I have worked in digital marketing for the last fifteen years, and I also coach new business owners, so I notice a lot of mistakes entrepreneurs make when creating content.
New business owners are usually quite skilled at whatever service they provide but they struggle with the marketing side of things and have trouble creating content that clearly explains what they do and helps them sell their services. I don’t blame them: it’s hard enough to master one skill, let alone become a full-time marketing manager on top of that!
To be honest, when I started my entrepreneurial journey I also took marketing for granted a little bit. Since I came from a program management background, I thought I didn’t have to plan anything. I assumed I could just create content on the fly since I’ve done that for years and have a lot of experience in this area. Well, I was wrong.
Just because I understood the content creation side of the game, doesn’t mean I actually had any meaningful strategy in place. This led to confusion and feeling a bit all over the place regarding my marketing efforts. So, I had to learn the hard lesson and take my own advice to build a strategy before doing anything else.
I set aside an afternoon to formulate a comprehensive plan, and it’s completely transformed the way I create content for my business and has made things so much easier.
Without further ado, here are seven strategies to ensure your content converts:
1. Create an overall content plan
You’re likely to get lackluster results if you create content without any real strategy behind it. I know, I know, planning isn’t fun…but it’s necessary if you want to get something out of your marketing efforts.
Content marketing is a long game. You need to show up consistently with a specific point of view to be seen as an expert in your industry. And that takes some planning and consideration. But here’s the good news: most of the content you create online will live on for a long time, bringing you inbound leads and establishing authority as well.
So, take the time to build out a solid content plan that consists of several themes, or content pillars, which help you determine what content to create in the future. Pick topics that address your customers’ pain points, or educate them on smaller parts of the main problem you solve that lead nicely into your core offer. Think about what you have to say about the industry you’re in and share that point of view.
By creating a plan, you can batch create content all at once and schedule it in a regular cadence, saving you time and energy in the long run.
2. Start with an intended goal for your campaign
Now that you have your overall plan created, identify your goal for a single piece of content or marketing campaign that you’re currently working on. Are you looking to build awareness, educate, or build know, like, and trust factor? Or are you trying to sell a specific offer?
Knowing the answer to this question in advance allows you to hone in on your goal and write specifically for that result. The copy you would write for building awareness is very different from pitching a product or service.
3. Pick a channel where your ideal audience already is
Once you have identified your main goal, you need to choose a platform where you know your audience is. It doesn’t matter how great your content is: it won’t convert if you put it in front of the wrong people. You’ll want to research where your target persona or niche hangs out online. It may be LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram — go where your people are. You’ll get the best results if you pick one or two channels and optimize those instead of trying to be everywhere.
4. Craft a strong message
No matter what your goal is, you want to make it easy for prospects to understand you. People come to you to help them solve a specific problem, so educate them around this issue or inspire them with a success story of one of your past clients. Keep their pain points in mind and speak to those in your marketing so you can connect on a deep, emotional level. If you’re trying to build trust, then strive to be authentic and include things that build your credibility, like testimonials or social proof.
Finally, be concise. People prefer to skim content these days. Make it easier for them to do so by bolding important words, using bullets, and using white space to your advantage. If you’re creating video content, make it clear what people will learn about in the first few seconds, then summarize your key points at the end. And enable closed captioning––a recent study showed that videos with captions saw a 40% increase in views.
5. Add a call-to-action so people have a clear next step
Including a call-to-action (CTA) is a standard best practice in marketing. But some new business owners forget that the main point of marketing is to sell their products or services. They create content without telling people the next step to take and then wonder why they don’t make any sales.
If people are consuming your content, then you can assume they’re at least somewhat interested in what you do. So, make it easy for them to get more information from you and don’t make them search for it. Link to a landing page on your website, another piece of related content, or give them a way to contact you. Remember your intended goal from the beginning, and align your call-to-action with that.
Pro tip: If you are selling a high-ticket offer or service, be mindful of what platform you post on and how big your initial ask is. If you post on Instagram to complete strangers, they may not be willing to buy from you immediately. Most likely, they may need a bit more warming up. So, lead your audience to a webinar or virtual event where they can learn more about your offer. And be sure to collect their email address so you can continue to nurture the relationship.
6. Add some urgency
If someone thinks they have all the time in the world to respond to you, they won’t take immediate action. So, for bonus points, add a little bit of urgency to your offer. If you want to be an ethical marketer, I would advise against creating “fake urgency” and make sure you’ve already built some trust with your audience before trying this strategy. Let’s say you only have space for a few new clients, you could mention that you have “just 3 spots open.”
Think of it this way: You’re on Amazon.com looking to buy a product. After reading some reviews, you see there are only three items available for the brand you want. I bet this entices you to add one to your cart and check out sooner rather than later. The reason this works is because people assign more value to things they believe are scarce.
7. Track your results
Alright, you’ve followed the steps above and created a stellar piece of content or a killer marketing campaign. Congrats!
But here’s where most new business owners fall short. They forget to track their results and then don’t have enough data to make informed decisions on what to spend their time, energy, and money on.
Maybe they just don’t know how…or they don’t realize that putting effort into figuring this part out will actually save them money in the long run.
Here are a few ways to measure the results of your marketing:
- If you do any online marketing, get yourself acquainted with Google Analytics and UTM codes. By setting up UTM parameters, let’s say for an ad you’re running, you’ll know how people are landing on your website and what they do once they get there.
- If tech isn’t your strong suit, at least ask new customers where they heard of you first. Or add a drop-down menu or field in your intake form that asks them this question. This way you can tie the channels that you use with actual client inquiries and eventually, sales.
- Finally, you’ll want to open up Google Docs or good old Excel and create a grid of all your marketing efforts so you can track the performance of each one of your marketing initiatives and figure out which ones to optimize vs. cut from your plan. Don’t make the mistake of trying to do this all in your head––seeing it on a screen makes things a lot clearer.
By following the strategies above, you will be able to craft compelling content that converts.
- Take the time to create a content plan. It’s worth it––I promise!
- Choose a goal and write for that result. This way, you start with the end in mind and can gauge whether or not you’ll hit your goal.
- Craft a strong message and include a call-to-action. Make sure people know what next steps to take.
- Add some urgency to your offer. Entice people to buy by sharing key information like when your sale is over.
- Track your results. Without measuring your results, you won’t know what’s working.
Would you like more help growing your business? Check out my LAUNCH WITH EASE coaching program for new entrepreneurs where I’ll guide you through creating a killer marketing plan so you can start attracting clients today!