Paul: Welcome to the fourth episode of the Marketing Guide for Small Business podcast. I’m Paul Barthel. Today, we’re talking about something I think is essential to inbound and digital marketing success, which is content and as always I’m joined by our esteemed marketing panelists. And today we’re going to talk about the different types of content, how it relates to the buyer journey, and what it can do for you and your business.
So I’m going to start with Ken. I don’t think you can really talk about the different types of content involved in digital marketing without having some understanding of the buyer journey, just a high-level overview. So Ken, can you briefly talk about what that is?
Ken: Yeah, absolutely, and the way I look at it, I really see content as really powering the buyer’s journey. When you think about what the buyer’s journey is, it’s the progression that somebody takes from the time they’re first discovering a product or a service, maybe because of a problem that they’re having all the way to the point where they’re starting to do their research, they’re figuring out who they want to do business with. And then once they make that decision, what is the buying process like? What is the process after the sale? And then also, is that experience good enough for somebody to start to rave about the business or the brand that they made the purchase from? That’s the buyer’s journey.
I’ve been a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant for a while. The expression there is using the “Marketing Hourglass,” where it’s know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. Those are the different stages that somebody goes through. And then if you’re a digital marketer fan, you’re looking at aware, engage, subscribe, convert, excite, ascend, advocate, and promote. They’re basically just slightly different views of the same process, but the buyer has control over that process. But as marketers, we can use content to influence the way people move through that process.
Mark: Yeah. I think the other part is when we work clients so much of the time — and I know we all do this — is you’ve just got to ask the client, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, right? Think about how you would find your business if you were your client. And they begin to understand that, especially in more engaged or longer sales processes, pricing isn’t always the very first thing you promote, right? You need somebody to be aware of who you are and what you do, frequently asked questions and that type of content in whatever medium you put it out in. Because otherwise people just aren’t going to find you and they’re not going to be educated about who you are and what you do when it comes in. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what all do they need to know in order to make an informed, profitable purchase from your business.
Paul: When we talk about content as marketers, most people immediately think of blog content. There’s a lot more to it than that. So Antonio, can you talk a little bit about what these other types of content are?
Antonio: Paul, you just hit on the biggest misconception when it comes to content, then that content equals blogging. Content is anything that you produce that is meant to be consumed by your prospects, your customers, your leads. And so blogging is certainly one aspect of that, but it actually is almost a smaller aspect when you think of the bigger picture. Content can be photos you post to Instagram. It can be infographics that get designed. I think one of the most important and crucial pieces of content today is video and different forms of video producing something like a Facebook or YouTube live is content, right?
So content is anything that you produce that is meant to, one, be consumed by your prospects and leads. But more importantly, as to what we were talking about just a moment ago, helps push them through that customer journey, right? It provides some form of education. So it’s really any of that creative work. So I wouldn’t look at it simply one sided like that. So when we talk about, as we get in the last episode, when we talked about funnels, we talked about developing of lead magnets, and those could be eBooks and training classes and webinars. So all that to me is content and it all serves a different purpose and it all helps move customers through that buyer’s journey at different steps and different stages.
Ken: Yeah, I mean, what we’re doing right now is actually creating content. The podcast, you can repurpose an audio recording, transcribe it so that you have a text-based article or show notes or a podcast, turned into a blog post. So there are different ways that you can repurpose the content you’re creating as well.
Paul: What about this thing called “evergreen content” that we hear?
Mark: I’ll start on that one. What people need to understand is — thanks to the internet and thanks to Google and thanks to the search engines — content has a very, very long life, all right? I mean, just think about if you’ve been in business for a while and you’ve had a site for a number of years, there are going to be pages that you forgot you even had on your site that might still show up in search engine results.
So it’s important from an evergreen standpoint to understand questions you answer today are still out there for a very, very long time, and people will still see that. So it’s important. I’m working with a client right now that wants us to take down all of his old blog posts and they’re not wrong for his business. They just need some updating to be more relevant to the types of business that he’s doing now. And that’s the conversation we’re having because that content is linked in all sorts of places. Some of it is very good content that shows up on other sites all over the internet. So it’s got an evergreen life to it that helps people continue to find and learn about his business as long as that’s out there. So it’s, again, it’s going back to continuing to educate your potential customers about why they should do business with you.
