Socrates: Best practices at work

Posted by David Meerman Scott 11:22 PM on February 22, 2005

Recently I stumbled upon a terrific site for "know-how solutions" called Socrates.  I think their innovative Web marketing techniques are worth studying by anyone who wants to cash in with Web content.

What these guys do is sell legal forms (contracts, wills, business agreements, real-estate transaction agreements, etc.) on the Internet. Many marketers at Web-based e-commerce sites would just sit back and say something like  "everyone needs what we have to offer" and use that thinking to justify a poorly designed site.

Not Socrates -- marketers at this e-commerce company employ best practices throughout this great site. 

Front and center on the homepage are appropriate self-select paths based on what kind of form you need: business, personal, real-estate, and contractor. In short, Socrates is organized the way visitors think rather than the way that Socrates happens to be managed.

To the right are "buy" links to immediately purchase and download "best seller" forms. In a clever move, all of the best sellers listed are at the low $9.95 price point. This "show, don't tell" technique makes people aware right on the homepage that the forms are affordable.  Near the bottom are featured products and the left navigation sports a listing of the types of forms available.

What I really like about this site is that you see it all right on the homepage. But the marketers at Socrates don't stop there. Once inside, each form's information page features well-written content describing what the form is and why it is useful. There's a nice "you may also need" link to related forms and documents ready for purchase.

I purchased a contract document I needed for my business and the transaction was quick and easy. I got my PDF document immediately and in a nice content marketing technique, I was offered a package of additional information to download for free. This is a great way to show customers what else is available to cultivate repeat business.

I spoke with several executives of the company and learned that they are doing extremely well. The site is responsible for selling a boatload of forms. Sales are going strong and a huge percentage of customers come back for additional forms. There's no doubt that the company's success comes from the site itself which employs best practices throughout.

David Meerman Scott

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