How many of you business owners out there have picked up work from friends, acquaintances or through referrals from an existing client? How much easier is it to seal the deal and win the work in these instances? Have you ever stopped to think just why that is the case? What is the difference here?
The Trust Barrier
Well, in some cases, if you have a prior relationship with the prospect then it is just that, you already have established yourself (albeit in a different context) so making your business case is somewhat easier.
Likewise, if it is a referral, you have an existing relationship with whoever referred you and therefore the prospect comes to you with a level of trust already in place and hence, getting the sale and entering into a business relationship with this new prospect becomes just so much easier.
So, this begs the question: how do you build relationships with people you don’t know?
Have we met? Do we know each other? Nope, probably not, well, maybe a few of you (the lucky ones) have met me but in most cases, you may have stumbled across this article whilst searching or linked here from another article on the site. Point being, we most likely do not know each other but you do have some prior knowledge of me through reading this article.
Now, if you enjoy the content here, come back for the daily updates and solve a bunch of problems through the Internet Marketing tips I publish then we are having a relationship of sorts and you are getting to know me.
Content Marketing Builds Relationships
Point being that by publishing web content, you are creating an environment where people can get to know you through your content. Your readers will pick up on the type of person you are, your sense of humour and more importantly, your skills and credibility in your chosen field and this helps them decide if you are someone they want to and would enjoy working with. By publishing content that helps people solve problems you present yourself as a proven expert in your field and when it comes time to pick someone to design your website or handle your SEO then you are not just another Tom, Dick or Harry SEO consultant but you are in fact, a proven SEO expert who has a long-standing relationship with the reader of your blog.
Further still, where you are publishing content on your blog and then sharing it on Twitter and Facebook, you have an avenue for your readers to reply. Blog comments, Twitter and Facebook all allow your readers to get in touch, start a dialogue with you and further build the basics of what can become a business relationship when the time is right. Again, your content marketing not only seals the deal, but it allows you to reach out to a wider audience in the first place.
I first ‘got it’ about content marketing some years back when after struggling for a few days to do something that should have been relatively simple in Joomla really flummoxed me and there was just no good information out there. After bashing my head against a brick wall and then finally figuring it out I published a short how-to guide on the topic. This was not an attempt to ‘market’ the business but more an attempt to help anyone else having the same problem but, this article got me some great projects over the coming months (and years).
You will never forget the first time you start to launch into your sales spiel with a new prospect and they say something along the lines of ‘oh, it’s okay, we know you know what you are talking about, we read X, Y & Z’ on your site. It’s a refreshing change, your credibility is already established and outside of a direct referral then it is the easiest way to establish a new business relationship.
In this instance, where there is a difficult question, and no existing strong answers, you also have the opportunity to become an authority on this subject in the search results. It’s been said that difficult questions make for easy links so when people find your article, and talk about it, and link to it, just getting your content up there can help raise the profile of your entire site through the links you acquire to your content – SEO without even trying!
Get Content, Get Customers
The simple point I am making here is that no matter what you are looking to do, whether you want to better SEO your site, start a PPC campaign, promote yourself on social media or whatever, content marketing should be the foundation on which all of this is built. It gives you something to talk about on social media, allows you to give real world demonstrations of what you can do and start building trusted relationships with your prospects long before you do any business together.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below or if you would like help putting together a content strategy or in the creation of some content for your blog give us a shout.