Editor's Note: As part of Marketing Month, we're revisiting some of our best, and most importantly timeless, articles of marketing advice.
Contractors and blogging … I get asked about the two all the time. And I always respond with this question, Which do you have more of: time or money? Because if you don’t have the time, don’t do it. However, if you’re considering a move into blogging to help generate leads for your contracting business, keep reading. OK, first of all, this isn’t going to be your typical “Hey, this is how you blog,” or “How to set up a blog” type of post. If anything, this post is going to tell you why you shouldn’t blog.
Seriously … I have done a lot of work lately with contractors who either have blogs or who want to start blogging and have no idea what they’re doing. They go about their blogs by keyword-stuffing titles and posts or just by adding picture after picture with no context, metadata, or relevance to their readers.
Now or Later
They basically either suck now or will suck once they start. That said, here is what I want you to know. Blogging, over time, does have the ability to bring you as many — if not more — customers than your referral program currently does. And if you have no referral program in place and you rely on marketing alone, then blogging can (and will, over time) generate enough business each month to be able to either cut or eliminate all of your other marketing spending, depending on your company size and growth trajectory.
Where to Begin
But Darren, I don’t know what to write about …
Great point. Valid concern. Here are a few ideas to get your blogging career off the ground.
When I consult with anyone who wants to start blogging, I tell them to sit down and write out or videotape 30 blog posts. Yes, 30.
But Darren, didn’t you just hear me say that I don’t know what to write about?
Yes, yes I did. But blogging is a long-term effort, especially if you want it to help bring in leads. So you have to be prepared to do the heavy lifting to help you bring in new business.
So, if you don’t have 30 post ideas, I’m here to help! Look to develop content from these sources:
1. Take the 20 most common questions people ask you. Write down or shoot a video with answers to those questions. explaining the answers. That’s 20 blog entries right there!
2. Use marketing materials from suppliers and vendors. Your supply house is packed with features- and benefits-type marketing materials that you can use as inspiration to create your own content for your site.
3. Provide info for how-to’s or DIY. Do what I do here, tell people what they need to do, then charge them to do it.
4. Create product reviews. This will generate traffic from people out there who are doing DIY improvements. Then, when they get in over their heads and they need a pro to rescue them, guess who they will turn to? You, or course!
5. Shoot video. You can shoot video to showcase your work or help with DIYers’ projects.
6. Give the answers to what's covered on your FAQ page. If you have a FAQ page on your website, you have tons of content to create blog posts with. This relates to item No.1 in this list, but you now already have the questions in mind to answer.
Be the Expert
The great part about blogging is that it does a lot of the selling for you. You become the expert in your marketplace. Even though your blog will have a wide-reaching audience, your local prospects will also be doing a lot of searching on your vertical, and when it comes to buying, there are a few things that blogging can help with.
- People buy from people they like, so your writing style or videos can really accentuate your personality, therefore increasing your chance to close.
- People want to buy from people, not nameless, faceless companies.
- People buy from experts, not salespeople. Positioning yourself as the expert “pre-sells” your prospects.
- People hate to be sold, but they love like hell to buy!
- Your competition probably isn’t doing this, and if they are, they are probably doing it badly. Doing it well will move prospects further into the sales funnel before they ever pick up the phone, send you an email, or come into the showroom.
So go ahead and blog. But if you can’t commit to posting something at least once a week, then don’t blog at all — because nothing looks worse than going to your company’s blog page only to see that the last time you posted was two years ago.
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