How Your Business Can Benefit from a Professional Writer

You thought of everything. The right SaaS solution for your financials, a solid insurance policy. Office space? Check. You even have a rockstar assistant, and the coolest logo you’ve ever seen from that guy on Fiverr.

From IT guy to office cleaner, new and growing environmental businesses need so many things but one often overlooked member of your team that you can’t do without is a freelance writer.

Here’s Why:

WRITERS SIMPLIFY THE COMPLEX

You’ve got a million ideas in your head about what you want your readers to know, and you could probably crank that out. If you had the time, or patience. Writers are communicators. They can take the painfully complex and make them easy to understand for your readers, for consistency and for compliance.

They can take your ideas and run with them. They can speak for you, and once you build a relationship with that writer, they can think for you too.

One of my freelance clients has told me more than once about how I can take his ideas and really build them out, almost as if I am in his head. That’s what a good writer can do for you.

WRITERS SAVE YOU LEGWORK

You thought you could keep up with the blog, write the 20 emails on your list, pull together your marketing pack. After all, you did well in English, and you got the semi-colon thing down. And honestly, because you have so many other things to pay for, you want to save where you can.

Let’s face it though. That blog’s been sitting there since last October, when your last entry consumed your entire afternoon, as you illustrated the finer points of seeking out an environmental engineer and the massive amount of detail work a Phase I environmental  assessment entails.

Marketing writing is important stuff that needs to get done, but do you really have the time to do it? And if you do, will you give it your best, or just do it to get it done?

TIME IS MONEY

I see it a lot. To cut costs, many businesses will handle their communications themselves to save on the bottom line, or pass their blog off to an already busy soil specialist or biologist.

As a business owner, I get it. Why pay when you can do it yourself, or hand it off to someone already on the payroll for free?

Whether it’s in your paycheck or someone else’s, your business is still paying for that writing, and often times the blog will get done in lieu of some other more specialized, and mission critical task.

However, you wouldn’t hire a bear handler to manage your internet security, and you wouldn’t hire a chef to manage your office. Why would you leave your writing to just anyone, when a writer can do it better and faster?

YOUR REPUTATION’S ON THE LINE

From your bios, over to your About Us page, right down to your twitter posts, what you plaster up on your site and your blog is all your potential clients see. That means if you just threw something up on your web page rife with spelling errors and incomplete sentences, that is what your customers are judging you on.

It pays to spend the time and energy on making your online reputation shine.

Hands down, your dollars go further when you hire a writer to do the writing.  Reach out!  I can help you get the words out online and in print.

Make sure what they see is your best side!

Is Your Website Holding You Back?

Your site is your online face. No secret there. But are you doing all you can to showcase your company’s awesomeness, or does your site design and content take away from your real value?

Let’s explore…

Write Quality Content

When it comes to website content, it isn’t just what you say, but how you say it. Is your site too wordy or too vague, or even both? It’s very possible to use a lot of words to say very little. Make sure your content is the right mix.

Real quick – here’s some other valuable content takeaways:

Give your visitors a good scope of what you do, without boring them with too many details: Think of your home page as your elevator pitch. Short. Sweet. To the point. AND RELEVANT!

Use long-tail keywords naturally: Search engines and people can smell a keyword-stuffed page a mile away and it’s a total turnoff. Use them wisely. Not too much.

Be transparent: Unless you are Nike or American Express, state clearly what you do on your front page. Be sure to spell it out. It helps qualify your potential clients, helps the search engines rank you, and helps your readers feel satisfied that where they are is where they need to be. There’s nothing worse than wasting massive amounts of time on a site searching for the company’s specialty.

Break up your paragraphs into bite-sized sections: This makes your page easier to read both on desktop and mobile platforms, and will retain your reader’s attention longer.

Break up the rhythm of your sentences: Have some really short ones – like this. Then add in some other longer ones – but not too long.  Research shows that longer sentences just get scanned or skipped over completely.

Skip the cerebral vocabulary: You don’t need to prove your intelligence. If you can walk, don’t saunter. If you can think, don’t ponder.

Use the words you’d use chatting over coffee, unless your subject matter calls for something different. People can sense phony writing, and it makes you come off as unapproachable. No one wants to buy from the guy who’s unapproachable, so don’t be that guy.

Maintain the left margin, if you can: As western left-to-right readers, we will always look for that left starting point. If you’ve got a lot of content, keep your readers in a comfy headspace, by keeping the margin for them.

