When I started my first business in Sydney’s Dee Why in the early 1990’s, I was amazed that most restaurants and cafes, as well as other retail shops like dress shops, didn’t even know who their customers were!
Many business owners knew their customers by face, but they missed out on lots of opportunities to market and make contact with these customers when business was slow or they were overstocked. Are you working your database?
We used Facebook ads in our social and digital marketing strategy we used for McGrath real estate agent Derek Farmer. A client list of names based on mobile phone numbers was used to target people in the Northbridge area who already had some past experience with Derek — they’d met at an auction, open home, he’d sold a friend or neighbour’s home, or they’d previously bought one of his listings. We helped Derek achieve Page 1 rankings on Google without using any paid advertising.
Targeted Facebook ads keep you front of mind
This targeted advertising helped build brand awareness with those people in a relatively non-invasive way, so that when Derek did reach out to them by phone, email or in-person, they would already be very aware of who Derek was and the type of property sales he specialised in.
This ensured Derek didn’t lose a listing because someone couldn’t remember who he was, and ended up listing their property with an agent who did take the time to build brand awareness within their local community and with past clients.
Do you want help growing your online and social media presence?
Digital marketing is one of those fine arts that sometimes takes many attempts to get right and I’m guilty of that myself. I wrote a couple blogs recently about content marketing because I spend a lot of my time creating and modifying strategies, optimising and planning the content that my team creates for EzyLearn and other websites. However, I think many people are unfamiliar with what the term “content marketing” means — my mistake! I should have used the words that most small businesses associate with online and digital marketing: “SOCIAL MEDIA”!
Social Media Course — We Include EVERYTHING
So, now that I know social media is the keyword, I’m going to explain how every course we offer ties into your Facebook advertising and Facebook Page and why all of these aspects are important to you if you are going to spend more time and money building a strong online brand.
No matter who you are or what you do you will need content and you will use that content to promote you and the services you provide. I have been using all of these tools to help convert EzyLearn into an “online only” training company in 2006 but I was able to explore how to provide these services to real estate agents when I managed the social media strategy for Derek Farmer, a real estate agent in Cammeray at the time. Here are the content options we had to play with:
Photographs and Images
Images are used in Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and on your blog (if you have one). They are used to make a blog easier to read and in industries like real estate where good photography is important to get a high price and make a successful sale they are used to showcase the product being sold. I recently spoke to an asbestos removal company and photographs of what they do and how they do it are also an important part of their “content”.
We show you how to include images in blogs and even include fundamental image editing skills using GIMP (it’s very powerful and it’s free!)
EzyLearn has several hundred videos as part of our online training courses and sometimes we use them to give prospective students examples of our training, explanations about how our special offers work or even videos of me explaining the EzyLearn journey since the late 1990’s! Real estate agents like Derek Farmer use video to help educate property sellers about the various aspects of the property selling process and what to look out for.
We show you how to get your video up to YouTube, or more professional services like Wistia and show you the analytics you can get about your video viewers and how to make a better video next time — it’s all about drop off rates. We also show you how to get a Call-To-Action within the video itself.
Blog marketing is my personal favourite because I love writing; you can really play with the keywords that Google loves so much and you can fill a website up with content that shows you are active.
We teach you how to create a website, create web pages AND blog posts, how to optimise them for the keywords you want to be discovered for and how to measure and understand the visitor analytics.
Facebook Pages, Timeline Posts, Advertising and Remarketing
This is the one that EVERYONE is interested in and for good reason; the demographic targeting is fantastic. Facebook is becoming increasingly important for real estate agents to promote themselves — indeed, Social Estate and BuddyBid are just two companies getting in early to earn a couple of hundred dollars a month for each real estate agent they take on board.
Note: This is something that any work at home mum (or dad) can do! You just need to understand how to generate new content or “republish” other interesting content on a Facebook Timeline and how to create a Facebook Ad. We cover all of this in our Social Media Marketing Course.
Our written guide and training course videos show you how to set up a Facebook Page for a local business (ideal for tradies, service providers like accountants or bookkeeper and of course real estate agents). By using a Facebook page you can assign the administration of that page to someone who simply schedules posts — that someone can be YOU.
Most people with a Facebook Page then need to make sure their Timeline is filled with content so that they pop up regularly in local news feeds.
Feeding Your Facebook Timeline
Most people think it’s important to create a Facebook post every day but that’s hard to do if you need to generate original content. Instead most people re-post other content that is relevant to the audience — this is often referred to as curated content (for instance, where you make a comment or affirm your belief in an article).
