If I owned YOUR business, this is what I’d be doing in 2017 to increase my online presence.
Most service-based companies should be blogging.
As a matter of fact … I haven’t met a company yet that I couldn’t make a case for blogging.
Juice has many success stories of clients who get benefits from their blogging efforts. Those businesses range from consultants to speakers/authors (which should be obvious that these professions should be blogging), all the way to bookkeepers, home inspectors, lawyers, and chiropractors. I’ve even seen pest control and carpet cleaning companies blogging effectively on their websites. Who knew that blogging about bugs and flooring could bring in business?
Reasons to blog include:
- Search Engine Optimization. Google likes websites with more content. More content means you might show up higher in the natural search results, which means your phone might ring more.
- Establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. Publishing has always been one of the best ways to establish expertise. You don’t (necessarily) need to publish a book anymore. Blogging is the newest, easiest, and least expensive way to publish.
- Build trust with your customers, clients and prospects. Showing your customers and prospects your depth of knowledge on your blog will very likely lead to more phone calls.
- Share important information about your company. You should sprinkle information like company news, events and charity/community efforts into your blog.
#2 Develop a process for content creation
So blogging is easier said than done. It takes two “disciplines” to blog effectively: coming up with content and sticking to a schedule.
The first question I always get asked by business owners regarding blogging is: What should I blog about?
The easiest way to create topics for blogging is simply to answer questions that your customers ask you.
I was once asked this by a group of St. Petersburg Beach Resort Owners Association members. “What do I blog about?”
I asked them “You answer the phone and people ask you questions, right? People walk up to the lobby desk and ask questions, correct? So just keep a log of those questions and answer them in your blog.”
They struggled coming up with some of those questions they get asked so often, so I gave them some examples:
- Do you allow pets in your resort?
- Where are the best restaurants near your resort?
- What are the best attractions nearby?
- What are the best (secret/hidden) things to do nearby?
- When are the peak/low tourist times on St. Pete Beach?
- What is the temperature month to month?
- Which beach is the best?
I could have gone on for some time but I made my point.
So every business gets asked questions every day. You probably get asked the same questions over and over. These questions are PERFECT blog topics!
I suggest keeping a pen and notepad handy (if you’re old-school), or a memo in your phone, and be disciplined about every time you get asked a question, jotting it down in your log.
The second issue in blogging is remaining disciplined to continually blog. I would not even start a blog if you’re not committed to keep at it. I have clients who blog every other day, some that blog weekly, and many that blog monthly. The thread between all these clients is that they put an event in their calendar at consistent intervals and then they remain disciplined to write the blog.
So to recap this point … blogging is hard. Develop a system for collecting blog topics, and then discipline yourself to consistently blog.
#3 Redesign your website
If your website hasn’t been significantly updated in 4 years, then it’s time for a facelift.
Websites with a “fresher” look are perceived more positively. You want your business to be perceived positively, right?
You can approximately tell when a website was built. Website design goes through trends. These trends last from 3-5 years. I can typically point to when a website was built within 3 years.
Even non-designers, on a subconscious level, can perceive the “era” of the website.
So back to my point about “freshness.” Update your website every four years or so to ensure your business isn’t considered “out-dated.”
Your customers, mostly on a subconscious level, judge you by your website. If you don’t take pride in your website (you can expand this to your business cards, your company shirts, your company vans, your office furnishings, etc.) then it may be assumed that you must not take pride in your work or care about your customers enough.
This is an easy fix. Update your website.
#4 Send (more) emails
If you are not currently sending emails, then you absolutely should start.
If you aren’t currently collecting EVERY SINGLE customer’s email address, then you need to start. Develop an intake process that you are disciplined to use. You can’t send all your customers an email if you’re not collecting them.
If you are sending emails any LESS than once a month, then start sending emails out once a month. Once a month emails are tolerated. Any more than that, and you risk your clients opting out or flagging you as spam.
Back to the point. You should be sending emails.
Email newsletters are STILL one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to communicate with your customers and also get new business.
What should you put in your email newsletter?
I suggest that you put two or three “teasers” from your blog in your newsletter. Share valuable information that your customers should know about.
Then if you have any interesting news about your company, such as charity/community events you participate in, company news, etc. add that below.
Finally, figure out a VERY “cool/nice” way to ask for referrals without coming across as sales-y or pushy.
Always include your business name, contact info, phone, and website in the email.
Please use a real web-based email newsletter service, such as Mailchimp (my favorite), Constant Contact, or iContact to send your emails.
Please do not EVER use your own email, like Outlook or Gmail and put everyone in the CC or BCC field. That is tacky, you risk your email ending up in everyone’s spam folder, and it’s more challenging to follow CAN-SPAM email regulations.
That’s all I have to say about that … send monthly email newsletters containing valuable information your customers want to know about. You will thank me.
#5 Get (more) reviews
If you are a local business or a professional that has a service area, or if people come to your place of business, then you ABSOLUTELY MUST get more 5-star reviews.
Keep a copy of the web address (URL) to your Google My Business listing handy. Every time you finish with a happy customer/client, send them an email thanking them for their business. End the email by asking them to leave you a Google review if they feel you provided them quality service and paste that link in the email.
I know many businesses that have focused on getting more 5-star reviews than their competitors. These businesses are finding themselves at the top of the search results and their phones are ringing more.
In combination with consistent blogging, this becomes the one-two punch combo that Google loves and rewards you with better search result placement.
One advanced tip is to not ask all of your clients all at once to give you a review. I’ve heard that Google may penalize you if too many reviews come in all at once. Try to consistently get a trickle of quality reviews to your Google My Business listing.
In my opinion, these five things are the BEST activities you can be doing for your business with online marketing in 2017.
Juice Marketing can help!
We can help you with any or all of these items. You know that you should work on your online marketing. It will pay off in new and recurring business if you approach this strategically.
However, we know there are time constraints, and quite frankly, “energy” limitations. You don’t have the energy or desire to take on these tasks. Juice, however, has the energy and expertise to get it done.