At this point you are well-aware that the Internet isn’t going away anytime soon, and you probably have also heard just how important it is for your company to have a presence online for marketing and reputation purposes, especially considering there are more than 164 million US adult internet users (according to Pew Research). What you may be questioning, however, is whether or not there really is a benefit that will ultimately affect your bottom line.
Well, the simple answer is absolutely! Having an online marketing presence is crucial, and the great thing is that getting leads and bringing positive attention to your company doesn’t have to come with an expensive price tag. You are in control.
Why? Now more than ever content marketing, or inbound marketing as it has more recently been described, has become a major focus – and it can be cheap. Yes, it does require more manpower to produce, but it might be simpler than you think.
In a couple weeks at the Debt Connection Symposium & Expo I will be co-hosting a pre-conference teaching workshop entitled “Essential Marketing Tools for Collection Agencies.” Hopefully you will be able to join us where you will learn more about this topic but for those who cannot attend, I’d like to dive into this content marketing notion a bit more with some concepts that you can put into place today.
How? Content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean writing whitepaper after whitepaper; rather, it is merely an alternative way of earning your audience’s attention instead of buying it. Here are some simple examples of how to achieve this:
- Having a presence on LinkedIn and participating in group discussions
- Creating a Facebook page that alerts your various audiences with company information, achievements, etc.
- Writing a bi-weekly blog that provides compelling and informative content that entices readers to come back and allows them to recognize you for your knowledge
- Updating your website so that it is easily searchable and provides the most appropriate information for your audiences.
So how does this affect your bottom line? Inbound marketing can cost as much as 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing (according to HubSpot) and if done correctly, each implemented example will aid in protecting your reputation.
Assuming that you have all of the resources in-house, the cost for the upkeep of each of the content marketing components mentioned above would just be the time invested, and that is something that you can ultimately control.
- LinkedIn group presence & participation = Free
- Fact: If your company was to have a presence on just one social media site, LinkedIn would be the place to start because it garners the best return and the most activity in the B2B space.
- Question: Do you and your company have a profile on LinkedIn? – Having a company LinkedIn profile allows your employees to connect to it which helps to humanize your company (this is important in an industry where that concept is far too often forgotten by outsiders). And having your own profile allows you to comment in groups, share your knowledge and opinions, and make connections with prospects.
- Company Facebook page = Free
- Fact: Facebook has more than 900 million users as of 4/24/12 (according to Wikipedia). That ranks Facebook’s population as third in the world, only behind the populations of China and India.
- Question: If a prospect, client, attorney, consumer, etc. is searching for your company on Facebook, what do they find? – Because so many people are on Facebook there is no reason not to have your company represented – and it gives you an additional result when someone searches for it in Google. With that said, you also want to be careful to ensure that your posts include information that would only be beneficial should any of your various audiences view your page.
- Blog on your website = Free
- Fact: As of 2011, 39% of all of the US companies use a blog for marketing purposes (according to eMarketer). According to HubSpot 2010, companies with a blog have 55% more website visitors and 67% more leads per month than those without a blog.
- Question: Do you have a blog? – The SEO, reputation protection, promotional, and brand recognition benefits are limitless. With your own blog you are able to control the messaging and post content as often as you like. Posting this additional content allows your site to receive more indexed pages, which brings more inbound links to your site, and all of this ultimately helps with where and when your site shows up in search results thus increasing website visits and leads.
- Making website & SEO updates = Free
- Fact: There are more than 43 million searches for information on products/services made by US adult internet users every day.
- Question: Are you showing up? – Someone is and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be you. By optimizing your site and keeping the content fresh you increase your odds of showing up in targeted keyword searches. Then when you are found, you want to ensure that you are giving off a vibe that encourages your audience to stay and visit again. You might consider asking yourself – does my corporate site answer my prospect’s questions? What does it say about my company? Is my consumer site helpful and easy to navigate? You only get one chance to make that first impression so be sure that it is a good one.
Jenn Szumiesz is the Client Marketing Specialist at insideARM.com and insidePatientFinance.com. On September 10th she and two of her colleagues, President & Publisher Stephanie Eidelman and Chief Content Officer Michael Klozotsky, will be presenting ‘Essential Marketing Tools for Collection Agencies’ at DCS2012 in Las Vegas. RSVP to join this free workshop.