If you’ve ever been married before, or are currently married, I think you can agree on one universal truth: marriage is hard.
And I’m sure you won’t be the last to admit that marriage ain’t easy.
So what makes a great marriage? What are the ingredients that, when stirred together, will create a recipe for long-lasting love, and what is the one common denominator that ultimately keeps a great marriage going, anniversary after anniversary?
The first principle of a great marriage is your mindset. A mindset is a held belief or worldview, that when applied to your marriage, will dictate the success of you and your spouses bond. This mindset is rooted in the joy of knowing you will make it, in the long run.
Long run, not short run.
A great marriage is forged by sludging through the hard-stuff.
And like marriage, your company’s marketing efforts should never be approached with a short-sighted mindset.
“Doing” a one-time email campaign, for example, is a waste. “Doing” a one-time direct mail campaign is stupid.
Marketing, or true content creation, is something that’s done over the long haul and it’s that same long-term-mindset that your business needs in order to attract clients and customers online.
Marketing is a continuous conviction of teaching, which builds loyal followers, and ambassadors that have faith in your business.
Marketing and content creation can be expensive, time-consuming and even frustrating at times. It’s definitely not easy.
But isn’t anything that’s worth while in the long-run, deemed worthy by the same standards?
Your marketing should not be prioritized from campaign to campaign.
The parallel I’m drawing, between your marketing efforts and the aforementioned marriage-climate, is an approach or attitude of knowing that your small business is in the content marketing game for the long-run.
Again, do not think of your marketing efforts as a singular campaign.
Your businesses marketing and content creation efforts should be set for the joyful journey and the advantageous adventure. Your companies content creation forays need to be a consistent project, a constant continuum, and a refreshing road where your clients are communicated to regularly.
And like marriage, if a husband and wife never communicated with each other, what kind of marriage would they have?
If your IT company, construction group, healthcare center, never communicated with your prospects and existing customers, what sort of “marketing-marriage” would your business develop?
If I never put effort, time, or work to get to know my wife through constant communication, she’d be lonely and we wouldn’t have much of a foundation to stand on.
And like a marriage where there’s a lack of communication, a lack of communication with your prospects and clients means they won’t buy from your company.
Your marketing efforts and content creation plan needs to act just like the communication climate in a great marriage, where you communicate and talk to your clients and prospects every day.
Communicating with your clients, prospects and customers is not just an every-so-often campaign, rather it is an annual event, producing web content year over year.
So what do you talk about with your prospective customers, clients and prospects?
It’s a pretty simple game plan: you talk about them.
You need to be talking about them, getting to know them, having empathy towards their life-struggles, not yours.
Your prospects and existing clients don’t want to hear how you’re awesome, how trustworthy you aspire to be, or the amaze-cakes-nature of your people.
And they certainly don’t want to listen to you go on and on about the corporate arm-wrestling prize you won by beating Muscles McGee, at your company’s annual convention.
No one gives a rip about what award your company won or which place you finished in your annual chamber event or even how stellar your CEO is.
They don’t. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.
But…your clients and customers DO love your business because of what you’ve done for them. They ARE loyal towards your company because you’ve solved a business case and ultimately made a difference in their lives.
Your existing clients know what it is you do. Your existing clients and customers love you because of the results of your service. And results are the things ROI is made of!
And your prospects want to know this too! People want to know your story, believe it or not. So tell it!
Tell your story of how your company has been resilient at fixing broken things, at repairing the unrepairable, and saved your clients or customers time and money.
Like a great marriage, your content creation and marketing efforts need to operate in such a way that you put their needs first, get to know them, and live to solve their everyday annoyances.
The only way you do this is by communicating with them regularly through creating content that is purposeful and meaningful.
And more importantly by developing content that doesn’t suck.
Who is your ideal client and customer?
The first step in any content creation plan begins with creating your persona.
What’s a persona? Your persona is your ideal customer or client.
Think of your ideal customer or client this way: it’s the best possible sales-situation where the road has been paved with a circumstance that perfectly fits your wheelhouse.
Don’t mistake this with a perfect customer-there isn’t one. This is different.
When thinking of your persona, think target market or audience, but with more data in order to make your business appealing to your preferred prospect or client.
One of our sister companies, a Saas platform that helps IT companies collect on their monthly invoices, identified their persona.
Here is a great example of a well-crafted person we like to call Anthony the Accountant.
- Anthony is the owner of his $9 million dollar IT company.
- Anthony never has enough hours in a day.
