Effective Social Media Marketing Involves Two-way Conversations

Your social media marketing initiatives must be built on building a dialogue, where YOU speak and listen to your audience and responding to their wants and needs.

Get them to talk. Then so can you listen and respond.

Is your brand into monologues in social media?

It should NOT be that way. You should take the time to listen and respond to your audience. A two-way conversation helps you connect your brand with potential and existing customers on a human level.

Conversations give your brand a personality attracting more potential customers.

Much like in real-world social interactions, a conversation on social media must be two-way. Don’t you agree?

Here are a few tips:

Ask questions. Be genuine about wanting to learn more about them.

Ask about their accomplishments
Ask about their challenges
Ask about their ideal customer
Ask how you could help them

When they respond:

Ask more questions
Answer their questions
Respond to comments
Give compliments
Acknowledge compliments
Address complaints

If you’re not doing this yet, don’t you think it’s worth a try?

Bradley Benner
bradley@contractor.media

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Generate Leads for your Small Local Business Today!

Make your business visible online, and you will get a larger share of customers.

Operating a small and local business doesn’t mean you cannot increase your customers and scale.

Get a Website. Don’t you have a website yet? Where have you been all this time? From plumbers to dentists, the local handyman to big engineering firms – they have websites. Your website will be your 24/7 storefront.

Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. You are increasingly using your mobile phone when searching for a product or service, right?

Get some Traffic with SEO. Many of your potential customers probably do not know that your business exists. However, when they go to Google searching for a product or service they need, which you offer, and finds you because you’re doing SEO — then bingo!

Make sure that your SEO is well-planned with a comprehensive blueprint to ensure ROI.

Get on Social Media. Many more of your potential customers may find you in social media. When a recent customer following you in social media likes or shares an article, a photo, or a video you posted, then that post will be visible to their friends – who might as well try out your product or service.

Become active on at least 4 social media channels. Your potential customers are actively using more than one.

Capture and Nurture. Capture your leads through an opt-in form on your website and nurture them through email marketing.

Be on top of mind all the time to your potential customers by constantly communicating with them through email. Once they need something you offer, boom, you got a customer.

There you have it. 4 simple steps.

Follow me, and we’ll guide you along the way. Contact Bradley Benner at bradley@contractor.media.

The Blogging Guide Every Start-Up Contractor Business Needs



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Why start a contractor business blog? What elements does your blog need to be effective? How can you capitalize most effectively on the marketing opportunities a blog creates?

We’ll answer all of these questions in our relatively brief but comprehensive content marketing and business blogging guide for start-ups below. You’ll learn some of the most important markers of quality for an effective blog, how to develop a content marketing strategy that translates blog traffic into real leads, and what factors promote your search ranking (SEO) success.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Why Bother With a Business Blog for Your Start-Up?

contractor marketing tips

Simply put: a contractor business blog is an effective tool for achieving all of your most important marketing goals. It can:

  • Augment your other marketing efforts
  • Warm people up to your brand
  • Generate awareness for your startup
  • Work people into the start of your marketing funnel
  • Help you develop relationships with loyal visitors
  • Much more!

Creating a blog differs from traditional advertising techniques in that you expect the leads to come to you. This approach is referred to as “inbound marketing,” and it’s incredibly effective in an era where most of us are straight up burnt out on ads.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, small businesses that have a blog earn 126% more lead growth compared to businesses without one. A blog can also convince 61% of surveyed U.S. online consumers to make an eventual purchase. On top of that, HubSpot notes that blogs can earn your business 97% more inbound links, effectively multiplying your site’s traffic potential.

Since a start-up needs as much attention, awareness and clicks as possible, content marketing through a contractor business blog seems like a no brainer!

So where should you start when planning your future blog? By planning and forming a strategy with your audience firmly in mind.

2. Conducting Audience Research

Your blog is first and foremost for your audience. If they hate or don’t care about what you’re writing (the second one’s actually worse!), then you won’t accomplish any of your contractor business goals.

