People search for answers to business questions online, so it’s possible to connect directly with your very best prospects at the precise moment they are researching your services.It’s not rocket science. Follow these three steps and more highly qualified prospects will appear in the sales funnel.
- Create a crystal clear picture of your customer segments (buyer personas).
- Produce a range of sparkling, relevant content in different formats and on different platforms (all based on the searches people make when seeking the category of solutions you offer). This is your ammunition.
- Maximise exposure of your content using the channels below:
BlogBlogging is a powerful way to grow your reputation for expertise. Your blog is the perfect place to present the great content you created in step 2, above. An active and well-promoted blog gives your company a chance to influence – and perhaps dominate – ideas and issues in your sector. But it’s not just your own blog that is important: commenting and engaging with other bloggers in your sector will get your name known (with every comment linking back to your blog, of course). Blogs are mostly free to set-up. But don’t be fooled: they do require real commitment in terms of resource and time.
Business and social networksTwitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Facebook and other networks give you one-to-one access to people who need your services today. Engage, respond, help and advise people and point them to the great content you’ve produced for further reading. On all these networks you need an attractive profile page which explains who you are, why you’re there, and what you can do to help (based on your business expertise). Get stuck in with plenty of involvement and traffic and enquiries will flow. (When I was marketing the Donut websites, more than 30% of overall site traffic was referrals from social marketing). Contact filtering tools and hundreds of third party apps allow you to be efficient on these networks. Posting and linking on social networks gives you the chance to promote the ideas in your blog, website, news releases, case studies, surveys, position papers – and indeed your entire online presence. Asking and answering questions, commenting or responding to updates and posts raises your profile and builds your expert position. Every engagement is an investment in your reputation. Social networking sites allow you to search for, monitor and connect with the right kind of people, whether the potential customers, industry experts or potential partners.
Social bookmarkingDigg, StumbleUpon, Propeller and host of other services let you rate and categorize web content based on your interests. By bookmarking your own material, it becomes easier to find by others. But beware, these engines are intelligent, and there is an etiquette to learn and use in order to get results.
ForumsParticipating actively in relevant forums is perhaps the most direct way of becoming known and trusted by a niche audience. Offer non-salesy advice, point people to further reading, and include the ideas behind your solutions. Do this right and your brand will become trusted.
News releasesFor little or no cost it’s easy to get your news onto multiple news sites across the web via syndication services. Suitably categorised and with carefully chosen keywords and links embedded, your release will be picked up by major newsfeeds and other news aggregators. Such releases can give you very high visibility on Google. Reaching buyers directly in this way bypasses the traditional media. That said, journalists research ideas online, too – and they’ll find your brand if you’re active with news releases and the other channels listed here.
Press releasesReleases aimed at writers and journalists can get picked up if they line up closely with the story she or he is researching today. But be warned: a really useful press release requires more than just knocking a few words together. You’ll need a reasonable knowledge of a journalist’s interests, editorial brief and previous work; and what is on the radar for tomorrow's news. You also need to have earned the right to get their attention. That’s where all the work across the platforms above pays off, because if you've done it right you'll already be on their radar.
The marketing tools and tactics outlined above can all contribute to your future success. The systematic promotion of relevant content that your defined targets want to read will bring you business.Please contact me to discuss how marketing with content can work for your business.