B2B content marketing

Driving Revenue with Content: A Blueprint for B2B Services Company Executives

Content marketing has long been a cornerstone marketing strategy for B2B companies, offering a way to build trust, generate leads, and establish industry authority. However, getting it right can be a challenge.

Many B2B companies struggle with creating content that truly resonates with their audience and drives meaningful results. This article provides a straightforward framework to simplify the process. From understanding the basics to mastering advanced techniques, you'll find actionable insights and practical advice to elevate your content marketing efforts.

Understanding the Basics of Content Marketing

Before unpacking the framework, it’s important to get on the same page as to what content marketing is. B2B Content marketing is a strategic approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent information to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. For B2B services companies, this means crafting content that addresses the specific needs and pain points of business clients.

The goal is not just to generate leads, but to build trust and position the company as an industry leader. Done right, your content becomes the voice of your strategy.

Understanding the fundamentals of content marketing involves recognizing its multifaceted nature. This includes content creation, distribution, and promotion, all aimed at engaging potential clients and nurturing them through the sales funnel.

By focusing on delivering high-quality, valuable information, businesses can establish themselves as trusted authorities in their industry.

Identifying Target Audience and Creating Buyer Personas

Understanding your target audience is crucial for effective content marketing. For B2B services companies, this often includes leaders and CEOs who are decision-makers. Creating detailed buyer personas helps in crafting content that resonates with these key individuals. Buyer personas should include demographic information, job roles, business challenges, and content preferences.

To build your buyer personas, you should be gathering insights from various sources, such as customer interviews, surveys, and website analytics. By understanding the specific needs and pain points of your ideal customer, you can create content that directly addresses their concerns and provides solutions.

This targeted approach not only increases engagement but also improves the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Developing a B2B Content Marketing Strategy that Aligns with Business Goals

One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make is creating content just for the sake of creating content, with no strategic intent. Your content should be the voice of your strategy and should be aligned with the overall business goals of the company.

This involves setting clear objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or nurturing existing clients. The strategy should outline the types of content that need to be created, the channels for distribution, and the metrics for measuring success.

Your content should also align with the customer journey. What are the questions your ideal clients have at the stages of know, like, trust, try, buy, refer, and repeat? And what type of content do you need at each stage to answer those questions and help them move along in their journey?

This alignment ensures that all marketing activities work towards common goals, creating a cohesive brand message. The strategy should also be flexible, allowing for adjustments based on performance data and changing market conditions. By regularly reviewing and refining the content marketing strategy, companies can maintain its relevance and effectiveness over time.

Creating Engaging and Valuable Content for B2B Audiences

Creating content that is both engaging and valuable is the cornerstone of successful B2B content marketing. Some common formats are blog posts, webinars, videos, whitepapers, case studies, and infographics. But content can also be your call scripts, presentation templates, emails, and more. The content should provide insights, solve problems, and offer actionable advice.

As you move to create your content, focus on the specific needs of the target audience and tailor your content to address those needs. High-quality content not only attracts attention but also builds credibility and trust. To achieve this, businesses should focus on creating content that is informative, well-researched, and visually appealing. Additionally, incorporating storytelling techniques can make the content more relatable and engaging. By providing real-life examples and case studies, companies can demonstrate their expertise and showcase the practical applications of their services.

Utilizing SEO Techniques to Optimize Content for Search Engines

Creating your content is just the beginning. You also have to make sure your target audience will actually find it.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for ensuring that content reaches the intended audience. This involves using target keywords that your ideal clients will actually be using to search for solutions to their problems strategically throughout the content. Additionally, optimizing meta descriptions, headers, and alt texts on your website can improve search engine rankings.

Balancing keyword usage with high-quality content is key to achieving both search engine visibility and audience engagement. This involves conducting thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-traffic keywords. Additionally, you should focus on creating comprehensive, in-depth content that addresses the search intent of your audience. By providing valuable information and answering common questions, companies can improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Content Distribution

Social media platforms are powerful tools for distributing content and engaging with the audience. For B2B services companies, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and industry-specific forums are particularly effective. These platforms allow for targeted content distribution and provide opportunities for direct interaction with potential clients.

