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If I can only do one thing, what will best improve my business?

If I can only do one thing, what will best improve my business?

I attended a workshop about preparing a 90 day plan for your business hosted by my good friend Dipak Ghosh of ActionCoach . Every business wants more clients, more sales and more profit, but we are normally too busy blocking and tackling with the day-to-day activities to develop as plan.  Dipak’s Profit & Growth workshop helped me dedicate an afternoon to focus on how to grow my business.    For anyone that has heard the ActionCoach philosophy, you know that they focus on five variables that we can affect to drive growth.  During the workshop, I realized there was so many different ways to help my busines grow, but I doubt I have the time to do them all.  I had to come up with what is the one best thing to do that can affect these variables the most. 

While we all want more customers, more sales and more profit, we cannot directly influence these.  In order to get more customers, we can’t force people to buy, but we can directly affect the number of leads and our conversion percentage.  In order to get more sales, we can’t buy our products ourselves, but we can affect the average sales amount and the number of sales a customer makes in the year.  To get more profits, we can manage the gross margin of our business.

Dipak has many ideas on how to increase and improve any one of these factors, but I started to wonder what one thing could I do that would affect as many of these as possible. I realized that Content Marketing impacts four of five of these factors.

Improve Lead Generation:

Content Marketing means providing information that will educate and inform your prospects. If the information is provided online, it helps generate search results in the search engines. If we focus our content writing on one topic per session it becomes a highly relevant piece of content for the search engines. When someone searches for that topic, the search engines will display the most relevant results first. An article with a very focusses topic will usually rank higher than a web-page with multiple topics.

Additionally if the content is highly relevant to our readers, and we give the ability to share the content easily with the reader’s friends and fans, our content will be promoted outside our immediate sphere. Oh, by the way, a shared piece of content is just as good as a referral or testimonial, so these prospects will be better qualified, leading to better conversions.

Increase Conversion Rate:

Prospects that have read our content are easier to become clients because they become self-qualified. When they read our content, they become aware of the benefits of our products; they can identify with the customers in our case studies; they learn to trust our information and understand our philosophies and motivations. If after learning all of this, they request a quote or evaluate our services, we have a much higher likelihood of them becoming our client. If they became aware of us from a shared story, then there is social proof that we are worth doing business with; that our information is valuable.

Higher Average Amount per Sale:

I have a friend who recites the mantra “value is 100% perception”. I had difficulty with this statement at first until I recognized that before anyone pays for the value of a service, they have to understand it. Content Marketing allows you to outline the value of what you offer and the benefits compared to the other solutions.  Content Marketing will help keep your prices firm, and limit discounting because your prospects will already know the value of your offerings.  Additionally, the amont of each sale because the peripheal items that should accompany your product will be known to your clients and they will package the items together with their purchase.

More Sales per Customer:

Content Marketing is permission based marketing, meaning that they have given you permission to send them information. This allows you to stay in touch with them, and removes the “perceived indifference” that affects most customer – vendor relationships. Since you are staying in touch with your customers regarding events, product updates, new applications, and helpful information about your industry or services, there is a greater chance of the customer doing repeat business with you.

Content marketing is the future of marketing; your business health is absolutely dependent on the quality and relevance of information that you publish to the web for your customers and potential customers.  It takes time to generate useful information, and a good content plan should be established, but each piece of content can affect several areas of business growth.  Additionally content marketingis an exponential effort, due to search, each piece of content continues to work for you long after you spent the effort to create it, unlike a cold call, magazine ad or trade show.

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