Video: The SaaS Marketing Strategy You Can’t Ignore

Video: The SaaS Marketing Strategy You Can’t Ignore

Videos are the future –  something that SaaS marketers can’t avoid, and a notion that is backed up by people’s natural disposition towards flashy visuals (the many sequels to Fast and Furious and Transformers can attest to this). If Michael Bay isn’t your thing, then there are also stats to provide it, courtesy of the renown IT authority –

Cisco: “Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021”.  If you’re more driven by what’s happening in the here and now, Hubspot states “that 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI”.

Given how the shortness of both SaaS sales cycle and attention spans, video stands as your next best piece of content.

What’s worse, by NOT deploying a  strong content and video strategy, you’re ensuring that your competition will leave you in the dust. Instead, use videos to engage with your customers. Garnering more eyeballs to bolster your social media presence also works as a way to frame your business (literally) as a source of expertise.

Videos are the perfect vehicle for you to promote your brand and product. As the old adage goes: Seeing is believing. So if you’re able to demonstrate your company’s values via video, then your potential clients will more readily “buy what you’re selling”. Be sure to slap some captions on the video and boom – you have all of your bases covered to ensure that your client can consume your content while on the go.

It is a fact that videos are taking over. According to Forbes, 90% of reported customers confess that product videos help with their purchasing decisions.  Clearly, this notion is most applicable when it’s applied to your most important product: your product and your brand. Again, if what you’re “selling” is yourself, then videos will aide prospective clients in their n to “purchase” you and your services.

Videos are also easier to share, and could potentially earn you some self-sustaining, word-of-mouth marketing. In 2016, we released Zillow, It’s Me, a parody of Adele’s critically acclaimed comeback anthem Hello. Keeping our finger on the pulse and capitalizing on what’s hot, this video was created with the hopes of creating our own buzz within the real estate space (at the time, our sole demographic), while connecting with potential clients through empathy and levity. Over 200k views and counting, we continue to attract new clients to our service with the help of this content. 

Of course, all of this is only possible if you’re using actively using social media channels to build your business. We’ve covered extensively how to boost your engagement on these platforms, how to advertise, and even use your social data to garner more clients/success. Even tips on setting up yourself up profiles for each platform.

As far as including videos within your social media strategy, you don’t need fancy editing or high-end production value, just something that is quick and engaging. For example, you need little more than some decent lighting and a camera phone to start your Facebook Live content engine. Everything from Q&As, product announcements, explainers, opinion pieces, or even employee appreciation videos. It would present you as transparent, authentic, and knowledgeable. Any of the above and more goes a long way towards building relationships and opportunities through video. 

Thankfully, as with all things, there are many services that are willing to help you get started (or even do the work for you). A couple of them are:

  • Fiverr: From animations and live-action explainers to short video ads and product photography, Fiverr is a great channel to outsource any of your video needs. If you’re looking for an affordable freelancer, check them out.
  • Craigslist: A tried and true resource where budding or expert videographers are offering their services at reasonable rates. Here you can also find local companies in your area, which allows for a continued business that will continually adapt to your needs, vs. the impersonal singular nature of freelancers.

Whatever you decide to do, videos should have a presence within your marketing, as it will take your lead conversion to the next level.

Supercharge SaaS Marketing with Social Media Insights

Supercharge SaaS Marketing with Social Media Insights

SaaS sales cycle is short, meaning that it’s essential for marketing to do it’s part at an even faster clip. Leveraging social media is your ticket to achieving this, empowering companies to build trust and relationships with prospective clients even more quickly. Therefore, utilizing insights allow you to get the most out of your SaaS social media marketing. 

SaaS is a fast moving market, requiring quick iterations and quicker buying decisions as prospective clients seek out increasingly convenient methods to solve their pain points. Neil Patel describes it best, outlining how “the process of buying SaaS is quick, transactional, and done.” Interestingly enough, the brevity of this buyer’s journey can actually lead prospects to become “skittish, especially if they’re used to the sluggishly slow pace of non-software purchases.” As a result, quickly fostering relationships and credibility becomes a central part to the sales process.

Here is where marketing comes in.

