Don’t do content marketing? That’s a shame – because I can guarantee your rivals do.
Content marketing – or using writing to publicise your business – is a form of marketing that every SME should do, even sole traders.
The mistake a lot of small businesses make is to think of content marketing as an expense. It’s not – it’s an investment in your future profits. That’s why your rivals do it.
A strategic, well-planned content marketing program will help your business do five things:
1. Generate more enquiries
Imagine you’ve got a leaking toilet. So you do a Google search for “[Your suburb] plumber”. Three names pop up. The first one doesn’t have a website. The second one does, but it’s got minimal content and hasn’t been updated for a long time. The third one has a website packed with relevant content and it gets updated regularly.
Which would you choose? If you’re like most people, you’d instinctively choose the third plumber. The third plumber might be the worst of the bunch, but our unconscious brain assumes that if he’s got the most interesting content, he must be the most professional plumber.
2. Convert more enquiries
Content marketing doesn’t just generate more enquiries; it also converts more of them into sales.
Most people would agree that the third plumber would receive more calls than the other two. But imagine you decide to be thorough and get quotes from all three. Before you call though, your unconscious brain already concluded that the third plumber is professional, the first plumber is sloppy and the second is somewhere in the middle.
Given those preconceptions, which plumber is likely to sound most credible? And whose prices are you least likely to question? Thanks to his high-quality content marketing, plumber three is going to find it easier to win your business and justify his prices.
3. Establish yourself as an expert
Now imagine you meet the three plumbers at a dinner party. The first spends the night hiding in a corner, so you barely see him. The second one is visible, but doesn’t say much. The third one stands in the centre of the room and talks constantly about toilets, pipes and drainage systems. Which plumber would seem most knowledgeable and passionate about his craft?
Businesses that pump out relevant, high-quality content are perceived as experts. Businesses that stay silent are easily overlooked.
4. Boost your Google ranking
As a general rule, the more relevant, quality content you publish on your website, the higher it will rank in Google search results.
The two important words here are “relevant” and “quality”. If you’re a plumber, it makes no sense to fill your website with articles about Donald Trump or Lady Gaga. You also need to ensure the content is well-written. Otherwise, Google will conclude your website is less important and deserves a lower ranking.
5. Bait and hook referral partners
A lot of small-business owners know some or all of the first four points – but few realise that you can also use content marketing to build referral relationships.
Here’s what you do. First, identify a potential referrer that could help your business – for example, our plumber might want to target a property manager. Second, think of a way to quote the referrer in one of your articles – “The five biggest maintenance problems to look out for when renting a property”, for instance. Third, pitch the idea to the referrer.
Now that you’ve broken the ice and done them a favour (by giving them free publicity), you’ve given yourself a chance of turning them into a long-term referral partner.
Nick Bendel, Head of Content, Hunter & Scribe