Use social media for content promotion and also for listening to your target audience and engaging in meaningful conversations. This helps in building a community and strengthening your brand's presence.

To maximize the effectiveness of social media marketing, create a content calendar to keep you focused and consistent. Additionally, leveraging features such as hashtags, mentions, and paid promotions can increase the reach and visibility of your content.

By actively participating in industry discussions and sharing valuable insights, companies can position themselves as thought leaders and build strong relationships with their audience.

Incorporating Video Marketing into Content Strategies

Video is becoming increasingly important in the B2B landscape. Videos can simplify complex topics, showcase expertise, and engage the audience in a dynamic way. Use a variety of videos, such as explainer videos, testimonials, and webinars, in your content strategy.

Videos should be optimized for search engines and shared across multiple platforms to maximize reach and impact. This involves creating compelling video titles, descriptions, and tags that include target keywords.

Additionally, businesses should focus on creating high-quality, professional videos that effectively communicate their message. By incorporating storytelling techniques and visual aids, companies can create engaging and informative videos that capture the attention of their audience. Regularly updating and repurposing video content can also help in maintaining its relevance and extending its lifespan.

Building Thought Leadership through Thoughtful Content Creation

Establishing thought leadership is a powerful way for B2B services companies to differentiate themselves, build trust and credibility. This involves creating content that offers unique insights, industry trends, and expert opinions.

By consistently producing high-quality, insightful content, companies can position themselves as industry leaders and attract high-value clients. This involves staying up-to-date with industry developments and sharing valuable insights through various content formats, such as blog posts, whitepapers, and speaking engagements. Additionally, collaborating with other industry experts and influencers can help in expanding the reach and impact of the content. By actively contributing to industry discussions and providing thought-provoking perspectives, companies can establish themselves as trusted authorities and build a loyal following.

Measuring and Analyzing Content Marketing Performance

Measuring the performance of content marketing efforts is crucial for understanding what works and what doesn't. Key metrics include website traffic, engagement rates, lead generation, and conversion rates.

Regular analysis helps in identifying successful strategies and areas for improvement, enabling companies to refine their content marketing efforts continuously.

This involves setting up tracking and reporting systems to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and gather actionable data. By regularly reviewing the data and making data-driven decisions, businesses can optimize their content marketing strategy and achieve better results. When I work with clients we track key metrics closely and every quarter decide which activities to scale, which to adjust, and which to curtail.

Additionally, conducting A/B testing and experimenting with different content formats and distribution channels can help in identifying the most effective tactics.

Ready to transform your content marketing strategy and drive substantial revenue growth? We specialize in providing tailored, results-driven solutions for B2B services companies. Schedule a one-on-one strategy call and discover how our proven marketing systems can help you scale your business.

Don't miss this opportunity to gain a competitive edge and achieve sustainable growth. Book your free strategy call now.

B2B customer acquisition strategies

Unlocking Growth: Effective Customer Acquisition Strategies for B2B Businesses

Acquiring new customers is essential for business growth, but scaling your business isn't just about acquiring new customers—it's about doing so smartly and sustainably so you aren't trapped constantly racing to find the next one. In this blog post we'll explore B2B customer acquisition strategies that will help you scale.

Identifying Target Market Segments for Effective Customer Acquisition

To effectively acquire customers, it's crucial to identify your target market segments. Begin with your existing clientele—what common threads bind them? Is it their industry, the size of their operations, or specific challenges they face? Dive deep. Go beyond surface-level demographics and delve into psychographics.

What drives their decisions?

How do they define success?

Create customer personas that feel real enough to invite to a meeting. Tailor your marketing to speak directly to these personas, making every message resonate deeply.

Leveraging Data-Driven Insights to Optimize Customer Acquisition Strategies

Data is a powerful tool that can guide your customer acquisition strategies. Data aren't just numbers; data tells the story of your customer's journey. Harness tools that map out precisely where your prospects convert or stray. Leverage technologies like CRM analytics and web behavior analytics to fine-tune your marketing strategies. The goal? Transform data into actionable insights that boost your acquisition rates significantly.

