As close readers of this blog know, I am the CEO of a blog writing service, and I’m also a customer! I don’t write the blogs here very often, but I did write this one myself.
You see, I had the honor of speaking to the biggest annual convention of appliance repair professionals in the U.S., and wanted to share my thoughts.
The appliance repair folks hold their annual convention each February someplace warm, and this year in New Orleans in addition to educational sessions about soap chemistry and refrigeration advances, they had a few sessions about how to attract new customers.
I enjoyed the experience immensely, with one exception. I’ll get to that in a sec.
The reason I enjoyed it so much is that the men and women (yes, there were a few women appliance repair professionals, you sexist) are all involved in something tangible and real. It’s all well and good to talk about the finer points of content marketing, but when my oven doesn’t work and my family wants homemade pizza, well, I’m glad that there are people who can fix that oven.
These are those people.
And like any group of small business operators, they struggle with ways to attract new business.
Talking to them after my speech, it was clear that there’s a wide range of opinions about the new methods of attracting customers. Some say Twitter is for the birds and they aren’t really convinced they need more than a one-page website. Others embrace the new technology, to a point.
Marketing With Blogs, and Keeping it Simple
I was one of a couple of speakers talking about these new ways of marketing, and the one thing that rubbed me the wrong way at the conference wasn’t the attendees, but one of the other speakers. I sat in on part of his presentation, and was amazed. The guy was talking about tactics that were so advanced that I can really only imagine them being used by a large enterprise or a sophisticated ad agency.
It’s not that the content was over the heads of the audience, it was that it was in a whole different ball park. For instance, this guy was talking about detailed tactics in “influence marketing.” There’s nothing wrong with what he was saying if he was speaking to, for instance, General Electric or the American Heart Association. But Joe’s Appliance Repair? Gimme a break!
There was also a speaker from Yelp. He was an excellent speaker, and tried to make Yelp sound great, but you just can’t get away from the fact that Yelp really is not a simple site for reviews. As a recent court case made clear, Yelp is really an advertising network with some user reviews as part of it.
He does get points for playing this video for the group.
So my advice for this audience was simply that they shouldn’t worry about getting too deep in the weeds with social media. I told them that they could do what BlogMutt did for the first year or so, which is that we published one post a week on our blog and that worked well for search, and it worked well to let prospective clients know that we are active and engaged with the business.
Now we blog more often just because our space is getting more competitive and because we sell a five-post-per-week plan and we wanted to show how that can work. (We also just signed up to get one 1,200-word post per week because we just started selling that.)
The attendees at ASTI came up to me after and seemed genuinely appreciative of what I had to say. They liked that I gave them a specific thing they can do every week that will help them over the long run.
Keep that lint trap clean, and fill up your blog
One of them told me that he will now think of blogging like he thinks of cleaning out the lint trap on his clothes dryer. So many repairs on dryers are needed because people just don’t clean those out.
And he’s right, of course. Regular blogging does work, especially for people using other social media software. I hear all the time from users of software like HubSpot that the software doesn’t work. The reality is that the software — like an appliance — generally works fine as long as you use it as directed in the manual.
If you don’t clean out the lint filter, your dryer won’t work and if you don’t blog regularly, your marketing automation software won’t work.
More than that, if you don’t blog regularly, all of your marketing efforts will fall apart. Even if you are paying Google for an adwords account, you’ll pay more if you don’t have an active site to send people to from your ads. If you have an active site with a well-written blog, Google will give your ad placement above those sending people to boring sites.
And as I said during my presentation, even if your best method of getting new business is word-of-mouth, blogging helps. When someone gets a recommendation of a service provider, typically the first thing they do is check out the site. If they see that your last blog post was nine months ago, they may think that you’ve been hit by a bus, and they’ll keep looking around.
So no matter what your best method is of getting new customers, regular blogging will help.
So thanks to the organizers for having me, and thanks to the men and women who keep our appliances working and the writers who keep our blogs filled up.