Antonio: And one of the things that comes to mind to me, when you say “evergreen” and specifically “evergreen content” is “evergreen webinars.” And depending on the business that you’re in, that could be something that’s very, very powerful. So if you’re in a B2B professional services type of business, evergreen webinars are something that a lot of my clients drive for. And I actually had this conversation with a client just two days ago, where their goal is to have evergreen webinars that anybody can jump into on demand. And we can send traffic, one of our funnels to, and one of the things when they were producing the outlines for some of their new evergreen webinars is they were talking a lot about COVID and some recent events. And that, unfortunately, defeats the purpose of something evergreen, right? Evergreen is meant to be something that’s principle.
That’s not necessarily tied to certain time period or a level of recency. Now there are going to be certain things that have happened lately that are going to be with us for a while, but you want to be careful of that, of how much you tie information to goings on in a certain period. And much to what Mark said here is if you have shifts in your business, you also want to look at your content. Can we make small incremental changes to it and still get that value rather than going kind of scorched-our-thumb things?
So, when you’re producing content that you intend to be evergreen, you just want to ask yourselves those questions. Think of a movie that’s timeless, or a TV show. If someone said, “Oh, that, you know, ‘Seinfeld,’ I mean, it’s been what, 20-plus years since Seinfeld’s been on the air.” And we still, a lot of us use jokes and references from that. That’s like a timeless television show, right? So that’s really important to your content planning strategy, if you want that content to live and have legs for a long time,
Paul: There’s all these different types of content out there. So Mark, can you talk about when and where some of these other different types of content might be used and can they be used together for maximum results?
Mark: Again, going back to that idea of the buyer’s journey, different content works in different stages of the funnel and it kind of depends how much does somebody know about your business when they come in. And it’s sort of independent of the medium that it’s in, but the more traditional example is — and we all work with a lot of local home services businesses — is, say you are a roofing company and your business is your main goal is to get roof repair and replacement-type jobs in your local market. What does somebody need to know about you in order to choose you over somebody else?
They need to know how you work with insurance claims, how you inspect roofs, how long the process takes. Is there a free estimate? That sort of thing. And can that be done in a video by the owner on a landing page? Can it be done in printed sales materials that you hand out at say, networking events, or as you make sales calls. All of that can go, and that’s very different than a project plan or a post-sale follow-up that has all the steps we’ll go through now that we’ve booked your roof to be replaced, and this is when we’ll arrive at all of that. And I’d encourage listeners think about your own buying process when you’re trying to solve a problem, especially home services are always easy to talk about because we all live somewhere and we have to deal with electricians or plumbers or roofers or remodelers or whatever it is.
Think about everything that you want to know from that company. And when you need to know it, and then back that into how that might apply to your business, you’ll begin to understand that video’s great on the front end, especially if it’s a mobile experience, because people can consume video on mobile very easily. Email might be more interested, a better fit for longer-term nurturing-type sequences, and just apply that to how your business works. And it tends to lay itself out for you once you really spend a little time thinking about it.
Ken: One thing I’d like to add to that, too, is when you’re going through that process, and you’re thinking about how to apply that to your business, stop using the language that you always use. But try to think about the way that a consumer would be searching for you and thinking about what it is that you do. We all fall into this trap. Repaint is a phrase that a painters use a lot, but that’s not a search phrase that a homeowner is going to type in or the content that’s on your website. If you’re wanting it for SEO purposes for search engine optimization, to help you show up when somebody is doing a search, looking for the services that you offer, the language that you use on the website really needs to be specific to what the searcher would be looking for. Not what you’re going to be using as you’re working inside of a specific industry or niche.