Search engine algorithms have also been refined over the past decade to provide results they think the audience will like. Things that hurt the audience experience, like writing misleading headlines or ripping off articles verbatim from other websites, therefore also tend to hurt your search engine ranking.

Writing for your audience is therefore essential to get the results you want from your blog.

There are a few research methods that can help you understand your audience better:

  1. Common traits within your current prospecting list and lead opportunities (you can even survey them!)
  2. Social mentions of your brand through social listening tools
  3. Existing reviews and press coverage of your brand
  4. Profiles of your competitors’ current client/customer list; these can also help you determine the subtle variations between their audiences and yours!
  5. Research of audience traits on forums, popular industry blogs, and trending social topics related to your core business

There are many other ways of conducting market research to define your audience — including hiring a firm to do it for you outright — but your own customers and experience within your industry can often be your best resource.

3. Developing an Audience-Focused Blog Strategy Through Personas

contractor business leads

Once you have a good view of your audience, separate them into a few key segments. Your segments should encompass all the shades within your audience’s buying tendencies, especially if different segments buy different products.

For example, maybe computer repair stores are ideal targets for the regular tier of your workbench and job ticketing software, but enterprise-employed IT heads are targets for your top-tier.

Using your segments, create buyer personas. These distill each of your segments into a single, imaginary person.

Now, write content for your personas! Pay close attention to the things your personas care about most and the type of content they seem to read most voraciously. Helpful topic prompts include questions they may have about your industry and “how to…” articles for alleviating related pain points.

Note that no piece of content will likely cover 100% of your buyer personas, and that’s ok! Just be sure to cover each equally (or in proportion to their priority) and provide a little something to encourage each one to read if they see your latest posts.

4. Have a Sensible, Effective Keyword Strategy Based Around Persona Intent

Your keyword strategy should be an extension of the things that motivate your buyer personas. After all, keywords are intended to serve as signals for search engines related to queries, and they also send signals to human brains that “this is relevant to me and worth clicking.”

A good practice is to use a keyword generator tool to come up with a list of keywords related to your current website, your competitors’, or a generic subject prompt. Then, plan how each keyword would relate to your segment.

For instance, searching “IT ticket software” on the free tool keywordtool.io generates many related results, including “trouble ticket software open source.”

Using our two generalized buyer personas above, let’s imagine how two different segments might use this query:

  • General Manager of a Small Computer Repair Workshop
      • Searches “trouble ticket software open source” because they want a free tool and likely don’t have much of a budget
      • Motivation: get a free piece of software
      • Suggested content suited to intent: “8 Best Open Source Trouble Ticket Software Products”
      • Possible CTA: “…many open source tools are limited in their functions, though. See why going free could actually cost you by downloading our ‘5 Factors That Hurt Computer Repair Store Profitability’ now!”
  • Head of IT for a Medium to Large Corporation
      • Searches “trouble ticket software open source” because they are curious what is out there and want to weigh their options
      • Motivation: make the best choice for their organization, including both money spent and end results
      • Suggested content suited to intent: “Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Open Source Trouble Ticket Software”
      • Possible CTA: “…but our product offers several advantages over open source, even when considering cost. Watch our brief video to see the advantages XYZ Product offers!”

From this exercise, you can see that keywords can guide a lot more than just where you stuff things in your content. In fact, don’t keyword stuff at all, but instead, use intuitive keyword groups and variations on your focus keyword to get the best results.

18% of top-ranking results for high-volume keywords don’t even have an exact match keyword anywhere in the body text!

So let keywords be a launching pad for playing into the search intent of keyword use, and segment your content ideas based on what motivates your buyers’ personas.

5. Make a Few Important Business Decisions

contractor marketing plan

Knowing your audiences and the keywords they use as important intent signals are the most important foundational steps to starting your start-up’s blog.