Real estate agents often simply refer to the plethora of real estate blogs available and here are some examples used by David Howe, an honest and diligent McGrath agent in Northbridge, Sydney, who asked our designer team to create a website for him:
This method of posting other people’s content is good enough to show that your Facebook Page is active. However, from an internet marketing perspective it tends to send people away from your Page and onto other websites where your competitors might advertise — especially if you report material by ratemyagent, openagent, realestate.com.au or domain!
In our social media marketing course we show you how to make a post like this and schedule them all in advance but also how to get your own unique content and how to link to content where none of your competitors are listed.
Facebook ads are relatively simple to create so there is NO reason to get someone else to do them (particularly if they’re going to charge you the equivalent of 4 hours’ labour!). The key elements of a Facebook Ad are their structure: Campaigns, Adsets, then individual ads and once you get that right and understand how it works, creating a Facebook Ad can be done by someone in your office or who you trust (again, a work at home mum).
We show you the type of posts and ads that Derek Farmer paid to promote in his local area, why he chose to do it, how much he paid and what his viewer and reader statistics were. We’ll also show you how to advertise to your own client base in their Facebook Feeds and how to remarket to people who’ve been to your website or Facebook Page.
WordPress, Hosting, User Management etc
I believe that your own website is the best “landing page” for any marketing money spent because YOU OWN IT. The more traffic you direct to your own website and the more content you put there that is valuable to your customers and future potential customers the more valuable YOU and YOUR WEBSITE will become.
In our Social Media Marketing Course we include every aspect of how to manage your own website using the very popular WordPress Content Management System. This includes having multiple users be able to publish content. We also teach you how to optimise your blogs and pages for important keywords using tags and categories, how to use meta tags on your pages and even on images so everything gets indexed by Google and how to make your website look fantastic with professional themes (templates).
Lead Capture and Email Marketing
Having a call to action on your website or Facebook Page is critical to truly analyse it’s effectiveness and understand it’s success — what’s working and what needs to change. A very important part of that is to capture the email address of people who visit your site and most websites do that using a giveaway, free reports, white papers etc. Once you have a potential clients email address you effectively have permission from them to send them email messages.
We use a number of different email marketing solutions including Campaign Monitor and Aweber, and these are very similar to MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact and a plethora of other email marketing solutions. We’ll show you how to use these systems to capture website visitor details and send them messages automatically.
Capturing, Analysing and Understanding visitor traffic
Google Analytics is the most popular website traffic analysing system and you can use it to measure the effectiveness of your website day-by-day, week-by-week and for specific date ranges.
We show you how to implement the code on your website, how to access the visitor traffic information on your PC and even your mobile phone and what elements to look for to understand what your website is doing.
Conclusion about Social Media Marketing Course
We do all of this using our own website examples as well as Derek Farmers website so you can see what real businesses do to succeed online. Whether you want to do all of this yourself, hire an experienced internet marketer or find a suitably qualified work at home mum (or dad) this course will give you an abundance of knowledge and strategies to manage what you do.
I was reviewing some of the content we’ve created this year and I was actually astounded at the number of blogs we’d written that mention content marketing. Even so, when I mention content marketing to many business people, they’re still not really sure what I’m talking about. So I asked Angela in our office to put something together — just for fun. Better still, I recorded an audio commentary to go with it; I hope you find it of use.
All the content marketing talk
Want a recap of all the times I’ve written about content marketing? I did a whole lot of posts about real estate agents and how important content marketing is for them. Here are some of the blog headlines in our content marketing category:
Maybe I’m a bit more passionate about content marketing than I even realised (which is saying something!) Watch the video below and let me know your thoughts.
Video presentation with annotations and a call to action
Want to know more?
If you’re interest in learning about the contents of our Content Marketing, Facebook and Social Media course which is currently being uploaded to our LMS read about it here and follow the links to pre register for alerts. When we release it we’d have a great offer for early students. 🙂
Thought you may like to know that we are going to reveal everything we did for Derek Farmer’s real estate site for property sales in Cammeray – even Facebook advertising and re-targeting to stay front of mind with his client database.
January, February and March of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of businesses spend time setting goals for the year ahead.
Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many businesses use January and February to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.
Yes, I’ve been talking about content marketing a lot on this blog lately, as it’s a marketing strategy EzyLearn has been using, almost exclusively, for many years now, with much success — you are reading this blog post, after all!
Great Content is Like an Equilateral Triangle – All the Sides are Equal
As popular as content marketing has become in the last few years, many people still don’t quite understand that great content marketing requires you to pay equal emphasis on each component. This includes the word content itself in an ebook or enewsletter for instance, but also the layout and design, the SEO etc. It also needs to be free of typos!
