An essential part of of any digital strategy, content marketing is the elusive unicorn for most small businesses. Today Pete Rawlings, of This is Neat shares his opinions on how effective writing, great design, and live chat all combine to create the perfect content marketing experience.
As a small business owner, taking the first steps towards your content marketing efforts can be especially daunting. SEO, keyword optimisation, structured data? There's a lot more to inbound marketing than just writing. And for many small businesses, this usually means that content marketing falls to the wayside with traditional paid advertising taking its place.
At This is Neat, we've put content marketing center stage for our small end of lease cleaning business. Every website visitor, an opportunity to strike up a conversation and convert a reader to a loyal customer. A combination of effective writing, great design, and live chat, our content marketing strategies have continued to produce results, helping customers move out, one clean at a time.
Write Great Content
You've read Moz's infamous "Beginners Guide to SEO", every blog article on Ahrefs, and the advice is beginning to sound a little repetitive. Write great content.
When we first started out, we believed that there was nothing possibly sexy about cleaning. Our competitors were rewriting the same articles about the unknown benefits of baking soda and top ten listicles, ad nauseum. We didn't want to contribute to the landfill of unread blog posts and were determined to add value for our readers.
When we realised that good content writing wasn't necessarily about adhering to strict publishing schedules or even website traffic, we began to a see a difference in not only the quality of our writing, but in the quality of our visitor.
By focussing solely on "audience intent", we were able to write articles that helped potential customers solve very particular pain points. For example, while the keyword traffic isn't very high, our moving house checklist speaks to a direct problem that our customers are facing. With quality keyword research, you can be more effective with your blogging efforts, and in the process, write great content.
Good Design is Good Writing
You know the formula.
Heading, paragraph, heading, paragraph, heading paragraph.
It's become more common place to see long form content that lacks any given structure. While this works for storytelling or journalism, it just doesn't make for great reading on the internet. With short attention spans, you'll only have a few seconds to convince a user to continue reading, before they ultimately decide to "bounce".
One of the best decisions we made in regards to content marketing was to invest in the redesign of our blog. We developed a set of visual aids that our writers could reuse to create compelling content. From formulas to featured snippets, we took the time to design responsive variations for both mobile and desktop.
(Visual content marketing aids from the This is Neat blog)
The benefits were almost instantaneous. Our writers were excited to craft beautiful content that they were actually proud of, our outreach efforts produced more responses from people that loved the professionalism of our design, and most importantly, our bounce rates were reduced as readers spent more time engaging with our content.
Live Chat to Complete the Cycle
Lastly, we couldn't end the article without at least mentioning Olark. We see live chat as the ultimate last step in our content marketing strategy. By using targeted chats, we have a chance to speak directly to potential customers about the services we provide, regardless of the page they land on. If we've done our content marketing correctly, when we reach out, customers see it as an opportunity to solve a problem they're facing, rather than listening to an unrequested sales pitch.
(Using Olark to interact with customer on the This is Neat website)
Our advice, to start small. When you're a bootstrapped business, every dollar counts. and Olark understands this more than anybody else. They offer a free plan for business that are in their early stages, just beginning to get off the ground. And as you begin to grow, Olark scales perfectly with unlimited chats, integration, and live chat powerups.
You might be worried about the time investment needed to live chat throughout the day, but for This is Neat, we found it to be quite the opposite. Even without a dedicated support team, we were able qualify customers, answer queries, and direct customers to the right pages with minimal effort. In fact, we were able to remove several types of phone conversations, saving hours in customer support. Conversely, even when we weren't available online, customers could still reach out to us via the Olark contact form.
Content marketing doesn't need to be a complete unknown for your small businesses. As we've outlined in this article, write great content, augment it with great design, and use live chat for the perfect content marketing strategy.