If you’re a subscriber here at Dangerous Tactics, you know that I talk with my readers a lot behind the scenes. People email me daily with questions, and I’m pretty good about responding to everybody. In fact, questions from readers are one of the biggest sources of ideas I use for the articles I write here. Today I got an email from a Realtor (I work with a lot of Realtors as clients), and she asked a great question I wanted to share with you…
I am a generally new agent in the business (about 1 year) and I thoroughly enjoy what I do WHEN I have clients. Being so new, I want to be able to successfully build my client base. I am very familiar with social media/social networking. I have read many of your posts and comments on others posts and I am very impressed with your knowledge. I was wondering if you had any suggestions on exactly what I should be posting and emailing to people. I know mortgage rates and any new listings my team and I have, but I am trying to think outside the box and have not had much success. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for the question, Stephanie 🙂 The reason I wanted to share this on the blog as opposed to just answering in an email is because this is a question I get a lot, and it’s a topic that a lot of small business owners struggle with. Let’s be honest. It’s pretty well-known by now how powerful social media can be as a small business marketing platform. When it comes to actually USING it on a day to day basis however, a lot of people’s eyes just kind of glaze over. It can be daunting, especially if you’re not accustomed to writing regularly.
So, here is a small collection of tips on creating content for your blog, your email campaigns, social media profiles, etc. These will help you get the ball rolling, and if you have questions, make sure to subscribe (it’s free), and fire me an email. I’m at your service 🙂
You don’t have to be a great writer
I wanted to mention this first, because it’s one of the big hangups I hear about so often. There’s an idea that you need to be a talented writer in order to be effective at creating content that grows your business. This just isn’t true.
As a business blogger, you’re simply talking with your prospects. You’re an expert in your field. This is what matters. Sure, use spell check and proofread your stuff before you publish it. But don’t feel the need to self-edit to the extreme. Spend time reading other successful blogs in your niche. You’ll find quickly that blogging is most effective when it’s fun, personal and genuine. It really is a unique medium. You’re not writing a novel here, and you’re not writing for the New York Times either. You’re writing a blog, and it’s ok to just be yourself!
What Do You Consider Really Boring?
When it comes to ideas for what to post on your blog, don’t overlook the stuff you consider boring! All the little things you’re ALREADY doing in your business on a day to day basis are perfect opportunities to share with your readers.
- Did you just hire a new intern or sales rep? Introduce them on your blog.
- Did you just get back from an industry conference? Take a minute to share who you met and what you learned.
- Did you have a sales meeting this morning? What did you discuss? What type of training are you doing to help improve your client service?
- Did you just read a book that gave you some ideas to try in your business? Review the book on your site and share what you learned and what you’re excited to try.
These are all examples of the “normal” boring stuff you do in your business all the time. Know this: the stuff that YOU think is boring is not necessarily boring to your readers. These are all opportunities to give them insight into what you’re doing, how you’re different. These are opportunities for them to connect with you on a human level.
Funny thing: people tend to work with professionals and businesses they LIKE. We all want to do business with people we think are cool. Share what you’re up to. Be accessible. Have fun 🙂
I often see small business owners do something disturbing with their email newsletters and blog content. They outsource it or simply churn out canned content that they purchased somewhere. There is nothing inherently wrong with using canned content I suppose, but you’re leaving a tremendous amount of opportunity on the table by doing this.
Blogging and communicating with your audience may seem daunting at first, but after you get a flow down, it does not have to be time consuming or difficult. The investment is only a small amount of your time, and the long term upside is VERY significant. I get the argument DAILY that blogging takes too much time. Sorry guys…I’m not buying it. I’m never going to argue with you about this or try to convince you otherwise, but if you don’t have time to talk with your people, I think you need to reprioritize how you spend your time.
Here’s the bottom line: if you’re communicating with your audience genuinely, staying in touch with them and clearly care about what you’re doing…and your competition is not…you will dominate. Period. End of story. The client or customer is always going to follow the path of least resistance for them, and if you’re the one who’s been being really cool and helping them for the past few months, it’s going to be very difficult for them to do business with someone else.
This is why CONVERSING with your audience is so valuable. Instead of blasting out “industry news” or other generic information, share what’s going on in your business…as suggested in the previous section. Ask them questions. Emails to your list can be a simple one or two line question. Facebook status updates can be used to ask questions as well. Get people’s opinions. Encourage conversation.
There is something very powerful about asking questions. Statements…especially marketing messages…can easily be scanned or even ignored. Questions however, need to be read, understood, thought about and answered. Questions beg to be answered, and people naturally love to share what’s on their mind. Not only does asking your audience questions get them engaged with your brand, but it also gets YOU in tune with them. This is a great way to learn what your prospects, want, like, care about, hate, etc. Companies have historically paid many thousands of dollars to obtain this type of insight into their client base. You can get it for free.
Don’t Forget Call to Action
I’ve found the simple act of asking for what I want to go a long way. As simple as this sounds, it’s a concept that gets ignored in small business all the time. Do you want readers to share your latest blog post on Facebook? Ask them. You can ask them outright at the end of your post, or place a big arrow next to your “like” button…whatever you want. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, but if you just expect people to do stuff on your own, you’re gonna be disappointed 🙂
Want readers to sign up for your email list? That’s smart. Ask yourself…why should they? Give them a specific, compelling reason to sign up, and you’ll notice that a lot more do.
Want people to retweet your latest blog post to their followers? Put it in your tweet. I’ve always noticed when I put “(plz RT)” in my tweet, I always get more retweets. Again, this isn’t rocket science is it?
I included this part here because a lot of my clients will complain about how all of their social media efforts seem to be falling on deaf ears. They do the work and don’t see any results. A simple, clear call to action goes a long way, and I see surprisingly little of that going on.
Let it Be Simple
At the end of the day, simplicity gets the job done. Brian Tracy has said “the more you learn, the more you earn.” This definitely applies to web marketing. There’s always more to learn. I’ve been selling online since ’98, and I don’t know all there is to know…far from it. Here’s the trick though: don’t let what you don’t know stand in the way of you benefitting from what you do know.
As you dive in and start creating your own original content, you’ll learn more and more as you go. You’ll get more and more comfortable as times goes on, and you’ll become more and more effective at what you do. It’s inevitable actually.
I’ll give you a little secret. Creating original content for your blog, original content for your email list, etc can all feel a little intimidating at first, but after you get the ball rolling, you’ll realize it’s just not a big deal. It can be a lot of fun getting to know your prospects as real people, which of course…they are! This is the real opportunity of writing a blog for your customers, and it’s one of the most powerful ways to grow your business.