The best thing about running a $400 billion company is that you can essentially make the rules in your industry, at least to a very large extent. Government creates regulation (of course, government makes the real rules), you design the industry around that regulation, and everyone else bends over backwards to work around your design. Not a bad deal.
Biology and Business 101: Adapt or Die
Welcome to Google’s world in the online marketplace. When Google makes a change in their algorithm, the entire internet changes their digital marketing strategy to please Google. This happens more often than you’d think. And those that don’t respect Google’s algorithm changes are quickly left behind, and run over by the competition who had the intelligence to adapt.
Business is like nature in a lot of ways. One of the best examples is like nature, you must adapt to the ever-changing environment or risk the death of your enterprise. Changes in your industry? Changes in regulation? Changes in culture? Changes in technology? You better be on top of it, or your business will eventually be made irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if it’s worth a million dollars or a billion dollars.
The Wild West of the Internet
In the past people would create websites with spammy content in an attempt to game the system — to exploit loopholes in Google’s search engine. This worked surprisingly well for longer than it should have, resulting in substantial wealth creation for many former internet entrepreneurs. But over time and after many modifications to its algorithm, Google cracked down on the abuse and as of now, is only interested in allowing websites to rank highly within its search engine if they provide valuable content for readers.
This goes back to their ultimate mission to organize the information on the web and give the people searching for certain things exactly what they’re looking for — information that has high value and is relevant to their interest at the time of the search.
Your Opportunity to Make Money
The opportunity that this presents for you as a business owner is it allows you to carve out a position of leadership within your industry or profession. You want people to find you online so they can see what you have to offer, and then contact you so they can become paying customers. The final goal is to use your website as a medium to (1) explain how you can solve your prospects’ problems, (2) allow them to contact you through it, and (3) either accept payments through it or direct them on how they should pay you.
To take advantage of this opportunity will require you to build credibility and trust with your prospects. Maybe you have that already, maybe you’ve done business for 20 years, are active within the community, and everyone knows and likes you. Even if this is the case, the same strategy can be used strictly for marketing purposes, and will help to increase your business revenue. And if you don’t have the stellar reputation you’d like your business to have yet, this strategy can help you create it.
Who are Your Customers?
Think about what your customers are searching for on the web. If you run a landscaping company, what do most of your customers want? Who is your target demographic? If you mostly provide high-end landscaping services to rich housewives in Lake Ridge or The Falls in Lubbock, TX, for example, you will want to write content that speaks directly to them. Appeal to their sense of vanity (don’t worry, we all have it). Appeal to their desire to have better and fancier lawns than their neighbors. Don’t just write stuff out of the textbook — you’re not writing an academic paper for school. Talk to them like they’re people, just like you do in real life. Remember: people like working with other people, not faceless corporations. While you still want to be professional, you don’t want to let the fact that you’re communicating through a website make you sound too formal and robotic.
A good content strategy is one that makes the readers feel as if they are building a relationship with your business while they read your blog, website, or newsletter. It will need to be relevant to their interests and communicated as if it were being said by a (very knowledgeable) friend. It will need to be consistent. You can’t just write a few articles and forget about it. Friends stay in touch, and they keep each other updated.
What About Social Media?
Social media is important but let’s not worry about that just yet. One step at a time. For now, just think about what your customers want to read about (what do they usually talk or ask you about?), and give them what they want to know — on a regular basis. If your company doesn’t already have a blog, I’d highly recommend installing one — or having us install one for you — so you can get started.
Finally, not only will this help you attract, engage, and retain more customers, but it will align your digital strategy with Google’s — which, as we talked about previously — is not optional if you intend to succeed on the internet.