- Anthony struggles to collect on his monthly invoices.
- Anthony has issues motivating his sales team.
- Anthony stinks at marketing and has tried everything under the sun to get leads and sales.
- Anthony is just like you and I, puts his pants on one leg at a time, is married, sometimes offices remotely and is privy to the same daily stresses of business and marketing.
By going through a persona identification process, we were able to learn what Anthony’s issues are and build trust and credibility, through our copywriting and content creation efforts.
This is critical. Do this first or everything else will fail!
Start using E-mail marketing. A lot.
How? E-mail marketing, that’s how.
Automated email marketing and drip-nurture campaigns are absolutely excellent tactics to get you in front of your prospects, on a regular basis.
Think of drip and nurture campaigns like having a bunch of sales guys cold-calling, except it’s automated.
By using nurture and email campaigns, you’re effectively able to keep your top-of-mind brand- awareness in front of the eyeballs of your leads and prospects.
That’s gold in the sales world.
A few items to think about before you dive into an email campaign:
- What are you going to send your prospects? A special offer? A free E-Book?
- The content you put in front of your prospects via email should be educational in nature, not features and benefits focused.
- How long are your email campaigns? 3 part, 5 part or 7 part email campaigns? The longer the better!
- What day of the week do you send it to them? Do we launch on Sunday’s, Monday’s or Friday’s?
- What about the title of your emails? How do I best hook them, so they don’t delete the email?
- Are the emails mobile friendly?
There’s definitely a trick to email marketing that you need to get right.
Again, email me for a FREE guide, or you can contact us here for help.
Do not plan to fail.
You need a plan to help you determine who, what, when and why to write awesome content, in order to build trust with prospects so they move down the sales funnel and eventually into a sale.
More importantly, you need to stay organized, once you start creating content. One of the best ways marketers can stay on top of the daily tasks is by using some sort of content creation chart.
The one I’ve used is customized for our marketing team, but you can download it and change however you wish. The goal of using a chart like this is simple: making sure all the little tasks get done, on a project by project basis.
Nothing will stymie productivity more than disorganization.
A content creation calendar is basically a spreadsheet that helps you organize your content topics, and generally helps you keep on track with your daily tasks, while holding your team accountable.
Get organized then get to work.
So you don’t fail and forget tasks that are the DNA of each individual campaign, this is where you will need a formal content creation plan.
Your plan should also consist of about 3-4 months’ worth of content that you create.
Content like blog pieces, press releases, case studies, E-Books and the like.
Start with a blog. Blog 1-2 times per week and blog about specific pain points that are addressed by your product or service. The pain points are things that your ideal prospect struggles with, which your business ultimately solves for them.
Next, begin writing some case studies. Case studies are an excellent proof-source of how you work and how the peers of your prospects have had success, using your services.
From there, write some premium content once per quarter. Premium content is something like a white paper, E-Book (aka manifesto) or webinar. Premium content is not something that your marketing manager creates every day, which is why you launch once a quarter.
Once you’ve begun writing this content, it’s critically important to have a solid promotional plan in order to make sure all your stuff gets in front of the right buyers. But that’s a blog piece for another day…
The hero in this story.
The hero in your digital marketing efforts is the person in charge of leading these efforts. It’s your marketing manager, director of marketing or maybe yourself and your business partner.
It doesn’t really matter who this person is and what their title is when it comes down to it, you just need a person who can be a leader, dive in, has passion and loves making sure you get-things-done.
Once you’ve identified your persona, created your email campaigns and built your long-term plan, now you will need that resource or person who can help lead these efforts.
Look for a person who has an editorial background, writing background or agency experience. Someone who loves leading copywriting campaigns and has a knack for topic creation, whose goal in life is to tell compelling and persuasive stories.
And if you’re looking to outsource, check out our work here. We’re pretty sure we can handle the workload of helping you tell your story, with the end result of leads and sales.
The bottom line: the person or outsourced vendor that leads all these efforts will help you identify your ideal client or customer, they will be passionate about drip and nurture campaigns using email marketing, they will be razor-sharp-organized, and finally have a content creation plan.
You know you want more. Check out these resources.
And in case you want some inspiring resources, to attempt to do this yourself, check out these ones below.
Rand Fishkin, Head Wizard of MOZ, (Head Wizard = CEO) shared this great resource on slideshare. While it’s not a document intended to help you figure out your content creation efforts from soup to nuts, it is chalk full of tips and tricks to help you along the way.
Here’s another great resource from Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing.
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