Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

Why Content Marketing Will Educate Your Prospects And Produce More Profitable Sales.

As a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place that is consistently driving new and repeat business.

 

 

In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.

 

Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.

 

Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, social media updates, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!

 

To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.

 

But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.

 

But we already have a website!

To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not.

 

A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless.

 

cost

 

In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.

 

The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.

 

Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.

 

4 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business

1. Highly Visible Social Proof

If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.

create social proof

 

It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.

 

If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.

 

2. Be seen as a Thought Leader.

 

Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.

The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.

 

Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.

 

TIP: Sit down once a quarter and brainstorm a list of topics that you would like to cover and jot down at least 3 bullet points for each content piece so when you sit down to produce that content you have a starting point. Knowing what to produce is often the hardest part.

 

3. Improve Search Engine Rankings.

improve-search-engine-rankings

Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.

 

Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.

 

 

All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.

 

The more QUALITY content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche, which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.

 

 

  1. Content Allows you to sell the next step in the relationship.

Not everybody will buy from you the first time they come across you. In fact according to a study by Salesforce it takes between 6 and 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead.

 

But content is not just about getting the first sale, it is more than that it is about developing a relationship where that potential client or existing client comes back to you time and time again for further services or different products. By continuing to drip feed content after the initial purchase you increase the prospects confidence in you, enhance the trust factor, educate the individual on how you can help them and sell that next step in their personal customer journey.

 

 

Content marketing alone is not a quick win strategy. It will not bring a horde of new business tomorrow but it certainly plays a significant part in setting your business apart from your competition, highlighting you as a thought leader and the go to player in your industry and educating existing clients on how you and your services can help them achieve their goals.

Boost Your Business Profile By Starting A Blog

Boost your Business Profile by Starting a Blog

starting a blogIf getting in front of new customers is a priority for any business, getting in front of the biggest number of potential clients possible right now, for the least cost, is usually the main goal. For many small businesses with limited resources advertising is simply not an option. The best way to put yourself and your business in a place where a huge potential audience can find you is by putting yourself online.

One of the great advantages a blog gives you as a small business owner is that it stands as a reference to your skills and knowledge. By regularly blogging about information, tips and services you are telling the world that you know your subject matter and can add value to your existing products and services by providing your readers with an additional resource of information.

By regularly updating your blog you will raise your own profile as the more that brands and industry insiders see your work, the more they will start to see you as an expert in the field.  Once you are seen as someone who’s knowledgeable and willing to speak up or share information, you will find that more people in turn want to speak to you about what you do, ask your opinion on products or come to you for advice. All of these opportunities can then be turned into the start of a business winning conversation.

Blogs are also exactly the right kind of information that search engines like to see. The search engine spiders that crawl the internet looking for answers to millions of search queries love to see sites that are regularly updated. An updated site shows that you are active, and implies that the information is fresh and relevant.

Producing your own new content also gives you more content to share on social media sites such as Google plus, Facebook and Twitter. By posting your content out on multiple sites you are creating all important back links out from your site to the rest of the internet. The real value here is when other people also like your content and share it on their own social media profiles. Again, the search engines will see that your content has been shared multiple times and will deem your work to be even more relevant, bumping you up the search results.

For anyone who has never started a blog before it might seem daunting, and you might be tempted to just stick with social media rather than trying to build your own separate page. Social media definitely serves a purpose, but typically what you post there is only good for a moment and will get lost in amongst everyone else’s posts. If you have your own website you can keep all your posts together in one place and refer back to them again more easily. Also, if you are serious about wanting to raise your own profile then you need to have your own page to refer people back to. Remember you don’t own your social media pages and they could change their rules at a moments’ notice leaving your hard work and audience building efforts wasted. Having your own blog leaves you in control.

At Big Thinking Online we have been building up our own content for almost 4 years now. Every new blog increases the chances of our work being shared, and increases the chance of regular readers coming back to our site rather than looking for one of our competitors. It also means we’ve spent all that time creating a very natural organic back linking profile which is another positive in the eyes of the search engines. It shows to our clients that our business has a good knowledge base, that we have built up our own reputation and profile over a steady period and that we continue to work on our skills. Over the last few years we have had blogs featured on many other places, including Social Media Today and Business 2 Community, sometimes being shared thousands of times in a day. Whilst these posts may not all have caused the phone to ring off the hook they have definitely helped to increase our network of contacts, and it also means that if a client or prospect asks for further information on a subject then we can usually direct them to a post on that subject that they can read whenever they need to.

Have you started your own blog yet? If so what benefits have you found from keeping it going?

20 Blog Ideas for Professional Services Firms That Drive Engagement

20 Blog Ideas for Professional Services Firms That Drive Engagement

blog ideasIf you have a website then regular blogs with clever Keywords optimised for Search Engines are exactly what you need in order to raise your business profile and attract interested new readers to come knocking at your door for more advice.

