100 Questions in 100 Days to Kick-off Your Online Marketing
For many small business owners marketing online can be confusing and, frankly, a little intimidating. Especially if you’re new to online marketing.
I can feel even more daunting if your business is in a highly competitive category.
If you follow this blog, or you’ve been studying other online marketing sites, you’re likely beginning to become familiar with content marketing.
But familiarity isn’t enough. You’re looking for some guidance, for a place to start.
When I first started I was just like you, I understood the concepts of content marketing but I was in search of a good starting point. I spent many hours studying others, reading books, listening to podcasts, and observing.
Eventually I came up with my own strategy, my unique formula, and a place to start. But it didn’t have to take me so long to get started. There’s a much easier way to get out of the blocks, and begin your content marketing program quickly
The River Pools & Spas Story
In early 2009, as a result of the economic collapse, River Pool & Spas had seen a change in their fortunes. A business that normally averaged 6 new pool orders per month, was now averaging only 2 new orders.
This once successful small business was now in distress, it was suffering monthly losses and wasn’t going to last much longer if there wasn’t a radical change.
The company was investing in radio, television, and pay-per-click advertising, but that wasn’t working. Marcus Sheridan, one of the owners, started to re-think the marketing mix. They needed something new.
Mr. Sheridan would ultimately arrive at an online strategy. He would begin creating informational blog posts and videos. He was doing what is effectively known as content marketing today. River Pools & Spas would turn their fortunes, even exceeding pre-2007 revenues.
This isn’t a case study post about River Pools & Spas, rather, it’s about how he started.
You see, when River Pools and Spas undertook this strategy, there wasn’t a lot being written about content marketing. Marcus didn’t have a ton of blogs and books to turn to as a road map. No, he was largely cutting a new path.
To solve this problem he did what made the most sense. He knew the questions that were commonly asked, so he set out to write a blog to answer all the consumer questions that had ever been asked of him or his team.
Answering the questions that your consumers ask is the height of being useful and providing utility. It’s the essence of content marketing. This is why it works.
Can you answer 100 questions in 100 days?
I was recently listened to an interview with Ryan Hanley. He’s the Head of Digital Marketing for Trusted Choice and a former marketing director for a small, family owned independent insurance agency. When he started down his content marketing journey, he followed Marcus’ lead.
In the interview he tells the story of undertaking an initiative to answer 100 questions in 100 days, posting each answer to the blog run by the insurance agency where he worked. He recorded each answer as a video, using only an iPhone.
This strategy provided him a great place to start, got his initiative going, and provided an increase in revenues through online marketing. Opening an entirely new source of new consumer acquisition to the company.
Once again, this is brilliant.
This isn’t rocket science, you can do this too
There should be nobody who understands your consumers’ needs better than you or your team. You’re answering questions every day. You have all the consumer research you need, and this places you in a very powerful position.
Here is what you need to do, and it is totally simple. Sit down with your team and write down all the questions that your consumers ask about your products or services. When you have your list, begin to write a blog post to answer these questions.
There are resources to help you understand how to draft a good blog post, so don’t let that get in your way. With each post you will incrementally get better.
Here are a few tips when thinking how to answer these questions:
- Be your authentic self and be comfortable sharing your personality.
- Make use of story where appropriate, this will make the post more readable.
- Remember, this is not about YOU or YOUR PRODUCTS, it’s about your readers, prospects or customers.
- You need to care about these issues, and that must be easy to understand from the post.
- You’re here to solve problems, to provide value, so do your part to make the life of your reader just a little bit better.
Now that you’ve published your answers to your blog, you’ll want to share your answers with your email list and social media channels.
Education and being informative is the essence of content marketing. Taking the challenge to answer you customer’s questions in a way that provides real value to the reader is a great place to begin your journey into content marketing.
If you do this correctly, you will be on a path to establishing real authority in your niche.