After getting oriented, you can make a number of decisions with the end goal of satisfying your audience personas:

  • Will my blog be branded differently than my main site? Separating your blog with its own brand can help win your audience’s trust, but it adds complexity to your strategy. Consider the pros and cons as you research well-branded blogs like Adobe’s CMO.
  • How often will I publish? Your publication schedule is dictated by A) Your bandwidth, and B) The typical amount of news coverage in your industry. Also keep in mind your capacity to do “theme days,” such as posting a video every Friday recapping one of your most popular blogs.
  • Who can I network with to promote my content? Email and social will be effective channels for content promotion, but getting amplified by someone with a lot of traffic/followers is even better! Identify blogs that allow for syndicated content or submissions, and identify micro-influencers in your niche so you can write content they’d be likely to share. (Hint: it never hurts to quote that person and tag them when you share your blog!)
  • How will my blog lead to the next stage of my marketing funnel? Every blog concludes with a call to action (CTA). Strong CTAs command the reader with an action verb to perform a simple task that provides a concrete benefit. Tailor your CTAs to your segment and their approximate buyer stage. As a general rule of thumb:
  • If they are further away from a purchase, invite them to sign up to your mailing list to download premium content pieces.
  • If they are closer, invite them to get a quote, schedule a demo, or take a direct look at your product information.

6. Monitor, Measure, Analyze, and Optimize

Your blog will be an evolving creature that adapts to the signals your audience sends you.

Pay close attention to the data you get from readers, both on your website and with any promotional announcement, such as a social media post. Your data will reveal things like which headlines get the most clicks, which articles get the most shares, which CTAs convert most effectively, and overall which types of content people prefer.

Use this data to revisit your content strategy and tweak it to find better success over time.

Should You Outsource Your Start-Up Contractor Business Blog to a Writer or Content Agency?

Performing all of the above steps yourself can help you understand what your content needs to find success. But even then, you may wish for better performance, a more efficient process, or for someone to take the task of writing, publishing and promoting completely off your hands.

If this is the case, working with a content marketing agency could be the answer for you. They can use your research, branding, and guidelines to develop content suited to your unique flavor. Weigh your options, and then decide what will ultimately be best for your business and especially your audience.

 

The Blogging Guide Every Start-Up Contractor Business Needs originally published by Contractor Media

The Importance of Customer Lifetime Value

When starting a business, it’s easy to overlook some of the more important details once you start getting a customer base. Most businesses rely on getting as many customers as they can as cheaply as they can. This may have been the way to do things in the past, but now things have changed.

So what is Customer Lifetime Value? CLV is something that all big businesses focus on because of its importance. It is the measure of dollars coming in from a customer over the entire relationship with that customer to the business. However, since you cannot speculate how long each customer you have will stay loyal to you, you look at it over a certain period of time. Once you start doing this, the data you collect can show you some fascinating things.

One of the things you might find is where your marketing efforts fell short compared to one customer over others. The other thing measuring Customer Lifetime Value can do is help you refine your marketing strategy so that you are targeting the right customers.

There are many benefits that come from analyzing Customer Lifetime Value including maximizing your return on marketing campaigns, helping to identify and reward those customers who are loyal, and managing your customer relationship as a monetary investment instead of counting them as a number.

Huge industry leaders in eCommerce are outperforming all the rest because of their focus on retaining customers. Some eCommerce giants are reporting 60-80% retention rates while others are reporting only a 20% rate!

Do you want to learn more about CLV?

Contact me at bradley@contractor.media to learn how we can help you effectively measure your Customer Lifetime Value.

Bradley Benner
bradley@contractor.media

Local Business Alert! The Local Search Results will Give You More Business Results

On-the-go mobile users who are near you and who are searching for a product or service on Google at this very moment should find your business. But are they?

Are you visible in Google’s ‘Local Pack’ and expanded results?

Increased foot traffic, phone calls, or visits to your website should mean more customers for local business owners like you. That is why optimizing for local search results should be important.

Businesses listed in the Local Pack vary from the searcher’s location. If you are nearest to the searcher at the time of the search, then your business listing should appear there.

However, being closest to a potential customer searching isn’t a guarantee that you will come up in the search results. Your listing and your website must be optimized for local search.