Prioritize Website Graphics

Have you ever visited a page with an overload of annoying pop-ups? Or how about those irritating ads that follow you as you scroll down the page, flashing and talking at you like a sleazy Vegas billboard? Yeah, me too. So painful.

If you’ve got a ton of pop-ups, a bunch of flash and color, or lots of ads bouncing around, unless you are selling blinking, bouncing things, you are detracting from your natural personality as a company, and worse, could be scaring off potential clients.

  • Keep movement to a minimum, and make it count: So, if you have a bouncy ad, don’t put on more bouncy things. If you have a site with a parallax scroll, don’t add in more slidey things. With our present volume of media overload, on sites these days, less is often more.
  • Showcase your unique features on your web pages: About one or two nice cameo features per page is enough for tired web-trolling eyes. So a slideshow gallery is great. But just one. A blinking ad is fine. Just not ten. A pop-up is good. If it doesn’t keep popping up over and over in your visitors’ faces.

Build Credibility with Graphics

The first thing I do before I buy anything from anyone is look for a human photo, and good graphics. I am not alone in this:

  • Your portrait adds credibility: You are a real person at a real company, and you can use that warmth and humanness to your advantage. If you post a genuine photo of yourself, your clients will trust you more. According to BrightLocal’s research in their study on images that inspire trust, 52% of respondents indicated that a photo of the business owner was the biggest trust factor, over generic images, or none at all.
  • Keep it real: Some experts advise against crowd photos because the eye has nowhere to go. I am in favor of group photos though, provided that photo is of real people in your company, and not some random stock photo of sugary-smiley people that are clearly not your When I research a company, I like to see who I might be dealing with. Do they look nice? Can I build a rapport with them? Chances are, your visitors are doing the same thing.
  • Use relevant stock photos: Don’t just post a pic to post a pic. Make it count. Make it relevant. Your readers are going to check out your visuals first, and if they detract from your message, they add zero value.
  • Give credit: If you use stock photos, or a local photographer, make sure to pay credit where it’s due – that’s just good business, and good karma.
  • Add a caption: According to Kissmetrics, in their blog post on conversions with respect to graphics, focusing on Dan Ogilvy’s commissioned research, captions underneath the images get noticed and read, an average of 300% more than the actual content.

There’s some stuff to chew on. So go forth and develop your online reputation – and when in doubt, be genuine. That will win over your ideal market every time. If you need a little help fine-tuning your website content, reach out – I am here to help!

Feel free to leave comments and tell me what you found effective for your site! I would love to hear!

Photo Credit: by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

Top 3 Ways Environmental Companies See Growth from Their Site Blog

An environmental company’s online presence can be overwhelming to maintain – especially during the months where your company sees the most business, depending on the time of year.

With advertising, current projects, mountains of paperwork, assessments, compliance schedules, and networking, these companies and consultants have too much on their plates.

To-do lists are even more complicated with the growing need for online presence.

It just isn’t enough anymore to have a website because there’s a sea of other environmental companies pushing for the same clients you are – and increasing numbers of them have blogs.

But that isn’t the only reason you need one…

Blogging Pre-qualifies Your Clients

I’ve contracted with the Forest Service and small businesses long enough to know that because there are only 24 hours in day, you need to work smarter, not harder.

 If you do a blog the right way, your presence online will passively pre-qualify the companies and individuals who are looking for your unique environmental services.

When your blog focuses on your niche, you authentically differentiate yourself from the other companies in your local area. Your dream clients can find you faster and easier through posts that show them through genuinely valuable content, that your company offers the environmental expertise and services that they need, for the right fit.

So, when you post about things that are of real value to your specific market – whether you do mitigation, conservation, planning, permitting or compliance, the right people can find you quickly.

Valuable content saves you time:

  • Shave hours from your initial consults by offering pre-qualifying tools and tips before you meet.
  • Save your teams phone time by providing valuable content and resources your clients can access from your website.
  • You don’t have to explain what you do – your readers already know.
  • Shorten your sales funnel process. Through strong content, examples in proof, and enough solid takeaways for your readers, credibility has already been established through the value you’ve delivered already.

Blog Advertising Dollars Go Further

Because your blog has longevity, a one-time post offers continual returns in the form of leads now, a year from now, and well into the future.

