If you're a small to medium Australian business, you need to be smart with your marketing budgets (should one even exist!) and get as much traction as you can online. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of spending hundreds of dollars a week on Google or Facebook ads, but if those clicks lead to nothing, it's a waste of time. You can't pay the bills with clicks.
Most service-based businesses have a Linkedin profile, website, and often a Facebook or Instagram page. These are fantastic platforms if you want to reach out directly to your customers, but often they are left languishing without any love. An out of date, stale, online presence does your brand damage. However, it seems that when it comes to service-based businesses, there is a challenge to know how to implement an engaging, relevant content strategy which is of value to both you and your customers.
So, why is a content strategy so important to Australian businesses, and how does a service based company do it well? Let's assume you own and run a tax returns service. An Instagram flat lay of somebody's expenses isn't exactly going to elicit a surge in likes and shares. A cleaning service which posts a blog about how their new industrial vacuum is working for them won't exactly draw the reader in. Bad content and random photos is nothing more than a drain on your time and boring and irrelevant for your customers.
A strong content strategy is hugely important. Why? It's how you connect directly with your current customers, build your brand and reach out to attract people who may need or want to use your service. Strong content that works for you will always be useful and/or inspiring to the customer. They will remember who you are and return for more helpful information.
Always put yourself in the customer's shoes and find out what they want to read and which problems they need solving.. An events and PR business may post fantastic shots of fabulous, quirky events but a good content strategy will link the customer to blog posts such as 'throwing a baby shower on a budget' or 'current trends for 21st birthday parties.' Doing so makes you the thought leader for your industry. Being a thought leader and solving a problem creates trust and loyalty.
Take time to think about your SEO keywords too, as it makes no sense to write an engaging article or helpful blog post if it doesn't appear in online searches or timelines. However, be mindful not to over stuff your content with keywords. SEO needs to be used sparsely and with relevant anchor text back links to other articles you have written or your website pages. Writing good content takes time, so make sure that once it's posted, it works hard for you.
We've all unfollowed or unsubscribed from service-based businesses who pepper us constantly with bland, repetitive messaging multiple times a day. Don't be that business! Create images and content your customers look forward to seeing and reading. If you are a local hairdresser, post a humorous hair meme every Friday before wishing your followers a great weekend. Ask your followers and subscribers what their worst haircut was and ask them to share pictures to create engagement and conversation. Create a social media planner for the week, i.e. Monday and Wednesdays post about your products and services. Tuesdays post a 'How To or Tips For' blog post. Thursdays ask a question or promote an offer and Friday have some fun with a sense of humor post. Once you have a plan for each day of the week, you can schedule content and instantly get some time back without having to scramble for something to post at sporadic times.
Reach out to publications and other services in your industry. It may feel a little odd at first as it's not usually seen as a smart business move to work with your competitors, but it does work. Kate Toon, Founder of The Clever Copywriting School, does this incredibly well and even created a successful business out of doing so! She created a community of copywriters who help each other out with questions, jobs and also referrals. Rather than isolating yourself from the competition, working with them can work in your favour. For example; If you are a local commercial cleaning company, create a blog post about how important waste management is and link to a local waste pick up business. Alternatively, if you are a real estate agent, work on an article to promote an interior designer and share tips on how to prepare your home for a viewing.
The great thing about all these tips is that they are free! Save your money on Google ads and Facebook promoted posts and invest in a good writer who can schedule, post and create good content for you. If it's done right, the returns will far outweigh digital advertisement and letter drops.
About the Author
Lara Blanco is a Head of Customer Service / Clean Focus.
Culture happiness centric individual with the belief that happy teams make happy customers, which in turn makes everyone happy. I also know a thing or two about cleaning :)