How many ads have you seen today? I can’t give you a reliable answer because ads barely register my attention anymore. I see a traditionally presented ad-format and I develop Selective Seeing Syndrome. The whole landscape of a webpage is divided into Stuff I Want to Look At (content), and Stuff I Automatically Skirt Over (ads). Chances are you do too.
“How do I find new clients?”
Is the question I am constantly being asked (at parties, weddings, work…)
Traditional advertising is a dying medium. People’s attention is evolving, most likely from sheer exhaustion at the amount of text and messages they are bombarded with daily.
So what has replaced traditional advertising? Content. Stories. Information. Call it what you want, it all boils down to the same thing: “How am I presenting a deeper message than my visual branding and the service we provide?”
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” Seth Godin.
For example, I work at a marketing firm and one of our clients happens to be a small day nursery in the UK. The nursery itself is fabulous; dedicated staff working tirelessly to make enjoyable memories for their children, brightly decorated rooms, good location. However, before we started working with them, they were registering only the sporadic sign up (despite leaflet drives). The owner was concerned on keeping all his staff if the trend continued.
We got to work co-creating content with the staff… each week I have a conversation in which I record the KPIs (show rounds of the nursery, conversions) and we discuss new topics for the company blog. With their help, I have been able to market who they are, and what they stand for each week on social media for the small cost of around 30 pounds a week.
The result: around one hundred people read the blog each week (targeted to local area) and there has been one sign up a week for four weeks running (from 2 – 3 show rounds). Of course I must credit the beautiful staff for making a good impression on show rounds, and keeping an attractive nursery. However, the difference is that now, people are connecting with the business and its stories, not just “advertising” to a jaded market.
The blog stories show the soul behind the business. A business is collection of people, working together everyday, consistently bringing value to their customers – and every business is different. To communicate who you are and get value from your writing efforts, here are my 6 tips;
Work out your business’s personality
What makes your business special? Hint: don’t pick something like “excellent customer service” – everyone says that! The nursery we market really has a great grasp on children’s development and creating activities which nurture their growth, so the blogs try to capture that knowledge base.
Don’t be boring
Don’t make the mistake of wanting to sound so professional, that your blog or social media content sounds like a dry textbook analysis. Write conversationally, and add some interest or colour where you can. Always test the title with “would I click on this if I were my prospective client?”
Keep it real
Get photos of your staff or examples of your projects, anything that shows your daily life doing your “business thing.” My local Vietnamese restaurant posts consistently what daily specials they are making everyday, and knowing that a freshly made, Vietnamese sandwich is on the menu makes me reconsider my lunch plans!
Let them know what to do
Always have a “call to action” to take another step. They’ve read your voice, know a little what you represent – use this as an opportunity to offer the reader something. It could be more information, a quote, a sample, a discount… but allow them to get to know your business better. To make a difference and entice clients in a busy world – it’s what you give that sets you apart. For example: at the bottom of this page I invite you to try our free cash tracking resource, which has helped our coaching clients to get to grips with their current financial position.
Pay for readers (avoid screaming into the void)
Many, many people write blogs, and without some paid advertisement no-one is going to stumble into your corner of the internet and see what you are saying (unless you have a wide FB page following already, in that case you can succeed publishing organically). You need to invest in a long term strategy of helpful blogs, promoted on social media to new clients.
Make sure you have installed Google Analytics so you can stalk your viewers’ activity – which blogs have a high bounce rate (clicking away) and which seem to interest the reader enough to look at other website pages? Look at your Facebook ads results to see what topics have high CTR (click through rate). The numbers tell a story, are you listening?
These 6 tips above will help you get your content marketing away and some fresh, new clients to serve.