Look at what you read. Some posts, especially about current events, are very recent. But for researching topics that have more staying power, those could be from a month ago, a year a ago, and in a lot of cases, much, much longer.

In fact, 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

 Blogging is a great way to make your marketing dollars stretch further.

When think about that one post in terms of how little time or money you spent to have it written once, and see how great a return it provides you now and in the future, you can consider that money saved.

Blogs Generate Networking Opportunities

Here’s how a powerful environmental blog works:

A potential client with commercial property in need of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment to perform their due diligence. Their process begins with a Google search on say, Portland Environmental Consulting, as a first step in their process to locate the right kind of environmental company.

You have a post on your blog from a month ago, or even last year that speaks on what commercial properties need to assess for sustainability and compliance. In your post, you offer some helpful questions they should ask themselves, and things to think about prior to picking up the phone.

Consider that 94% of online readers share blog content because they think it will be useful to others, (source: nymarketing.com) and your networking opportunities just grew exponentially without your having to do a single thing.

A solid, well-done blog not only polishes your online image, it offers networking opportunities.

Over time, if your blog is regularly tended to, with high-quality, original content, you can position yourself as an authority with Google. That bodes well for your site in terms of being found, and visited, online.

Environmental consulting and services is a highly competitive business, and you have enough to do.

If you haven’t kept up with your blog lately, you are missing out on a powerful marketing tool that, over time, will help you to work smarter, not harder.

Help your clients find you.

For boosting your online brand, and enhancing your environmental expertise, I can help.

Drop a line. Let’s build a strategy to boost your online presence and offer your potential clients a bright window into your expertise.

Real Estate Agents Doing This Reach More Buyers and Sellers in Less Time

Real estate is a tough business. No matter whether you’re working a buyer’s or seller’s market there will be days where you’re killin’ it, and others where you hear a chorus of crickets.

That’s because the real estate sales funnel can be a long one. Your relationships are key to making your business work, and you just can’t rush a relationship. So, how can you jumpstart your business when relationships take time?

Boost Online Presence

You might as well toss that phone book goodbye. Outside of meeting someone face-to-face and potential clients seeing you on a billboard, the internet is the first place people go to get what they need. So, if you’ve got awesome word-of-mouth, but crummy online presence, it’s high time you fix it up, because you may be losing clients.

Here’s how you do it…

Unify Your Real Estate Online and Offline Brand

If your yard signage is updated and fresh, but your website is outdated, misaligned with your other marketing materials, or incomplete, take the time to unify your brand in these ways:

  • Use the same fonts in all places.
  • If you have great print graphics on your postcards or magazines, bring the key elements to your online profiles to keep your brand consistent.
  • Plaster that logo on your site, your facebook page, your Realtor.com listing, your Zillow presence.  Anywhere you have your name or agency listed, make it match.
  • Post an updated photo to modernize your profile.
  • Use the same taglines, slogans or signature sayings across all platforms.
  • Update your email signature to match the colors and fonts you use in your other marketing pieces.

Look Out for the Competition

If you get a lot of word-of-mouth, but all of your competitors are prominently posted at Realtor.com or Redfin, put yourself there too.

Maybe you don’t get a lot of clients outside of face-to-face networking, but maybe that’s because your online presence could be stronger. Find out where your competitors are, and make an effort to beef up your profiles in those places to get the most you can from passive exposure.

Get a Real Estate Blog

If you’re old school and love a good in-person exchange, you are already ahead, but if you’ve neglected to get a blog, you stand to get left behind sooner or later.

There’s a whole new generation of agents, and they are tech savvy. More important, there is a whole new generation of buyers, and they are tech savvy too. You might get passed over for the real estate agent next door that has an active blog.

Offer Real Takeaway Value in Your Real Estate Blog

Check this one out:  This particular Portland real estate agent is the #1 Portland buyer’s agent, with a blog that gets regular love, because it offers great takeaway value to his potential clients. When there’s someone starting their search online with hundreds of real estate questions, there he is, reachable on Google with the answers.

Before long, his name stands out to those potential buyers or sellers who follow his blog regularly, so when it comes time to choose an agent, his name is quite likely the one of that pops into his reader’s heads.

Take a page from this agent’s book. With his blog, tight website and his unified online presence, he is definitely doing something right, and reaching more people because of it.