Mark: Yeah. Jargon’s a killer. Don’t use that. It’s just because, I mean, that’s a great example. People aren’t going to search for “repaint,” but they’re going to search for “paint my house,” “updated painting,” “painters near me,” “best painters near me,” that sort of stuff. That doesn’t mean your content can’t talk about how to get the work done, but don’t use industry jargon in your phrases. Just put what you think would be, put “repaint” in a search engine and see what shows up. You’re probably not going to see the folks that you’re trying to compete with, right? But if you put “house painter near St. Charles, Missouri, or St. Louis, Missouri,” you’re going to see all the content that you need to try to emulate or improve upon so that you show up higher in the search results.
Paul: That’s a good point. Google can tell you a lot of things if you type in a search phrase, and you look at the types of content that are showing up for that search phrase, that will tell you a lot about what Google is looking for, as it pertains to the search results. Mark, kind of segued into this.
So Ken, circling back to that buyer journey for a minute, are there different types of content for the different stages of that buyer journey?
Ken: Yeah, absolutely. And now that doesn’t mean that these different types of content only work for that stage of the buyer’s journey. But if you just kind of think about it for a minute, if somebody doesn’t know you exist, or they’re trying to articulate a problem that they’re having, and they’re starting out with, by doing a Google search, couple of pieces of content that make a lot of sense there are display ads or search ads. You know, Google pay-per-click ads, for example, or even writing a blog post where somebody might find that article that you wrote based on the way you just described the problem that you solve. If that aligns with the way they type in the problem that they’re having, or the issue that they’re having in the search engines. And so that’s kind of the discovery process where they become aware of you, they find you, but then you have to provide content that helps them to like and trust you.
So that’s where social media can come into play and be very powerful or additional blog posts or customer testimonials, things like that. And then as they move through the process where they’re starting to look at making a buying decision, ideally at this point they’ve reached out and started to engage with your business. They may not have been ready to have a conversation with you yet, but they may have been willing to download a piece of content you provided on your website, give up their email address or their cell phone number so that you could text them some information or schedule a consultation, whatever. After that process to move them through to where they are really seriously selecting your business as one of the ones that they are very strongly considering working with, you might need to use email marketing at that point, to deliver another customer testimonial in email form, or overcome an objection that they might have that might be stopping them from making that buying decision.
And then once somebody does become a customer, are there things that you can do to upsell or cross-sell them through offers that you create, additional services that you provide, bundling services, you know, to where they get a better deal, you get a better deal. And then obviously just literally sometimes one of the easiest things, and it’s often overlooked, is just sending somebody a text, asking them with a link to go write a review on your Google My Business page is huge, once they’ve become a customer so that you can get them to become an advocate for your business.
There are all kinds of content that you can provide throughout that customer journey. And you can stop short, to use a “Seinfeld” reference. You can really fail here because you might stop once you get a customer to sign on the dotted line, but you’re losing an opportunity to get them to come back and buy from you again, or to refer your business or write a review about your business, where you’re not really maximizing the value of that relationship. Content is what drives that whole process.
Paul: That’s a really good point, is that the buyer’s journey, it doesn’t end with them purchasing a product or service from you. There’s more to be done after that. And also going back to the beginning of that journey, that a lot of times, business owners, they want to go from awareness or discovery to purchase. And that’s just not how it works. And see this a lot of time with whether it’s Google ads, Facebook ads, whatever that might be, the first introduction they have to your business. And they’re not going to go from, “Oh, I’ve never heard of you before,” to buying. And if you deal with the emergency services such as water damage restoration — that’s when this is a whole other podcast — but that’s where authority and trust come into play because if they never heard of you and they need to make a snap decision, they’re probably going to go to someone they’ve heard of. And that’s where again, having content out there and establishing that trust and authority from the very beginning, if you’re in an emergency type service can really help.
Ken: Yeah, they’re not necessarily going to become your customer just because they fill out a form on your website or they request a free estimate. It’s what you do. And the way you continue to communicate after you have that first conversation, that may be the thing that influences them to say, “This is the company I want to do business with.”
