What Everybody Ought to Know About Growing Your Business Online: Questions are the Answer.
Many businesses and organizations are finally starting to understand the value of content marketing and blogging. They understand today’s consumers approach buying a bit differently than just a few years ago. Sure, consumers today still start their purchasing process by asking questions. However, to find answers to those questions, they rely less and less on traditional marketing to make a decision. Instead, they go online to find the answers.
This process isn’t unique to any one industry. All customers in the buying process will ask questions. They will often turn to online searches and social media communities for answers. It’s a simple process really. First, they ask questions. Next, they do research online. Finally, they make a purchasing decision and buy.
So how do you start leveraging the awesome power of blogging as an effective marketing tool? Here is a foolproof, freakishly simple tip to get you going.
TIP 1: You’re customers are already asking questions, simply list them out.
Let me give you an example. As an entrepreneur and teacher, my main focus is helping businesses grow by using the web and social media effectively. We specialize helping smart, savvy businesses and business owners who feel stuck or need to get started. What questions do these folks have? Here’s a quick sampling:
- How do I find the time to market online?
- How much time do I need to dedicate to online marketing?
- What should I do with the time? Which option is best? Should I use Facebook? Twitter? Blogging? Etc.
- How much time, long term, do I need to dedicate before seeing a return on my time investment (ROI)?
- How will I know it was worth the time?
- And on and on
TIP 2: Provide honest answers to help your customers and become a credible resource
It’s absolutely critical when answering these questions you be truthful. Most companies and businesses are happy to share the great stuff about their products and services, but they ignore the bad. They don’t want to mention the drawbacks. Why would you want to be honest and point out the flaws or your offerings?
It’s really pretty simple. As expert Inbound Marketer Marcus Sheridan points out, whether we like it or not, customers are going to search for the good, the bad and the ugly about our products. For example, my customers might search:
- Top 5 business complaints about social media
- Is social media marketing really worth the time or is it a time waster?
- What are the pros and cons of using social media?
- What are the pros and cons of using Inbound Marketing?
- How much should I spend on a social media strategy?
The keys, as Sheridan points out, are that:
- Consumers are going to search these phrases whether we like it or not
- By addressing the upsides and downsides of product or service, you can beat your competitors to the punch. By doing so, you gain huge credibility because you are being helpful and honest. And as Bob Burg points out, people do business with and refer business to people they know, they like and trust. So by being more concerned about your client than just a sale, yo don’t gain just a sale. You gain a customer for life and a referral marketer.
So what’s stopping you? Have you given blogging a try? Do you have any wisdom to share?