You can achieve all of the above with a solid social media presence. In a digital age where buyer’s decisions are increasingly influenced by online presence and reviews, this form of SaaS marketing can fast track how you connect with future customers.

Yet this level of engagement is not easy to achieve, nor is it earned overnight. As with most endeavors, you must be able to measure the success of your efforts if you hope to reach your goals. Just like building your own brand, building up your social media popularity/authority requires constant testing

If your marketing team is not constantly testing and tweaking your social media tactics, you will hit a wall, resulting in the stagnation of your growth and engagement. What’s worse is that you won’t even know why, since you never monitored what was or wasn’t working. All the while the next agent is finding more business because they put in the necessary work to analyze and optimize their social media strategy.     

But don’t fret, Chet, all is not lost! Actually, it’s pretty easy to start tracking your social media metrics.  Fortunately, all of the major platforms offer analytics tools that you can take advantage of. Even checking out the most basic metrics will give you the chance to see the fruits of your labor. Optimizing your strategy thereafter will give you a leg up on the competition.

With 2.3 billion users spending a good deal of their time browsing social media platforms, getting more eyes on your social accounts should be a top priority. With insights in hand, you can optimize and tailor your content to achieve better engagement from your followers. In turn, you can look forward to more brand awareness and value, all while reeling in more prospects. 

What Are Social Media Insights?

As an agent marketing on Facebook or Twitter, do you know which types of posts your followers desire? Insight tools( metrics), allow you to see exactly who your followers are and what they like.

Tracking your social media performance is a crucial component to any successful marketing endeavor. This is especially true in light of recent changes to Facebook’s News Feed, for example. You need the insight tools to determine exactly what is and isn’t working as well as the best time to post content.

In essence, social media metrics are statistics and data that give you valuable insights into your social media marketing performance. They allow you to track your success in several ways, such as:

  • Page Likes – the number of unique userswho like your Page
  • Post Reach – the number of userswho have seen content associated with your page in the past week.
  • Engagement – the number of unique users who have commented, shared, liked, and clicked on your posts.

There’s also Impressionsm which is the number of times a post from your social media page is displayed, whether or not it is clicked. People might see several impressions of the same post. For instance, that one cat video that’s been shared by 10 different people on your timeline, even though you never liked it once? That would be an example of impressions. 

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Social Media Marketing?

Now that you know what insights and impressions are, you need to use those metrics to grow. 

The Pew Research Center reports that 72 percent of online adults in the US visit Facebook at least once per month. Millennials, however, are the most active social media users. 

The key to boosting engagement is to make the most of your insights. To do that, you need to know how to access these tools on the main platforms.

Twitter Analytics

You can access your Analytics for Twitter by clicking on your profile image in the top right-hand corner. 

On the Home tab, you’ll see performance numbers for the past 28 days along with your top tweets. Dig deeper by heading over to the Tweets tab to view the most recent tweets, number of impressions, engagement rates and overall engagements.

(Via Twitter)

With this information, you could set up goals for boosting your engagement rates.What times are best to post? What kind of posts got the most clicks? Have you experienced continual growth with your impressions? How does your engagement rate compare to that? Select the best-performing tweets and aim to match their success. Take all of these things into consideration and tweak your strategy and posting schedule accordingly.  

For more details on Twitter insights, you can click here.

Facebook Insights

Accessing insights for Facebook is even easier while providing an arguably more robust overview of insights! Log into your business page and head over to the Insights tab. You’ll be presented with an important dashboard of metrics including Reach, Likes, Views, and much more! By clicking on each stat, you can dig even deeper and set different sortable parameters.  

For example, you can see the number of views you generated over the last month, segmented by gender and age, or even page source. 

Equipped with this depth of information, you can augment your social media strategy by boosting your weakpoints while enhancing your strong suits. 

For more information on what each metric means and how to take advantage of it – click here.

LinkedIn Metrics

First of all, if you’re not generating leads using Linkedin [Link to future post about Linkedin lead generation], you need to get started yesterday. Then, upon doing so, you can track your efforts. To pull up Linkedin analytics, make sure you have a company profile with admin access. From here, you can view the Linkedin Analytics dashboard by clicking on the appropriate tab (shown above). Upon unlocking this treasure trove of analytics, you’ll obtain the ability to track data such as Updates, Visitors, and Followers.  All of this help you to determine which posts performed the best, how many impressions each has had, and the engagement with posts. Interestingly, Linkedin also allows you to break this data down into desktop vs. mobile usage, so you can see which post performs best for each. 