Here are some of the important ranking factors that we can help you with based on a study by Moz:

Google My Business Listing Signals
Link Signals
On-page Signals
Citation Signals
Review Signals
Behavioral Signals
Personalization
Social Signals

Sounds too technical and challenging for you? No worries, Contractor Media is here to help you.

Contact us if you want your business to become more visible in the local search results and get more customers!

Bradley Benner
https://contractor.media/5days

https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors

5 Compelling Digital Marketing Stats

1. Sixty-three percent of local businesses said they were going to invest in a mobile-friendly website. Why? Because 80% of internet users browse on their smartphones. If your site is not mobile responsive, then you are not in the game.

Get a mobile-friendly website now!

2. Ninety-three percent of customer buying decisions are influenced by Social Media. Customers trust peer recommendations. Positive comments on Social Media work! You should be connected with your best customers in social media so they can easily recommend you.

Set up your social media accounts now and get active!

3. Active blogs generate 67% more leads! Blog sites are perfect for interacting with your customers on a more personal level. Are you actively blogging?

Start blogging right now!

4. Four times as many potential customers would rather watch a video about your service/product than reading about it. Videos work because they are more interesting and easier to absorb, in addition to being easily shared! How many videos are on your site? Do you have a YouTube Channel?

Get into video marketing now!

5. Thirty percent of small businesses do not bother to measure their return-on-investment (ROI) following their digital marketing campaigns. That’s madness! How do you know if you are doing the right thing?

Contact me at bradley@contractor.media and I’ll show you not only how to measure ROI, but to make your digital marketing work to produce ROI in the first place!

Contractors: Are You Making These 7 Mistakes When Writing Blogs?



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Blog writing can be an incredibly effective digital marketing strategy when the creator pays close attention to all the markers of quality. These markers include both technical and artistic elements as well as the context your blog plays within your overall marketing funnel.

Ignoring any part of this equation will leave you with a less-than-satisfactory result. Your audience will either disregard your content outright or any audiences you successfully build will fail to enter your marketing funnel as intended.

Luckily, plenty of companies out there are doing it right. 78% of B2C companies using content marketing say they are “moderately” to “extremely” successful with their content marketing efforts. 2 out of every 3 also say that their performance is better now than a year ago.

So what are they getting right? Most likely, they are avoiding the following seven common business blog mistakes that can hurt performance. Read the list below to ensure that you can find success and avoid the common pitfalls that hold content performance back.

Using Outdated SEO Techniques That Hurt Readability

internet marketing & seo for contractors

If you find yourself demanding that your blogs include exact match keywords listed within a certain saturation limit, take a step back and look at the data.

According to the Google themselves, keyword stuffing is strongly discouraged. Instead, include keywords naturally within the text, and don’t be afraid to vary how they are used or arranged. Google emphasizes that keywords should match up with user intent, giving the example that a long-time soccer fan will know to refer to important world matches under the “FIFA” acronym, while less-knowledgeable viewers may search for “football playoffs” instead.

Having your keywords appear naturally is key! Google recommends that you avoid “inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users.” Try to write your content in a style that could get published on a popular industry blog instead, where any bizarre keyword use would be distracting and likely cause an editor to send your piece back.

If you find it hard to let go of bad keyword habits, recognize that search engine algorithm tendencies have changed. According to an extensive study and comparison-based research from SEMrush, 18% of domains that rank for high-volume keywords don’t even have an exact match keyword appear anywhere in the body of the text!

You can therefore rank without having to desperately overuse keywords. Instead, create keyword groups centered around your concept. You can use the AdWords keyword planner for suggestions. Your audience — and the search engines — will thank you!

Not Picking Topics That Have Value or Interest for Your Audience

Your company blog is not another place for ads! People will visit it only if it provides the same quality of content they would expect to find on a publication site. If they see that your “article” is actually a glorified pitch for a product, they will most likely hit the back button.

Ensure that your topics could meet the interest of a casual reader. Your own website visitor data can tell you this by revealing which articles get the most views and lead to the most time spent on site. You can also look to industry publications, mentions of your market niche in mass media, or your own competitors’ blog views for guidance.

