Consumer services businesses that utilize content marketing are organically listed higher on search engines. This means taking the time to commit to consistent blog articles with an SEO strategy on your website could be the difference between your prospects searching for your services and choosing you or your competitor.
Other content, such as website content, business listings, and social media, all benefit your business and prospects, but only the SEO-optimized content on your website that is updated often will help your business the most.
Blog content can help establish trust and an emotional connection with your prospective customers. This long-form content helps them see beyond the services and prices to learn about your business values and personality. It helps them choose your business because they see the humans behind the brand, personalizing their intended experience and helping them trust that you will meet their needs.
Note: Long-form content is generally 1,200 words or longer, so a long-form blog article isn’t necessarily the length of a novel, but it could be if it served a beneficial purpose for your audience.
When creating any type of content, consumer services businesses need to focus on the benefits of your services (not the features). You will also need to create content that eliminates objections about your services. This means being transparent about your processes, developing how-to content to help them utilize your services, and make everything easy to understand for your clients (see Messaging in Foundation).
The most important factor when developing a content strategy is to determine who will be reading that specific piece of content, where they are in the customer journey, and what content will benefit them in that current phase. After all, content created purely for SEO purposes will fail because content needs to benefit readers in order to have a high search engine ranking. Plus, you want to create content specifically for your prospects and customers because those are the people you want to convert into customers and repeat customers. Not everyone will want to read your blog, which is okay because you’re not selling to everyone either.
One way to determine what content would benefit your prospects (so they can learn something of value, build more trust with your business, and eventually turn into paying customers) is to pay attention to your audience. This can be done online and offline. When customers speak to your team to set up an appointment, inquire about your services, or any other communication, what questions do they ask? Are there questions many customers ask? Are there questions many prospects ask before choosing a competitor? If so, consider sharing your answer in a blog article and/or through other content avenues (social media, newsletter, etc.) and formats (text, image, video, etc.).
After you create content, you need to share your content. For example, if you publish a blog article, repurpose it for your next newsletter and share the link on your social media pages with appropriate hashtags. Wherever you repurpose blog content, be sure to showcase the most interesting information so the reader is more likely to click the link to read the full blog article, which brings them to your website.
TYPES OF CONTENT
Content is more than just words. When we say “content,” we mean:
- Social media posts
- Blog articles
- Customer testimonials, reviews, and success stories
- Infographics and other visuals, such as images
- GIFs and memes
- Case studies
- White papers
- News releases and magazine articles
It’s not important to use every format listed, but it is important to use the formats that speak to your audience. When beginning your content marketing program, perform some mild research to see where your audience goes to find information. What social media platforms do they use? Do they read certain magazines or subscribe to specific blogs? Do they watch the news or binge-watch YouTube videos? Do they like receiving emails or do they prefer listening to podcasts? Knowing where your audience goes to find information will help you determine which formats to use. If you know how your current customers found you, you will be able to narrow your formats even more. From there, you can monitor and update your content marketing program accordingly.
Consumer services businesses often do well with email marketing, social media marketing, customer reviews, videos, infographics, and blog articles. Depending on who you serve, you may be able to use GIFs and memes, though we recommend those for younger audiences.
There are two types of content: content you create and user-generated content. User-generated content includes pieces like customer testimonials, reviews, success stories, and social media posts. It’s best to use both types of content whenever possible to provide a variety of content for your audience. Plus, user-generated content adds legitimacy to your content and business. Always ask the user if you can share their content on behalf of your business before doing so.
Consumer services businesses can utilize blog articles to offer value to their prospects and customers. The key to creating blog content for your business is to create content that calms your prospects’ nerves concerning your services. What are they worried about? Address it in your blog articles. What are they debating about when they compare your services to a competitor’s? Address it. These types of intent-based content pieces that answer your prospects’ and customers’ questions are important to build trust with them, especially if you do not see them face-to-face.
Blog content, specifically, is long-form, informative content that will likely answer your prospects’ questions. This content can even give away some of your trade secrets because your customers are likely not willing to perform the services you do in a DIY fashion. In this manner, they will see how complicated your services are and how well your team fulfills those services. This type of content is informative while also being promotional.
Consumers who are searching for answers based on a non-immediate need can benefit from your blog articles, but so can current customers, so you should develop content for both audience segments.
Blog content can also touch on stories and information related to your industry. The key is to write content that answers your customers’ questions without mimicking your competitors’ content.
For some consumer services businesses, text marketing can augment your email marketing efforts. If you are in the travel industry or in events management, time is of the essence, which means texts may be necessary to update your clients. We also recommend implementing a text marketing program (once your email marketing program is solid) if you rely heavily on appointments.
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