To learn more, click here

Instagram Performance

Lastly but certainly not least is Instagram, which also has it’s own built-in analytics. If you followed our advice, you’re already using Instagram to advertise yourself and your business. [Link to Marco’s future blog] So it’s definitely a great idea to monitor the results of this pursuit. While there is an endless amount of third-party analytics, Instagram comes with its own baked-in Insights that you can take advantage of for free. You can use this as long as you have a business account. If you currently have a personal account, don’t worry as you can still convert it into a business account. This can be done by accessing your Settings in the top-right hand corner.  

 

Following this, you can access Insights by clicking on the bar graph icon displayed near the top of your profile.


Or you can access insights from individual posts:

However you access the dashboard, the native insights contained within Instagram provides a wealth of information that you can utilize to optimize your strategy and boost your engagement. You can track profile visits, Website clicks (Instagram allows you to link to one URL within your profile), or even Calls! Furthermore, you can measure engagement based on the usual criteria, but break down engagement by the hour

You can even track the success of your Instagram Stories, thereby leaving you even fewer excuses not to take advantage of this platform for all of your business building needs. 

 

Cultivate Your Presence and Boost Engagement

With the help of these insights, you can successfully cultivate your social media presence and the content you create. All that’s left to do is watch your business take off.

Conversational marketing matters. Period.

Conversational marketing matters. Period.

Why Conversational Marketing Matters.

Is your organization familiar with conversational marketing? Well if not, it should be. 

We’ve all had moments in our lives where companies have tried to grab our attention and within seconds, we can tell they’re reading a script, using a pre-recorded machine, or getting information that doesn’t match our needs. These types of communication methods aren’t effective anymore as today’s consumer is more thoughtful about who they will do business with. 

Did you know that only 43% of people answer cold calls? What about that the average email open rate has fallen to 20%? These low success rates won’t help your organization grow. 

So as a marketing professional in your organization, how can you alter your approach in order to see a positive ROI with your marketing efforts? The answer – conversational marketing.

In this article, we’ll go over what conversational marketing is, why it matters for you and your organization, and how you can experience the results with implementing the tool into your marketing strategy.

What is conversational marketing?

Since the inception of Agentology, we’ve always considered ourselves as thought leaders in this space. This is why we’ve partnered with Drift to take this concept to the next level. 

Conversational marketing is a feedback-oriented approach to marketing used by organizations to develop customer loyalty, drive engagement, grow the customer base, and – most importantly – grow an organization’s revenue. 

Conversation marketing is based around the idea of communicating with customers in the natural and seamless way that they would like to be communicated with. This is the key point to conversational marketing – communicating with your customers in the way they want to communicate. This can take many forms and it extends to phone calls, texts, email, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and more.

Why conversational marketing matters for your organization

As we’ve mentioned before, cold-calling used to be the foundation of any marketing strategy. The best way to garner attention to your product or service was to hammer the phones and announce what you had to offer to anyone who would listen. Of course, this model is slowly dying. As mentioned above, less than 50% of people answer the phone when receiving a cold-call. 

On the flip side, did you know how often people are using text as their preferred form of communication? Research indicates that US smartphone users send and receive five times more texts than they make and receive calls. Furthermore, according to the Hootsuite blog, there are 1.3 billion Facebook Messenger users sending 8 billion messages between businesses and people every month and Messenger receives 70-80% open rates (compare that to the 20% open rates with email).

The way our marketplace is moving is actually quite ironic. In a day where everything consumers desire is instantaneous, the space for tailor-made human interaction is slowly diminishing. This is why conversational marketing can set your organization apart from the conversation. Whether it’s a business communicating with its customer base or a friend consoling with another, everyone wants to be heard and understood. This understanding comes in the form of communicating on the recipient’s terms. 

Understanding this outlines the basic principle of adapt or fall behind. When a customer feels listened to, they begin to trust you. 

