Marketing isn’t what it used to be. When your grandfather ran a deck building business and wanted to attract new customers, he’d put an ad in the paper or send out a mailer. But in the hyper-connected, internet-based world we live in today, you have to think differently. In our post today, we’ll talk about content Marketing - what it is and 7 real-world ways you can use it to boost your business and stand out from the pack. What is Content Marketing? Content marketing is a lot more subtle than traditional marketing. You’re not directly soliciting your services in an ad. Rather, you’re offering relevant, interesting, and - here’s the keyword - valuable content in order to generate interest and ultimately drive sales. One of the great things about content marketing is that it’s cheap - a lot cheaper than traditional advertising. And it’s fun to create once you have the concept down. 7 Ways to Market There are a million different types of content to share with potential customers. But instead of telling you just 7 things you could create content about, we’re going to share 7 great ways to share that content once you’ve created it, and what kind of content is best suited to each type. With a million combinations of things to share and ways to share them, we hope this list will jump-start your brain so you’ll never run out of content marketing ideas. 1. Post on Social Media Social media is probably the most powerful and widespread platform for content marketing. If you haven’t broken into social media yet, we recommend starting with the frontrunner - Facebook. The omnipresence of Facebook and its marketing opportunities are a goldmine for reaching a broader audience and showing the human side of your business. Once you’ve established yourself on Facebook, make sure and expand your reach into any of the other social media platforms available. There’s Twitter for short and quick posts, Pinterest and Houzz for sharing your awesome pictures of projects, LinkedIn for a more professional profile of your business, and many more. The best way to approach social media is to keep it light, post often, and make sure that you’re providing something that’s not only of value, but different each day. You can post anything - a change in your holiday hours, a weekend sale, before and after photos, or links to content on your website. For more great ideas, see our Social Media for Deck Builders post! 2. Have a Great Website Your website isn’t just a place to give customers your contact information. It can be a rich opportunity to showcase who you are as a company, and a landing spot for all your content. You’ll want to spend the time (and maybe money) to make sure your site is modern, easy to navigate, and looks good. Not only does a great website give potential customers a good first impression, but it’s also vitally important for your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines use complicated algorithms to rank your site compared to others in your field. There are a lot of factors that go into grabbing a first-page spot, but a lot of it boils down to having good content and updating it often. 3. Write a Blog Post Add a link on your website to your blog, and regularly post articles that offer valuable and interesting reading to anyone researching deck building. There are endless possibilities for blog post subject matter - how-to articles, behind the scenes stories, current trends, and more. Blogs are very important for getting a lot of content on your site, but remember that all-important word: value. Don’t post just to have content, or you might see your visitor numbers dwindle. If you don’t feel that you have the time or ability to create a quality blog (or other website content), reach out and find a great copywriter to create content for you. 4. Make a Video You don’t need high-tech equipment to make a compelling video for your content marketing (although more than a camera phone is definitely recommended). There are a lot of options for subjects: how-to tutorials (including how to pick a contractor, how to decide what kind of decking material to use, etc), behind the scenes, jobsite tours, production stories, and more. YouTube, of course, is the perfect platform for video content, but don’t forget to also publish a copy on your website and post a link to the video on your social media. 5. Publish an E-book E-books are great for long-form writing. Any of the suggestions for blog posts or videos will also carry over into e-books. And they don’t have to be super long - even 10 or 20 pages will make a great e-book. One of the best ways to use e-books is as a hook to build your mailing list. When someone pulls up your website, have an offer for a free e-book when they enter their email address. Just make sure your e-book is well-written and contains information of value, and you’ll both win. 6. Send an Email Once you’ve built up a decent email list, make sure you put it to good use! Emails are great for product updates, sale information, holiday promotions, news, and announcements. A good rule of thumb is to send out emails no more than once a week (so you don’t trigger too many unsubscribes), but no less than once per month (so you aren’t forgotten). 7. Teach a Class We know that you have plenty of knowledge and expertise in decking, and a seminar or class is a fantastic way to build new relationships with clients and the community. You might showcase the different materials you have and the techniques you use, or teach about how to decide on a deck size and type. Teach about deck maintenance, how to utilize space, or anything else you can dream up. Content Marketing is more effective, cheaper, and creates more long-term loyalty than any traditional marketing you may be used to. It’s easy to get started right now and build your content over time, driving more customers to your business than you ever imagined.