One of the biggest challenges small business owners face, no matter what industry they’re in, is having to do everything for themselves, including marketing and promoting their services to win customers and make money.
Unless you’re really lucky, customers aren’t just going to fall into your lap. Referrals are one good way of getting work, but they rely on strong relationships with people who can recommend you, and building those takes time.
A quicker way to find clients is through excellent content. You may be thinking: “But I’m a Managed Service Provider (MSP), how can that help me?” or “I work with a small niche group so they won’t need that.”
Unfortunately, there are lots of other IT companies also competing for your ideal customers, and they might get there first. You already know the value of having a website, but the content is what encourages visitors to stay on your site, learn more about you and decide to do business with you.
What Exactly is ‘Content’?
To clarify, ‘content’ refers to any material you create to share online. It can take many different forms and is intended to give people helpful information. It is never a hard sell because today’s consumers will switch off immediately.
The content you share allows your audience to become customers, and ideally returning customers. If you get it right, they’ll also share your content as well, which helps you get in front of new people you might not otherwise have found.
So, if we agree that you need content and an online presence, what will make it ‘great’? It’s important to be consistent with your output so that people know your business is still active. It also shows that you’re keeping up to date with the latest trends and want to share your thoughts.
Your audience needs to feel educated and valued because you’ve gone out of your way to share something helpful with them. When you create content, you must always keep your audience in mind.
Tell them something new, that will make a difference to the way they do business or can prevent them making a mistake. The worst thing you can do is give them something that you think is interesting but makes them say: “So what?”
What Makes Great Quality Content That Your Audience Will Appreciate?
The easiest way to create helpful content is to answer your customers’ frequently asked questions. What do they need to know about the services you offer, and what will be the outcomes for their business?
Focus on one question per piece of great quality content, and don’t assume your customers know everything (or indeed anything) about IT services – answer every question you can think of, no matter how basic it seems.
Give product or software reviews for tools that would be helpful for your audience. Be honest and impartial, and if you’ve been sponsored to write a post, make that clear. You can also compare two similar products to help your customers make an informed choice about which one to invest in.
If appropriate, create product demos so people can see how something works. Tell your audience about changes to legislation (GDPR has been in the news recently), software bugs and updates and anything else that could have an impact on their business operating effectively.
At all times, give them content that tells them something they didn’t already know or improves their understanding. If you want to tell them you’ve moved office or won an award, try to relate that back to them.
Types of Content
The three main types of content are written video and audio. When deciding what type to produce, you need to think about where your audience spends their time online, and how they consume their content.
However, if you feel more comfortable with one medium over another, start with that. Most social media platforms support audio and video clips, as well as written content in some form.
Don’t put off starting to produce content because you’re not ready to jump straight in front of a video camera. You can add different types of great quality content later on if you need to, and your audience will help you work out what they need.
To stand out in a crowded marketplace, you need to be seen to be giving helpful information to your customers – things that you know they want to know more about. Be consistent with your content creation, don’t assume anything about your audience, and make sure it’s easy for them to find in places they’re already spending time.
Remember, anything you share on social media should lead people back to your website so they can find out more about you and get in touch with extra information and pricing. Great quality content should be part of your overall strategy to promote your IT business.
Read more on great quality content from Gudrun at www.gudrunlauret.com