Remember, every tweak in your campaign, informed by solid data, can lead to a significant leap in your conversion rates. Analyze this data to identify areas of improvement and optimize your marketing campaigns for better results. By leveraging data-driven insights, you can make informed decisions that lead to higher customer acquisition rates.

Implementing the Right Lead Generation Tactics to Attract Potential Customers

Lead generation is the lifeblood of customer acquisition. Lead generation should be magnetic, pulling potential customers in with irresistible force. Think beyond traditional eBooks and webinars. What unique value can you provide that no one else can? Maybe it's an insider’s look at industry trends or a tool that simplifies their day-to-day challenges. Create lead magnets that are so compelling that your ideal customer feels they are crafted just for them. Engage them with value-first offerings that make the next steps in their purchasing journey obvious—and exciting.

Creating Compelling Content to Engage and Convert Leads into Customers:

Your content is your voice in the marketplace and the voice of your strategy; let it speak directly to the needs and aspirations of your audience. High-quality, targeted content not only educates but also builds trust and positions your brand as the go-to expert. Employ a mix of mediums in your content marketing—video to engage, text to inform, and infographics to simplify complex data. Each piece should help your prospects move one step closer to seeing your service as indispensable. 

Create high-quality content that addresses your target audience's pain points, educates them about your services, and showcases your expertise. Consider using a content gap analysis to find opportunities that your competitors have missed. 

Utilizing Social Media for Customer Acquisition:

Social media is more than just a broadcasting platform; it’s a vibrant marketplace where conversations lead to conversions. Develop highly targeted campaigns on platforms where your customers spend their time. Use the nuanced targeting tools of platforms like LinkedIn to zero in on decision-makers within your identified market segments. Leverage analytics to keep your messaging sharp and your ROI positive.

Social media platforms offer an effective way to reach and engage with potential customers. The right type of content also shows potential customers your personality and gives a hint at what it might be like to work with you.

Building Strategic Partnerships to Expand Customer Base:

Collaborating with strategic partners can significantly expand your customer base. Identify complementary businesses or service providers that share your target audience and explore partnership opportunities. Craft joint offerings or co-marketing efforts that provide mutual benefits. Joint marketing initiatives, co-hosted webinars, or referral programs can help you tap into new markets and acquire customers more effectively.

This approach not only broadens your reach but also adds a layer of validation to your brand, as partnerships can serve as endorsements of your capabilities.

Implementing Referral Programs to Drive Customer Acquisition:

Referrals are gold in B2B marketing. But they need to be approached strategically. A survey by Texas Tech found that 86% of consumers had a brand they loved so much that they would happily refer, but only 29% actually had. You need to close that gap.

Create a structured referral program that incentivizes your existing customers to share their success stories with peers. Make the process effortless, and the rewards compelling. Every satisfied customer can be your brand ambassador, wielding more influence than any ad or sales pitch.

Referral programs are a cost-effective way to acquire new customers while leveraging the loyalty of existing ones.

Maximizing the Potential of Email Marketing for Customer Acquisition

Email marketing remains one of the most effective channels for customer acquisition. Build a targeted email list by offering valuable content or exclusive offers in exchange for email addresses. Segment your email list based on customer profiles and preferences to deliver personalized and relevant messages that drive conversions.

Segmentation and personalization are the keys to successful email marketing. Develop nurturing campaigns that guide potential customers through the decision-making process, providing them with the information and reassurances they need at each step of their journey. Your emails should feel like a direct conversation, not a broadcast message.

Leveraging Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to Attract Qualified Leads

SEO is your foundation for sustainable growth. It ensures that your business gets found by potential clients who are actively seeking your services. Conduct keyword research to understand what terms potential customers are searching for and optimize your content to answer the questions your prospects are asking. Focus on creating informative and valuable content that aligns with search intent, which will improve your visibility in search engine results.

Solid SEO practices help you rise above the noise and be visible at the moment of intent. 

