I was watching a marketing video the other day where they presented a case study of a local service business that was spending 20K per year on a yellow page ad.
The business owner was asked “If you’re spending 20K per year on the ad, year after year, it must be profitable for you, right???
He said it wasn’t…so they asked him “Why do you keep renewing it?
The business owner thought for a second, and then said “I feel that if I don’t renew it, my competitor will get it.”
They then said to the business owner “Go ahead and give that ad to your competitor, because we are going to show you ways to market your business much more effectively.”
I am going to go over those exact ways in this article for you today.
Become A Helpful Business
Every time someone starts a new Maryland website design or wants to rev up an existing site, they ask me where to start.
In most cases, they just have the basic pages on their site…Home, About Us, Services, Contact Us, etc…
The best place to start is adding useful content to your site that educates, informs, and motivates your prospects to take action.
The first thing for you to do is write down a list of the top 10, most frequently asked questions that you get from your prospects and customers over and over again.
Ask yourself, and your team if you have one, “What are the most frequently asked questions that people ask us when getting a [insert your product or service here].”
Then provide in-depth answers to these questions.
This can be in the form of video, articles, audio files, and or images.
It’s as simple as recording yourself giving the answer with your iphone or web cam…
If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, that’s ok, just write an article or record an audio.
Audio & Podcasts
Here is free software that you can download on your computer to record an mp3, you just need a microphone.
Today most laptops come with built in microphones to record audio right from your computer, but I recommend upgrading to a usb microphone for better sound quality.
It can be something like this headset microphone, or if you want to go a little higher quality you can go with something like this one here.
One quick tip when recording audio on your computer, if you are not using a headset microphone, like the first link above, make sure to use a pair of headphones with your mic.
Then once you have completed your audio, you can run it through a online software program called Auphonic to really clean up the audio and make it sound great.
It is free for up to 2 hours of audio per month and it really adds a professional quality to your audio files.
With the increase in popularity of podcasts, people are listening to more audio on their devices now more than ever.
A website visitor can come to your website, click on a play button and listen to you give great information.
This also allows you to include inflection and personality in your voice, which you can’t do with just text…
…which also helps people to get to know and trust you faster.
Video Is Easier Than Ever
If you are not too camera shy, I highly recommend using video on your website.
It’s much easier today, than it was even just a few years ago, to record a video and post it on your website.
The best way is to hire a reputable video company to professionally shoot your videos.
They will help you with the script, setup the shots and lighting, film, and edit the videos for you.
However, if you’re business is not at the point where this is feasible yet…
…you can begin by recording HD quality video with your iPhone or webcam, edit it with an app or your computer, and post it to YouTube.
This will get you started, and then as your company grows you can outsource this to be professionally filmed.
With fast internet connection speeds and services like YouTube and Vimeo, the average person can now watch videos and not have to wait for them to download.
Conversions from online videos are very high, because people can see you and get to know you much quicker, which also helps them to trust you…even more than audio.
This saves you time because you can be selling to many people at once through online videos.
Instead of selling 1 to 1, you can now sell 1 to many and are not limited by the amount of time you can fit into your schedule.
Maximize Your Results
Here is a ninja level tip that most business owners and even internet marketers don’t know about – put more than one type of multi-media content on a page and use original pictures if possible.
Example: Record an audio or video, answering one of your top frequently asked questions, then have it transcribed and put the text below it on the same page.
Then take original photos (doesn’t have to be fancy, you can just use your iphone, if you don’t have a fancy camera) that are relevant to the subject, and include them on the page with your content.
Google loves original, unique multi-media content, such as video, audio, images, screen shots, and slide shows.
Now, obviously there are more professional and “higher end” ways to produce this type of content.
…and if you are at the point in your business where that is feasible, its a great way go in building your brand.
But it shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to get started.
There are plenty of companies doing very well with “low tech” solutions.
Set Yourself And Your Business Apart From Your Competitors
Don’t just write a quick basic FAQ page for your website like most business’ do.
Take your time and make each question and answer an individual page on your website – most likely a new blog post where you can insert the text, video, and/or audio.
Remember you want to set yourself apart from your competitors by being more helpful.
People do business with people that they know, like, and trust and this will help you establish rapport with your prospects.
Most people research things before they buy, think about Amazon, Yelp, and Trip Advisor reviews.
Some studies have shown that people consume 8-9 pieces of content before they make a buying decision.
This content will give them (your ideal customers), who are actively searching for your products and services online, the information they need to feel confident enough to take the next step with your business.
Answering Questions Saves Local Business
Marcus Sheridan did this exact strategy for his local pool company and now his pool company’s website gets more traffic than all of his competitors.
It enabled him to save his company from nearly going out of business, to thriving and expanding.
He answered every question that his prospects could possibly have about buying a new pool.
It also enabled the company to have an 80% closing ratio on sales appointments compared to the industry average of 10%.
This was due to that fact that his content pre-sold the company’s prospects.
The online content acted as a salesman for the company, online 24/7, establishing trust by being helpful and answering their questions.
Never A Better Time To Market A Small Business Online
Years ago, when someone needed a local product or service they would grab the yellow pages.
Now most people don’t even have a yellow pages in their home.
Today they search for it online, with their phones, tablets, and computers.
According to comScore, Google has a 64.4% market share, with Microsoft sites (including Bing) at 20.1%, Yahoo at 12.7% Ask Network at 1.8%, and AOL at 1.1%.
If you want to get your marketing in front of your ideal customers, this is where they are at.