Mark: I’ve worked with clients that sometimes fail to take into account as well as that is just because you’ve made in-person contact with them. Doesn’t mean they’re going to stop trying to check you out online, right? I mean, it’s fairly easy to understand that people search for you before they ever deal with you, but even after that first conversation or phone call or meeting or whatever that is, they’re still going to go look out and put your name in a search engine and what are they going to see, right? Are they going to see good content that echoes the conversation you had? Are they going to see good customer reviews and testimonials reflecting your business? Are they going to see kind of a wasteland where you haven’t really published anything? And they’re wondering whether or not you’re a legit company,
Paul: Mark, you just touched on something that we haven’t really talked about is user-generated content, which reviews are kind of part of that. And you don’t have a lot of control over that. You can guide that process, but you can’t control what someone says in a review.
Mark: Ken, you probably have the stat handy, but there are stats out there, that even without the stats, think for a second, who is most likely, if you, as the business owner, as the business, aren’t interacting at all with the customer and staying in touch with them, who is most likely to leave you a review? It’s angry people, right? I mean, we’re all human. Sometimes we have a bad day in our business and maybe we didn’t serve somebody as well as we should have or up to our expected standards. The people that don’t have a great experience with you are far more far more likely to leave you a review than people who are just happy. People who are happy and very satisfied with your business are just going to keep coming back. But nobody’s going out of their way to go to Google and leave you a review necessarily. So you need to interact with your best customers and encourage them to leave you reviews because it balances when you know, maybe you fall a little short.
Antonio: Now I’ll take that concept a bit further, because we’re focused on our reviews at the moment, but I also think a source of content for you could be looking at your competitors’ reviews and specifically to Mark’s point, some of their negative reviews. So as you’re trying to draft content that might attract your ideal buyers, seeing where people are frustrated in others’ buyer’s journeys could be a huge source or a potential source of lead generation of looking for ways to bring people into your fold. If you can answer specific questions that are posed, not just to you, but to your competitors, you’re going to immediately be seen as far more authoritative because you’ve essentially handled the objection before it was raised. “Oh, this person knows what they’re talking about here. I had the exact same question, or I wonder about the same issue in here. Here’s the answer to that,” in whatever form of content you wish to produce it, right?
Paul: Yeah. Frequently asked questions and should-ask questions are great sources of content.
Ken: I just typed in what to do when you have a leaky pipe. And this may not be super obvious to a lot of business owners out there, but this is a real great opportunity where you could write a blog post to say, “Here’s what you can do temporarily to fix it.” That’s going to create goodwill where somebody is going to say, “Oh man, this company really helped me out. They bailed me out and they gave me this great information.” And you know, once they take that action, they’re probably going to call you or at least consider calling you if you’re local to come in and maybe provide them with the permanent solution.
So those are the problems that you solve are absolutely huge. I mean, that is content marketing in a nutshell is in my mind is focusing on the problems that you solve and then mapping that out across the buyer’s journey. And it’s not always answering a question, but it’s taking that concept and applying the right pieces of content to that journey.
Paul: If I could take that just a little bit further, there’s a mindset. A lot of times with business owners, “I don’t want to tell people how to do things. I don’t want to put instructional content out there.” And I think that’s a mistake because, first of all, that content is already out there. And if they find it on your website and again, you can guide this whole process by saying, “OK, yeah, you could probably do this yourself, but there’s some issues you need to be aware of, and a lot of things that can go wrong.” And first of all, if someone is determined to do it themselves they’re going to do it themselves and you can’t change that, but if they start consuming the content that you put out there and they like, “OK, this or this can happen. Maybe I should just pay them.” Or if they proceed to do it themselves and they run into problems, at least they found the information on your website. And if they run into problems, they’re going to most likely call you. They’re not going to go start finding a competitor to solve the problem.
Ken: Well, and the first thing that came up when the search about the leaky pipe is actually the Google local services ads, where it shows plumbers in my area that have the Google guarantee. And if you’re in an industry where Google is offering that Google local services program, even though you don’t have content on your website, you can still run an ad or use one of Google’s ad programs to be found.