Putting it all Together

To truly scale your customer acquisition efforts put these pieces into place: 

  • Customer Personas: Detailed descriptions that encapsulate the nuances of your target segments.
  • Data Utilization Framework: A guide on how to collect, analyze, and act on data across all your platforms.
  • Lead Generation Models: Clear methodologies for creating and implementing lead magnets that will attract and engage.
  • Content Calendar: A strategic schedule of content releases that ensures continuous engagement and maximizes impact.
  • Social Media Strategy: Plans for regular, impactful posts and ads tailored to each platform's unique environment and audience.
  • Partnership Guidelines: Criteria and processes for selecting and collaborating with strategic partners.
  • Referral Program Blueprint: Steps for creating a referral program that motivates and rewards existing customers.
  • Email Marketing Sequences: Tailored email campaigns that guide prospects through a personalized journey.
  • SEO Plan: A comprehensive strategy for improving search engine visibility and attracting organic traffic.

By identifying target market segments, leveraging data-driven insights, and implementing lead generation tactics, you can attract potential customers. Creating compelling content, utilizing social media advertising, and building strategic partnerships will further expand your customer base. Implementing referral programs, maximizing email marketing, and leveraging SEO will drive conversions and help you acquire qualified leads. With these strategies in place, you can scale your business effectively while optimizing resources.

Want more customer acquisition strategies specific to your business? Book a free strategy session and let’s talk.

Scaling Your B2B Services Business: Marketing Strategies for Success

The pressure to make strategic decisions that yield long-term value, amidst the rapidly changing market dynamics and fierce competition, can often feel overwhelming. Which activities are most likely to yield the predictable growth you’re looking for?

In this blog post, we will explore effective marketing strategies that can help you scale your business and achieve your growth objectives.

Identifying target markets and defining buyer personas

Before implementing any marketing strategy, it is crucial to identify your target markets and define your buyer personas. Understanding who your ideal customers are and what motivates them will allow you to tailor your marketing efforts effectively.

To effectively focus your marketing efforts, it’s useful to narrow that focus to your top 20% of customers. One way I suggest companies define this is by analyzing their current customers and ranking them by profitability. And then taking that list and noting which ones refer the most business to you.

By doing this, you will have a clearer picture of the types of clients you want to attract more of. And once you have this, you can begin to define the common characteristics that make them unique and use that to create buyer personas to focus your marketing .

For more detail on this process, read this.

Crafting a compelling value proposition

To stand out in a competitive market, it is essential to craft a compelling value proposition. Clearly communicate the unique benefits and value that your services offer to your ideal clients. Highlight how your solutions solve their pain points and differentiate you from competitors. A strong value proposition will attract prospects and drive conversions.

And if you don’t have a strong value proposition, your prospects will resort to comparing you based on price, which is never advantageous.

A great way to get at what that core message should be is by talking to those ideal clients, your top 20%. The problem you solved for them, the value you provided to them, is precisely what will attract those trying to solve the same problem.

Another great approach it to do some competitor research and identify gaps that you can claim. More on that in the next section.

Conducting a thorough competitive analysis to gain a competitive edge

A comprehensive competitive analysis is crucial for gaining a competitive edge in the market. Study your competitors' strengths, weaknesses, marketing tactics, pricing strategies, and target audience. Identify gaps in the market that you can capitalize on and differentiate yourself from the competition.

Begin by pinpointing both your direct and indirect competitors through tools like Google, industry reports, and social media. Next, scrutinize your rivals' offerings—products, services, pricing, and quality—to spot trends and unmet needs your business could fulfill.

Analyze their online presence, content marketing, and SEO tactics to gain insights into effective customer engagement and differentiation opportunities. Leverage customer reviews of competitors to glean what clients cherish and what they find lacking, guiding the refinement of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Use a SWOT analysis to gauge competitors' strengths and weaknesses, positioning your USP to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats.

Leveraging digital marketing channels to reach your target audience

Digital marketing offers numerous opportunities to reach your target audience efficiently. Utilize social media platforms, content marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to generate brand awareness and drive qualified leads.

