Last year I gave a talk about how coaches, consultants and trainers can promote themselves. There is so much marketing that you can do when you provide a service and you could spend a lot of time doing it. However, much of it does not work and does not give you the results that you want or need. I have simplified marketing for service businesses to show that there are three main marketing activities that you need to carry out, which I call the ABC of Marketing. In a recent blog I explained that A is for Ask for Referrals; the next blog showed that B is for Business Networking.
C is for Content
When I set up Appletree, way back in 2000, social media didn’t really exist. We used websites, printed magazines and brochures to promote our clients. We wrote informative articles to be published in industry magazines, to show that our clients knew what they were talking about and that they were happy to share their knowledge and experience. Our own newsletter, Scribbles, started as a double sided printed affair that we posted to our clients and contacts. After a couple of years of keeping in touch with people in that way, we found a clever email system for sending out the newsletter, so that it had the company branding on it and appeared in contacts’ inboxes.
Even back then, the focus was on providing useful content in everything we write – helpful hints and advice rather than sales pitch. Over time, we’ve moved to more and more online marketing, using social media to share our expertise and that of our clients. We put helpful tips onto Twitter; we post useful articles on LinkedIn and blogs; we publish regular email newsletters.
So what’s changed?
What’s in a Name?
A couple of years ago a buzz started around a new marketing concept. The mysterious ‘Content Marketing’ was being talked about. All of a sudden there were experts who were developing Content Marketing strategies and courses and academies. We were told that we had to focus all our efforts on Content Marketing and that is was the most important marketing that we could do – both for Appletree and for all our service business clients.
But we’ve been doing Content Marketing for nearly 18 years! We just never called it that!
Why does Content Work?
When you provide a service, rather than selling a product, you can’t really show a potential client what they might be buying from you. You have to demonstrate your expertise and develop trust with that prospect. One of the best ways to do this is by writing – sharing your knowledge and experience through the written word. It has to show that you can help people to solve the issues that they’re struggling with, before they will pay you to do this. It has to prove that you have the knowledge needed to help them and that you’re prepared to help. Telling someone how great you are in a sales letter won’t get you the same results as a series of blogs that show off your skills.
Writing about your topic also allows you to go into detail about particular aspects of what you do. For example a tweet about Content is a start, but a blog about it and a newsletter and a series of LinkedIn articles will let you share more with prospects.
So are you using Content Marketing to demonstrate your expertise and develop strong, lasting relationships with potential clients for your coaching, consulting or training business? If you’re not and you’d like some free advice on how best to do this, then just get in touch. Call 01635 578 500 or click here to email.