You operate a successful home services business, but sales are down because of the pandemic. You need to become more active on the internet because your website is not pulling the sales you expected. An associate suggests you spend more time doing content planning. This article will tell you what you need to know about this.
An Internet Marketing Strategy is Key to Digital Marketing
You can’t just put up a website and expect your orders to start pouring in right away. That’s because users have many other choices when they log on to Google. You need to use smart tools like SEO and web design to stand out in the crowd.
However your content is also a powerful way to attract people to your home services business. They will remember you when they need your services if you post valuable information they can use.
Three Way to Grow Your Business with Fresh Content
- Content planning helps you decide what, when and how to publish useful information on your blog and social media.
- You grow your reputation as a topic specialist by making this information available free in your sphere of business interest.
- New contacts grow to like and trust you. They are far more likely to remember you when they need the service you deliver.
Three Key Outputs from a Successful Content Planning Exercise
ONE - Your Market Is In a Better Position to Choose You
Very few homeowners are interested in doing the job themselves. However, they do want to understand what the contractor is going to do before they start, and how they will benefit. When you answer those questions in your content they realize you know what you are talking about.
TWO – Regular Content Improves Your SEO Reputation
Search engines aim to direct their users to websites that deliver on their keywords, and represent active businesses. Your content is the perfect place to plant your keywords and back links. If you publish relevant content regularly you will move higher in search results.
THREE – Content Keeps Home Service Businesses in the Public Eye
We can only keep a couple of things uppermost in our minds at the same time. These usually refer to most recent relevant events. A regular internet marketing program aims to achieve this for a particular business. Content marketing comes free or at an affordable price. Compare that to paid advertising!
But You Need Proper Content Planning to Achieve These Goals!
Creating content takes time, because it has to be original, and appear genuine to blog customers, social media users, and search engines. However, content must also be relevant in the context of a broader internet marketing campaign. Proper content planning helps us achieve both those goals by doing the right things at the right time.
ONE – Choosing the Topics for the Content
Publishing content for content’s sake is like putting a cart in front of a horse. If we want our users to come back for more content – and place an order with our home services business when they are ready – it must relate to their purchasing journey.
But it must also increase their understanding of our industry to the extent they decide to share it with their friends. Content planning helps us create a series of posts that becomes a ‘story’ they can’t let go of and keep coming back for more.
TWO – Getting to Know Your Audience Better
Internet marketing consultants speak of target personas and demographics. These boil down to a profile of the typical customer we hope to engage. Home service businesses typically focus on people with disposable income to improve their homes. We need to understand their depth of knowledge, and what will interest them.
THREE - Becoming a ‘Looked-For’ Event
Timing is one of the most-important, yet least remembered considerations in marketing. We want our users to be receptive to our posts, and this includes receiving them ‘fresh baked’ in their feeds. Most home services business customers are busy during the day. They are more likely to welcome our content after hours, while they are relaxing at home
FOUR – Being Relevant in That Moment
There is no point in writing about something that interests us as a supplier. Our goal is to provide valuable information to users who need our services! If we are a plumber we could write about water leaks and how to spot them. Whereas somebody needing laminate flooring might be more interested in which thickness to choose.
With That Decided, We Can Get Down to Content Planning
If we do not know where we are going, we have little control were our journey ends. Many contract marketing campaigns fail for the same reason. However, we have a far better chance of success once we know what we are going to succeed.
Cast your mind back to the first part of this article, when we considered who our audience is, and what interests them about our home service offering. We now need to decide how best to meet those aspirations, with particular reference to their journey. Remember, our goal is to secure an order leading to business.
This means we are not going to make any promises we cannot keep, or publish content where we have no practical experience. A successful home services business has its feet on the ground. It does what it says with a stamp of quality. That standard should apply to its internet marketing too.
ONE - Begin By Setting Your Goals for Your Marketing Campaign
Nobody in any business we know lands an order from every inquiry. Marketing is a long-haul activity that starts slow, but gains momentum with persistence.
