Marketing hasn’t changed. But the approach towards it has become far more relational. You used to explain the services you offer and told people to contact you. Now it’s about sharing helpful information. Advice and ideas. Tips and hints. Great stories.
Your prospective client consumes this content over a period of time and when they are ready, they come to you because you’re top of mind. Or when they’re referred to you, they come to your content, consume it quickly, and make a faster quicker decision.
It’s called content marketing. There are a variety of formats (video, blog post, social post, events), and at its core is your client. It’s all about them: who they are, what they struggle with, how you approach it.
There’s a 12-step, stackable process to generate the very best of content (bringing you the very best of clients), and it goes like this:
- Follow up
- Social media
Each one builds on the one before. If you tried to start at the end, with social media, you’d have to back up to create a campaign. In order to build the campaign, you need to know your audience, their issues, the content you’re sharing. You need to be clear about your brand and how you design things and have a website and email platform… and it all comes together!
The first three are covered in this article. (The others are coming in future articles!)
Before you do any kind of marketing, you have to know who it is for.
Whether it’s whole-firm marketing, or one campaign, you get the best results when you define your audience first.
Ideally, you have a niche.
A niche is a targeted, focused audience you serve particularly well. An industry niche is the obvious choice for many firms, but you can choose a niche defined in a different way. Like a certain type of person, or a geographical location, or a business size (or a combination of all of these).
Your niche needs to make your potential buyer say, “Oh – that’s me!! How did they know?”
This is why the category of “small businesses who want to grow” is not a niche. It’s not specific enough. The person isn’t amazed, blown away, keen to buy. Everyone is talking to them.
The more specific you are, the more you stand out.
Now that you know who you’re talking to, next up is, “what do I say?”
What goes in the PDF guide? The email, the website page, the blog post, the video?
You create content focused on their issues.
“You’ve got to have a problem you want to solve, a wrong you want to right.”
Look at the questions you’ve been asked by clients or prospects.
Whatever they ask, answer it using different types of content. If they ask about tax issues, answer with a blog post. If they ask whether they can buy a new building, answer t with a video. If they want to know how much accounting services cost, create a page on your website about your approach to pricing.
You can repurpose content, too. Written a few blog posts on a particular issue? Combine the content into a PDF guide. Then record a video going through each item in the guide. Send out an email with the video embedded inside. It all works together.
Now you’re ready for the “Cornerstone Piece of Content”.
You develop one piece of content, core to just about everything you do in your firm.
It’s based on one of these three things (or a combination of them all):
- Who you are (values)
- Who you serve (niche)
- How you work (process)
The reason it’s a cornerstone is you can get so many other forms of content off the back of it, once this core one is created.
The cornerstone is usually in one of these formats:
- PDF guide
- Visual or graphic
- Leaflet or brochure
Say for example one of the core issues you’ve identified is clients who don’t know all the services you offer.
You sort this by creating a visual of your “onboarding journey”. It shows what happens on month one, month two, month three for new clients. (You make sure all your services are discussed at varying stages throughout the first 6 months of their being with you.)
Once the graphic is created, you put it on a website page and explain more detail. Add a video walking them through it. Write a series of blog posts about your process of bringing on a new client and why it’s set up that way. Send follow up emails after each stage of the process.
Your cornerstone piece of content summarises a major issue in the firm – and all the content you create supports it, communicates it in different ways, and solves the underlying problem. Now all clients know all the services you offer, because your onboarding process makes sure of it. And they can see it, visually.
Armed with these three areas you’re ready to move on to branding, design, and website: the next three elements of the twelve!