I get calls from small business professionals who want to start a blog or an e-newsletter. They’ve usually invested money in a nice website, and then suddenly realize that something’s missing… like customers and leads!
They’re genuinely surprised that with the money they spent on their website, no one is coming to see it, indicate they like it, let alone pick up the phone and call.
As for LinkedIn and Facebook, they’re baffled why people don’t interact with them. It doesn’t take a genius (and I’m no genius), but my guess is they have a “me-site,” a “me-blog,” and “me pages” on social media sites.
Instead of generously sharing information about their field of expertise, they share “me-formation.” There’s an “I” in information, but that doesn’t mean you should always talk about yourself. Content should be focused on readers, not you and your business. Sure, people want to know about you, but actually they want to know what you can do for them.
Start everything you write online with a focus on customers and the problems that you can solve for them. Then follow up with building trusting relationships with your readers that lead to sales.
Here’s how online content marketing works for small businesses:
- Relationships: Whenever you write content (blog posts, e-newsletter articles, emails), keep the focus on what problems you can solve for your customers. What are their struggles? What do they most desire? Connect with them by writing for them and about them.
- Quality Content: To quote Copyblogger: “Deliver great content.Then keep delivering great content, but in a strategic and focused way.” Start with a killer headline and move strategically through the copy to a stirring call to action. Traditional copywriting technique works amazingly well online, for web pages, blogs, email, and even in social media.
- Make a Worthwhile Call to Action: Every once in a while, make a great offer that benefits the reader and involves money. Everybody is selling something, but if you’re not asking for the sale, you won’t get it. It can be a small purchase or large, might be a product, a service, a download, an idea, or a worthy cause. Whatever you’re selling, it’s got to be worth the price.
There’s a reason to publish a blog for your business, and it should be aligned with your business goals. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a go-to expert or thought leader, it requires publishing a lot of quality content. But remember, it’s just as important to make an occasional offer at a good price.
If you’ve done a good job building relationships with your readers, they will trust you and want to try out your offer. That’s what content marketing does. It provides quality information that leads to sales. It’s designed so that you and your business “get found, get known, and get clients.”
While these three steps are a broad outline, I believe they form the foundation of good content marketing. When I see online content that doesn’t work to bring in clients, it’s usually because one of these three steps has been lacking. What do you think?