The internet has changed how businesses communicate with their target audiences, potential and former customers. No longer are these groups responding to highly promotional media that is designed to only sell. Instead, they are looking for content that educates and entertains.
By creating content that matches these expectations of your audience, you can accelerate the growth of your small business and create a large, well know brand. This larger organisation will be able to generate the majority of its income from a small core group of customers. The key to this is the demonstration of your expertise. If you can prove you’re a market leader, one with innovative skills and knowledge, you will attract audiences and convert them into long term customers.
So how can you go about generating extra revenue by demonstrating your industry expertise? It actually takes a lot of work to develop a sales funnel that can engage your audience and then deliver a consistent flow of information. This article will explain one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise easily and generate recurring revenue from a small group of loyal customers.
Attracting Your Audience: Where Do You Go?
At the very beginning, it is important to attract your target audience to your site and other marketing medium. There are several ways to do this. The most commonly used marketing strategy is search engine optimisation, even if businesses don’t realise it. Some commentators have stated that Google is the number one traffic provider, with a third of small businesses generating 80% or more of their traffic from the search engine giant.
However, it is not clear whether this includes Pay Per Click adverts or not. Some research has found that organic searching only contributes to approximate 10-30%, whereas paid search can direct almost 50% of your traffic. Yet other companies who do not employ PPC as a marketing channel still report that organic searches can be a major contributor to their website traffic.
Either way, both forms of marketing material are very important for attracting your audience. To generate your traffic through these avenues you need to offer something that is valuable to the audience. The content also needs to be found online. Both rely heavily on the right wording of the content: known as keywords.
While 10 years ago, this would have required you to write the same keyword several times throughout your website copy – Google and other search engines now discourage this. In today’s SEO market, keywords are less strict with long tail and latent semantic indexing calculations common in search engine algorithms. Long tail keywords are words like “create, creating, created” all counting towards the score no matter what form the search engine user asked for.
Latent semantic indexing is where a series of words that essentially mean the same are connected to count towards a score. For instance, internet, online, web and world wide web all refer to the same thing, therefore search engines count them as one.
This makes writing content easier. When writing for search engines, content rarely flowed well. However, when latent semantic indexing and long tailed keywords are used, content can flow better and be more readable. This is more convincing and will help increase conversions and sales.
Social media can also be used as an effective traffic generator. While sometimes your audience will connect with your brand online after they have interacted with it on another platform, in other cases, the interaction comes after they have found some of your social media content. Therefore, demonstrating your expertise on social media is also important.
Email marketing is not considered one of the best options for generating traffic to your site because customers have to sign up to the list prior to being sent content. This means they have already had contact with your brand. The only way that this can be avoided is if you have bought an email marketing list. However, this is illegal in most nations and therefore, not highly recommended.
So how do you attract an audience on these channels?
Providing useful information you know the contact needs is the best option. Depending on your industry, the useful content could be anything. However, it is useful to search through the Google Keyword Planner tool to search for what questions are being asked before you start considering your content building strategy.
This tool will tell you exactly how many times certain phrases have been used in search results. All you have to do is to enter in your landing page, your services and what countries you are looking to target and the information will display. For instance, two of the most popular searches for a social media management organisation would be:
- What is social media?
- How can I use social media?
There are also other words like social media and social media management, but the questions being asked help guide your content creation stages.
After finding out about what your target audience is searching for, you can then start to build a content strategy.
Building A Content Strategy
Your content strategy is the most important aspect of your online marketing strategy. Without any kind of direction you will not be able to attract a targeted audience, which is vital if you want to have a good return on your investment.
The first thing you want to do is write down all the popular keyword and phrases. Then taking each one of these separately, create a basic premise of how you would answer the question or create content based on that keyword.
Once done, write each piece of content. Remember that the point of writing each piece of content is to inform your audience about something or solve a problem. So, for example, you could explain how to grow a Twitter following or start a LinkedIn group to gain more awareness for a brand.