When a customer trusts your organization, you build loyalty and the increased chance that they will come back to you and recommend your services to their network. 

How conversational marketing pays off for your organization

Companies that align with conversational marketing prosper in their space. A recent study by Twilio concludes that 66% of consumers now prefer to reach brands or be reached by brands, through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger. Moreover, 63% of those surveyed, say their messaging with businesses has increased over the last two years. Finally, just over two-thirds expect to increase their messaging with businesses over the next two years. 

The direction in which consumers are going when communicating with businesses is clear. Your organization should be headed in that direction as well. If you aren’t convinced yet, let’s just let some of the numbers do the talking.

As the technology in the marketplace gets faster and more customized to the customer experience, these statistics will continue to reflect the benefits of conversational marketing

Conclusion

Conversational marketing is the way of the future. As consumers get savvier with their spending they will require your organization to adhere to the way they wish to conduct business. As a company, one of your main goals should be to educate and build trust. 

The days of the “pushy-salesman” are gone and you now have the opportunity to reach the consumer at a relational and trust-building level. So use the conversational marketing tools available to you and reach your customers their preferred way.

Why sales leaders are turning to marketing for help with revenue goals

Why sales leaders are turning to marketing for help with revenue goals

Why sales leaders are turning to marketing for help with revenue goals

sales leader

An organization’s sales and marketing teams tend to be at odds with one another

Theoretically, the two should work seamlessly together: one is charged with generating and handing off the leads, while the other is responsible with securing and converting those leads into a customer. 

So then why are so many organizations losing out on countless leads that could turn into potential sales? 

Sales team and marketing teams should be coordinating their lead strategy day in and day out, yet they still experience drastic lapses in missed sales. For the most part, they’re not even aware of how much these lost leads and opportunities are costing their organization. A recent study by Forbes noted that an estimated 71% of an organization’s internet leads are wasted! Their findings noted that the biggest reason for this high lead-loss statistic was due to the delay in response. Furthermore, our research indicates that during the marketing-to-sales handoff, 55% of leads are lost and result in time and money wasted. 

Simply put, just because your marketing team generates and gathers the leads doesn’t mean they will be a “lay up” for your sales team to capitalize upon and close. 

In this article, we’ll show you how the sales/marketing relationship is changing, the cutting-edge ways savvy sales professionals are utilizing marketing to boost their results, examples of those results in the real world, and the strategies you can adopt now to see the same results in your organization.

Forward Thinking Sales-To-Marketing Alignment

We get it, as a sales professional, you get many leads from your marketing team. At times it can be frustrating to get so many leads because it’s hard to decipher which leads to pursue. Of course, time is money and with inefficient lead processing you are losing out on opportunities. 

What are forward thinking sales professionals doing differently?

These sales gurus are aligning their efforts to work with their marketing team rather than against or in isolation. As mentioned above, one of the most important facets of the sales to marketing alignment isn’t always if the lead is “good” or not but how quickly it is responded to. In fact, you are 3X more likely to convert a lead if you incorporate a smart cadence (instant response + strategic follow-up). This can be a huge opportunity for your organization. The 2018 State of Inbound Marketing Survey conducted by Hubspot found that 1 in 4 organizations noted that their sales and marketing efforts were “misaligned” or “rarely aligned.” Furthermore, that misalignment is costing organization 10% or more in revenue loss annually. 

If your organization is “misaligning” sales and marketing efforts, how can you expect that you’ll be able to respond to the lead first? Plain and simple – you can’t. 

Let’s take a look at how your sales efforts can benefit from sales-to-marketing alignment.

How Sales Can Benefit From Marketing

When your sales and marketing efforts are properly aligned, your organization will experience increases in revenue. This idea was highlighted by the Harvard Business Review

“[…] There is no question that, when Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.”

Here are some specific ways marketing can better support sales and thereby align the two groups:

Content Marketing collateral

B2B marketers are creating more content than ever in order to get information pertaining to their product or service out in front of potential leads. Once a reader becomes a lead, however, that content strategy disintegrates. 

Once a reader/visitor becomes a lead (through landing page conversion etc), the content strategy is generally abandoned for a sales-specific approach. Often times, a lead can feel “duped” or misguided when this clunky handoff takes place. 