I know, in the past, I’ve probably been guilty of rushing to publish content on our website because I’m so eager to share what we’ve created with you. But for content marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be approached holistically. In other words, the copy is equally as important as the design and the layout; the messages need to be consistent and you need to keep communicating with your customers — it can’t be hit and miss.
Just as every side in an equilateral triangle must be created equal, so too do you have to consider all components equally when content marketing.
Outsourcing is Okay
As a small business, you probably have at least one person in your team who is either a) design inclined; or b) a good, strong writer. If you’re really lucky, you may have both, but it’s not uncommon for a business to need to outsource part of this work to a professional, usually on a contract or freelance basis.
Take stock of the talent you have in-house already. If you have a competent designer, utilise them and outsource the writing to a professional. It’s unwise to try and do everything yourself. Producing high quality content is a time-consuming process, made even more so if there’s a particular aspect of it — the writing, say — that you’re not proficient at.
I would say that most business owners do most of what I would loosely term ‘designing’, themselves, which in the case of blogging is choosing an image that accurately reflects the message you’re trying to communicate in the main copy.
Think Outside the Stock Box When it Comes to Photos for Your Blogs
There is a certain art to selecting images for your blog. You want to avoid using ones that every other blogger is using, which means ditching your regular Google Images haunt and using a stock library instead. But this is where you need to do your research.
Many free stock libraries serve up the same images that you find in Google Images, which brings you back to square one. They’re also incredibly boring. At this point, next logical option probably seems like paying for a membership to a stock library.
Again, research is required here. Not all stock libraries, even paid ones, are created equally. Well known libraries — iStock Photo, for example — are expensive, while the other, lesser known ones are still boring. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get creative.
Take Your Own Digital Marketing Images With Your Smartphone
Remember, content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant both to your customers and to your business. With this in mind, rather than paying for expensive stock photography and images, why don’t you take your own? There’s nothing more original and relevant to you and your customers than your own photography.
Publishing original content on your blog and website, whether it’s in the form of images, copy or videos (or all of the above), the harder it will work at driving your search engine rankings, while, at the same time, the personalised approach will have a longer lasting impression on your readers and customers.
Prioritise Content Marketing in 2017
Bookkeepers especially — take note!
If you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business and find yourself clients, or grow you list of clients, and content marketing isn’t already on your agenda for 2017 — it should be.
In terms of having the experience and know-how to content market to people we know what our students need to be successful to this end, after all, most EzyLearn students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Very early in the piece we started finding out why our students did our courses because it enables us to develop targeted products (and write content about) what they need.
Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY
We’ve launched a new bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. We’re also taking registrations for our content marketing online course.
If you’re interested in content marketing, either for your business or because you’d like to become an independent contractor offering content marketing services to other business, you can learn more by subscribing to our blog.
Create a Business Blog to Start Your Content Marketing Strategy
I started Business Blogging when we took our training courses online because there is a lot of information to share about MYOB, Xero, Microsoft Excel and the other software programs that help small business owners streamline their business, manage their accounts and finances and perform sales and marketing to bring in new sales.
Another reason was my realisation that keywords are king in the age of discovery where getting discovered by Google results in over 70% of the traffic to many websites!
Keywords Are King
A lot of small business owners throw thousands of dollars at Pay Per Click advertising in the hope of getting more visitors to their website. The most common service to help people spend these advertising dollars is Google’s own Google Adwords. Here’s a blog post about Google Adwords from 2010.
[quote]Have you heard the promise “I can guarantee your website appears on page 1 on Google”? It’s often by using Google Adwords and targeting selected keywords that companies can deliver on this claim, but at what cost?[/quote]
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Google Adwords is the perfect capitalist advertising tool because every advertiser competes for the keywords they want. The more competitors there are for a keyword or keyphrase the higher the cost per click – How scary is that!?
I understand that “Insurance” is one of the highest cost keywords you can “bid for” and there would be some pretty big players in that business. They keywords in this paragraph is “bid for” because that is exactly what happens, you place a bid for the maximum you are willing to pay for that keyword or keyphrase for EVERY time someone CLICKS on your ad.
There are ways of making sure a competitor doesn’t send you broke by clicking on your ad over and over, but essentially this strategy involves choosing keywords and bidding in the marketplace with all of your competitors.
Would You Rather Have People Come to You?
Bidding for keywords using Google Adwords is a great way to quickly test an idea or a strategy because you can guarantee website visitors, albeit at a high price, but people come across our website from all sorts of different keyword searches and that is where this blog has come in very handy.
