Every business owner strives to market their business in the best ways they know how. From the tried and true to the latest trends, no matter the avenue, most savvy business owners are willing to test out a new marketing tactic to improve their business.
Content marketing isn't exactly new, but many businesses haven't yet given it a go. Traditionalists or those unfamiliar with how content marketing can boost business may not realize the benefits of this industrious type of marketing. But what is it exactly?
By definition, Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as, "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." Therefore, "Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues." Advantageous for both the business and the consumer. Seems like a winning solution!
As per Vertical Measures, 61% of customers are more likely to buy from a company which publishes custom content. Here's a look into some of the effective ways content marketing can work for you…
Get and Stay on the Radar
There are many companies to choose from in nearly any field. Content marketing can help make your company stand out from the pack. Simply placing your products or services on your website with descriptions and pricing isn't enough to make you memorable anymore. You need to be unique, interesting, and engaging. Content marketing is a favorable way to do just that.
As per YFS Magazine, "Every company has a niche. Talk about that niche, and your business can stay relevant. Consistently provide interesting content. Maintaining a company blog is one of the most common and simplest means of content marketing. However, you can go further and boost authority by publishing an industry newsletter or magazine." Create awareness and gain new clients and customers who are seeking more from a business than a quick transaction.
As Vertical Measures puts it, "Content marketing has been called the "new branding" as it consistently reaches your potential and current clients and reinforces that promise." Show your customers what you have to offer - and that's more than a product or service. It's who you are and what you value as a business owner, which is far more memorable in the long-term.
According to Vertical Measures, "If you publish frequently, your content will build trust not only with your potential clients but also with the search engines. Search engines want to deliver the very best content possible to the audience using their engine." According to Content Marketing Institute, "Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content." In turn, the customers will find you and look into using your business for their needs. They want who's on top of their game, and content marketing done well will put you there.
Customer trust is something businesses have always valued, and SEO and ranking in search engines is the modern way people find businesses they deem trustworthy and the one to ultimately choose. "This translates into increased traffic, which can lead to more people linking to your websites; creating a positive feedback loop where people will remain interested in your business as long as you continue to create value," notes YFS Magazine.
The more content you provide, the more educated and involved your clients and customers become. Make sure your content is not only sales-focused, but relevant to an array of aspects of your field and helpful to your readers even if they're not making a purchase at the time. This shows that you are invested in their well-being beyond the sale. Knowing you have their interests at heart will have them returning to you the next time they need your product or service. As per Vertical Measures, "A well-educated client is a better, more long-lasting client. In order to build customer loyalty, provide additional value through your content long after the sale is done."
Keep at It
As per Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing increases sales and brings better customers who are loyal to your brand." Be sure to regularly update content on your website and social media feeds. Send emails with not only salesy information, but benevolent information and updates as well to keep your customers engaged and informed. Keep on target with your company's values and morals and use a tone that reflects your businesses "personality."
See what consumers are reading and hone in on that type of content. See what people are "liking" and "sharing" and give them more of what they enjoy. If you link out to calls to action in your content, make it relevant and natural to the subject matter. You'll find that customers will appreciate honesty and integrity.
Now it's time to boost that content and get it out there! If you need help getting started, check out Content Marketing Institute's guide to developing content for marketing.
Extra, extra… read all about YOUR business!
As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.