While content creation may seem like a superfluous way to spend your time, content marketing provides tremendous value to your business because it helps improve your SEO with visibility on the web and is also an excellent relationship building tool to prove your expertise and establish trust with potential and existing customers.
The core purpose of content market is to grow your business by building brand awareness online. Content envelopes many things: social media posts, blogs, images, video and graphics. Two of the most effective forms of content marketing are blogs and videos. In fact, video is quickly becoming the top preference for consumers looking to learn more about a product or service, with more than half of internet users watching videos daily. There is a tremendous opportunity in the home services industries to capitalize on this and build stronger relationships with new and existing customers.
You can start small with a few posts on a blog hosted on your own website. This can include simple but useful tips and tricks such as how to change an air filter, how to spot and prevent insulation leaks, or how to save on energy bills with a programmable thermostat. Think about common customer questions for content ideas. The benefits here are twofold: quality content helps with search rankings, and you’re establishing rapport and building trust with customers.
While it’s true that content creation takes time (this is a common deterrent for small business owners), it’s a strategy that pays dividends if implemented with consistency. It’s highly recommended you schedule time in your week for content creation and honor that schedule. Treat content marketing like any other essential piece of business operations or it will too easily fall by the wayside.
Publishing a new blog post to your website once or twice a week is a good guideline, but if that’s not something you have the bandwidth for, don’t sweat it. Even publishing just one new blog post per month is a step in the right direction. Be realistic about your capabilities and your goals and expectations.
In addition to scheduling time for content creation, keep yourself organized and on track for success with a well thought-out content calendar. You can mix it up by offering timely information about navigating seasonal changes or common issues interspersed with evergreen (or timeless) maintenance tips. You can even show off your team’s personality by occasionally featuring a “meet the technician” video for a lighthearted and authentic look at the people behind your brand.
For blog posts (written texts), the length will vary depending on the topic. From our experience working with many clients in this space, we’ve seen longer posts of 1000 words or more perform well. This isn’t to say you should fluff up your articles with unnecessary verbiage just to make them longer, but if you’re exploring an issue that offers readers a valuable deep dive into how to tackle it, they’re more likely to stick with it and share it with others who may find it helpful. Mix it up with short form and long form to start, and remember to share your content on your business social channels.
For videos, research shows that shorter clips are more likely to be consumed. Quick tips that can be covered in under two minutes are a good place to start. Of course, there are also many opportunities to show your expertise and build customer confidence with slightly longer videos offering step by step problem-solving instructions, for example: how to inspect your gas furnace for potential issues. Generally, eight to 10 minutes is a good guideline for instructional videos.
Content marketing is an investment of time and resources. However, in an industry with no shortage of competition, creating and sharing useful, credible content can make all the difference when it comes to customer conversion. Today’s consumers are savvy and will do their research before choosing a provider for repairs or maintenance. Your web presence is a reflection of your business. If you’re showing potential customers how well you know your stuff, introducing them to your professional and friendly staff or giving them valuable tips for the small jobs they can handle themselves, they’ll inherently see you as more trustworthy and reliable.
Like many “organic” marketing efforts, it can take time to start seeing engagement and traffic increase as a result of your blog and video efforts. But stay the course, keep producing, keep sharing and most importantly, have fun with it. The first time you get a call and someone says, “I called you because I really enjoyed that video you shared,” you’ll know your efforts are paying off!
This blog originally appeared in the HVAC Insider