Starting a blog can be fun, enlightening for you as a business owner and may even prove to you that your subject knowledge is even better than you think it is. But what happens after the first few weeks when you’ve exhausted the initial stash of blog ideas? Quite often Blogging can begin to seem more of a chore – time consuming and not doing anything to directly influence your cash flow.

Thinking of new blog ideas can very often take longer than writing the blog itself, particularly if you’re not a natural writer, or if you struggle with thinking creatively.

Help is at hand! Here are 20 Blog Ideas that with any professional services firm should be able to reproduce for their specific niche

20 Attention Grabbing Blog Ideas

How to

This one should be easy, whatever your profession, e.g. How to floss your teeth, how to seal a bath, how to file your expenses…. It can be recycled as many times as you can imagine!

1. Top 10

Think of a relevant category and off you go! It could be 10 reasons to visit the optician, a top 10 product review, 10 facts on teeth whitening, 10 customer testimonials, 10 herbal remedies, 10 proven local business marketing tips

A day in the life of…

This could be a typical behind the scenes day, or a day when you’re at a special event. You could get each member of your staff to write about their day, or ask a customer to write about their experience with your firm.

Questions you should always ask

This is a great one for building relationships with new clients as it shows you’re thinking the way they would be thinking. Whatever your business, think about the all important questions that differentiate good firms like your own from the not so reputable ones.

Why you should always use a XXX

Any well qualified professional should be able to explain why their services are important, but it may be less obvious to your average member of the public. For example, why do you need a registered gas fitter to remover a boiler? Why should you use proper tools?

What’s in the news

How do current events relate to your industry? As an accountant you could write about tax changes, Dentists could write about dental care for under privileged families, beauty salons might want to blog about celebrity make up. The great thing about news is there is more new news every day!

Frequently asked questions

What questions are you always answering? Why not write a blog for each one? This allows you to cover each question in much more detail than a typical FAQ page allows. E.g. What will search engine optimisation do for your business?

Opinion piece

If something has you ranting and raving, then blog about it! Even if it isn’t 100% to do with your business you can probably find a way to link it back to something relevant. Opinions should be easy to write, because it is your own opinion and you don’t necessarily need too much research unless of course you want to back it up with fact.

What XXX Accreditation means

People know to check that the people they’re hiring or working with are qualified, but what does the qualification actually mean?  Take the time to break it down for your customers in layman’s terms so that they know the difference between different levels of qualification and what it might mean to them as a customer in terms of what you can provide for them.

New Trends to be aware of

You won’t stay successful in business for long if you don’t know what’s around the corner! Likewise, customers are always interested to know what else you might be working on, what else might benefit them and changes that may affect them in the future. By providing your readers with this information you’re proving that you know your industry, and you’re giving them less reason to seek out the information elsewhere.

Seasonal

Every business has seasonal fluctuation, whether it’s a sales peak before Christmas or a quiet spell during the summer. Talk about how the different times of year affect your business, or different jobs that you have to do throughout the year. Perhaps you could have a monthly update or offer that you blog about?

Worst mistakes made in your field

This could be another way to make you look better than the competition! Highlight things that are often done wrong and prove how you can do it right.

Common misconceptions

Are there any old wives tales about your trade that you could dispel? There are plenty of urban myths about many professions that people like to believe, use your blog ideas to set them straight.

Top Tips

The possibilities for this type of blog are huge, and it does fit in any niche. Top tips on organising your tax return & expenses, getting your vehicle ready for winter, why an online presence is so important – 9 top tips to maximise yours, the best morning workout tips. Use your expert knowledge to think outside the box!

Review of Tools / Accessories

If there is a certain software that you use for your job, then write review! Likewise for books you’ve referred to, or tools. You might have found a great gadget that really makes your day easier, so why not tell everyone else and make their day easier too?

Now and Then

What techniques have changed in your industry over the last few years? By writing about how things have moved on you are again demonstrating your expertise in the field and that you have kept up with trends. This is important as customers like to know you are well informed

Guest post

Have someone from outside your business write a blog for you. This could be from a complimentary business, or someone who has a specific area of expertise, or even just a one off subject that you feel might be relevant to your readers. The guest post might also encourage new readers to your site if your guest blogger is already an established writer on their own site.

What’s on?

Talk about upcoming events that you’re involved in. You can build interest with your readers to get them involved. Maybe you could introduce special offers or new product launches.

Combine old posts

You’ll find after you’ve been blogging for some time that certain themes work better with your audience, or that some topics deserve to be covered more than once. There’s nothing wrong with chopping and changing some of your older blog ideas to refresh them for new readers, just make sure that you are adding sufficient new content as well.

Specific area of expertise

Break down every area of your work into different blog ideas. You’ll probably find at least 10 things to write about! Yes, some may be more detailed than others but it will all be relevant and interesting to different people. If a job is worth doing, it’s worth writing about!