Prospects Going Mobile
It’s easier than ever for your prospects to search for a local business on their smart-phones or tablets.
Mobile and Wifi connections are practically everywhere now.
This makes it imperative that your website is, what is called mobile responsive, or you have a separate mobile version of your business website.
Mobile Responsive just means that your website is properly coded to re-adjust the size and layout, so that it can be optimally viewed on a mobile device.
If you have a dedicated mobile version of your site, your website is coded to show this separate “mobile” version, when the screen size gets below a certain level, indicating that it is being viewed on a tablet or phone.
In April 2015 Google went ahead and made mobile compatibility for your website a search engine ranking factor…giving more positive weight to sites that are mobile compliant.
You can test your site here, to see if it complies with their guidelines: Google Mobile Friendly Test
If it doesn’t, you will want to make sure to either convert your current website to be Mobile Responsive, or have a dedicated mobile version of your site built.
Top 3 Things Holding You Back From Doing This
In the video referenced earlier they went on to give the top 3 things stopping small business owners from doing this strategy on a regular basis.
1. It will take too much time.
It does take time, most effective marketing does and you get out of it what you put into it.
You can also hire someone else to do it for you.
2. It will cost too much.
Marketing can have a cost of either time and/or money. Usually when you are starting out you have more time than money.
So you can save money by doing these things yourself until you get to the point where you can afford to outsource them.
Effective marketing should have a positive ROI. Dan Kennedy says “The business owner that can afford to spend the most money to acquire a customer wins.”
3. It’s complicated.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to get started. Like I said earlier, something is better than nothing, and don’t let perfection hold you back.
There are also done-for-you services that can help you.
Like I said above…
If you go to most business websites they just have the basic pages, and on those pages, the text is filled with boring corporate speak.
“We have been in business for”, “We give great service”, “We have fast turnaround”, we, we, we…
Everyone says these same things, how are you different, why should someone use you, instead of your competitors?
Your prospects are searching online because they have problems that need to be solved.
Help them solve their problems…use the words “You & Your” more than “We and Our”.
When answering these questions, go deep, be honest, and really go in depth to answer them.
Act like you are sitting on your back porch talking to a family member.
How would you answer?
What would you say?
…and write more like you speak, than trying to get an “A” in English class.
This will set you miles apart from your competition.
Sometimes you can tend to forget, when marketing online, that you are still working with real people with real problems, looking for who they can trust to help them solve them.
Push vs Pull Marketing
In Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, he goes over how most businesses market with “Buy my stuff”, “Buy my stuff”, “Buy my stuff”.
In today’s marketplace this outdated strategy turns consumers off and they go looking elsewhere.
Instead he says offer valuable content that is relevant to your prospects, over and over again, then ask for the sale…
…but only after that, hence “Jab, Jab, Jab”, meaning “Give Give Give”, and “Right Hook”, meaning “Ask for the sale”.
Build a prospect list by providing helpful useful content, sometimes referred to as education based marketing.
This is where you are educating and motivating your prospects to take action…and then you can sell them stuff, without having to be pushy or overly salesy.
Your content has done the heavy lifting of establishing trust and rapport and your prospects are more eager to do business with you.
Give The Search Engines What They Want
Matt Cutts, the head of the webspam team at Goolge said “Google wants relevant, unique, helpful content produced regularly.”
This goes hand in hand with the “be a helpful business” marketing strategy.
Google wants to provide the most relevant helpful results for its users.
When you do this for your website visitors, they will stay on your site longer, consume more content, and not hit the back button on their browser, ultimately going back to Google and searching for one of your competitors.
This tells Google that your site must be giving the user exactly what it wants, and therefore it will send you more traffic.
Yes, there are some others things you can do in the coding of your website to optimize this, but don’t let this stop you from moving forward.
You will also see in the statement above “unique” and “produced regularly”.
Make sure to write, or have your content be original and not copy it from anywhere else, and also make sure to do it consistently on a regular basis.
When you give Google exactly what they want and don’t try to “game’ the system, they will reward you with higher search rankings and more “relevant” traffic to your website.
Gets Shared and Inquired About To Help Go Viral
Great content gets shared on social media, emailed to friends and family, and talked about in person.
People will come to your website and if your content is helpful they will like it on Facebook, Tweet about it on Twitter, Pin it to their Pinterest account, or email their friends about it.
This helps your content go viral by getting shared by more people, resulting in more visitors to your website generating more inquiries for your business.
Gets Your Phone To Ring And Reduces Price Shoppers
So far we have established, that your prospects and customers are online, actively searching for solutions to problems that your products and services solve.
It’s just a matter of getting in front of them by providing helpful content, so they come to your website instead of your competitors.
Another benefit of this type of content, is that it pre-sells your prospects on why they should use you and no one else.
People will start to contact you, and instead of first asking “How much do you charge?”, they will say “When can we get started?”
Makes You The Authority In Your Industry
Creating content in this manner will also help to promote you as the authority, and go to person/business in your niche.
You will build your business, be able to charge what you are worth, and develop loyal customers.
Customers that come back to you over and over again, who also refer you to their friends, family, and co-workers.
All of these strategies will help you get in front of more of your ideal prospects, and convert more of these prospects into customers without having to be a typical, pushy, unwanted salesperson.
Pull more customers into your business with these inbound marketing techniques, instead of having to do outbound marketing such as cold calling, networking, and begging for business.
Commit to it, and you will see results.
Don’t Have Time? Overwhelmed? Want Someone To Do It For You?
Check out our done for you services here.