Organizations of all stripes are embracing content marketing to draw in new fans, build better customer relationships and position themselves as experts in their field. But for a small business owner or manager who’s pressed for time and resources, creating good content—the type that grabs attention and turns visitors into customers—can feel like an insurmountable challenge. 

But it doesn’t have to be hard! 

With the right strategies, anyone can make great content that delivers results, creating a benefit for your customers and boosting your bottom line. Here are five ideas to get you started—put some of these into practice, and your sales and email lists will grow like wildflowers in May.

Showcase Your Testimonials

Did you know that 72% of customers won’t take action before they read some reviews? I’ve been writing about this topic for a long time, and it still amazes me how few companies actively ask for customer reviews.

It’s so freakin’ important!

Why? Because it’s free marketing for your business. Also, including testimonials from actual customers in your content validates for others that what you offer is tried, tested and true. You can toot your own horn all you want about the authenticity and value of your products or services, but your past customers will do a much better job at convincing someone new. 

So, how do you get these testimonials? 

Make it a part of your marketing strategy to ALWAYS follow up with a customer within a week. That way they’ll be able to capture the experience while it’s fresh in their minds! The more recent the experience, the more authentic and emotional their review will be—and emotional testimonials add even more power and conviction.

Here’s a simple email template you can use to ask for a testimonial:

Attended Your Event

Subject: Thanks for attending [Name of Event]!

Hi [ATTENDEES FIRST NAME],

Thank you for attending [NAME OF EVENT]. We hope you enjoyed [THE SPEAKERS/ PERSONALIZED WORKSHOPS/ NETWORKING SESSIONS/ SOMETHING UNIQUE THAT HAPPENED].

I am reaching out to you today because we’d like to share your experience with [EVENT NAME] on our website and social media channels. I am wondering if you’d be interested in providing a short testimonial? I have provided a few questions below to help prompt you, but feel free to sbumit what you like along with your photo or company logo.

  1. What was your biggest [MARKETING OR BUSINESS] challenge before attending [NAME OF EVENT]?
  2. How did attending [EVENT NAME] help solve that challenge?
  3. What are your top takeaway you got from attending [EVENT NAME]?
  4. What did you like most about [EVENT NAME]?
  5. Why would you recommend this event to someone? If so, what would you say?

Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks again for attending [EVENT NAME]! We look forward to hearing your thoughts about our recent event.

Regards,

[YOUR NAME/ SIGNATURE]

Worked With You

Subject: Thank you from [YOUR COMPANY]

Dear [NAME OF CUSTOMER],

Working with you and your team on [name of project] has been an absolute pleasure. I look forward to working together again soon.

In the meantime, I have a small favour to ask. Could you provide me with a brief testimonial about your experience working with [YOUR COMPANY]? It will give future customers a sense of the experience and service I offer while helping me improve.

I’ve included a few questions below to help guide you. Feel free to use them if it helps.

  1. What was your biggest challenge before working together?
  2. How did [INSERT PROJECT OR SERVICE] help solve that challenge?
  3. What are the two most significant improvements that have resulted from working together?
  4. If you were to recommend [YOUR COMPANY] to another business owner, what would you say?

Thank you for your time and support! I really appreciate it.

Cheers,

[YOUR NAME/ SIGNATURE]

When these testimonials start rolling in, make sure you create a post on social media showcasing how happy and satisfied your customers have been. When people who want what you have are cruising around looking for information on who to hire or buy from, they’ll see those comments and be intrigued by what you have to offer.

Use Your Content to Generate Leads

When I say your content can deliver “results,” what exactly do I mean by that? I’ll tell you what I mean:

Leads, leads, leads! 

A lead, in this case, is an email address. Having a growing list of emails is a powerful way to connect with potential customers. When you have a direct connection to a customer through their inbox, you have more control over your relationship with them. 

And an email address handed over to you by someone who read your content isn’t just a lead, it’s a high-quality lead—meaning: it’s contact information for someone who is already interested in what you offer. And you can build on that lead over time by directly sending them more relevant and valuable information. Every great email creates a stronger relationship and develops more trust, eventually leading that customer to a decision. (One that benefits you!)

But simply asking someone to sign up to receive your newsletter is often not enough. And that’s where good, free, downloadable content comes in. Creating something your customers want and telling them they can have it for free turns a one-sided demand (“Give us your email address!”) into a fair trade (“Want this awesome thing? Give us your email address so we can send it to you!”).  

Create something that goes beyond your regular newsletters and blog posts—something that piques your customers’ interest and gives them something they really want. Then tell them that all they need to do to download or access it is put their email address into a simple submission form.

(But what kind of content?! How do I create something they want?! Don’t worry… we’ll get to that.)

Want an example of what that fair-trade request looks like? Here’s a few that offer something that piques their customer’s interest and entices them to sign-up:

UpMedia

A compelling free video training from UpMedia.

Or how about this simple sign-up form to receive alerts when a new podcast episode drops, like what Jillian Bowen offers?

Hunter Digital also has a way of generating leads with our annual virtual marketing summit, Elevate Marketing Summit. It’s free to attend and VERY compelling for small businesses who wants to take their marketing to the next level:

Want to learn how to create eye-catching content on a budget?

