Smart Words by Sarah
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Category Archives for Brand Voice

Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, James Brown, and…Content Marketing?

Here’s why your small business should be blogging and producing other content—and how to make sure your content is effective.

Speaking of noise on the internet, everywhere you turn someone has an opinion about how you should market your business. But all across the web, internet marketers agree:

Like Elvis, Michael Jackson, and James Brown, content is king.

There’s never been a better time for content. Blog posts, guest posts, online articles, white papers, and e-books are a crucial piece of the marketing puzzle. Here’s why content is so important:

  1. Google is constantly getting smarter. Every time you turn around they’ve got a new update. But that’s not a problem for savvy businesses that truly deliver value in their content. That’s because Google is getting better and better at finding the good stuff–the articles and posts people want to read. It’s also getting better at filtering out the bad stuff.
  2. Consumers are changing the way they interact with brands. No longer are they content to sit in front of a TV and be yelled at by a cartoon. Today’s consumers (and especially today’s parents) make decisions based on value, trust, and the connection they feel to a brand. Good content can meet all of these demands.
  3. Content marketing gives you a high return on investment. Unlike ads, you don’t have to pay every time someone reads your content. Evergreen articles (those you can use forever) that engage your customers, demonstrate your authority, and make a connection with your audience will pay for themselves several times over.

Successful internet marketing revolves around content.

Just for fun, here are a few more reasons why content is like Elvis, Michael Jackson, and James Brown:

  1. Content often takes the spotlight, but it can’t be successful on its own. The kings of rock and roll, pop, and soul all had powerful support networks. Content gets its support from brand voice, sales copy, and offers.
  2. Content can be kind of a diva. It doesn’t give you a list of demands before every concert, but if you want it to do its job, you have to treat it right
  3. The really, really good content plays to its audience and gets incredibly popular.

It’s only part of the big picture, and it may change over time, but it will always be king.

So how do you write content worthy of the crown?

Ok. Here it is. (Cue the fanfare.) Here’s what you need to know to create blog posts and other content that will bring customers to your business.

  1. Know who you’re talking to. Are they parents who are currently using your service? Former customers? People you’ve talked to before but who haven’t signed up? What you write will depend on how aware the audience is of their problem and how aware they are of your solution. The tone you write in will depend on what your audience wants to hear.
  2. Write a curiosity-evoking headline. Curiosity is so powerful. Put up a headline that is relevant to the topic and makes your readers want to read on.
  3. Tell a story. Weaving a story into your content will help it stick with the reader. Now, a story isn’t always a must, but it can be quite powerful. Thinking about a basic story framework (complete with a main character, a setting, a problem, a solution, and a change in the main character) will help you craft interesting, compelling content.
  4. Above all, deliver value. Does your audience want inspiration? Tips and tricks related to your service? The solution to a specific problem? Entertainment? The more value you can deliver, the better.
  5. Understand that putting up a few blog posts won’t bring you a slew of new customers. Sure, you may get some organic search traffic (that’s people who come across your content by using a search engine), but for the most part, your content will go unread without additional support. Still, content is king because it’s so important to the overall picture.

Creating content is worth it if you’re marketing online. This is true even if you’re a local, brick-and-mortar business. It can be the difference between “I think I saw an ad for them once” and “Oh, yeah, that place! They really know their stuff!”

P.S. If you’re ready to create content worthy of the crown, I’m here to help. You can see my full service menu, including specials, and email me at energylinguistic@gmail.com to reserve my time. Not sure where to start? Schedule a free 30-minute Discovery Call. We’ll see if your business and mine are a good fit for working together, and you’ll come away with a list of recommendations you can start implementing right away.

Is your “About Us” page helping or hurting you?

In another post, I told you about five simple things to check on your website to make sure people take the time to get to know you. Now that you’ve checked those things and fixed up your site, let’s look at some other ways to get your customers’ attention.

Today let’s look at your “about us” page.

I’ll call it a page to keep it simple, but keep in mind that you can have a separate “about us” page or a brief section on your home page.

