Grow Your Small Business with Content, Search Engines and Social Media
Content marketing is different from advertising but has the same goals.
Things change fast in business. The one constant, is that we want to make a good decision when we buy. We want to feel we made the right choice.
This is what content marketing can do for your small business. A content marketing strategy is the creation of relevant, interesting information that is too valuable to throw away.
It starts the sales process and educates about your core business offer.
The process is simple. Create information that gets found in search engines and shared on social media. You are building an audience through content. No different than a TV station.
Only you are selling lawn care, pizza, tax preparation or eye surgery…
You are helping people become better informed. In the process you are becoming the authority on the subject. Same as writing a book, only you are publishing articles online.
Understanding How We Make a Decision to Buy
As consumers, we want to buy from someone we know, like and trust.
We don’t want to be sold. We want to make a confident buying decision. (the more expensive the product, the more research I am going to do).
Your prospects and existing customers want the same. “Help me understand what I need to know.”
Imagine your ideal prospect wants to buy what you sell.
They boot up the computer, get online and start looking. Is your website optimized for them to find you?
What will they find on your website? Will you help and become a trusted source? Or will you simply say, “Here is the price, here are the hours I’m open.”
You want to be the “Wikipedia” for what you do. What core topics encompass your core business offer? Write down 5 things that can help someone do business with you. Topics that can establish your expertise.
What are the top questions they want to know? Put them on the website in an informative and fascinating way. Make a five minute video on your phone, show your passion.
When done well, content marketing can reduce your marketing expenses, bring you qualified prospects and improve revenue with existing customers. This results in consistent business.
When you buy advertising, you are paying for attention. With content marketing, you are earning it and establishing authority.
The content marketing process takes a little more time, but you are building deeper roots.
What Content do You Create for this Marketing Strategy?
There are only three stages to consider when creating new content for your strategy:
- Attracting new leads. Someone interested in your general business offer. “I do taxes.”
- Qualifying leads into prospects. “I specialize in tax preparation for restaurants. Download my free guide to see which of these deductions you may be missing.”
- Converting leads into customers and repeat customers. Make an offer to qualified prospects.
Simple but powerful.
Valuable information with you as the expert. Attract, qualify and convert.
You are simply making an effort to get what you know and do into distribution. You are marketing your expertise with content.
If you were a super-model, you market your pictures to be discovered. With content marketing you are marketing your specialty. Helping people understand your business. Instead of simply sending offers or placing ads you send out a “how to…”
Do it as often as it makes sense for your industry. When people search Google and social media, your name will pop up. Who do you think will get the call for the business?
The more often you publish and the more relevant to your potential ideal client, the deeper the roots. You are building an online library of industry expertise. In the same process establishing yourself as the “go-to” source. Which in turn will build your audience. Which attracts more leads which makes the strategy work.
How to Apply a Content Marketing Strategy in Your Small Business
Before we uncover the action steps, let’s get your big objection out of the way. “I am not a writer and don’t know how to post articles.”
Do you get passionate when you talk about your business? Talk into a microphone and have it transcribed. There is your article. There is your email. There is your postcard.
Now, let’s create content for the three stages of the strategy:
Attraction: Make a promise, give your ideal client a reward for reading. Don’t tell them what you have to sell, tell them what you can do for them. Get their attention.
“Dinner in 30 minutes or less, how to get your kids to study, 3 ways to drop 15 pounds in one month, how to buy the perfect flowers for the clueless husband.”
If attracting attention online is new to you, learn more about small business copywriting in this report.
Now comes the secret sauce: getting distribution.
You have access to the greatest business tools ever invented for small business. A website and social media.
For your content to be discovered in search engines, it needs to be optimized. This means Google needs to find it, and understand what it’s about. Google is simple. They want to match a search with the best answer. You want the best answer to be found on your website.
Your content needs two things for this to happen.
The content needs to be quality on the topic (good for a person to read) and the page needs to be optimized with the language your ideal client will use in the search box. This is also known as the keywords.
A point to be made here, more quality content, more frequently published, will have a better chance of getting found.
Social media is a valley of communities. Like minded people who follow and share relevant information. You want to join the conversation. Comment on other influencers content. Share it and say hello. Post yours and develop relationships.
Remember the power of both words. SOCIAL and MEDIA. Conversations, relationships and sharing. A well written blog post on a popular website will get distribution as well, and get traffic back to your site.
One final note, to build your audience you need a method to capture names. Be sure to have what is called an “opt-in” form on your website in an obvious place. Asking for a first name and email is common. Any more than that before you establish trust is not recommended.
How to Qualify Leads with Content Marketing
There are people who are interested, and then there are prospects who are interested in something specific. In this stage you are creating content with a specific marketing goal. To make a sub-list of people who want to know more about something specific. Those who have a specific need and are looking for specific information.
This content is a little more detailed than a simple article. a little more “how to” than simply what and why. The important function here is you are getting feedback from someone with a specific problem. This will help you craft an offer that makes sense for that prospect.
Think about that. Prospects telling you they have a specific problem. If the qualifying content is done well, you will be selling with information by establishing you know your stuff.
“How to order a catering for 100 people.” How to write Headlines for your newsletter.” How to stop crabgrass in July.” The prospect who requests this help has moved into new territory.
How to Increase Sales with Your Content Marketing: Customer Development
Imagine you have spent the last 15 years perfecting what you do well. Can someone learn how to apply your skills in 90 minutes or by reading a report?
97% of the time the answer is no.
Never be afraid of showing how to do something, step-by-step. Just be sure to mention “If you need help, let me know.” Chances are, they will make an attempt, then hire you to do the work.
Converting prospects into customers is nothing more than having a system. At this stage, the goal of your content marketing is to address a specific problem you can solve. One you can solve better or faster than the prospect can on their own.
I can watch twenty videos on installing a casement window but I will never be able to do it right. Never forget how many hours you spent becoming a master of your craft.
The more in-depth information you provide, the more you establish your authority.
Content Marketing Goals
Getting a content marketing program started is easier when you know where you’re going. Setting goals gives you focus.
One piece of advice I can give you is to do one at a time. If your focus is too wide you will get nothing done. I say this from experience.
Here are some foundational goals to give you some direction:
- Improve your website ranking with search engines. You should know the language your potential customers use when they search for your products and services. This should be a crucial part of website optimization.
- Build trust and establish authority.
- Attract new leads to convert into prospects.
- Stimulate prospect problems and make them aware of the implications if they not solved, eliminated or reduced.
- Demonstrate the benefit of your expertise if they take the next step.
- Overcome objections before they are brought up in a sales situation.
- Attract new joint venture partners.
- Deepen loyalty and sell again to existing customers.
- Test new ideas to a segmented list of your audience before you decide to roll it out to the entire crowd.
To get started today on your content marketing strategy, create your account and download our Content Marketing Guide for Small Business.