The ROI of Content Marketing is Real

“It’s been another great month!”

A fellow business owner (who also happens to be my client) beamed with pride across the table from me during our meeting. He took a sip of beer and started breaking it down.

Last August, he bought his auto shop from a previous owner. In December we started working together and in February he launched his new website (we had to start from scratch because the website for the previous business was garbage). After launching, we continued putting out great content on his website and fine tuning his marketing plan of interacting with the local community.

The strategy isn’t a wild one and we could certainly be doing more, but in his case, we don’t need to because what we’re doing is bringing him big time results.

“The only marketing I’ve done is sponsored events and launched the website. Now, my business is up 143% since last year.”

We said a big cheers to that! Wouldn’t you?

The ROI of content marketing is real. It’s tangible. It gives you piles of coins that you can dive into like Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales.

NOTE: I don’t recommend ever diving into a pile of money because a) it’s probably one of the dirties, most germ-infested things you could dive into and b) a pile of coins will not feel the same as diving into a ball pit. Still, let’s run with the reference because the thought of having the kind of money you could fill a pool with is pretty fun.

The key to his success isn’t a secret. It’s also not something impossible for you to achieve. Content marketing remains “King” after all and for good reason – it brings in the dough!

Here are three ways it works.

1) It gives you a big SEO boost.

You know that list of keywords your copywriter gave to you when you launched your website? Chances are there are at least 100 on there and you’re not ranking high for each of them. With some solid content, you can change that.

People are using Google like they used the Yellow Pages back in the 80s. Consumers are pushing their soft little thumbs on the single button on their iPhone and asking Siri to look stuff up for them. Search engines matter. Your ranking on search engines matter. The best way to rank high? Add keywords strategically to your website.

Here are a few tips:

  • Organize your blog categories by keywords. Chances are you have a lot you can say about each keyword. Dive in deeper on your blog posts but keep your categories broad.
  • Focus on long tail keywords. These are the ones that are over five words long. People aren’t typing in one or two words into the search box. They’re fine tuning their own search results by looking for longer keywords. Focus on these and you’re golden.
  • Add your keywords to your blog’s URL. This is sometimes called a “slug.” If you use WordPress, you’ll have the option of editing your URL (or the slug of your URL) below the title and above the content. Put your long tail keyword in that box and you’ll help your post rank even higher.
  • Add keywords to your images. When you edit your image, you’ll have the option of adding a title, alt tag, and description. Fill out each of these to let Google know what the image is about and who should see it.
  • Install Yoast (or any other SEO plugin you enjoy using). Plug ins on WordPress will show you how well optimized your posts are for search engines. You might be surprised at the opportunities you miss in each post. These plugins will make your content marketing a little stronger.

2) It brings bigger brand awareness.

It’s rare I see anyone share a business’s homepage. What isn’t rare is seeing someone share a blog post that helped him and could help his friends.

Content marketing is all about the value you create. The more you can help your audience, the more they’ll help you by spreading the word about your brand.

Consider the case study above. I’m blogging for this mechanic but I know absolutely nothing about cars (ask me to tell you my tire rotation story some time for proof – you’ll be amazed). Still, I’m probably the best person for the job because I know the types of questions running through his client’s minds. We’ve talked about pack rats (Arizonans are WAY too familiar with these rodents), driving in wet weather, and strange noises coming from under the car’s engine. What I don’t write about are the technical details I’d never need to know about because I have a mechanic to handle that for me. 

The posts get shared by our local paper on a regular basis. They’re liked, engaged with, and talked about – every business owner and content marketers dream. That’s because they’re valuable.

When you produce a piece of content your audience wants to consume, you’re making it easy for people to talk about you.

3) It brings you money.

The most cringeworthy thing I can hear from a business owner’s mouth is, “I have thousands of followers but I’m still not seeing any benefit!”

Vanity metrics are meaningless. The number of fans you have are meaningless unless people are listening.

With quality content that helps people solve a problem, you’re getting the attention of an audience who needs your help. These are the people who will fall in love with you because you made their life a little bit easier and in return, they’ll bring you their business.

It’s easy and effective. People want to give you their money when they know you’re going to deliver something of value. The more you can do that in your marketing, the easier it is to earn their trust enough so they readily open their wallets to you.

Stop Ignoring Your Content

It’s too vital to your marketing mix to ignore. Your customers expect it. Your prospects want it. Most importantly, it’s one of the easiest things you can use to boost your business’s success.

And if you’re not sure where to start, sign up for my email list. I’m putting together a course to empower local businesses to see the same success this client did using online marketing. It’s not scary and it’s definitely not impossible. Sign up and I’ll let you know when it’s ready for you. There’s a link at the top of this page. Click it and let’s help you see a 143% increase (or more) in your sales next year!


What the 2016 Presidential Election is Teaching About the Future of Communication

It’s hard to miss. The 2016 race for the White House is in full swing. This time, with both parties presenting new candidates for the highest job in the country, the race is more heated than ever.

This time it’s different too.

On the Republican side there are three non-politicians in the race: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. All of them are doing better than their political counterparts.

On the Democrat side there is one fast front-runner who breaks all of the political rules by calling himself a socialist. Bernie Sanders would’ve had a hard time using that campaign slogan a few election cycles ago.

Now, new is good. New is welcomed with open arms. New is what the people want.

As business owners, there’s a big time lesson wrapped up in this new campaign.

People are exhausted by the old way of communicating.

Politicians are marketing their agendas in the same way you’re marketing your business.