So what are you waiting for? Get blogging!

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

8 Advantages of Blogs for New Business Generation

advantages of blogsLet me start by saying, in my opinion, there is no one size fits all cookie cutter purpose of a blog. In fact each and every blog is unique and that uniqueness is something that any potential blogger should be looking to create. In this post I am going to discuss the main advantages of blogs in business and how it can help your business grow.

It brings your website to life

It is seldom the case that you can find a niche market where there is little to no competition. This means that as a small business owner you have to do something to make your small business stand out from the crowd.

By starting a blog you are making a commitment financially and, more importantly, an investment of your time to provide valuable insights into your industry or niche. Be ruthless with yourself because if you have nothing interesting to say or no value to add then your blog will soon become a ghost town and will in fact have a negative impact on your site.

It helps you become a teacher

In the process of winning business you often get asked questions about your products and services. When you blog on a regular basis you find that your approach to explaining these details changes (Well, it does for me anyway!). When you read something back to yourself in black and white and it doesn’t make sense then you need to amend it until someone can understand exactly what you’re saying.

By creating several articles on a weekly basis you inadvertently

  • sharpen up your sales pitch for when you are addressing clients.
  • You are forced to stay up to date on industry trends.
  • You’ll have answers for the most taxing of questions.

In essence one of the huge advantages of writing a blog is that you are practising your pitch and enhancing your repertoire so that when you do get in front of clients your demeanour is more confident and relaxed, allowing the client to feel more relaxed resulting in more sales.

It gives people a reason to return

I know of a small business owner who vehemently refuses to update his website and swoons at the thought of including a blog. In his opinion there is only one reason people visit the company website and that is to use a free sample of the company software.

My thought is this: if you only give people one reason to visit then they will see your site for that one purpose and no other. Give your audience that reason to return again and again by creating valuable content that provokes curiosity, inspires or educates. By doing this your blog can quickly and easily build a loyal following that can share the name of your business and brand through referral.

It helps search engine rankings

A stand alone website is pretty much an advert in a sea of other adverts. Worse than that if there is no structure, and by that I mean no search engine optimisation, then effectively your website is stranded in an ocean without a lifeline.

advantages of blogs

Adding a blog to your small business website means that you are constantly adding fresh content, when you add fresh content to your blog and promote your blog in the correct manner the search engines recognise this and if you tell them what your blog content is about by using the correct SEO on page optimisation, you will be rewarded by having your content indexed where you most want it to be found. Namely, in front of the eyeballs of targeted prospects for your business.

With a solid inbound marketing strategy and patience you can build up a vast resource for your business that can provide solid value for your audience and position your business as a leader in your industry.

It helps qualify prospects in and out.

When you produce great content on a regular basis then over time you will inevitably cover the majority of aspects of your business, from products, services and solutions through to after care and the results that you provide for other clients.

Having great content available to people who are reviewing your business is a great way to qualify them in or out of your business. And those that take the time to read your content and dissect the information available to them are going to be a much better lead for your business. They will be educated in your business methodology and by the simple act of following your call to action will be signalling to you that they are serious and ready to do business.

The other benefit this has on your business is it saves you time.

As business owners we all want to speak to as many new people about our business on a daily basis. Agreed? Of course the answer is yes! However the truth of the matter is that in a hectic schedule there can be nothing worse than giving up time to speak to a tire kicker.

As well as acting as a lead magnet for qualified clients one of the advantages of blogging is that it acts as a way to repel those that are simply looky loo’s.

It provides social proof

Blogging is about striking up conversation with your audience. It’s about bringing your business and brand to life. The more content you write then the greater the chance of you eliciting a response.

The responses that people in your community leave are great fuel for you to highlight your expertise in your niche and also to outline your approach to customer service.

Many people and businesses don’t like the idea of opening up their blog or website to comments. This myopic approach can actually damage the visibility of your blog in the search engines as the search engines look for social signals as a factor that a blog is actually of good quality.

On top of comments helping with your ranking, they also provide great blog post ideas for further content creation!

It establishes authority

Establish your small business as an authority in your industry by creating highly enriching blog content. If you are able to do this, it is a sure fire way to gain credibility with prospective new business partners. Highly effective peopleknow the more authority you have, the more likely people will open their ears and listen to you without being overly critical, giving you the ability and time to influence this is the purpose of a blog that most small business owners and business professionals desire the most.

How can you increase your authority? Get your blog noticed, write a book, or provide guest content to influential websites in your niche. Ask your prospective customers what they actually want and provide resources where they can find it.

The advantages of blogs vary from industry recognition to SEO benefit but one thing remains constant and that is you will need to learn how to write blogs effectively and integrate your blogging within your marketing strategy to see success. Blogging is not something to be taken lightly it is a huge investment of time and money so make sure you are clear as to what you are looking to achieve before penning your first words.