The next piece of content that I see is a YouTube video that talks about how to repair a leaky pipe. Then I see, you know, people also ask these questions, which are suggestions by Google. And all of this is research that you can do when you’re forming your content strategy to say, “Oh, when people type in these problems, they’re also thinking about these issues,” and you bake into your content strategy and figure out the pieces of content that you want to create. And then you go down to the bottom of that search results page and it shows you related searches that people did. So all of this is really powerful. We talk about this at great length, Mark and I; we’re co-authors of a book called “Content Marketing for Local Search” that really lays out this whole strategy of content marketing.
Paul: Yeah, it’s is a great resource for content strategy.
Ken: A business owner can come up with six months’ worth of content ideas just by putting in a couple of their primary keywords into Google search and paying attention to “people also ask,” right? And other search terms that come up and just look at some of your competitors sites. I mean, just answer those questions for your business. You’re in great shape in whatever medium you put it out in, but Paul, you said the thing, this is where we start with every single client.
One of the very first things I asked them when we talk about content is what are the questions people ask you most often, right? Frequently asked questions and every business owner knows, and if they’re not sure, just looking at the sent file of your email, because it’s there, you’ve probably answered those questions this morning for a customer who called in or sent you an email or a text or whatever it is. And you can really start to build a lot of content just from going back to what questions you answer every day in your business.
Mark: Yeah. When you look at your proposals or the emails that you’ve constructed, you probably already have 50% or more of a blog post that you could write.
Paul: We talked about all these different types of content and there’s all these different mediums. I mean, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. So Antonio, we talk about all these different types of content from a small business owner’s perspective, probably a lot of them out there listening. They’re thinking, “This is a lot of content and do I need all of this? Do I need to be on all these platforms? And how do I even start? Where do I start?”
Antonio: The quick answer is absolutely not. When it comes to the world of content, especially if you’re starting out or you’re just beginning a new marketing journey, your effort for your organization is “Pick one and become a master of that one.” Once you’ve mastered that one, then you can start to branch out. I see this all the time with some of our clients as well. When they initially come to us, they want to be on Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter. At the end of the day, you simply don’t have the budget. You may want to be there and you may be willing to produce all the content to support those different efforts, but it still takes time and money. A lot of these, especially when we talk about social platforms are pay to play, right? You have to, essentially, boost your content or pay in some form to get that content to be highly visible.
So the short answer is no, you don’t have to be everywhere. And I strongly encourage you not to, especially if you’re starting out now, the question becomes, well, what do I do? And how much content do I produce? And sadly for a lot of folks, because they’re not going to like to hear this answer is, it depends. It depends on your business, your buyer’s journey, and the amount of education that’s required for you to produce a sale.
So if you’re in more of a professional services sale, something that has a typically longer sales cycle, you’re going to need to produce a lot more of what we call “top of funnel content,” which is educational, nurturing-type content that brings people to a certain problem awareness and solution awareness. Whereas if they use our home services example — you are a painter or emergency water restoration company — not a ton of educational content is needed.
What you now need in that situation is authoritative content. So those testimonials, those case studies, those customer reviews across multiple websites, right? Because emergency services, you have a pretty short sales cycle. Everybody knows. “Hey, I recently had a fire in my laundry room and I need fire restoration.” They don’t need to understand necessarily the finer aspects and they’re not going to take two to three months to decide if they want fire restoration. Whereas if I’m looking to choose a new accountant, a lawyer, or an IT service provider. I’m going to do a lot more to make sure this person understands me, my type of business, some of the common questions and issues I have.
And so you could see how the content you built for that journey. That’s more that longer term, higher touch, maybe higher ticket sale is very different from that, “Hey, I just want to have somebody come in and paint a bedroom for me.” So look at the value of your sale and look at your current sales cycles, how long it takes, what have you done when you sold your solutions that help push that person forward? What’d you tell them? What did they need to hear? What were the questions they asked you? So all of those are components. So it really depends on your business where you need to play and then what you need to produce to play in that space effectively.
Ken: One other thing I’d add to that is, you know, what is the competition doing? Do you face stiff competition? If so, then that may mean that you need to amp up everything that Antonio talked about. If you’re in a situation where there’s not a lot of competition, then you may be in a completely different situation.
