Content Marketing & The Economy
How can content marketing help?
A colleague of mine asked me for advice on how to operate in this bad economy. He seemed very concerned and perhaps uncertain about what to do. Being a bit uncertain is a perpetual state of the business mind. There are always many things to do – how do we prioritize? There are initiatives to develop – how will they turn out? Being in business is to live with uncertainty. However, we still must remain confident. We need to work with what we have. We cannot dwell on that which we cannot control. This colleague was concerned about the bad economy and it prompted me to write this post.
Why should we blame the economy for our bad business performance? Will blaming the economy make us feel better? Will blaming it help us to improve and do better? To look for blame on something that we cannot control is a dead end for us business owners. As business owners we cannot (we must not) head down a dead end. We need to keep our heads up and look for roads that will lead to our success.
A business can thrive in today’s challenging economy. However this will not happen if a business adopts knee-jerk responses such as cutting costs, lowering prices, or just hanging on until times get better. We need to think of better ways. We need to use our creativity and the creativity of the people we keep next to us. We need to focus on the value that we can add to our clients and we need to let people know this.
Here are some thoughts that may provide you with some fuel for thought.
1. Accept This Economy as the New Norm
Don’t batten down the hatches and wait for the predicted turnaround to arrive. Instead do not think of this as a bad economy but rather as the economy? Will your tougher competitors stop trying or go away? I don’t think so. What if your competitors create new higher value initiatives to perform even better in this economy? The economy is what you make of it. This has always been the case. What you make of it is what you are going to get out of it. Your competitors are here to stay and you need to compete with them.
Action: Within your company, have an all-employee meeting and get inputs from everyone as to what can be done better. Ask them how your business can add more value. Ask how to best communicate this message. Try to develop a set of ideas that can be combined to create even bigger performance improvements. Also, in this all-employee meeting ask how your business can improve customer services and customer loyalty. The top line is revenue and cash flow and this is directly connected to sales and customer loyalty.
Call your vendors and collaborators together and again ask questions to develop performance improvement activities. Do this with a conference call if there are distance or time constraints.
Content Marketing Value: Inform your existing clients, potential clients and collaborators of your best initiatives. Let your existing clients and potential client know that you are there to help them and to help them prosper. Include your best initiative in your newsletter. Blog about it. E-Mail your existing clients and follow up with leads and prospects letting them know. Create a presentation and present it whenever you can. Be proactive. This will drive your top line revenue.
2. Focus on Top Line Revenue not Cost Reduction
In This Economy Protect and
Grow the Top Line.
Most companies during a general economic contraction focus on cutting costs. Many businesses spend too much time (perhaps all their time) and energy on cutting cost. I recommend flipping this around and focus 90%+ on growing your top-line revenue.
Action: Take a step back and look closely at the specific environment your business operates in. Think about new sales channels. Think about adding more services that mesh perfectly with what you now offer. Define a plan that enables you to add more value to existing customers. Do not be passive and wait for something to improve. Take action to make improvements to your top line revenue.
Content Marketing Value: Content marketing is about sharing your ideas. It is about creating and sharing value. Create helpful content that differentiates your business from the competition. Create content that solves problems and ensure that this content is optimized for search so that your problem solving content is found by more people seeking solutions. Create content that demonstrates your expertise. In this economy people perceive higher value when they deal with experts. This content can help you build better relationships and help close more sales.
3. Add More Value
Always look for opportunities to add more value to your customers. This helps to expand your customer base, creates repeat sales, improves customer retention and all of this drives the top line.
Also, and this may surprise you, is that by providing more value and helping your clients to prosper in the economy you may even have the opportunity to raise prices. Perhaps one of the worst things you can do in this new economy is to lower prices or to discount your services. What message does this send? Have you lowered your value? Are you cutting corners? Are you not an expert on your topic? If you focus on value then don’t think about lower prices.
The conventional thinking states that people are more price sensitive during difficult times. However, in difficult times people are more careful to make sure that they are making sound financial decisions. People focus on value, not price. Expertise counts. People still spend money, but that money gravitates toward the best value not necessarily the lowest price. Price and value are not closely related. Sometimes a low cost offering can be a very poor value. Moreover, if your sales volume does decline then to lower prices will make your top-line revenue even worse.
Focus On Adding Value and
This Will Help Your Business Relationships.
Do not strive to be the lowest priced business in your marketplace. In any market it’s a precarious place to be. Be certain of the value your business offers. Be confident in your pricing. Starting from a higher price means you are going after touchdowns not field goals or not thinking only about playing defense. Play to win the game. Do not play to not lose. Don’t be on the defensive. Use your offence.
Action: Learn to explain the value your company provides. Practice this. Get good at this. Many companies don’t take the time to get good at creating and explaining value.
Content Marketing Value: Add value. Solve problems. Use content to build relationships. You need to be good at explaining and presenting the value of your business and this is where content marketing really shines.
Don’t look to blame things you cannot influence. Focus on what you can influence. Be creative to improve top line revenue. Take care of your all-important business relationships by adding even more value to what you do. If you belong to a networking group, have business partners, belong to a chamber and have an existing client base then look for opportunities to add more value. Use content marketing as one of the ways to get the message out.
In this economy it will be the businesses that provide the most value to their customers and the ones that communicate this well that will outperform. Use content marketing to demonstrate the value of your business to the very important Internet audience associated with your business focus.
If you want to learn more about content marketing then I invite you to have some fun viewing our Content Marketing Tutorials.