In business interactions, first impressions are essential. But the truth is we all don’t sell the same way we used to, and buyers certainly don’t buy the same way they were accustomed to. This means the way we make first impressions has changed.
Today’s prospects and buyers are invisible until they’re ready to purchase. They don’t call up a company and ask for a brochure or wait for a salesperson to come calling. They do their homework using search engines, ask their network online for suggestions and essentially create their own brochure.
Much of what you have to do to first be found then make a first impression on a prospective buyer is create and publish content.
That’s just the reality of a first impression today as prospects now turn to search engines when they need to solve a problem and they search online proactively gathering information. Your content must show up there.
People have come to expect to find information about any product, service, company, individual, cause or challenge they face by simply turning to the search engine of their choice. So, if they’re not finding content that you’ve produced that provides them that information, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t be found to make a first impression.
Content is now one of the top networking, marketing, and branding tools in the business world — reinforcing first impressions. Small business owners and entrepreneurs alike, aspire to use content to exhibit their brand, value proposition and facilitate lead generation in their business.
As a small business owner you can’t ignore the importance of well-crafted, SEO optimized and high-quality content that is easy for search engines to find and index, easy to share, attract links, creates a searchable and archivable body of work on a subject and will never be seen as inorganic by Google. Content can reinforce your brand image or establish critical perceptions in a potential customer’s mind.
Purpose Driven Content
Your content should be the voice of your strategy and communicate key business information about you as an individual and your organization.
However, if you truly want to use your content as an asset it should be designed in an effective manner. Consider these tips before you create your next piece of content:
#1. Communicate your marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is defined by these very two components: your ideal customer and your value proposition for why a prospect should do business with you.
The goal here is to outline the 5 phases of your Customer Journey which consists of Awareness, Educate, Sample, Purchase and Refer. These phases will get a person from their first impression of your business and then past your point of purchase where they not only turn into a customer but a referral source for your business.
Ensure during each of these 5 phases you have a process for how you will deliver content that speaks to your ideal customers and communicates your value proposition.
#2. Exhibit a unique point-of-view. One of the greatest differentiators in business is your ability to lead through a consistent and valuable point-of-view and methodology that attracts prospects over the long haul.
You must be inspired to turn your way into THE way!
When you produce content around your point-of-view, you stand a much greater chance of building the credibility and expert status that comes from holding a unique approach, process or method to solving your prospects and customers problem.
You don’t need or even want everyone to agree with your point of view, but you must be inspired to exhibit it.
#3. Make it findable.If you want to draw targeted traffic to your content you need to know what terms and phrases your target market is using to find businesses, products, and services like yours when they surf and search. Google’s free keyword search tool can give you those terms and phrases that people are actually using.Develop a list of core terms or phrases and assign one to each month for the next 3-6 months.
Each term or phrase should be related to your business or industry and represent an important search term or problem that needs solving. Think about your content creation strategy as if you’re creating a magazine. Each month represents a hot topic in what will become a body of work at the end of each quarter or year.
#4. Address business objectives. The secret to winning the content game isn’t quantity but intention. If you create content with the intention of it to address business objectives you’ll likely create an asset that provides a return.
For example, if one of your stated annual objectives is to significantly increase sales through referrals, you would produce content with shareability and referral motivation in mind. Or, if one of your stated objectives for the quarter is to increase your subscriber list, you would focus on producing landing pages, events, and workshops that have email capture built into the content.