Paul: And so, Antonio, it sounds like what you’re saying is kind of in a nutshell is if you have a longer sales cycle, you probably need more educational type of content than someone who provides, say, emergency services.
Antonio: Absolutely. If you look at our clients who are professional services, and we kind of talked about this a little earlier, one of the very common tools we utilize is that webinar because the webinar really has an opportunity for you to dive deep. You spend an hour with prospects going over a specific problem or issue. And the very fact that they attended your webinar shows that there’s a problem awareness. And now they’re looking for a potential solution to that. So, yes, again, the bigger the ticket, the item, the longer the sales cycle, the more content you need to produce. It’s a three-, six-month sales cycle.
I want to be continually hitting them with content over those three to six months, making sure I’m staying top of mind, making sure I’m nurturing that relationship, so they don’t go off to my competitor. So much to what Ken said, right? Our competitors are building content and have these journeys mapped out and are always doing something to demonstrate their authority, provide more education, provide more nurturing, to move people through that customer journey that we keep hearing about. I think that’s crucial. So absolutely, the bigger the ticket, the longer the sales cycle, the more content you need to produce and in different stages.
Paul: Yeah. And I think that customer engagement a lot of times gets lost.
Ken: Yeah. There was a great article published in the Harvard Business Review back in 2016 called “The Elements of Value.” And it really kind of mimics Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. You know, as human beings, we’ve got to worry about safety and security and food on the table and shelter over our house before we can start to achieve higher, more aspirational kinds of things. And so it depends on the nature of the business that you’re in, even if it’s a big ticket item, if you’ve got a crack in your foundation, that may be a $30,000 project, but if you’ve got water coming in and you need to have that fixed ASAP, the time, that you’re going to make, to determine who you want to hire is going to be very short.
And so, because it’s a very primal need, it’s addressing the safety and security of the ability that you have to live in your house safely. In that case, you’re going to have a different strategy than if you’re thinking about buying a luxury car for the first time, just because you want to show that you’ve reached a certain status in life that may be a longer sales cycle.
Paul: So now that we’ve talked about all these different types of content and you’re going to start putting content out there. You need a content strategy. So Mark, what are some of the biggest or most common mistakes that people make when they start putting this content strategy together?
Mark: There are really three that we see most often. One is just overwhelmed, right? People, business owners can listen to, they can really dive into content marketing and figure out how to get content done, and they can sort of get lost in the details. And we record things like this podcast and we write the books like we’ve written to try to help clarify and simplify some of that. And I think Antonio said it right. Pick a point and start, right? So overwhelmed can be one.
The second one is kind of related to that, that I see most often is business owners think nothing can be published until it’s perfect, and I probably every day I talk to a client about progress, not perfection. If you continue to edit things and it never gets published, you’re not making any progress at all. You’ve got to pull the trigger and you’ve got to get some things published and start that process because momentum tends to build on itself. You don’t have to have a professionally shot video. Everybody’s carrying an HD camera in their pockets with a smartphone. And that quality is good enough to do frequently asked questions, videos that you can publish on social or on your website.
The third is business owners, and Ken talked about this earlier, tend to write for themselves and not for their customers. And again, it isn’t about you. It’s about your customer and the problems that you solve.
So you’ve really, when you start thinking about content and what messages you want to put out there, you’ve really got to think about what are your customers looking for? What do they ask you? How do they interact with your company and put that education into their terms. And you’ll get a lot farther, a lot faster.
Paul: I’m going to throw this out to everyone. I’m a small business owner and I have to develop this content or have someone to help me develop this content. Does the type of content I need to create depend on the industry I’m in. Does it vary? Is there different types of content that’s better for different types of businesses or industries?