Elevate Marketing Summit

Elevate Marketing Summit is happening March 10 & 11 and it’s all about content marketing: how to create it, curate it, and collaborate on it for exponential results.

We have over 15 speakers and topics lined up over these two days with a mix of pre-recorded and live sessions.

The best part is, it’s completely FREE to attend.

Click below to learn more and to register!

Click Here to Sign Up!

A trusting and committed customer relationship can take time, and many interactions. Free, useful content is a way to start building that important relationship, so when your customers are ready to buy, they’ll think of you. But note! The trick here is to make your content something your customer won’t think twice about grabbing onto. It needs to solve a problem beyond what a simple Google search can do. And that’s our next point.

Build Trust by Solving Your Customer’s Problem

Every potential customer who crosses your path is looking to solve a problem. It could be as simple as deciding between two product options, or as complex as finding ways to have the dream life they want around the busy demands of family and work—or in the face of their fears and self image. 

Your job is to solve their problem by offering content with a solution. 

Why is this effective at building trust? Give your customers a solution, and that will earn their trust. Earn their trust, and you’re starting to build a good relationship.And a good relationship will eventually lead to a sale.

Think about the fears and problems your customers are facing. Then think about what expertise you have that could make a difference for them. It could be preparation checklist, a comparison guide, a quick how-to—the options are almost limitless. 

Here a few of the some common customer problems that show up across every niche and industry—and a few ideas for content that might solve those problems:

“I’m afraid to make a mistake.”

How about a reassuring how-to video? A Q&A with an existing customer who was once a scared newbie and is now a passionate pro? A simple preparation checklist so they don’t miss a step in researching a product, taking on a project or preparing for an event?

“How do I know which is right for me?”

How about a value comparison spreadsheet, featuring all the possible features of a given product or service and laying out the brands you offer and which of those features each provides? Or a quick personality quiz to help them decide who they are and what option works best for them? You could even create a guide that compares your services authentically and without spin to your competitors’—building trust and making sure the right customer comes your way.

“I don’t have time/money/resources!”

Use your expertise to create a guide, video or simple blog post that shows your customers all the lifehacks and smart shortcuts that could help them make time for the things they value. Or lay out the facts to prove how the investment will pay off in the long run!

“I’m intrigued, but I’m not familiar with your brand.”

Show them who you are! Behind-the-scenes videos, podcasts or photos, quick interviews with customers or employees, even a photo gallery of the staff pets in your organization can all help to build trust and relationships with the people who find or follow you. And, like I said, a trusting relationship can lead to sales—often for life.

These are just a few ideas—if you spend some time thinking about it, you’ll see that you know best who your customers are and what they want to know. And you know best what kind of expertise and knowledge you have that could make them feel more ready to take action. (And to take that action with you!)

Include Video for Extra-Big Results

Videos are hot right now. Why? Because they are entertaining and easy to consume. In fact, video will account for 80% of online traffic by 2020, and how-to videos are among the segments that are growing fast. Also, it adds a bit of variety, mixing up those long reads and posts and articles with something more exciting.

Videos also give you the opportunity to SHOW your customers why they should choose you. A quick snapshot of the environment they’ll experience in your store or at one of your sessions. A short snippet of what it’s like to experience your activity. Or some fun videos of you or your staff so they can get to know the people who are behind the products.

This kind of content is evidence that what you say is true. It goes beyond talking about what you offer and actually shows what you do. It’s a powerful way to connect, offer quick bits of info that are helpful, and create killer engagement online.

And if you want to really stand out, try Facebook Live videos. We created this post to give you a few ideas on how to get started.

Tailor Your Website Copy

Amazingly, small businesses often put their own website last on the list when they’re finding ways to make improvements. But if you’re trying to convince fans to find out more about what you offer, the content you put on your pages better be compelling enough to make them want to investigate further.

One common mistake I see with website copy is that it’s too generic and vague. Oftentimes independent brands will talk about how they offer “authentic” or “unique” products or experiences, but they never provide real examples of what this entails. What does it mean when you say you are unique? Be specific about what makes you stand out!  
Another mistake many companies make is to write their website to suit a broad audience, when their products or services are designed for a specific type of person. The more you can tailor your content to the exact customer who would enjoy what you offer, the more that customer will feel like you are speaking to them. And the more you can convey that you understand who they are and what they want, the more likely they’ll be to trust you.

Over to You

So how do you plan to implement some of these content marketing techniques to turn fans into happy customers? I’d love to hear how these tips inspired you! Get in touch and let me know what ideas you’ve tried and how it turned out—or contact me to chat about how to get started.

Want to learn how to create eye-catching content on a budget?

Elevate Marketing Summit

Elevate Marketing Summit is happening March 10 & 11 and it’s all about content marketing: how to create it, curate it, and collaborate on it for exponential results.

We have over 15 speakers and topics lined up over these two days with a mix of pre-recorded and live sessions.

The best part is, it’s completely FREE to attend.

Click below to learn more and to register!

Click Here to Sign Up!
2020-02-17T10:41:12+00:00 February 18th, 2020|