Which tools you will use will depend on your ideal customer. Where do you need to be to get in front of them at the right time? To really understand this you need to do some customer journey mapping.

Implementing effective lead generation strategies to drive sales

The lifeblood of every B2B business is leads, well it’s actually customers, but it starts with leads! In an attempt to generate more leads, you can throw a lot of money at a lot of things these days – online ads, social media, radio, and the next new thing that the internet comes up with.

It’s frustrating, to say the least.

There are really seven areas you need to focus on to maximize lead generation and conversion:

  1. A core message and strategy of difference
  2. A website that converts leads
  3. SEO to make sure they find you
  4. Customer reviews and referrals
  5. Social media to create awareness and build trust
  6. Online advertising to capture people ready to buy
  7. Real time reporting to see what’s working and adapt quickly

You can learn more about these in The 7 Steps to Marketing Success.

Building brand awareness and credibility through thought leadership initiatives

Establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry builds brand awareness and credibility. Share valuable insights through blog posts, industry publications, speaking engagements, or webinars. Position yourself as an expert in your field by providing educational content that addresses common challenges faced by your target audience.

Maximizing the impact of content marketing to attract and engage prospects:

Content marketing plays a vital role in attracting and engaging prospects throughout their buyer's journey. Create high-quality content that educates, entertains, or solves problems for your target audience. Use a mix of formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, case studies, or podcasts to cater to different preferences.

When creating content it’s important to be strategic. There is a lot of content out there and it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed.

To help get your content noticed, and actually help you have to create less of it, you should align your content to each stage of the customer journey and use it to answer the questions your ideal clients have at each stage.

Setting measurable marketing objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs)

To track the success of your marketing efforts, it is important to set measurable objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). These could include metrics such as lead generation, conversion rates, website traffic, or customer retention. By setting clear goals and tracking progress regularly, you can optimize your strategies and ensure they align with your overall business objectives.

Ensure that your marketing metrics have a direct correlation with your overall business goals. This alignment ensures that your marketing efforts contribute to the broader objectives of the company, providing value beyond just the marketing department.

Monitor these KPIs regularly. Don’t just set them and forget them. And if you’re getting reports from your marketing team or an agency, don’t be satisfied with the results at face value. Push these folks to tell you what the results mean and what actions they’ll be taking as a result of them.

Conclusion

Achieving predictable growth for your B2B services business is indeed possible with the right marketing strategies in place. By identifying target markets, crafting a compelling value proposition, setting measurable objectives, conducting competitive analysis, leveraging digital channels, implementing lead generation strategies, building brand awareness through thought leadership initiatives, maximizing content marketing impact, and measuring performance, you can achieve sustainable growth and success.

Remember to adapt your strategies as needed and stay up-to-date with industry trends to stay ahead of the competition.

Want to get a powerful baseline of what’s working and what’s not with your online presence? The Total Online Presence Audit give you that PLUS a roadmap to fix critical elements and a plan of action to attract more of your deal customers. Book yours today!

content gap analysis to improve content marketing

Unleash the Power of Content That Your Competitors Are Overlooking

Content marketing is a great way to make your business stand out and establish your reputation with prospects, but it's also a lot of work and kind of hard. There is a ton of content out there and it's getting more and more crowded every day, every hour. Mark Schaefer called this phenomenon Content Shock when he first wrote about it a decade a go.

In this environment, it's no longer about crafting good content; it's about crafting the right content that fills the voids left by others. The good news is there is a tool you can use to help make your content marketing more effective. In this post we'll explore how you can use a content gap analysis to seize opportunities that are right under your nose but invisible to your competition. Dive in to transform your content strategy from following the pack to leading the charge in your market space.

What is Content Gap Analysis?

Content gap analysis is a strategic content marketing approach used to uncover content opportunities that competitors have overlooked. By identifying these gaps, your business can produce targeted content that meets your audience's needs and preferences, driving more traffic and engagement to your site.

