’s a prospect, they don’t know who you are. They might have a basic understanding of what you do, but it’s just that, basic. When compiling your information for your knowledge base, ask yourself a few questions.
What kind of information would a lead want to know? What about a prospect? Do they need a detailed history of your company’s legacy? Would detailed product specs help?
While you don’t want a FAQs or tips list to go on forever, you do want to provide the best information that can guide and inform a sale. In that regard, almost no question is too insignificant. At best, your knowledge base can almost predict the questions your leads will have before they even realize they want to ask that question.
Remember, the more detailed information you can provide, the more helpful your knowledge base becomes in making sales for your company.
- Use a Simple, Appealing Design
We’ve talked about the content that goes into this knowledge base, now let’s get into the looks of the database itself.
This is another incredibly important element. We’d argue that how your database looks is even better to focus on than the content inside. Why is that? If your database is impossible to navigate, then no one’s ever going to get to your amazing content.
The simpler the look of your database, the better. Most leads and prospects aren’t on this page to be wowed by expensive design flourishes. They just want information.
That’s why your search bar must be front and center. If a lead can’t find a place to search for what they’re looking for, then they’re not going to bother wasting their time. They’ll probably navigate away from your database or even your site. From there, it’s tough to win them back, especially if they go to the competition.
You and the rest of your company will have to put a lot of time into the type of search engine results that get generated when a lead types in a query. While your database doesn’t have to be a perfect replica of Google, it should provide accurate results every time.
For example, if a lead searches for information on your sales software, they shouldn’t get results for an unrelated product. They should only see all the articles, documents, posts, pages, and lists about your software. This way, the lead can dive deep into product specs, pricing, and other information to decide if the product is right for them.
- Keep It Mobile-Friendly
Another element of your online knowledge database is its mobile-friendliness. According to recent data from Statista, in 2018, most web traffic from around the world (52.2 percent) came from smartphone users. In 2017, this was just 50.3 percent. You can assume then that by 2019, even more, people across the globe will use their phone to go online.
That’s why having a mobile-friendly website design should be at the forefront of any company’s goals. You should expect that most leads and customers who access your website will do so on their phones. Your website may be optimized for mobile users, but what about your knowledge base?
Will your graphs and images load correctly or will they look stretched or even squished? Will your lists and FAQs appear nice and neat or misaligned due to formatting errors?
The best way to find out is to test your database by looking at it on your own phone. Ask a few other key members of your company to do the same. Check for any errors with formatting, images, videos, and other elements. If any of these are incorrect, then change them ASAP. Whether you designed the database yourself or used a third-party design company, one of you must get the site mobile-friendly right away.
When you add new pages or elements to the knowledge base (more on this later), you’ll have to once again do another mobile-friendly test.
Today, there’s no excuse for a company to go live with a page or site that’s not mobile-friendly. If your leads or customers arrive at your knowledge base and see that it doesn’t load correctly on their phones, they’re not likely to stick around long. They might try reloading the page to see if there was an error. Once they realize the site isn’t mobile-friendly, they’ll find a competitor whose site is.
- Better Employee Onboarding = More Sales
As your company grows, you hope to always add more members to your sales team. The time it takes to train these members to be sales-ready can detract from the number of sales your already-existing team can make, right? Usually, but not with a knowledge base.
The information in this database can serve as a great starting point for new employee onboarding. While an online knowledge database cannot replace good, old-fashioned training, the info here can augment these training sessions. That allows you to get more employees on the sales floor faster, earning more sales for your company.
- Implement SEO
We’ve talked about your search engine earlier in this article, and now we want to touch on it again.
If you’re not already using SEO best practices for your knowledge base, it’s high time you start. After all, SEO stands for search engine optimization, and your knowledge base is indeed a search engine. Like we said before, it may not be as big as Google, but it’s a search engine nonetheless.
That means almost all SEO tactics can and should apply. For instance, you can use canonical links or tags. A canonical link keeps you from posting the same content on your site twice, especially if you use the same keywords more than once.
You’ll also want to use metadata optimization, where you include meta image attributes, meta descriptions, and keywords in titles and URLs. If your database is large enough, then an XML sitemap doesn’t hurt, either.
Finally, you’ll want to optimize all the keywords that appear in the content within your online database. By targeting and testing keywords, you boost traffic to your site. Once you capture that traffic, you now have a whole new audience to sell to.
- Update the Database Often
Throughout this article, we’ve addressed the looks, content, and functionality of your knowledge base. We mentioned that well-written content especially will increase the kind of traffic you need for more sales.
Besides writing well, you also must make sure the content you include is relevant. In the worlds of sales and marketing, things can change at a lightning-quick pace. Those hot new tactics we loved in 2018 can become obsolete once 2019 rolls around on the calendar. It happens. Google algorithms update, new tech gets introduced, and our audiences prioritize different things.
Does that mean you have to go back and cherry-pick what’s relevant in your database every year? Someone should devote the time to that, yes. If a lead stumbles upon irrelevant content, this will hurt their perception of you. They could decide they want to do business elsewhere, which loses you the sale and the customer.
That’s why, if you can, it’s better to write about evergreen topics. This is content that has a timeless quality and will never go out of style. The name of this concept comes from the humble evergreen tree. Its leaves will never dull, even in the crispness of autumn or the cold of winter.
Populating your online database with evergreen content will increase your SEO. That means more people will see your database, which boosts your chances of getting more sales.
An online knowledge base includes your top tips, techniques, best practices, and other information. It’s not a static thing, but rather one that’s ever-changing. You’ll consistently add and update the content that appears here for the sake of your customers.
When executed correctly, one of these knowledge bases can increase sales for your company. It’s important to opt for simple database design, prioritizing the search bar. Content should be evergreen if at all possible.
Now that you know why they’re so invaluable to boosting sales, we hope you decide to create an online knowledge base on your website.