The majority of ad agencies have yet to comprehend what huge benefits a blog can make and why it deserves to be “prime time” for new business.
With help from American Business Media and the Business Marketing Association, Junta42 and MarketingProfs surveyed over 1,100 North American B2B marketers from diverse industries and a wide range of company sizes. The survey revealed that content marketing, including blogs, is a key lead generation source for 63% of the respondents.
- Brand Awareness – 78%
- Customer Attention/Loyalty – 69%
- Lead Generation – 63%
- Website Traffic – 55%
- Though Leadership – 52%
- Sales – 51%
- Lead Nurturing – 37%
Here’s the story of how my blog helped launch my business
I started my consulting business just prior to The Great Recession. We had three kids in college at the time. I didn’t have a lot of funds to promote my services nor the time to play around with social media. But, I sensed the potential of social media for building awareness quickly and creating new business opportunities. So I jumped in, immersing myself in it as if I were back in grad school. From early mornings until late at night and even weekends, I spent time trying to get my head around this new communication channel but always from a new business perspective.
From the start I was compelled to monetize social media, forced to press the envelope beyond the way the early adopters of social media had intended for it to be used. Within a short three months I was already securing new clients as well as an income that matched my previous salary.
From the beginning, the centerpiece of my social media strategy was my blog
My blog, Fuel Lines, literally launched my consultancy. If I had promoted my business using traditional methods, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have spent a substantial amount of money and it would have taken much longer for my consultancy business to be where it is today.
Once I created my blog it became a never-ending cycle of content development and learning curves based on the fast progression of social media. It has been a process of “learn as you go”. I came upon an old adage in the early days of my writing, “you don’t know what you know until you write it down”. This is so true. My blog has served as a key tool for my personal continuing education program. It brought focus to my reading and writing along with the discovery enriching online resources that fuel both content created from other sources and original content.
Content marketing, through my blog, quickly became one of my most effective marketing tools. Instead of the typical “once and done” traffic of a website, my blog has provided a much better platform for repeat traffic and search visibility.
Here are the benefits that I hope will give you reason to devote Prime Time to your agency’s blog:
1. Generate more online traffic
“Businesses (agencies) that blog, get 55% more website traffic than those that don’t,” According to a social media study by King Fish Media, HubSpot and Junta42
Your blog has the potential to create more web traffic than your agency’s website ever could. Your blog can attract a high volume of quality traffic from the pool of prospective clients you are trying to reach.
Blogs develop more visitors by:
- Search visibility – blogs are organized to be search engine friendly. Plus the more content you have (well-linked), the more chances there are of attracting search traffic.
- Click-through traffic – by posting interesting articles, a blog gives a reason for other people to link to you.
- Repeat traffic – regularly updated content and comments bring visitors back … and back … and back. Most agency websites are not conducive to repeat traffic, particularly if your website hasn’t been updated in 5 years.
- Personality – Put a face with your agency. Create a blog around a person(s) and let your personality shine through. People will be attracted to you. People like to associate and work with people they know, trust and like. It’s hard to make friends with a business, but easy to warm to an individual with a welcoming personality.
- Viral effects – you create something cool and visitors share it with their friends, who share with their friends … and so on.
2. A blog is a great place for your best prospects to easily find you
MarketingSherpa reported that a CMO Study, 80 percent of decision makers said they FOUND their vendors (not the other way around).
New business for ad agencies has been going through a paradigm shift; instead of chasing after prospective clients, it’s now more important for your prospective clients to find you. Blogs allows you to take full advantage of this paradigm shift for new business, shifting a good portion of your time and energy from outbound lead generation to implementing an inbound lead generation strategy.
A content marketing strategy is a major feature for inbound lead generation and a blog is a central component.
3. A positioning tool
Most ad agencies struggle with narrowing their target audience and thus have great difficulty in positioning and differentiating themselves. A blog is a tool that allows agencies to more easily define and adopt a differentiating new business strategy. Agencies are more comfortable with a narrower niche through a blog than they ever would be with their website.
