Content marketing can build your business, but to make it work you need to know the ground rules.
I should first say that, ground rules or no, your content needs to be truly awesome in order for it to hit home with potential clients. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sending emails, writing a blog, publishing case studies, or rocking social media, your content marketing needs to resonate with buyers, build trust, and keep them coming back for more, until they decide you’re the web pro for the job.
All that work brings an additional benefit. Once you’ve signed the deal and built the site, good content will lead to more sales from things like maintenance agreements, repeat business from happy clients, and referrals.
Get inside their heads and give them what they want with these three basic techniques:
Listen to prospects. The biggest mistake most web pros make when they start marketing with content is they fail to listen first. No one wants to hear from you if all you have to say is, “Hey, we build websites! Buy one from us!”
To figure out where to listen and what to listen for, ask yourself a bunch of questions. Who are my prospects? Where do they congregate? What are they talking about? What kinds of industry topics are hot? How can I join the conversation?
Think like a buyer. A writer/publisher (and that’s what you are now) needs to empathize with his or her audience. So when you write for your clients, you have to try to think like they do. Put yourself in their shoes. What are their concerns? What keeps them up at night? What do they want from a web pro? What’s keeping them from buying from you?
At first it’s going to be hard to set aside your own biases and assumptions, so be sure to do your homework. If you can, test your theories about what you think is important with current clients. Build a survey into your project timeline, or offer a discount on maintenance for their thoughts after the sale.
Show that you know. Now that you’ve listened and put yourself in the minds of your prospects, you’re ready to engage. Answer their questions in blogs and social media posts, emphasizing your value. Address topics of interest to your prospects, showing them that you know about those issues and that you can be trusted as a resource.
Through it all, consistently provide valuable information that both benefits your potential clients and stays true to the fact that, at the end of the day, you’re looking to start a commercial relationship with them. As I said in an earlier post, you’re running a business—not just a library full of free information.
Building your content marketing program in this way will ultimately lead to more sales. People are reassured by what’s comfortable and familiar, so once you start listening to, empathizing with, and reflecting your prospects’ thoughts, you’ll have a better chance at becoming the one they trust to build their new website.
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