I’m surprised at the number of times I hear people saying things like “Content marketing doesn’t make sense for my business”, or “I don’t sell a product. I sell a service”, or “I am a professional service and I don’t rely on Google searches for my business.” It is all about reputation and referrals for me.
And these conversations aren’t happening during a sales call.
These are over dinner with a friend who is a lawyer, at my son’s ball game talking about work with another parent who is a financial advisor or with my dentist – as I try to mumble answers to his questions with a mouth full of gauze.
I have learned that it’s hard to get some people to understand that it is critical to all businesses to have strong website content and a regular flow of it. They might even understand how content can improve search results, they just don’t think it will work for their business.
Typically it is professionals who have built a strong reputation in their field.
They believe they don’t need those people who are randomly searching and happen to stumble upon them. Instead, they rely purely on the word of mouth and referrals that their reputation and expert services have earned them.
And they are right – those are their most valuable leads. But, what about those valuable leads they may be losing because they aren’t utilizing optimized website content? Let’s say one of your valuable clients mentions your name in a conversation or they remember reading about you in a trade publication. The first place an interested, potential client will go is online to research you or to look up your contact information. Would they be able to find you easily, and if they did, what would they find?
Without strong website content a few things could happen.
When someone looks for you online, they may find your site, but there may not be much compelling information. So they might decide to check out some of the other sites that appeared in the search, which may be those of your competitors. You run the risk of losing your prospect to a competitor who may have better information on their site.
Or it could be worse; your site doesn’t appear very high up in search results. Your competitors look like they are the leaders. Now you don’t even get a chance to win your lead back and you don’t even know you lost it.
Instead, turn the tables on your competitors.
When your site delivers compelling and optimized content, not only do you keep your own referrals but you can possibly convert some of your competitors’ referrals into your clients.
An argument can be made that for professional services strong website content may be even more important than for many product-based businesses. Not only do you need to compete in search, you need to be the trusted leader and expert in your industry. Usually people aren’t comparing prices, they are just looking for the best. Your site is your showcase and introduction to what you offer.
Growing your business into what it is today probably wasn’t easy. You have earned your referral business – don’t give it up too easily. Help consumers find you and give them a reason to not look any further.