Antonio: I’d say that first and foremost, what it depends on is your customer journey, is the path you want to lead prospects through. I think that dictates things more than anything else, but as part of that process, you are going to look at what does my, what are the clients in my industries need? Do they need more education? Do they need more nurturing? Do they need high touch? They need low touch, right? Your industry certainly is an aspect of that, but your customer journey’s, that’s what’s paramount. And I would invite people just because everybody else in your industry does things a certain way. Doesn’t mean that you can’t do it a different way. In fact, I highly encourage you to do it in a different way to really help separate yourself from that pack. One of the common objections I hear, especially in a professional services situation is “Wow, well, my customers are, and on Facebook know, we need to be where we’re professionals are. We need to either be on LinkedIn or, you know, some other means we have to use direct mail or something.”
The simple truth is that just because you don’t see your competitors on Facebook doesn’t mean that your clients aren’t on there, right? There are billions of Facebook users. At this point, we are human. We all go there. We all follow maybe industry associations or trade magazines or bloggers that service our industry. So it’s really not true to say that, but there’s that misconception. And because you don’t see your competitors on Facebook doesn’t mean, one, that they’re not there, and it doesn’t mean it’s still not a viable channel potentially for you to distribute your content on. So I would say be cautious of dogmatic approaches because nobody else does it this way, or that’s not the way anybody else in the industry does it. That’s your opportunity to break from the pack.
Mark: One thing somebody as a business owner could do today is, and you can record it using voice memos on your iPhone or on your smartphone, just record you. Don’t have to sit in front of a blank Word document and start typing. Just sit down and ask yourself, think about those two or three most frequently asked questions that you get and just record your answer to those and then hand those to somebody to transcribe and post those as blog posts to your website. And there you’ve spent almost no money — going back to the limited budget question — and you’ve begun to get content on your website that you can then amplify through social. You can turn into a video, you can turn into social posts, email marketing, newsletters, use it in sales materials, and you’ve got virtually zero cash outlay to get that done. So important thing is to get started, right? Budget, shouldn’t be the issue.
Ken: One of the first things I would ask people to look at is what is your typical transaction size and how frequently could you get a customer to buy from you? How many total transactions can you process over a period of time with the crews that you have, the ability to sell products that you have or whatever. The economics of the deal has got to be what drives the way you address content. And honestly, if you’re a carpet cleaner and you’ve got just yourself and maybe one other person, you’ve got a very limited capacity, you’d be crazy to develop. It’s what we refer to as a total online presence. It really is going to help you with a full-blown search engine optimization strategy. You need content to make sure you look like a professional company so that when people find you maybe from reviews or referrals from golden goose sources like a Realtor or something like that, that you look like a credible business.
You might want to spend a little bit of money on advertising strategically, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to look at what is the cost to acquire a customer versus the value of the transaction or transactions that you have and the ability to process that. Just kind of going back to the previous question. You asked Mark about a common mistake. A common mistake that a lot of businesses make is when they see a marketing budget of $5,000 a month, that could be largely SEO search engine optimization and content strategy. They say, “Whoa, there’s no way I can afford that.” But they’re selling a $30,000 transaction. Every time they get a brand-new customer, they’re crazy if they leave that on the table. If it’s done right, and they’re tracking the whole process.
Another mistake is people don’t spend enough to create the content and lay it out through the buyer’s journey. So it really just depends, but I mean, but to really address the limited budget, I would say, look at the value of your transactions and look at the types of customers you have. Who are your ideal customers? Create the content that’s going to support that process and that journey.
Paul: Yeah, something else that needs to be looked at is the type of business you’re in does make a difference to a point. If you’re in a highly visual business, if you’re an interior designer, Pinterest might be a really good place for you. Whereas if you’re, say, an accountant, you probably never really have a need for Pinterest.
Mark: I’d love to see the CPA Pinterest boards though.
Paul: I would too.
Ken: I’m sure there’s some out there.
Mark: I look at them all the time, most beautiful tax returns we can find.
Antonio: Is it pictures of spreadsheets?
Ken: Yeah. There probably are some about how to do advanced formulas in Excel. Now that I think about it, but …
Paul: That would be interesting.
Ken: If I was working with a CPA, Pinterest is not where I would start for copy.
Mark: Yeah, exactly.
Paul: Well, that kind of wraps it up and we’re pretty much out of time, so thank you everyone for joining us.
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