In the world of marketing, it is often said that “content is king” — something first said by Bill Gates in 1996.
In other words, a well-crafted and well-executed content strategy can deliver big results for businesses — perhaps more than any other type of marketing.
The problem is that, at first glance, content marketing can seem intimidating. You may be asking yourself questions like “Do I even have time for this?” or “What kind of content could I create that doesn’t already exist?”
The good news is that creating excellent content doesn’t require extravagant resources, just a bit of thoughtfulness.
Let us share three content strategies that have proven to be effective for busy home services and home improvement companies. These strategies require little time, budget, and marketing expertise — and can help virtually any business drive more sales.
Before getting into the strategies, let’s talk about what content marketing exactly is. The commonly accepted definition is that it consists of creating and sharing online material (i.e., content) that doesn’t explicitly promote a company but is ultimately meant to generate interest in said company.
To that definition we’ll add two things. First, the content should bring value to the audience, whether it’s by educating, inspiring, or entertaining them (or all three). Second, the content strategy should also be created with set business goals in mind (e.g., increasing social media followers, attracting new customers, or increasing brand loyalty).
It is also crucial to find a balance between bringing your audience value and boosting your own business. Too often we see companies create content that is really fun and engaging to their audience but doesn’t have much of a positive impact on their business.
When it comes to showing what services your business is capable of, images speak louder than words. Not only that, they’re also easier to come up with than words. All you need is your phone camera, and if you’re feeling a bit fancy, a basic photo editing tool (often available directly from your photos app).
For businesses whose services include an aesthetic element (e.g., landscaping, holiday lighting, remodeling), the benefits of a before-after are pretty obvious: you can show off your work while also inspiring customers.
It’s a good way to help prospects visualize what is possible and induce some FOMO. After all, who wouldn’t want a perfectly manicured lawn or a brand new kitchen?
But even if the value of your services aren’t as easily conveyed through photos, taking pictures of your work can still steer prospects towards you. For instance, say you’re in HVAC and one of your techs just replaced a water heater.
It may not seem sexy, but if you take a “before” photo with a caption like “Does your water heater look like this? It might be time to go tankless,” a customer might pause to think about it — or even check their water heater.
Oh, another bonus of taking before-after photos: You can share with us photos of projects paid for through Wisetack using #TheWisetackWay on Facebook and Instagram — not only will you get an exposure boost but we’ve also been known to send swag to participants ;). (Check out what other businesses have shared with us.)
You’re an expert in what you do, but so are a lot of other people. Say you are in the tree care business, and it’s spring. A lot of people will be looking to the web for tips on how to prep their trees for the season.
Unfortunately for you, there are already a ton of videos and articles on that topic, some from large publishers and channels with an established following. So how can you compete?
Here’s your key advantage: You are an expert in not just your field, but local conditions and people. Are there certain problems that are unique to your geography or audience? Address them in your content.
You can give very specific tips based on your local climate and current conditions, something a larger publisher won’t be able to do. Taking this local angle makes your content more useful to your audience and it also makes it feel much more personal.
From an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, localized content also gives you a chance to win local search traffic — the most useful type of search traffic for your business.
For instance, if you’re based in Denver, someone searching “When to water trees in Colorado” is a lot more likely to be a good prospect than someone just searching “When to water trees.”
Another way to make the most out of localized content is by building your subscriber base in channels such as email marketing and social media. With those organic channels, you are able to reach out directly to your audience at any time — meaning that not only can you give them helpful advice, but you're also able to give it at the exact right time.
Like we mentioned in our article on how to enhance your Google Business Profile, getting positive customer reviews is essential to your business — 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That's why we recommend asking (or even incentivizing) customers to leave a review as often as possible.
But don’t let these awesome positive comments just get buried in your Google reviews. Instead, make the most of them by regularly sharing them with other customer. In other words, let your satisfied customers do the preaching for you. Here’s how you can go about it:
First, curate all the good reviews you’ve ever gotten. Make some light edits as needed, and store them somewhere like a spreadsheet or a Word doc. It might take an hour or so the first time if you have lots of them, plus about 5-10 minutes per week after that — but having this repository will be well worth it.
This is also a good time to check that the people who left those good reviews are still customers and didn’t have a bad experience with you after the initial review.
Pull these reviews from your repository and share them via your marketing channels. For instance, you could try to share two positive reviews a week on social media and add a “testimonial” section to your email newsletter. To do that, you'll want to select the most striking part of the review — the one where they rave the most about your services or your business.
The execution doesn't need to be fancy either; you can just share each review as simple text or create an image with the quote overlaying a basic background. You can do that directly from most social media platforms, or alternatively use a free design tool like Canva.
As you look through your library of reviews, look for the ones in which the customer seems extra ecstatic. Those are good candidates to be turned into a case study, which is just an extended testimonial.
Case studies are a highly effective type of content: they show what’s good about your company and how satisfied your customers are — all told from their point of view.
To create one, take 5-10 minutes to call (ideally with video) the customers you’ve identified and get the full story. Try to get them to expand on their review. If you can talk to them in person and record that, even better.
Then, publish and share the video, or turn it into an article. Case studies are great to share through your marketing channels, but also on your website. Oh, and you know what goes really well with a case study? Visual proof — aka your before-after photos ;).
Case studies are a little more advanced and time-consuming, but absolutely worth it if you have the resources to pull them off.
The simple answer is: everywhere you can. Just make sure to adapt the content to the distribution channel.
To help clarify things, we'll give you an example based on a hypothetical content piece about solving increasing the efficiency of an AC system.
First, we need a foundation piece, which everything else will be derived from. For the sake of this example, let's make it a video titled, “5 tips to ensure your AC is running smoothly.” Here’s how you could reuse that one video over and over: