With 1 billion websites on the World Wide Web, the internet is a daunting place, and you’d be excused for thinking there is no point in your small business putting in the time and effort of adding to the noise by creating loads more content. What makes it worse is the fact that there seems to be a thousand and one people selling you a template fix for your business’s very specific visibility issues. But there are ways you can avoid simply adding to the noise and really make your SME stand out from the crowd. So here is a checklist to help you get on your way.
Educate your prospective clients
The marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the last ten years. One of the key changes in the online revolution is in consumer behaviour and the way in which they are attracted to a brand or a service. The traditional method of blasting immeasurable messages into the face of your consumers is proving to be a dying art. Nowadays, the successful approach is by using a method of educating the client or consumer and building trust.
The 2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study reported that 56% of the people they surveyed said that additional information about products and services inspires more trust in a brand, making them more likely to choose that product over others. Furthermore, 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that offers total transparency in the information they provide.
What is even more interesting is that 39% of the people surveyed said they would switch brands in the pursuit of total transparency. This shows just how important it is to educate your prospective clients and consumers about your products or services.
Become a Consistent and Reliable Resource
Once you start to develop a level of trust with your target market, they will naturally look to you for information on a regular basis. Think of it like a newspaper: once someone finds a reliable rag that they find informative and has the content they like, they will keep going back to it.
The key to becoming reliable is consistency. I’m not saying you have to post a blog and email your readers every day. But if you strive for consistent content creation, there is a far higher chance that people will return. For example, posting a blog every Tuesday and Thursday, along with a bi-weekly email and a daily social media post will help your consumers get into the habit of looking to you for information. And because it’s reliably consistent, it makes it easier for them to come back, because they know what to expect, and when to expect it.
Spread your Focus
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, it’s important to have a healthy, consistent marketing mix. People will get bored if you only email them, or if they only see you on Facebook. Try blogging and emailing along with social posting to begin with. If you find that certain channels don’t work, scrap them and try a new one. If something is working a lot better than others it is fine to adjust your focus, but don’t forget about the other channels.
Don’t be self-centred (the 6-3-1 ratio)
Jumping back to the trust building point, it is vital that you don’t go promoting yourself all the time. There is a ratio used for social media posting suggesting that if you post ten times per week, six of those posts should be relevant industry information, three posts should be from other reliable sources and only one post should be about promoting your product.
If you imagine your business as a person, and all they did was talk about how great they are and how many awards they’ve won or achievements they have realised, you can start to see just how annoying it could be for consumers. Nobody (of reasonable intelligence) conducts himself or herself like that in real life, so why should your marketing promote that type of a persona for your company?
Develop killer email campaigns
Email is a key aspect of any marketing plan. It has been around for a long time, and you could be forgiven for thinking it was an unfashionable channel for you to pursue consumers. But if you’re smart about the way you reach a person’s inbox, it can be hugely productive, and is still the best friend a marketer could ever have. Because email is considered to be a highly personal method of contacting someone, it is a great way to nurture leads and drive them down the conversion path.
There is a need to be clever though. You need to completely avoid being generic, and must personalise the hell out of your messaging, which is where smart content can help.
Stay on target…
Know your target market and buyer personas, know what they want to see and hear, and deliver that content without resorting to clickbait. Basically, if you’re selling IT services, your blog shouldn’t talk about fishing. People will come to you for relevant information, so don’t test their patience by going off-piste, and always make sure you help them find your content with the best SEO.
… But still be original
As I stated, there is no point writing about fishing if you’re an IT provider. But there is nothing wrong with using the art of storytelling to write a clever blog comparing the similarities between fishing and the IT service you provide.
Slightly confusing, I know. Even though you need to keep your content relevant to your service or product, you still need to be creative and think of ways to stand out from your competitors. Thought leadership pieces, infographics and clever video content are some of the many ways you can stand out from the crowd.
A perfect example is the AppliancesDelivered.ie YouTube channel, where they have used a witty method to convey a simple message. The best thing about the content is that it is shareable and easy to view.
In summary, your visibility issues aren’t going to change overnight, and that’s why consistency and creativity across multiple channels is key. It’s not an easy thing to do, but to be successful in your given field there is a real need to execute on each of these points.
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