Conducting a Comprehensive Content Gap Analysis

  1. Identify Your Competitors: Start by listing out your main competitors. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to get insights into their content strategies.
  2. Analyze Existing Content: Evaluate your own content to understand what topics you've covered and where you might be lacking.
  3. Discover Content Gaps: Compare your content with that of your competitors to identify gaps. Look for topics they haven't covered, questions they haven't answered, or perspectives they haven't considered.
  4. Prioritize Opportunities: Not all content gaps are worth pursuing. Prioritize based on search volume, relevance to your audience, and your business goals.
  5. Develop a Content Plan: Create a content calendar that addresses these gaps. Focus on quality, relevance, and user engagement to ensure your content resonates with your audience.

Leveraging Content Gap Analysis for SEO Success

  • Keyword Optimization: Use the insights from your analysis to target keywords that your competitors are missing.
  • Content Variety: Produce a mix of content types, such as blog posts, infographics, and videos, to cater to different user preferences.
  • User Intent: Tailor your content to meet the specific needs and intent of your audience, enhancing user experience and retention.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Content gap analysis is not a one-time task. Continuously monitor your market and adjust your strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

Implementing Your Findings

graph TD; A[Identify Competitors] --> B[Analyze Existing Content]; B --> C[Discover Content Gaps]; C --> D[Prioritize Opportunities]; D --> E[Develop a Content Plan]; E --> F[Execute & Monitor];

By following this structured approach, your business can uncover valuable opportunities to produce content that addresses unmet needs within your target market, enhancing your visibility, engagement, and authority in your niche.

Conclusion

Embracing content gap analysis is more than a tactical move; it's a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to outpace their competition in the digital arena. By identifying and filling these gaps, you not only enhance your SEO performance but also establish your brand as a thought leader, deeply attuned to the needs and questions of your audience.

Implement this guide's steps to transform your content strategy, engage your audience more effectively, and achieve the online prominence your business deserves.

If you love the idea of a content gap analysis for your business, but your schedule is already a little full, let's talk about how I can help. I've helped dozens of businesses develop effective content programs that deliver real results as part a marketing system that attracts customers willing to pay premium for what you do. Book a free strategy session today.

digital marketing strategy

5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Scale Your Business

Do you feel like your competitors are eating your market share? Are you seeing your them dominate with a lower quality offering?

It’s tough to stand out in a crowded market, but it’s not impossible.

Here are five digital marketing strategies that promise not just visibility, but meaningful growth for B2B service companies:

Content Marketing Tailored to Niche Markets

Beyond the generic, your content must speak directly to the nuanced needs of your prospects. Whether it's through insightful blog posts, detailed guides, or case studies, providing value upfront establishes your firm as a trusted resource. Remember, it's not just about broadcasting your services; it's about enriching your audience's knowledge base.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The art of SEO goes beyond mere keywords. It's about optimizing your online presence to rank higher in search results for queries specific to your ideal clients. Conduct keyword research to determine which terms will have the highest ROI for you. Implement structured data, improve site speed, and ensure mobile responsiveness to cater to the increasingly mobile-first world.

Social Media Engagement

Use platforms where your target market is most active to build relationships rather than just promote services. LinkedIn can be particularly effective for B2B communication. Share your expert insights, engage in industry conversations, and use targeted advertising to increase visibility among the business community.

Email Marketing with Personalization

Email remains a powerful tool, especially when personalized. Segmented email campaigns that address specific client needs or interests can significantly increase engagement rates. Automation tools can help personalize these communications at scale, ensuring your message resonates with each recipient.

Webinars and Online Workshops

Position your firm as an industry leader by hosting informative sessions on relevant topics that address the problems your ideal customers are trying to solve (here's how you find out what those are). These sessions not only provide value to attendees but also foster a sense of community and loyalty towards your firm.

Each of these strategies is a thread in the broader fabric of your digital marketing efforts. By weaving them together thoughtfully, your firm can not only attract the right audience but also build lasting relationships that translate into business growth. Remember, the goal is to be a beacon of knowledge and reliability, guiding your clients through their challenges with ease and expertise.

Book a free consultation for even more specific opportunities to scale your business.