I admit when I first started blogging for business the concept seems very NERDY! It’s like keeping an online diary for all to read and share. Then I justified it by affirming that keeping a blog is really just like having a “News” section to your website, demonstrating that your business is active and there’s a lot going on. Now I realise that it’s even more than that! Blogging for Business helps you
build an online reputation,
explain how some customers use your products
encourage readers to become customers
encourage readers to be part of your community
enable customers to be advocates and recommend your business
Having a business blog with useful content, good use of relevant keywords and landing pages that give internet users answers to their questions will help you begin the journey into Inbound Marketing, where potential customers discover YOU and what you have to offer. Do it right and you’ll just need to guide your website visitors to the conclusion you want – usually a sale.
Your Blog Becomes More Valuable Every Week
The other great thing about Blogging for Business is that your blogging site and the landing pages you refer to become more and more valuable over time as they remain in Google’s cache. They also become tools that can be used by your staff as they refer the blogs to customers who have specific questions that are answered in your blog posts.
Google is the current flavour for search engines and they seem to be doing a great job to stay in front, but Bing (owned by Microsoft) and others in China and Russia are always looking for ways to do better and get more people using them and having an active and useful blog will ensure success no matter how the search engine market changes.
Choose EzyLearn for Your Blogging for Business Training Course
We’ve been blogging about our online training courses since 2008 and we are a training company that designs courses in a logical fashion from basic to more advanced skills to ensure you experience the epiphanies most students are looking for when they do a course.
We include all of our content for one low price and we add updates that we create during the year to our existing courses, creating more content and better value for money every month.
Best of all our Blogging For Business Training Courses includes real life blog site membership, exercises where you get to create your own blog posts and link to landing pages, participate in social media and in a community of like minded beginner bloggers.
Inbound marketing is the focus on creating quality content that attracts and draws people toward your company and product. In the last few years, it’s come to replace the outbound marketing methods of old, which involved buying ads and email lists and paying for leads, making it one of the most effective online marketing methods. If this sounds a lot like content marketing that’s because it is, or at least, it’s a subset of it.
Content marketing is the process of consistently creating valuable, relevant content that you share online to attract more customers to your business. Inbound marketing is about being found online, through search engines, social media, and the like. See the difference? No, well allow me to elaborate.
But first, a little history lesson
Content marketing has been around for ages – it’s thought to have started with John Deere, the agricultural machinery manufacturer, which started it’s own magazine in 1895 called The Furrow – but it’s only recently gained more traction as businesses and marketers alike try to find new ways to engage customers online. Despite that, content marketing is just one cog in the greater online/inbound marketing machine.
Inbound marketing, though now very intimately linked to content marketing, is actually a far newer incarnation of the more traditional marketing activities. Inbound marketing is maybe only a decade old, and grew out of the shift in the way consumers interact and respond to advertising. Where consumers were once passive observers of advertising, the Internet made them powerful advocates or critics of a brand, aided greatly by social media.
Which side of that fence a company’s customers fell on was entirely up to what they did with their marketing. Increasingly, though, it became clear that consumers weren’t interested in straight advertisements, especially not on the Internet; they want content and they want content that’s informative or engaging – or both.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve also been following our own content marketing strategy: to share valuable, informative content with our students and prospective students, to form a community of individuals who are as passionate about learning and development in their professional lives as we are.
Can content marketing exist without inbound marketing?
Before I talk about whether content marketing can exist in isolation to inbound marketing and vice versa, I’d just like to summarise exactly what content marketing is and what inbound marketing is.
Content marketing is the strategic creation of informative, engaging, and valuable content. It’s the blog posts, newsletters, web pages, and – yes – print advertisements, flyers and brochures.
Inbound marketing is the overarching marketing plan or approach to attracting customers. It’s the distribution methods and channels of your blog posts and newsletters; it’s opt-in email lists; online community building (social media management); search engine optimisation; pay-per-click advertising; and so forth.
Because content is such a big part of marketing, whether it’s outbound or inbound marketing, I believe that, while you can use content marketing on its own, it’s not really possible to use inbound marketing without any content. Besides, there is some overlap between content marketing and inbound marketing, anyway.
Is there a career or business opportunity in Inbound Marketing?
In content marketing, you may decide to regularly write and publish blog posts, promote them on social media, and encourage people to subscribe to your blog using an opt-in widget on your web page. That single content marketing activity – blogging – involves, by default, some components of inbound marketing. No one writes a blog post, after all, and leaves it in their content management system without publishing it and then linking to it on social media.
That’s why we decided to develop a content marketing course, rather than an inbound marketing course because, by convention now, many elements of inbound marketing are carried out as part of the regular content marketing process. Content marketing also integrates better with other marketing activities, like networking or outbound marketing, which means you can create content for to be used on your blog and repurpose it for a letterbox drop.