Don’t do content marketing? That’s a shame, because I guarantee your rivals do.
Content marketing – using writing to publicise your business – is a form of marketing that every manufacturing business owner, even sole traders, should do.
The mistake a lot of owners make is to think of content marketing as an expense. It’s not. It’s an investment in future profits, which is why your rivals do it.
A strategic, well-planned content marketing program will help your business do five things:
Generate more enquiries
Imagine you’ve got a leaking toilet. You search online for “[your suburb] plumber”. The search engine returns three names. The first doesn’t have a website. The second does, but it has minimal content and hasn’t been updated for a long time. The third has a website, which is packed with relevant content and updated regularly.
Which would you choose? If you’re like most people, you’d choose the third, who might actually be the worst plumber of the three. But people unconsciously assume that the plumber with the most interesting website must be the most professional.
Convert more enquiries
Content marketing doesn’t just generate more enquiries; it also converts more of them into sales.
Most people would agree that the third plumber would receive more calls than the other two. But imagine you decide to be thorough and get quotes from all three. Before you pick up the phone, you have already unconsciously concluded that the third plumber is professional, the first is sloppy and the second is somewhere in the middle.
Given those preconceptions, who is likely to sound the most credible, and whose prices are you least likely to question?
Thanks to his high-quality content marketing, plumber three is going to find it easier to win your business and justify the prices charged.
Establish you as an expert
Now imagine you meet the three plumbers at a party. The first spends the night in a corner. The second is visible, but doesn’t say much. The third stands in the centre of the room and talks constantly about toilets, pipes and drainage systems.
Which would seem most knowledgeable and passionate about plumbing?
Businesses that pump out relevant, high-quality content are perceived as experts, and those that stay silent are easily overlooked.
Boost your online ranking
As a general rule, the more relevant, quality content you publish on your website, the higher it will rank in search results.
The two important words here are “relevant” and “quality”. If you’re a plumber, it makes no sense to fill your website with articles about Donald Trump or Lady Gaga. You need to write about matters related to plumbing. You also need to ensure the content is well-written, otherwise search engines will conclude your website is less important and deserves a lower ranking.
Bait and hook referral partners
A lot of small business owners know some or all of the first four points, but few realise that you can also use content marketing to build referral relationships.
Here’s what to do. First, identify a potential referrer that could help your business; for example, a plumber might want to target a property manager. Second, think of a way to quote the referrer in one of your articles; “The 5 biggest maintenance problems to look out for when renting a property”, for example. Third, pitch the idea to the referrer.
Now that you’ve broken the ice and done them a favour (by giving them free publicity), you’ve given yourself a chance of turning them into a long-term referral partner.
Nick Bendel is head of content at Hunter & Scribe, a content marketing agency that specialises in producing high-quality blogs, social media posts and media releases for small businesses.