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The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly's book The Digital Marketing Handbook. Buy it now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound or click here to buy it direct from us and SAVE 60% in this book if you use code MARKET2021 by 04/24/21.
Content marketing should definitely be one of the arrows in your service marketing quiver. Content marketing has become an important part of the marketing world. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 88 percent of marketers included content marketing in their plans this year. But what exactly is content marketing and how can you use it to market your services online?
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing online material such as videos, blogs, articles, and social media posts. It differs from other types of marketing such as direct response and brand marketing in that it does not explicitly promote a brand, but rather aims to arouse interest in a product or service by creating helpful, informative content that highlights your expertise and solves a problem.
This content can include blog articles, social media posts, white papers, case studies, videos, infographics, and more.
Related: 10 Marketing Influencers Every Business Owner Can Learn From
Why is content marketing so effective for selling services online? Because content marketing:
Tell a story. Telling sells itself in content marketing. In this case, you are telling your brand's story in an authentic, not over-selling way that answers your audience's questions and shows them that you and your service are the answer to their prayers. Builds your reputation as an expert. When people respond positively to your content marketing articles, trust in you and your brand grows. Over time, people will see you as an expert in your field or area of expertise. You become a valuable resource and a significant number of your followers become your customers. Creates commitment. Up-to-date, relevant articles that interest and engage your readers are the main components of content marketing. When someone replies to a question you posted on Twitter, replies to your blog post, or answers a question sent by email, the prospect made the decision to reach out to you. This gives you an opportunity to deepen your relationship with them and hopefully get the sale in the end.
Let's look at a few ways you can use content marketing on your website to grow your service business.
Related: Marketing Your Business On Craigslist
Content that solves a problem
Content marketing requires a softer touch than other forms of marketing. You can still sell, but your message needs to be more helpful than the sale. Why are people requesting your service?
Because they have a problem that only you can solve. You are not a provider of X, Y or Z services. You are a problem solver.
For example, what if you have a resume writing service? What problem are you solving? They don't just sell resumes. You are selling a brand new life for someone who wants to advance in the world or move on to a new career. Their problem is, they are tired of being passed over for jobs that would be a perfect fit for them. Their problem is that they need more money to survive.
Think about the problems you solve with the services you offer and create content that does just that. This shows prospects that you are the best person for the job. Ideally, you want potential customers to think, "If he gives so much great information for free, imagine what I'd get if I paid him."
Related: 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing
A large part of content marketing is about sharing. Create helpful, interesting, and informative content that your viewers will want to share with their friends. Well-written blog posts, insightful infographics, and how-to videos that solve a problem your website visitors are having are a great way to encourage sharing behavior. Ask your visitors to share the content with their friends and make it easy by adding share buttons for sites like Facebook and Twitter. This way, your marketing messages will be spread much further beyond their original target audience.
Content is more than just the written word
People share valuable content with friends and colleagues even more easily than product or service information. So content is a very viral type of marketing and is passed on more often than pure sales messages.
Not all content has to be an article, book, or blog post. If you have the resources and technical expertise, you can also create how-to videos, host a podcast, host a webinar, or create infographics that highlight your expertise.
Posting regular, dynamic content like this not only makes your website "sticky" by encouraging repeat visits, it is shareable and very popular. According to Buffer, a social media management company, visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. And infographics are actively shared by users on social media.
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