Ebooks. You've heard about them, seen them and probably downloaded them.
So, what's so great about an ebook?
You can quickly, visually and inexpensively establish thought-leadership with an ebook that provides relevant information on the toughest challenges your customers face.
By answering your customer’s questions before they think to ask – by understanding problems and the issues your customers’ face from their perspective (not your own) – you build trust. Trust = engagement; engagement = business.
A free ebook sets you up as an expert leader in your field, as well as being a wonderful incentive to entice your prospects to engage with you.
If you are providing useful, relevant information to your customers, they will automatically think of you when they need particular services. By providing information, I don’t mean telling them how wonderful you are, or how fabulous your new premises are. I mean relevant information that solves a customers problem, answers a question or makes their life easier for them.
Ebooks are easy to pass along from one prospect to another, giving you potentially infinite reach.
A free ebook, with valuable information is always welcome. Yes, your competitors may download your ebook and use it for their own game. Bully for them. It has YOUR branding and YOUR business will be the one to benefit. Would you trust someone who nicked someone else’s ebook?
Finally, obey the golden rule and provide relevant and useful information, true to the concept of content marketing. Resist from broadcasting how fabulous you are – rather focus on helping your customer.
A lot of questions we get asked are about blogging. For example:
- How do I start a blog?
- What do I blog about?
- How often should I blog?
Although the above questions are important – the main question that prospective bloggers should be asking is “What does my audience want to hear?” It’s not about what you want to say, but rather who wants to listen to you.
The questions that prospective bloggers should be asking are:
Who am I targeting?
Are they new or existing customers? Perhaps they are the existing customers of your competitors. Whoever they are – you need to know upfront.
Do I enjoy writing?
Blogs are a written medium. If you dislike writing, you’ll probably dislike blogging.
Have I got time?
Consistent updates are crucial to the success of your blog. Three times a week is perfect, but weekly can be good - if it is consistent. Decide on your blogging frequency and stick to it. The worst thing you can do is start a regular discussion with your customers and then stop. Rather don’t blog at all if you cannot commit to regular postings.
What will my key message be?
If your message is “I am wonderful” – then please don’t start a blog.
What keywords will I use?
Research what people are looking for in your industry. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel (not at first, anyway).
Am I a technical dinosaur?
Blogging is easy, but you do need to have some idea as to how the Internet works and how to use online software. If you aren’t Internet-savvy, learn - or find someone to help you before you start your blog.
What is my ultimate goal?
Know what you want to achieve from your blog upfront. What do you want your blog to have achieved within one year from now?
Everyone is capable of writing a blog, however not everyone has the time to blog consistently. If you are a small business owner, you'll realise that nobody knows your business as well as you do. Once you have decided to start a blog, you must be consistent. Blogging can be a cost-effective part of your marketing strategy. Committing to a weekly blog is a good start.
Remember that your blog doesn't have to be perfect, but it does need to provide value. A blog is content - and prospective customers are hungry for relevant content that provides expert information. Don't be tempted to blog about what you've had for dinner on your business blog. If you really feel the need to provide the details on your latest meal - start another blog. The truth is - nobody cares what you've just eaten. They do, however, care about themselves and the answer to their questions.
3 Tips to consider when starting a blog
Consistency is key to creating a valuable and loyal following of clients, particularly if your blog is informative and easy to follow. By the time your prospective customers are ready for your services, they will already know a lot about your business and expertise. Giving you their business is really only the next logical step.
2. Blog every week
Marketing consultants initially believed that a weekly blog was sufficient. Now, it really is the minimum. In fact, many of my blogs REDUCE sales when blog posts drop to less than twice a week.
3. Reality tip
There are ways to get around regular blogging without you sweating over your computer each day. One way is to get your employees to each post one blog per week. A team of five, each blogging once a week - means daily postings for your blog.Or, hire a writer that is prepared to find out a little about your business and will blog on your behalf.
Do you really need a blog? The question should be: Do you want to improve your online presence and increase sales?
Blogs encourage communication between you and your customer. Monologues, or rather one-way communications, will never be as beneficial as finding out exactly what your customers think of you - and how you can improve.
5 Reasons you need a blog
1. Relevant and consistent blogs portray you as an expert in your field.
2. Verifiable and reliable information builds trust.
3. Regular content posting makes your site or blog search engine friendly.
4. Content-rich blogs provide relevant information, which drives traffic to your site.
5. Blogs are a non-threatening place for customers to generate discussions.
Your customers are discussing you right now. Give them the place to provide feedback, where you can monitor and engage with comments. By actively tackling any issues, or thanking customers for positive feedback, customers will know that they can trust you to solve their problems.
Get your web designer to add a blog to your site, or try one of the free blogging platforms available like Wordpress. The key is to keep it current, consistent and relevant to your industry.
Spotted Wombat provide an online presence for businesses. We'll manage your blog, your Twitter account and your website. Spotted Wombat is your comprehensive print and online content provider.
The web is about words. Blogging is about words. Images and videos are great, but they are not enough. The bottom-line is that if you don't have words, you are unlikely to provide all the information your customer needs from you.
Basic blogging tips for beginners
A blog is a great way to start communicating with your customer. Here are a basic few tips on blogging:
- Just do it: Don't wait around until tomorrow. Set your blog up and make your first entry now!
- Use show and tell: Show a picture and tell with words. Use Plain English and simple words.
- Get your point across: Get to the point in the first sentence. You are lucky if your visitor gives you 4 seconds of their time.
If you don't have the time or inclination to write your blog, ask a staff member to manage your blog - or employ a professional. There are many writers that will blog for you - but check examples of their work first. Avoid the likes of outsourced writers from non-English speaking countries. Your blog is a window to your business. Keep it polished, shiny and professional looking.
Wordy thought for today:
To "fnese" is to snore.