Here’s what to check:

  • Does your “about us” page show your brand’s personality?
  • Is it written in your brand’s voice? (Do you have a brand voice?)
  • Does it have a real photo of you or your staff? (Remember that people buy from people.)
  • Does it tell a story? Your brand’s origin story could be the key to building a real relationship with your potential customers. If you don’t think your origin story is interesting, think again! You can tell it in a compelling way to show that you are passionate about your work and your customers.

I hope you’ll take a few moments today to make sure your “about us” page is on point. When a potential customer is exploring your site, your “about us” story can add to their trust in your business.

Your partner in growth,
Sarah

P.S. I offer discounted services to new clients with my new-client specials. Schedule a free Discovery Call at https://calendly.com/sjfoster and I’ll help you choose the best place to start.

What a kids’ hairstylist can teach us about business.

Recently I took my son to get his hair cut at a place we hadn’t visited before. His usual place wasn’t open, and he needed a haircut ASAP.   

One of the stylists, Jessica, led us to her chair and got him set up. That’s when I took my position. My boy is five, which means he doesn’t sit still. Ever. So every time, I go prepared to hold him down. He doesn’t mind; he just needs help sitting still so he doesn’t get his ear cut off. So I hovered nearby, ready to jump in. 

But this time was different. Jessica got to work, talking to him the whole time. It turned out she didn’t need me to hold him still. The lady knew what she was doing, and she could do it despite all his little-kid wiggles and wriggles. The whole time, she was talking to him and to me. She didn’t just pick one. And she could handle it all at the same time: chatting with me about my son, chatting with my son about giraffes, and giving him a perfect haircut—without my having to hold him down. 

We will be back, and we will ask for Jessica. 

Friends, this talented lady is a prime example of how to do everything right with both kids and parents. 

So I wondered why the place was empty. Why wasn’t every kid in town on Jessica’s waiting list?

Probably because nobody knows she’s so good with kids. All I got from the salon’s website was their location, hours, and some generic photos of people with amazing hair. Good info, but not enough to build trust. 

A few simple ways this local business could get more families through their doors:

1. Ask for referrals (and provide a referral bonus). I’d love to tell my neighbors with kids about our experience. A small discount for me and the people I refer would sweeten the deal. 

2. Engage with local parents online (and include a healthy dose of personality). Some videos or anecdotes from their kid-friendly stylists would go a long way in building the brand’s story and encouraging parents to drop in. Customer stories would increase the appeal. 

Being in the business you’re in, you’re probably a relationship-building service master like Jessica. You may have employees who are masters, too. If so, your business should be booked solid. With a waiting list. 

But if you don’t have enough new customers coming in, it may be because people don’t know about you (or don’t know enough about you to call). They need to see your personality and expertise. They need you to show them that you’re relationship material. 

I can help you take the first steps. If you’re ready to get started reaching new customers through blogging or e-mails, all you have to do is book a free 30-minute Discovery Call.  I’ll listen to your needs, and we’ll see if we can work together to bring you more customers.

Relationships and humanity (Oh, the feels)

In business, as in life, relationships are everything.

This weekend my daughter’s Girl Scout troop held their annual back-to-school swim party. They hadn’t seen each other all summer, but when they got back together it was as if they’d never parted. It made my heart happy to see them come back together, the best of friends.

As I watched them cheer each other on at the diving board, I realized that all the knot-tying and camping skills in the world would be worth nothing without this bond they have. Their success as growing young women must come from both skills and human connection.

I’m sure it’s the same for the children and families that you serve. You probably teach an important set of skills, but what use will those skills be to them without genuine relationships?  I’ll bet you’re good at nurturing growth in both areas.

So my challenge for you today is to think about human relationships. Do you nurture genuine relationships with your potential customers? How about with your existing clients? With both the kids you serve and their parents?

This week we’ll talk about some simple ways that you can show your humanity in your messaging. Your program is so much more than its features, and showing it will help you stand out.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Do you think you could use a shot of humanity in your messaging? Got any tips for building relationships with parents? Please get in touch by emailing me at energylinguistic@gmail.com or sharing your ideas with other business owners in our shiny new Facebook group. I can’t wait to learn more about you and your business.