Start Up a Real Estate Newsletter

Give your potential buyers and sellers even more takeaway value with a weekly or monthly newsletter.

Having a button on your site to subscribe to your newsletter is a great way to build your client list, so even if casual lookers are just starting their home buying or selling process, they can get helpful information, and great resources as they prepare.

If it’s your name they see in their inbox each week, nurturing that relationship, they will more easily remember you. Then, when it’s time to choose their agent, they are more likely to reach out to you for even more trusted guidance and support.

Don’t leave your online presence and reputation to chance.  Amidst the other gazillion tasks you have to get done today, if you want to unify your brand online and in print, I can help with that!

Reach out to get the ball rolling right now!

 

 

Photo Credit: Nattanan23 via Pixabay

If You’re A Real Estate Agent, Are You Doing This?

A real estate agent’s online presence requires enormous effort to maintain.

With advertising, showing and listing houses, mountains of paperwork, MLS listing management, and networking, agents have a lot on their plates, and it only gets more complicated with the growing need for strong online presence.

It isn’t enough anymore to have a website because there’s a sea of other agents pushing for the same clients you are – and increasing numbers of them have blogs, but that isn’t the only reason you need one.

  1. Blogging Passively Pre-qualifies Your Clients

I’ve worked in property management, and with enough real estate agents to know that because there are only 24 hours in day, agents need to work smarter, not harder.

 If you do a blog the right way, your presence online will passively pre-qualify potential clients out there who’s looking for an agent.

When you write to your niche in your blog, you authentically differentiate yourself from the other million agents out there. When you blog to your niche, your dream clients can find you faster and easier through your helpful posts that show them through genuinely valuable content, that you are the right fit.

So, when you post about things that are of real value to your specific market – not just anyone looking to buy or sell a house or commercial property, you don’t need to ask so many prequalifying questions.

That saves you tons of time:

  • No need to painfully re-visit that same questionnaire over and over (which would be enough reason for me right there!)
  • No need to explain what you do – your readers already know
  • No need to work to establish their trust in your expertise. Through strong content, examples in proof, and enough solid takeaways for your readers, credibility has already been established through the value you’ve delivered already.

A new home buyer will love your post on how to buy their first home, and if you sell to first time home buyers, sweet! Maybe next week or a year down the road you get a call: “Hey, Awesome Agent, I was reading your post on finding the right broker if you’re a first time home buyer and I wanted to work with you to find my next home.” BAM! How many questions did that save you? Now equate that to time.

  1. Blog Advertising Dollars Go Further

Because your blog has longevity, a one-time post offers passive returns in the form of leads now, a year from now, and well into the future.

Look at what you read. Some posts, especially about current events, are very recent. But for researching topics that have more staying power, those could be from a month ago, a year a two ago, and in a lot of cases, much, much longer.

In fact, 1 in 10 blog posts are compounding, meaning organic search increases their traffic over time. (HubSpot, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)

 Blogging is a great way to stretch your marketing dollars.

When you think about that one post in terms of how little time or money you spent to have it written once, and see how great a return it provides you now and in the future, doesn’t that make you EXCITED!? That’s free money!

  1. Blogs Generate New Real Estate Networking Opportunities

Here’s how a powerful estate blog works:

Your potential clients do a Google or Bing search on Portland Real Estate Values for example, or maybe on first steps in the home buying or selling process. You have a post on your blog from a month ago, or even last week that speaks on what they need, offering useful tips they can use.

Now, take into account that 94% of online readers share blog content because they think it will be useful to others, (source: nymarketing.com) and your networking opportunities just grew exponentially without your having to do a single thing.

A solid, well-done blog not only polishes your online image, it offers real estate networking opportunities.

Over time, if your blog is well-managed, with high-quality, original content and plenty of factual support to back up your claims, you can position yourself as an authority with Google. That bodes well for your site in terms of being found, and visited, online.

Then they go on Facebook and see your posts there too. Now you’re cookin’ with fuel.

As a real estate agent, you know how all this works. I don’t need to spell it out.  Relationships. It can start with your blog.

Real estate is a competitive business, and you have enough to do. If you haven’t kept up with your blog lately, you are missing out on a powerful marketing tool that, over time, will help you to work smarter, not harder.

Start shouting your agency from the rooftops to help your dream clients find you. For boosting your online brand, and enhancing your real estate niche, I can help!

Drop a line! Let’s talk about all the possibilities!