Here are some examples of agency blogs with a strong target focus and differentiated positioning:
- momentum: Moms rule the social web. Does your brand have momentum? – Big Fuel, Manhattan, NY
- Off The Shelf: Helping private label food brands take advantage of all the opportunities the market offers – Barkley, Kansas City, MO
- Park Howell: Sustainable Storyteller. How sustainable are you and your green marketing – Park & Company, Phoenix, AZ
- Roxanne Joffe: Helping women to start, run and grow their business – Cap Brand Marketing, Sarasota, FL
- Tradesmen Insights: Marketing to the professional tradesman in the Construction, Industrial and MRO markets – SONNHALTER, Berea, OH
- Creative Triage: Market your community hospital efficiently – ABZ Design Group, Charlotte, NC
- The Matte Pad: Marketing Know-How for the legal profession – MAX Advertising, Atlanta, GA
- Turn Up Your Volume: Strategists and marketers that are looking for ways to drive high-contribution patient volume – The Heavyweights, Indianapolis, IN
- Healthy Conversations: Inspiration, Insights & Ideas for Creating New Value – Trajectory, Morristown, NJ
- MARKETINGHOMEPRODUCTS: Marketing strategies and communication tactics related to the home and building channel – Kleber & Associates, Atlanta, GA
- The One Thing Blog: The casino marketers guide to understanding gamers – Littlefield, Tulsa, OK
- Fifth Gear Analytics: Accerlarting sales through analytical insights – SIGMA Marketing Group, Rochester, NY
- Ask Smarter Questions: Data drive marketing & business intelligence – Levelwing, Charleston, SC
4. Your own focus group for new business
I have been enriched by having this online, ongoing, personal “focus group” that has provided real-time feedback and insights. My blog readers provide me with an ongoing education. They help me to help them. They let me know whether or not I’m clearly communicating with them. They help me to take my experience and expertise with agency new business and social media and become better at meeting their specific needs.
5. The recycling of older content for a greater ROI
You will continue to generate a great return on your time investment, writing for your agency’s blog, by recycling older content. As you write your posts, learn to write “ever-green” to give the content a long shelf life.
Here are some ways to repurpose your blog content:
- Twitter: This isn’t like your email inbox. People are on and off Twitter rather quickly. Often they are scanning for helpful resources to their advertising/marketing challenges. The odds that the majority of your followers would see a post that you published at 11 am on a Thursday is remote. It’s about reach and frequency. SocialOomph is a great program to assist with repurposing content through your Twitter account and allows you to control your publishing schedule knowing what post is being published when.
- Email Newsletters: Posts from your archive will find new life by way of your newsletter. You can group older posts around a particular category or theme. Highlight the “best of” your online content. Here are a couple of examples: Fuel Lines, Convince and Convert’s Vault
- Facebook and LinkedIn: Another way to repurpose content is through other social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. These are not with the same frequency of posting as you would with Twitter.
6. A pipeline for consistent lead generation
You can keep your prospective pipeline full even when your agency is busy with client work or you are away.
At the beginning of the summer, while my wife and I were vacationing in Key West, I wrote a post and published it along with a photo while on the beach. I wrote,“Vacationing with Social Media and Still Generating Ad Agency New Business,” to illustrate how content marketing through a blog can keep your new business pipeline full even when you are away.
7. Leading with client benefits instead of agency capabilities
Blogging keeps your agency focused on what is important to your prospective clients. It’s not about YOU it’s all about THEM. It forces you speak to their benefit instead of talking about your agency.
If you don’t have a passion to help your audience succeed, you wont success with blogging. As soon as you start to “sell” your agency or brag about your credentials and awards, you will lose your credibility along with your audience. Instead, provide content that helps your prospects with their marketing challenges and build trust. Then new business will come.
8. A professional enrichment tool
Blogging will enrich your professional life, keep you up to date with the freshest thinking and help you to be acquainted with the newest and best trends. Writing to a specific audience to help them with their needs will focus your reading and your writing. You have direction to begin each day and that makes blogging easier.
9. Enhances Network and Referrals
A survey of advertising agencies conducted by Fuel Lines, reveals that 50% of the 430 responding agencies generated new business from two primary sources last year: referrals and networking.
Agencies have long understood the importance of individual connections to generate new business. It has always been the lifeblood of small to midsize agencies. Thankfully, albeit slowly, agencies are starting to understand the potential of social media to enhance networks and referral opportunities.
A blog, as the centerpiece of your social media strategy, will greatly enhance your capabilities of networking within your local market plus far beyond it.
Over the summer, I wrote a post from my hotel room in London, England. I was reflecting on how far I’ve come since I created my blog. I have worked with new clients all across the United States from Costa Mesa, CA to Port Clyde, Maine and this year had my first overseas client in the UK. I’ve recently been invited to speak to agencies across South Africa in the cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.
I’ve generated these personal networks and referrals by blogging from my home office which is located above my garage in Alabaster, Alabama. It’s absolutely amazing.
10. A Call-to-Action converting blog visitors into new business opportunities
A strong call to action is a clear, simple and compelling offer that persuades your readers to take the action you want. Just having a “Contact Us” form on your blog site is not very appealing to your blog’s visitors. It doesn’t count as your call to action.
I would suggest creating an offer for a particular service, usually a first-step that you normally conduct with every new client, like a brand or marketing audit. Price it in lower than normal, a clear value to the prospect. This will do 3 things:
- Render a quicker decision from your prospects. They are not having to make a major financial commitment at this point. They’re just committing to take a small initial step.
- Identify the true prospect from those that just want to pick your brain for free and will never pay for your services.
- Pay you, at least for a portion of your time, for important face time with your prospective clients.