Much of the strategy behind the content is to inform and educate; however, this becomes lost in the handoff. As a better alternative, many sales professionals remain in the educator role before becoming the “pushy” salesman. Organizations with a tightly integrated sales and marketing operations experienced a 24% increase in growth and a 27% increase in profit growth over a 3 year period.

Follow up cadence messaging and automation

As referenced above, it’s important to respond to a lead instantly. Forward-thinking sales professionals are integrating automated response technology into the marketing-to-sales handoff in order to experience the higher conversion rate associated with doing so. 

There is technology in the marketplace that responds to leads instantaneously, in the preferred manner of the lead. 

What do we mean by this? 

Well, have you ever taken into account how your leads prefer being contacted? 

  • Do they prefer email correspondence? 
  • Do they prefer SMS? 
  • Do they prefer a phone call? 

The Messaging Consumer Survey Report notes that consumers in India, South Korea, Singapore and the United States prefer SMS over voice calls for their customer service needs. Progressive sales professionals know and understand this, and they’re now integrating it into their follow up efforts

Proper lead qualification

There’s a difference between a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified lead. 

A marketing qualified lead is someone who is looking for brand awareness or education on a specific product or service (a lead closer to the top of the sales funnel). 

A sales qualified lead is someone who has decided they are going to purchase and need to choose which business to give their sales (a lead near the bottom of the sales funnel). 

Dynamic sales executives have different ways of implementing a lead scoring system into their organization. That way, they know which leads are ready for instant response and which might be higher up in the funnel. Every organization’s lead scoring will look different but here are some of the highlighted variables:

  • Demographic information
  • Company information
  • Online behavior
  • Email engagement
  • Social engagement
  • Spam detection

When you can score your leads, you open yourself up to focusing resources on the more valuable leads your marketing team handed over. In fact, a study conducted by Marketing Sherpa study showed organizations using lead scoring had a 77% boost in lead generation ROI over those not using scoring.

Your Sales and Marketing ROI increases when you align

Sales professionals who strive to align with their marketing compatriots experience higher ROI. In fact, Marketo notes that sales and marketing alignment can help organizations become 67% better at closing deals. That’s a drastic supercharge to your sales force’s efforts. 

What was once two different elements of an organization working in isolation (though thinking they were working in unison) is drastically changing. Sales leaders that take it upon themselves to use tools that allow them to qualify the leads that come their way are experiences in overall sales conversions as well as revenue for them and their organization. 

Sales and marketing don’t need to point fingers any longer as to who is responsible for the lost sales. They need to align and watch their ROI soar beyond what they thought was possible.

The conflict between sales and marketing

The conflict between sales and marketing

The black hole between sales and marketing

Leads can be the best and worst thing to pursue with your business.

Why? Leads – whether it be from referrals, networking, opt-ins etc – are the lifeblood of any organization. 

On the flip side, however, it can seem that the one thing you have trouble with in your business is actually converting the leads that come your way. Of course you’re not alone in this; the average lead conversion rate across all industries is 2.35%. Put another way, if 100 leads came your way, only 3 of them would convert into sales. Why are countless organizations affected by this? While there may be many reasons for this less than optimal conversion rate, one reason stands at the forefront of many organizations. This less than optimal conversion rate is often a symptom of a looming gap between marketing and sales. 

In this article, we’ll identify:

  1. The problem with your lead strategy – Why your business is losing out on leads (when in reality you don’t have to). 
  2. The sales and marketing relationship – Where the biggest pitfall occurs in “losing” leads during your marketing & sales processes.
  3. The solution – How you can rectify these pitfalls in order to lead your business to lead conversion dominance.

So let’s get into it.

The problem with your lead strategy

In order to identify the problem with your lead strategy, we need to identify where leads begin. There are two areas of your business in which this happens: your marketing side and your sales side. Our research has found that when the “handoff” between the two sides occurs, 55% of leads are lost and head into “lead limbo.”

That’s over half the potential leads that can help grow your business are being lost. Plain and simple, this cannot happen.

We’re going to dissect both areas of your business in order to diagnose and cure our lead ailments.

