Leveraging Content for the Service Industry1. What Does Content Have to Do With My Business?2. Modern Marketing Is a Two-Way Street3. What is a Blog Post?4. Why the Service Industry Is Special Online5. More than Just Words6. Conclusion: Help Is Out There“By enticing area homeowners through a blog, Twitter account orFacebook page, you can begin to educate your customers aboutthe benefits of using your company, and thereby increase brandawareness. This process requires a minimal investment, but theeffects can be great as you build a base of loyal fans, establishyourself as an authority, and grow your e-mail list.”-Ron Smith, author “HVAC Spells Wealth”
What Does Content Have to Do With My Business?Business owners in the service industry have many advantages when adding an online marketingstrategy to their traditional marketing efforts.• The products and services offered by businesses in the service industry usually require at leasta little expertise and some explanation• Consumers and homeowners almost always (90+ percent of the time) perform research onlinebefore making a purchase, which means those online searchers are asking questions about theservice they need• Small-to-medium business owners can emphasize their authentic local ties to the community,which is helpful when it comes to being found in searchAn online presence can include multiple formats. While a company website is seen more and moreas the minimum presence a company should have online, social media marketing has sometimesbecome an even more dominant online presence for a business. A company Facebook profile orTwitter account is free and it’s where huge numbers of potential customers spend time online.Surprisingly, though, almost half of small businesses don’t have a website,according to an article by Entrepreneur magazine that cited statistics fromthe website Statistic Brain. Some of those businesses choose to simplymaintain a Facebook account instead of a real website, according to themagazine. This strategy is a mistake because it limits your company’s reachand potential. Customers go online to find answers. Providing meaningfulcontent online gives customers what they went online to find and it starts aconversation. Content, just like an ad with a phone number or a billboard, isanother way business owners can reach customers.Modern Marketing Is a Two-Way StreetWith a company blog that offers expert advice specific to a company’s products and services, aservice provider is meeting customers at their time of need. Blog posts on a wide variety of topicswill cast a wide net to those searching for online advice.Online readers have to feel as though they received some value from a blog post, so it’s importantto provide blog content that has good information delivered in an engaging way. Good SEO toolssprinkled throughout a blog post, but not in an aggressive way, will help the right kinds of onlinereaders (consumers in business’ service area) find blog posts related to their online search.With the right kind of online content, service providers can leverage their expertise into solidbusiness leads. By working with a blogging service such as SocialTract, a service provider can haveinput on the kinds of articles that make sense for the type of business the service provider runs,but the burden of coming up with new ideas and writing the blog posts is placed on a team ofexperienced writers.
What is a Blog Post?Just as a fictional novel reads differently from the kind of writing found on the back of a cerealbox, a blog post is its own unique writing style. Online readers have relatively short attentionspans. But they also want value from their time online. Anexpert-advice blog post should:• Offer at least one or two pieces of information that thereader didn’t know previously• Get right to the point• Be relatively short (no more than 500 words is a good ruleof thumb)• Be readable. That means no textbook technicality orlectures• Be about the customer, not you. Let the reader know youhave customers in mind. A great expert-advice blog post will read like a transcript ofa conversation with a customer in the customer’s home. The homeowner doesn’t want to hear athree-hour lecture on the history of ceiling fans, for example. Instead, a homeowner who asks aquestion about changing the blades on a ceiling fan would want to know in simple terms where toget ceiling fan blades and how to safely install them. And the homeowner would appreciate hearingfrom an expert if replacing the ceiling-fan blades is something best left to an expert. Giving expertadvice isn’t giving away your company secrets. It’s letting the homeowner in on your point of viewand helping customers better understand your business.Why the Service Industry Is Special OnlineThe service industry is especially suited to providing expert advice because of the perception manyonline readers have that online content isn’t always accurate. Most consumers don’t have the skillsto make major repairs to equipment in their homes. And while many How-To sites exist online, ablog produced by a reputable local company has built-in credibility.
Many companies that provide services, such as heating and cooling contractors, landscapingcompanies, auto-repair and other small businesses, have seasonal changes to the services theyoffer. A blog allows a business owner to constantly update customers with fresh content that isseasonal, relevant and new. Search engines reward websites that are refreshed constantly withunique content, so businesses in the service industry have a built-in reason to generate freshcontent. The changing sales cycles lend themselves to new and engaging content throughout theyear.More Than Just WordsOnline readers can easily tell when an article online is a good, informative piece of information,so it’s critical to convey good advice to readers that doesn’t have a hard-sales focus. The contentoffered online should go beyond just the words in the post, though. Links to relevant informationelsewhere online or on the company’s website adds value to the reader experience and givesreaders an easy way to make contact with a company. Tailoring a blog post or piece of onlinecontent to a specific geographic region is crucial.Photos are an especially important way to draw in readers, but videos are enormously successfulwith online viewers. Videos are another area in which businesses in the service industry have anupper hand. YouTube provides a relatively easy format for sharing videos produced by a smallbusiness and blog posts can easily link to a YouTube video.In Summary: Help Is Out ThereBlogging services such as SocialTract were built with the serviceindustry in mind. The writers and editors at SocialTract haveexperience working with businesses in the HVAC, home-medicalequipment, auto sales, marketing, accounting and other fields.The writers think like a consumer to provide blog posts that havesound, expert advice, yet are easy to understand and appealingto readers. SocialTract works with clients, through surveys andconstant feedback, to get to know a company so that online contentrepresents what the company really is. Regular reporting to clientsproves the value of online content and testimonials from satisfiedcustomers can make service-industry business owners feel at easeentrusting content creation to the experts at SocialTract.