Google reviews

[Report] How Google Reviews Help You Get Found

Getting found when people go searching on Google is essential for pretty much any business today. And if you're a local business - meaning your customers come from your town or your area - then you absolutely have to make Google your friend.

Businesses ranked 1 to 3 in local results — those who win placement in Google’s 3-Pack — earn 126 percent more traffic and 93 percent more conversion-oriented actions than their competition, according to new research by SOCi. So there's a lot at stake to getting your local SEO right.

That same research report found that Google Reviews are now the second most important ranking factor for local businesses, behind only Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) signals. Let's have a look at how you can leverage this insight to grow your business.

local seo

Getting More Google Reviews

According to the report, businesses with an average rating of 4.5 stars or higher are more likely to appear in the top 3 local search results on Google. In fact, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses, and 89% of consumers say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions.

The number of reviews you have is also important. The study found that businesses ranking in the top 1-3 spots had an average of 21% more reviews than their competition. Consumers will also choose businesses with a lot of reviews. For every 10 new reviews earned, conversion of Google profiles improves by 2.8 percent according to the report.

Businesses should focus on generating more positive reviews from customers. Encouraging customers to leave a review after each visit or purchase can be an effective way to do this. Businesses can also incentivize customers to leave a review by offering a discount or other rewards. Be cautious here, though. Offering an incentive for a positive review runs afoul of Google's rules and could get you penalized, but encouraging a review in general is okay.

Responding to Google Reviews

Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, is also essential. According to the report, for every 25 percent of reviews responded to, conversion of Google profiles improves by 4.1 percent. Responding to 100 percent of reviews, as opposed to none, boosts conversion by 16.4 percent.

Responding to positive reviews also shows customers that the business values their feedback and appreciates their business. Responding to negative reviews can be even more critical, as it allows companies to address any issues and show that they are committed to providing excellent customer service.

Businesses should also ensure that their Google Business Profile listing is accurate and up-to-date, including consistent business name, address, and phone number (NAP) information, as well as high-quality photos and detailed business information. The use of relevant keywords in reviews can also improve local search rankings. Here's are some tips for optimizing your profile.

Read Your Google Reviews

Monitoring and analyzing Google Reviews on an ongoing basis can provide valuable insights into what customers like and don't like about the business and allow them to make improvements.

Your Google reviews can also unlock to what people REALLY like about doing business with your company provide insights into how to position yourself to attract more people like those happy customers. Read this post on building a marketing strategy for more insights on how you can use this trick to be more relevant to your prospects.

The importance of Google Reviews in local SEO is clear. Businesses should focus on generating more positive reviews, responding to feedback, ensuring accurate business information, using relevant keywords, and monitoring and analyzing reviews to improve their local search rankings and attract more customers.

Do all of this and you'll start to see your business rise in the ranks and get into that coveted 3-Pack when your prospects are out looking for a solution to their problem.

8 ways to market a small business

8 ways to market a small business

When it comes to marketing a small business there are a lot of options, but how do you know which is right for your business What are the best ways to market a small business? Where do you begin?

To find the most effective way to market your small business, you really have to begin with understanding your ideal customer and the best way to find and engage with them, but I explore that concept in detail in this post.

Today’s post is about providing you with a handful of ways you can try with your business that work, to some degree, in just about any business.

The 8 Ways to Market A Small Business

1) Create lead generating website

Many small businesses out there have a website. If you’re amongst those that don’t, it’s time to get one built. Your website is the hub of your online marketing efforts and if you don’t have one everything else is a lot harder.

If you do have a website, or are about to build one, you want it to work hard for you to capture leads, and drive sales. To do that, you need to ensure it has these 11 essential elements of a small business website.

There are loads of options out there for building one. You can DIY it on platforms like SquareSpace, Wix, or Duda, or you can hire someone like me to build one in WordPress or even custom code it.

The important thing in that process is to start with strategy and understand how you will use your website to attract and engage your ideal customer.

2) Social media marketing

Social media marketing for small businesses can be a powerful tool for reaching potential customers and building a community around your business.