Whatever the content you are writing there are four key points to remember:
- Be informative.
- Don’t sell your services.
- Be consistent.
- Publish regularly.
The style of the writing and how you talk to your audience can be completely up to you. However, remember who your audience is. If you are looking to talk to senior business professionals, then you need to keep a persona that they will want to interact with and this will likely be different than a group of sport fanatics.
When creating content for social media, you should create a mix or content. In this mix should be content for directing users to your blog content, communicating with other users and little snippets of information about your industry.
Communication with your audience is important as many users on social media do consider it a community led tool rather than a sales platform. In fact, selling directly on social media has been proven to be highly ineffective with only 1% of all online sales generated through social media updates.
However, by communicating with your target audience and providing them with links to your other content or by giving them snippets of information, you will drive traffic to your site.
As time goes on, your organic rating will increase on the search engines and this will raise you higher in the ranks.
At the same time you can implement a strong PPC campaign that can direct traffic to your site when they show on the side and at the top of the screen for a certain list of keywords. During your PPC campaigns you should look to split test adverts. This is when you have two adverts and you see which one attracts the most traffic and converts more. The one that performs better is kept and another version is then tested.
Keeping The Traffic Coming Back
Once you have started generating all this traffic you need to consider how you are going to get the visitor to return. Only about 30% of your visitors will return to your website; unless you subscribe them to something. The most common tool for subscribing visitors is an email contact list.
This list can be generated by directly asking the contact for their details; however, you might find it more efficient to offer them something in exchange for their details. The best options are a free download. The download has to be something that has value to the customer. Therefore, you should look at the commonly asked questions again from the Google Keyword Planner and create small ebooks or whitepapers based on that.
Once you have collected their email address, you can start to market to them with emails. This can be highly effective. A good email copy has the following aspects:
- Some useful advice.
- Links to new content (i.e. blog articles, podcasts, etc).
- An offer.
You need to examine the results of your campaigns every time you send some content. See what is encouraging them to interact with your brand. This will give you an indication of what they are interested in. You might also want to phone up some of the contacts if they have opened your email and clicked through on the offer several times.
One of the most important parts of email marketing is to segregate your email list. This helps you target your audience with specific information that is only relevant to them. It is also useful at separating your potential customers from your current / old customers.
Generating Continuous Revenue From Existing Customers
As soon as your contacts make the transition from being potential to current customers you should transfer them to a new list. This helps you to sell more products to them. It is always easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new customer. It is also more cost effective.
If you provide high quality customer service to your customers, then you’ll find that they will spend more with you at every transaction. They will also be an advocate for your brand, encouraging others to buy from you..
Your email marketing strategy plays a critical role in this process. However, instead of just trying to sell them a product that they have shown no interest in; there are other options for your business now. The obvious task is to sell them items that are related to their recent purchases. Amazon is very good at doing this and often sell products that were bought with certain purchases.
This does take some careful analysis and consideration, but it is also one of the most successful paths to creating a continuous flow of revenue from a small group of customers.
There are also certain lead generation tasks that you must undertake.
It is important that you ask them for feedback. If you haven’t performed well, it can help you to make improvements to your service for other customers. At the same time, you can then remove them from the list knowing it would be hard to convert them into a repeat customer.
Positive feedback can also be shared with other potential customers through your social media channels, website or email. Word of mouth is a very potent selling technique and may speed up the process to selling to others.
Digital marketing is one of the best ways to convert potential customers into long term customers. Loyal customers are highly useful at generating income by being a brand advocate. The main thing that you have to remember is to continue to publish new content and deliver it to them. The content should be highly valuable to your audience, answering questions to solve problems that they might have.
Then when they have landed upon your page you subscribe them your mailing list and email them offers and new content that can convert them into customers. From there you can convert them into long term customers by offering them more advice from your expertise and by offering them the chance to share their customer experience with you and the rest of the world.
Doing this process will help you generate a stable income from a relatively small group of customers with only a good set of publishing tools and our expertise.