Social listening is another useful tool. Social media can be your best source of new blog ideas, in fact. Looking for terms like “can I get a recommendation for…?” and other questions related to your product/service area is a great start. You can also source common questions your sales reps and customer service employees field.

Missing Out on Opportunities to Engage

If you have a comment on your blog or someone sharing it with their added input, recognize that this is an opportunity! Someone who was interested enough to comment or share took time and effort to interact with your materials. Continue the conversation, address their thoughts, and at the very least offer a “thank you!” for their effort.

This tactic is especially important if your typical engagement rate is slim. If you regularly get comments and other feedback on your posts, then choose 3-4 of the most interesting or valuable takes to interact with.

Responding to comments rewards these interactions, but ignoring them can feel like a punishment! People may eventually stop responding or even reading, but you have the power to encourage engagement instead. People love attention online, even if it’s just a brief nod from a brand they care about.

Being Too Scattered With Your Topic Choices

contractor advertising online

News moves fast these days, and we are often inspired in the moment to cover a certain topic on our blogs. However, you should balance out these improvisationally chosen subjects with a regular body of ongoing themed, evergreen content.

For example, does your blog have a “101” series for your industry? If you are a lawyer, for instance, does your blog take the time to cover the basics of your area of practice? Then, does it answer common questions people have regarding a typical case?

Articles like these have evergreen appeal, meaning they can continue getting traffic long after their publish date. You can also link to this content within your other pieces, building strength for your SEO and domain authority. Using the lawyer example, a law blog can highlight the word “negligence” the first time it is used in each related blog and link that term to a “What Is Negligence?” intro post.

You can also structure your foundational knowledge posts into a useful section of your website. Intuitive navigation encourages additional page views per visit, and it can strengthen your domain authority to help you rank higher, according to Google.

Not Planning Out Careful Customer Journeys

Every blog you write should not only cover a relevant, interesting topic but also lead the reader to a logical next step — or a choice of next steps.

A strong example of a bad way to do this is writing an article that tells someone everything they need to know about your profession. Let’s say you are a pool maintenance company, and you exhaustively list every chemical test and piece of equipment you use in a comprehensive blog.

This article will no doubt get a lot of views, but then what would they need your company for? Instead, the company can give an example of pool treatments and note that “every pool is different” or that “doing it yourself is time consuming and can lead to mistakes!” That way, the audience knows that even though they could DIY, they’ll get better results from you.

You never want to shoot your own value proposition in the foot, so to speak.

Similarly, guide the reader intuitively from their content view to the next step in their journey. That could be to “download our guide to winterizing your pool” by submitting their email, which gets them on your marketing list. Or, you can encourage them to “get a free estimate and assessment for what we can do to your pool” as a wrap-up call to action (CTA).

Steps in between your journey should be tempting and effortless to take. Keep your audience needs and expectations in mind, and when in doubt A/B test to find the most effective conversion methods.

Writing a Boring Headline

Your audience won’t want to click if your blog’s headline is too uninteresting or confusing. Focus a lot of your writing efforts on your headline, and regularly review data on article performance to see which headlines draw the most clicks.

You can also reference guides to writing better headlines, such as this data from Buzz Sumo and this recommended process from Moz’s Rand Fishkin.

Not Publishing Consistently

contractor marketing strategy

If people show up to a restaurant that’s randomly closed, they may stop trying to show up at all. Similarly, if your blog stagnates for months at a time, you are going to eventually turn off your readers altogether.

Make a point to post to your business blog a bare minimum of several times a month. 1-2 times weekly would be ideal. Having a set content theme for certain days can also work well at drawing regular audiences.

A consistent posting schedule will help you build audiences while rewarding regular readers with a steady stream of new content. Also, don’t neglect to promote your new blogs on social!

Getting Everything Right and Avoiding Business Blog Mistakes

The bottom line with all of these recommendations is to consider your audience. When you can write for real people from the perspective of something they would enjoy reading, you will reap the rewards of better content marketing performance.

Contractors: Are You Making These 7 Mistakes When Writing Blogs? originally published by Contractor Media