Again, here it’s important to understand which platforms your ideal customers are on and target those. If you’re just getting started, or looking to restart your efforts, my advice is to pick one or two platforms tops and focus on those.

Many small businesses try to do too much and be on every platform and it’s just too much work. They get overwhelmed and stop doing everything.

The other thing to remember about social media marketing is where it fits the customer journey.

For most businesses, social media is not going to be about lead generation and that’s because the algorithms that control who sees what are making it harder and harder to get non-paid content found. For example, Facebook engagement hovers around 5.20%. That means roughly one in every 19 fans sees the page’s non-promoted content.

Basically, if you want to be discovered you have to run ads. But that doesn’t mean social media has no value.

Where social media helps small businesses is by showing their personality. People will turn to a business’s social media after they become aware of a business to get a sense of them before they make a purchasing decision. That’s why it’s critically important to post more than your latest special or motivational quotes. Show prospects your personality, let them get to know you.

I explore these concepts a little deeper in this post about mapping the customer journey, and this one about building the ultimate marketing strategy.

3. Develop a content marketing strategy

Creating and sharing high-quality, informative content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, can help attract customers and establish your business as a thought leader in your field.

To be most effective in your content marketing, you need to work from a calendar.

Start with quarterly themes; then break those down into monthly topics; and finally into weekly or bi-weekly sub-topics. Map that out over six or 12 months and you will have a calendar you can work from to keep you on track and not scrambling to create something each month (and more often just not getting it done).

And focus your content on being useful to your ideal client. Think about the questions they have during different stages of their customer journey and try to answer those.

4. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO can help improve your website's ranking on search engines like Google, making it more visible to potential customers.

To break it down, SEO is really about three things: how your website functions; what content is on your website; and what other sites are pointing to you. To manage this is a big job and can get pretty technical, you're probably best off hiring a pro to help you here.

For local businesses (if your customers come from your area) there are some specific tasks and I talk about those more here.

5. Use email marketing

Email is one of, if not the, most cost-effective ways to market your business. And it can be used in a variety of ways.

Email marketing can be an effective way to stay in touch with customers and promote special offers or new products.

You can use email to nurture prospects who aren’t ready to buy, but have shown an interest in your products or services.

Email can be part of your sale funnels and lead funnels and you can learn more about those here.

To do any of this you need to capture those email addresses first. That goes back to your website and making sure you have something there that someone will want to give you an email address in order to access, like a checklist, or ebook.

6. Network and build partnerships

Networking and building partnerships with other businesses and organizations is a powerful way to market a small business. It can help expose your business to new customers and increase your visibility.

I call these strategic partnerships. Businesses that serve the same ideal customer, but in non-competitive ways. You build a network of strategic partners who all refer to each other.

If you’re a landscaper, this may be a roofer or contractor. For a business coach, it could be an accountant or a printer.

There are also organizations like BNI that are built to do exactly this in a more structured way.

7. Offer promotions and discounts

Offering promotions and discounts can help attract new customers and encourage existing customers to continue doing business with you.

Of all the ideas to market a small business, this one is probably the one that will drive the most immediate sales, but be careful not to use this too liberally, or you will train your customers to wait until you have a sale.

And remember, it’s always easier to do more business with existing customers than it is to go out and find new ones, so give some thought to what you can do to encourage them to do more business with you. This, of course, starts with delivering a great experience with their initial purchase.

8. Get involved in your community

Participating in local events, sponsoring community organizations, and supporting local causes can help build goodwill and attract customers who share your values.

Communities can also be digital. Are there Facebook groups that cater to your target market? For businesses serving other businesses, Alignable can be a great platform to connect.

It’s important here, though, to participate in a way that adds value to the others in the group. Be helpful. Don’t just sell.

These are just a handful of the many ways to market a small business. Try some of them and see if they help, and remember to track your results. Know what your goal is and have a way to measure the impact.

To really know which of the ways to market a small business will be most effective for you, you need to really understand your ideal customer and have a core message that speaks to their needs and wants. That means starting with strategy.

If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, download the 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success or book a free consultation and let’s talk about how to grow your business.