Running your own business is a rollercoaster ride, especially in the early years when every day seems to bring new challenges. When you’re working hard to establish your name and reputation, there can be days when you feel overwhelmed and other days when business seems achingly slow.
If you feel as though you’re waiting for the phone to ring or wondering where your next new client will come from, now is a great time to take action, be proactive and get some of those big jobs off of your ‘to-do’ list. Your content is a great place to start – what you say about your business and how you say it can make or break a business.
Here are nine ways that you can boost your content and raise your business profile today:
1. Identify your ideal customer
You may be marketing your business left, right and centre but still feel as though you’re not seeing any results from your efforts. Have a look at your website, your adverts, your brochures, your blog – who are you speaking to? In trying to attract everyone, you may be speaking to no-one in particular. This is why identifying your ideal customer is essential. When you know who you’re talking to, it’s easier to find the right words.
Give it a try. Write down a description of your ideal customer.
- What are they called?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Do they have children?
- What do they watch?
- What do they read?
- Where do they hang out?
- What keeps them awake at night?
- How can your products or services improve their life in some way?
2. Collect testimonials and case studies
Why not send an email or short survey to your clients asking for a testimonial that you can use on your website and in your marketing?
Or perhaps you’ve worked with someone and helped them make significant changes in their life – why not give them a call and ask whether you can feature them in a case study?
Testimonials and case studies have huge collateral when it comes to building trust and offering social proof. People tend to put off making new purchases because of fear of the unknown (Will they regret buying from you? How do they know if it’s money well spent?) and knowing that someone else has gone before them goes a long way to remove that fear.
3. Write some blog posts
I probably sound like a stuck record but writing a consistent, high quality blog is good for business. It lets you showcase your knowledge, answer customers’ questions in more detail, build your authority and create the fresh content that search engines are looking for as a sign of customer engagement.
Of course, finding the time to blog is another matter.
If you’ve hit a lull in your business, why not sit down and write four new blog posts? You can then keep them in reserve for busier times when you don’t have time to blog or schedule them to appear at regular intervals.
4. Review your website content
If your business is anything like mine, it’s evolving all the time. When was the last time you really reviewed your website?
- Is all the content up to date?
- Does it reflect your business accurately?
- Does it speak to that all-important ideal customer?
- Do you spend so much time talking about ‘we’ and ‘us’ that you’ve forgotten to mention ‘you’, the customer?
- Are there any questions that your customers ask you all the time that you haven’t answered on the website?
Quiet days are when you should be reviewing your website content. In a recent blog, I wrote about nine common website mistakes that could be losing you business. Are you making any of these?
5. Think about SEO
Following on from reviewing your website, when was the last time you looked at your SEO? Are you even sure about what SEO is? (Perhaps this is a topic for another blog post – if it is, why not let me know in the ‘Comments’ section below).
- Have you filled in the meta data (the SEO title, description and focus keywords) for every page?
- Do your main headings and subheadings include your focus keywords?
- Have you used your focus keywords in the alt tags of your images?
- Does your focus keyword or phrase appear in your first and last paragraphs?
Remember, I’m not talking about stuffing your copy with keywords. That’s a BAD idea. However, if you’re writing with focus, sticking to your topic and exploring it in detail, your keywords and vocabulary that you would naturally associate with those keywords should appear in the copy anyway. If it doesn’t, you need to explore why.
6. Create a passive income stream
For most of us, I would imagine the dream is to work smarter, not harder – to make money even when we’re not at our desks. If the phone isn’t ringing and email enquiries aren’t coming in, have you thought about how you could bring your knowledge together as an information product, such as a workshop, 30-day course or membership club, so that you only need to create the content once and sell it time and again?
If you’re lacking the confidence to do this, especially if you’re just starting out in business, you could always start by creating a free ebook as an ‘irresistible freebie’ listbuilding incentive.
7. Build your social media presence
Without a plan, social media can suck hours of your time. Use social media inconsistently and it can feel as though you’re swimming against the tide and getting nowhere fast.
My view about social media is that you need to use whichever platform(s) you chose consistently. It can be difficult to be everywhere all of the time, so you might need to pinpoint where your ideal customers are hanging out and focus on those social media platforms for the time being.
When you have an hour or two to spare, create an Excel document and plan out your Facebook posts or Tweets for the month ahead. Facebook has a fab scheduling tool to let you schedule your posts in advance and you can schedule your Tweets with a social media management dashboard like Hootsuite.
One word of warning though, don’t just schedule your posts and forget about them. To get the most benefits out of any social media platform, you need to be engaging with your customers by joining in conversations, answering their questions and acknowledging their input.
8. Send out a newsletter
Do you have a regular enewsletter or ezine that you send out to your mailing list? If not, now is the time to create one.
A newsletter gives you a reason to create a mailing list and contact potential and existing customers on a regular basis. In turn, it gives these customers a reason to return to your website and re-engage with your products or services. You can provide hints, tips, articles, special offers, case studies, product reviews and much more.
9. Write a guest blog
If business is quiet, think about contacts you may have through online and in-person networking groups. Is there anyone who has a similar ideal customer to you? Do your businesses crossover in some way? Can you add a fresh perspective to your contact’s blog?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, use the opportunity provided by a moment’s peace and quiet to email your contact and ask whether you could write a guest blog for them. You could also ask them to return the favour.
If the phone is quiet, don’t despair. View it as an opportunity. Remember too that even when you’re busy, it pays to revisit your content regularly. The marketing you do now will pay off three to six months down the line, so keep planning for the future. If you need help with ways to boost your content, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help.