The marketing side

Your marketing department is where your lead journey begins. Think about all the efforts you employ with your marketing strategy. You probably have many different mediums, tools, and strategies in place to help gather leads for your business:

  • Paid advertising
  • Organic content
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Physical mail materials

When you’re marketing department looks for leads, a wide net is generally cast. Numbers are what is important here. 

As you exit this stage, after you have some “bites”, it’s important to get these leads over to your sales department.  

It can be frustrating as a marketer – you spend countless hours and resources to bring in leads to the rest of the organization. The marketing team is atop the lead funnel. You’ve done a lot of hard work for the sales team; you’ve brought the leads right to their doorstep (cough, email inbox). 

But why isn’t your sales team converting those leads? 

Well for one, the leads aren’t followed up with enough. 

Take for instance the research conducted by Marketing Donut wherein 92% of sales professionals give up after their 4th call; however, 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”.

In other words, it’s not the marketing team or the leads – but perhaps something else.

The sales side

Once the leads have been generated, it’s time for your sales team to “stick the landing.” On paper, this should be a toss up. Your marketing team has generated a handful of potential leads, now let your persuasive-professionals do their part by illustrating the value of your product/service and secure the sale.

But you know as well as anyone that it isn’t this simple. Why?

Well contrary to what Alec Baldwin asserted in his famous Glengarry Glen Ross speech, the leads are, in fact, weak. At least the leads that are coming through the door via your marketing team. According to research, 61% of B2B marketers believe that generating higher quality leads is their biggest challenge. Furthermore, 67% of lost sales are as a result of sales representatives not properly qualifying their potential customers prior to taking them through the entire sales sequence.

Ideally, your marketing team (gathering the leads) would work seamlessly with your sales team (the ones converting the leads). Clearly this isn’t happening.

The solution: lead qualification

As we’ve uncovered, simply generating leads with your marketing efforts and handing them off to your sales team to convert isn’t enough.

There needs to be a “bridge” that ensures prospects who are ready to buy aren’t lost in the exchange. Just because a lead from your marketing efforts is handed over to your sales team doesn’t mean it’s a lead worthy of pursuit, you may need a tool in place to help you qualify if the lead is worth of pursuit or not. Conversely, a sales team only has a limited amount of bandwidth, qualification of the lead being passed over is of the utmost importance, maybe you need a tool that helps with the handoff.

There are methods one can employ in order to bridge the divide between marketing and sales so everyone is using their talents, tools, and strategies at the most effective levels.

This is where lead engagement and qualification comes in. Studies indicate that when you are the first to respond to a lead, you are 3X more likely to convert the lead versus being second to respond. However, if your sales team is busy chasing the wrong leads, being first to respond becomes a lot more difficult. 

Finding the bandwidth in your organization to instantly and constantly follow up and qualify leads can be tough. With a proper alignment of your sales and marketing team, you instantly experience a boost in recapturing leads that may have fallen into the “black hole” of lost leads. 

When you align your sales and marketing efforts, what other advances in lead qualification strategy can you add on? Perhaps you can put in place strategies to nurture leads that aren’t ready to buy. Nurturing leads is developing relationships with potential buyers throughout multiple stages of the purchasing process (especially over the long-term). Research notes that 50% of leads in any system aren’t ready to buy and companies that emphasize lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower costs.

Where in your organization can you make the minor tweaks in your sales and marketing relationship that will yield impactful benefits? Marketing and sales can (and should) be designed to work harmoniously, and when they do – your organization will see the benefits immediately.

The Art of Engaging with New Clients Through Blogging

The Art of Engaging with New Clients Through Blogging

A big part of our business is getting people to pay attention to us. To earn that attention, there are all kinds of tactics and trips, but if I told you that sitting on your rear end and writing 300 words could generate new clients, would you do it?

OK, I’ll get to the point; this blog is about, well, blogging. More specifically, it’s about blogging to increase awareness and make you more attractive to more potential clients. Let’s start with some compelling numbers about why blogs can be an effective tool for achieving these goals:

These numbers paint a compelling picture of why you should blog, but even these stats don’t provide the whole story. Blogs have become an attractive way to tell stories about ourselves, our businesses, and the services we provide. They can be visual and written in our voice, and can tell stories about a house and its character, an undiscovered neighborhood, or even the dream of homeownership. Stories click with people and make them want to learn more. In our business, we can use blogs to tell those stories and engage with people who want to find a Realtor® they can trust.