Decide the following:
- How many new leads are you attracting per week, or per month at present?
- What percentage increase would you like to achieve through content marketing?
- You won’t go from hero to zero in a month. How fast would you like to grow leads?
When you look back after a couple months, you should be able to relate increased turnover to content marketing frequency. This will tell you whether you need to put in more effort, or perhaps even take a breather.
TWO - Factor Demographic Richness into Your Content Plan
If you brainstorm with your team you will probably agree you have various subgroups in your customer demographic. This could have to do with age, gender, economic standing, and so on. You also probably have different goods and services you offer.
Let this information help you develop a wide variety of content topics. It can also help you decide which channels are best for staying in touch with the different personas in your audience. That way you will maintain your own interest while reaching out widely. You could never reach this level without sustained content planning.
THREE - Choosing Social Media for the Client and the Message
Everybody has a few favorite social media channels, and we vary them by what we are looking for. Turn this around and we realize this is an important clue to where our marketing messages belong.
The most popular social media are Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. There are overlaps, but sufficient differences to be able to make the following suggestions. Your choice will depend on your audience persona, and of course the results you get.
- FACEBOOK is a great place for internet marketing because it has a broad user demographic. Many of its members are baby boomers with disposable income to spend.
- But there is nothing to beat YOUTUBE for advertorials and how-to posts. You may not need a professional presentation. Voice over static images can produce amazing results
- LINKEDIN is the social media to use for B2B marketing, and a great place to find business clients. You will need a professional profile if you decide to use it.
- But INSTAGRAM is higher on visual impact and has a younger user profile. It is an ideal place to post images of a successful project especially if state-of-art.
- TWITTER stands out in the crowd for its legendary short posts with small bites of information. This makes it the perfect place to make announcements.
- Users generally favor one or two social media over the rest. Choose the best mix for your business. Ask your regular customers for advice. Remain flexible as you discover what works best for you. Seek out synergy. An image on Instagram could link to a Facebook post providing more detail.
Content Planning is a Dead End without a Distribution Plan!
You now have a road map of your marketing journey, thanks to content planning. However, there are three steps to take as you spring into action:
ONE – Create a Distribution Plan
No job in the home services business can succeed without an action plan. Your content plan provides the materials for the job, but now you need to go out into cyberspace and do internet marketing.
Draw up a schedule of when you want to appear on your chosen social media. Transfer this to a spreadsheet containing topics, responsible people, and deadlines. You are in charge of your business and your internet marketing.
There are a number of social media scheduling services that help you make it happen!
- Sprout Social is an all-in-one tool for scheduling and posting including media analytics to see how well you are performing.
- Feedly is a news aggregator that compiles feeds from various sources so you can provide a content curation service instead of writing posts.
- Post Planner helps you find quality content and predict and measure engagement on popular social media platforms.
New apps come on line regularly as social media marketing and content planning become part of every business owner’s life. Don’t let this overwhelm you, or distract you from making personal contact with your market. However, there may be times when you need a leg-up from a trusted friend.
Okason Software provides a done-for-you website management package that includes creating SEO-optimized content for your local market and can schedule the publishing of this content to your website and social media channels.
TWO – Optimize Your Content for SEO and Links
Your marketing content must point back to your business by mentioning your keywords, your industry, your company name, and the town you are in. It should also include an invitation to learn more, plus a hyperlink that leads to your website. That way you will know which social media are working for you.
THREE – Patrol Your Social Media Markets
Social media are the biggest expo on earth. Your competition is there too and revealing what they are up to. Steal with your eyes as you scan their posts. Notice how they relate to their customers. Discover what works for them. Incorporate this in your content planning strategy.
Conclusion and Takeaway Time
Content planning defines your strategy for internet marketing, and sets your feet on the path to grow your business. Remember though, this is one job that is never over. Your marketplace is dynamic. Gather your stats together every month and review progress. Tweak your content plan accordingly and then get back to your market.
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