Owners of service-based businesses today are doing their best to serve their customers, continue to hone their craft all while trying to run a profitable company. With everything to do on a day-to-day basis, it becomes a juggling act of epic proportions and content marketing often falls to the bottom of the list. When you’re short on time drafting emails and working on social media content, let alone thinking about who your customer is and what they actually want to buy from you, only adds to the overwhelm.
Here are some tips to help you avoid the overwhelm and lost time mistakes cause. I’ve generated a list of a few of the critical mistakes made by service-based businesses that impact the very foundation of their business. Should you see yourself in one of these areas, I hope the guidance below will help you reassess before it's too late.
1. A poorly crafted content strategy
Your content strategy is the foundation of all your messaging that will guide your tactical decisions. A content strategy lays out the goals you want your content to achieve, what type of content is best suited to achieve those goals, and how you’re going to create, distribute, and measure the performance of it. Your content strategy is the roadmap you need for creating a consistent and doable plan. But it's not about creating more content, but producing the right type of content, with the right messages, that’s targeted at your ideal avatar. It's about using content to get your customer from point A to point B.
2. Having a Weak USP
Your USP, Your Unique Selling Proposition, is what defines your business. Your USP is your answer to, why should I buy from you? How can you solve my problem better than anyone else? If you have a weak USP you will constantly be in the same boat with your competitors, drowning in a sea of sameness. You will be forced to compete on price because that’s the only leverage that you have. If your ads and messages sound the same as everyone else… if your customers are able to accurately research your product and put a value on it… if you want to buy advertising but the clicks are expensive because of high competition, then you have a weak USP.
3. An unclear or undefined customer journey
The goal of every business is to sell a product or service to your dream customer. But what happens after you sell one product? Do you have a plan in place to sell them something else? By having a clear customer journey you are able to more profitably acquire customers, outspend your competition, and scale your business faster. By putting price on one axis, and value on the other, the goal is to get your customers to move up the continuum where you are adding significantly more value with each purchase. Once you understand how to build a customer journey you can plan and build the right mix of services to offer your leads and clients. Having a defined customer journey allows you to cater to your client’s needs, regardless of where they are at.
4. Lack of a clear traffic strategy to build your email list
The first question every business owner should ask when starting out is, “where is the traffic going to come from?” Traffic is the lifeblood of every business and without it, it's destined to fail. Every business owner needs to get clear on where they are getting their traffic and customers from. Even the best website, with a differentiated USP, and the most compelling offer will fail, if no one sees it. Having a clear strategy to be confident where you customers are coming from is critical.
*Hint, if you don't have a strong customer avatar, it will be very hard to know who to target and where they hang out!
5. Being inconsistent in the way you show up
Consistency is essential for building relationships with customers. Customers buy from people they know, like and trust. In order for someone to trust your brand, they need to get to know it at a personal level. Purchase decisions are swayed by emotion. If you don't ‘show up’ for your customers on a regular basis what does that say about your brand? By showing up consistently for your customers this will lead to increased brand recognition and greater customer trust. All of these are important factors that determine if a customer decides to buy from you.
Lastly, I know I said I would highlight 5 mistakes, but I would be remiss if I didn't highlight a 6th.
6. Metrics and Analytics
There are important performance metrics that measure the return on marketing investment and highlight where changes need to be made to improve the results. If you are not tracking your marketing activities and spend then more than likely, money is being left on the table.
It's not all about clicks and likes. Marketing analytics continues to grow in importance and with the technology available today, has become much more advanced, allowing you to measure every aspect of your marketing. You will have much more clarity on which tactics worked and which didn’t, and use that information to drive growth for your business.
The good news is that with time and experience, marketing becomes easier. I’ve spent the past 20+ years developing content marketing strategies for both small and large service-based businesses, so I’ve had first-hand experience learning what works and what doesn't.
I hope that this list has resonated with you and has helped you identify gaps in your content strategy. When you have a solid content marketing plan - a real foundation - you will be able to create content that drives demand, much faster and with less stress.
However, if it's left you more overwhelmed about your content strategy and the gaps in your content plan, click this link and we can get on the phone and do a 20 minute content audit to help get you on track for success.