  • They need to stand out from the competition to make a splash. So do you.
  • They need to advertise to get their voices heard. So do you.
  • They need to prove why they’re the best candidate for the job. So do you.

This election, the expert communicators are using their smarts to cut through the typical campaign strategies and stand out.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has been quite successful at this so far. He’s bashed women and immigrants and still leads in the polls for Republican candidate.

Trailing very close behind him is Ben Carson. He’s a soft spoken brain surgeon who made some controversial comments about what he’d do in the face of an active shooter and yet, he still holds a close second place position in the polls.

Neither Donald Trump or Ben Carson fit the mold of traditional baby-kissing politicians. Both people have broken away from what a politician is “supposed to” do and say to speak candidly and honestly. For better or for worse, this has pushed both candidates to the top of the polls.

The politicians heard the cries for a shift in communication.

If the cries of the American people for a different type of president are any indication of the direction this country is heading, then business owners must take note. There are communication lessons wrapped into this election.

The same old strategies won’t work today in the same way they used to.

As a writer, I focus specifically on the verbiage being used in these campaigns. Candidates are still jet setting around the country to shake hands with as many people as possible. There are still the traditional debates being held to bring candidates face-to-face so they can go head-to-head on the issues.

But today, things are a little bit different.

More emphasis is being placed on social media analytics. More polling and insights are being taken from search engine results over cold call surveys. All the while, the candidates are dropping the facade of politician and speaking more candidly than ever to get their message across.

For businesses, there’s a big lesson in this.

The politicians are using modern marketing strategies to understand their customer (the voter).

They’re ending the typical political speeches and in turn are pushing boundaries by speaking from a more human perspective.

They’re becoming relatable and conversational.

Has your business shifted to modern marketing?

As a business, you can easily make these same shifts.

Instead of engaging in traditional marketing strategies, break away and try something new.

Research your customers by looking into your Google analytics and social media insights.

Then, talk to your customers in the way they want to be spoken to. Use the same verbiage they use. Drop the jargon and cliches and focus on speaking to your audience in the same way you’d speak to your best friend.

Be. Human.

Whether you love politics or not, and whether you’re a democrat or republican, you can agree – this election cycle is already proving to be quite different. Look for the lesson baked within these differentiations and your business can come out ahead…

… because it’s not about marketing. It’s about getting your tribe to fall madly in love with you.

Content Marketing is More Important Than You Think

Now that I’m with child, I’m honing in on the art of excuses.

  • “I can have a bowl of ice cream again tonight… I’m pregnant and baby wants it.”
  • “No, husband, I can’t cook the dinner again tonight… the smell of meat is making me sick.”
  • “I’m just going to take a little nap right here while you rip out that oversized Prickly Pear cactus from the front yard… I’m pregnant, ya know.” 

There might be some truth to the excuses (cooking meat really did make me sprint for the porcelain God during the first trimester) but these are excuses nonetheless.

Are you making these same types of excuses when it comes to content marketing?

There are exactly 283,721 reasons people won’t want to do content marketing (or any other type of marketing for that matter).

  • It’s too time consuming and you’re already overwhelmed with your to do list.
  • You aren’t creative – how will you ever come up with ideas?
  • Writing another blog post sounds about as fun as ripping out a giant cactus from your front yard.

Excuses are everywhere. Paired with just about every single one of those excuses is a better reason why you should stop avoiding the thing you’re avoiding. In this case – content marketing.

Yesterday, I received one of my favorite emails from Think With Google. In it was yet another reason why content marketing is so vital in today’s market.

Think With Google Stat

If you engage in any kind of television advertising, plan on the person whose interest you spiked to pick up herphone and Googling your business.

The easy part is getting found by name when she does. The hard part is answering her questions so your advertising dollars pay off.

This idea is known as “second screen.” It isn’t exclusive to television screens. Smartphones are often used in conjunction with tablets or computers. Look next to you right now. Is your phone sitting conveniently alongside you? I have mine here with me and your customer probably has hers within arms length too.

60% of the sales process is over before you know your customer is looking. 

Before a customer picks up the phone or engages a sales representative, she’s already done her due diligence to learn more about your brand. Much of her research time is spent with your content – what else? She’s listening to what you say to learn if she can trust you, if you’re likable, and if you’ll answer her needs.

Does your content give your customer an excuse to ignore what you’re selling or a reason to buy from you?

Blogging is one of the easiest types of content to produce. Unlike videos and podcasting, it’s easily consumable on any phone, tablet, or computer.

Still, many small businesses make every excuse in the book not to have a blog. They’re worried about it. They don’t see the benefits. They’re unsure of where to begin. They worry about negative comments from unhappy customers. You name it, I’ve heard the excuse.

These excuses won’t help you. Because regardless of why you’re avoiding your blog, videos, or podcast, your customer is looking at you online.

And when she is… she’s trying to find her own excuses to not spend money with you.

The Day I Found Me

Ever notice how much noise is out there these days? It’s deafening.

Content is tossed to fans like candy from parade floats (or at least that’s how most content creators envision the interaction). Videos are uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo in record volume. Look at your newsfeed. People are constantly stealing small moments from their day to fill you in on what’s important to them. Food porn and cat gifs sneak their way into your daily life.

It’s a loud, loud world. So loud in fact, it’s hard to hear yourself think.

This year, the online course industry is expected to hit record new levels. Experts of all shapes, sizes, and education levels are gearing up to sell their wares (myself included) and teach you something new. This type of influence is helpful but only when it inspires you to find your calling. 

There are millions of voices out there, how do you find you?

This is a problem I struggle with daily. [Read more…]