The beauty of blogging is that in addition presenting a very approachable, human picture of ourselves, they are also among the most effective digital marketing tools for increasing awareness and driving qualified prospects to us. As we know, before a customer can work with you, they have to be able to find you. The statistics about blogs helping with your search engine success cannot be ignored if you want to show up in search results and maintain a sustained digital presence. This comment from digital marketing expert Jes Gonzalez explains this very well:

“…having an online presence can make or break a business, especially for small business owners. Because I was able to find the website and all the product and service information effortlessly, I was happy to book an appointment. Further, I booked my appointment online, at a business I’d never heard about, in a building I’d never seen. That day, the owner secured a new customer that she wouldn’t have had otherwise…”

The message is loud and clear: you need to do things that will improve your odds of being seen and seen in the right context, and blogs are an important tool in doing that.

You should know that blogging, while cost-effective, does take some effort. You’ll need to maintain a continuous effort to make it successful. Note that 47% of people will read 3-5 blogs before taking the first step towards engaging with a service or product. Blogging doesn’t need to be hard, but it does require some discipline. There are some important best-practices to follow in order to get the most benefit from your blogging effort; these tips in particular, should provide some tactical help:

  • Publish at least one blog per week.
  • You can likely use the blog capabilities that your website host service provides. If not, consider using WordPress to publish blogs.
  • Push your blogs in your social media channels. Our blog about increasing engagement within your own network offers some insightful, actionable tips.
  • Use a scheduling tool to plan out when you will publish blogs. A spreadsheet works, but I use a free service called Trello, which is clean and easy to manage.
  • If you have a hard time writing, consider different formats. Maybe you can interview clients about their experience in their new homes. Or maybe you summarize data about neighborhood restaurants and shops.
  • Brevity is preferred. Keep your blog to about 300-600 words.
  • If you’re strapped for time (and you probably are), you might want to consider contracting with a ghostwriter who can help you maintain a regular cadence of blogs.

But before you get started, consider how to approach your blogging so you can ensure a consistent, interesting, compelling experience for your users: Writing can often be an exercise in staring at a blank screen waiting for the words to pour forth. Like anything we do, we’re more likely to be successful at it if we have a plan and stick with the things we know well and really enjoy. With that in mind, start with an outline, and know that you’re going to likely go through multiple iterations and editing rounds until you get your blog just right. When all else fails, remember this formula: tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em; tell ‘em; tell ‘em what you told ‘em.

It will help if you make a list of the things you know and like about your business. Maybe you specialize in relocations or know a few specific neighborhoods really well; emphasize those in your blogs. If you like those things, you’ll do a better job writing about them because you’ll be engaged in the topic. But also keep in mind that if you are terrible with numbers or don’t have a good track record with connecting clients with mortgage brokers, don’t use the blog as a place to try to demonstrate a fake love of interest rates. You want to be authentic and informative, so make sure you know the topics and themes that are meaningful to you. Your readers will recognize and appreciate that authenticity. Most marketing material uses a certain type of voice; in our business, it tends to stick to the facts. But with a blog, we can use a more informal voice. For most of us, that conversational tone is actually easier to write, but it’s also easier for our readers to read. One of the reasons blogs are so successful is that they are a departure from the standard marketing material we encounter every day.

One way to get this style is to speak, out loud, the things you’re trying to communicate. Talk them through and listen to the style you use. Look at successful bloggers and copy their style. James Altucher is one of the world’s most popular bloggers; his style is very casual. Brene Brown is fairly informal, but more traditional in how she writes. Take some time to search for bloggers in topics you like and try out their style and tone. Writing isn’t always easy and the creative juices don’t always flow. However, after enough practice, you will find that it becomes easier and easier. You’ll also discover that your blogs and stories connect you with new people and help you generate more potential revenue. Once that happens, you’ll realize that getting out 300-600 words every week ain’t so bad!