When you are marketing a product, there is a host of ways to showcase that product. You could shoot some beautiful photography, or better yet, find a beautiful person to hold your product. You could also style the product in impeccable Instagram shots (check out Jonathan Meter’s delicately styled food photography, and tell me you are not hungry) or place it on a clean white background.
On the other hand, when you are marketing a service, there is not always something tangible that can be shown to an end user. Home-cleaning services, manufacturing services, beauty services, lawn-care services and more have the additional challenge of marketing something that cannot necessarily be seen. While home-cleaning services would love to show you a photo of what your home would look like if it were clean, that is just not possible.
Industrial Marketing Today addresses this issue in the realm of engineering services. Although the end product might be a report, there are plenty of situations where custom-engineered products or pure engineering services are just not tangible. According to Achinta Mitra, “Traditionally, engineering services firms have relied on referrals, professional networking, and event sponsorships to grow their business. Referral business is great, but they are usually few and far between for a dependable growth strategy. Networking and sponsorships are time consuming and expensive.”
Mitra’s solution is content marketing. He makes it clear that just publishing more content is not the same as content marketing, and based on his past experience with engineering firms, he says that content marketing for services should include qualifications, professional certifications and industry experience as a crucial part of your strategy. Content should be customer-centric and should explain how you have used your industry expertise to solve real-world problems. At the end of the day, you will be building a reputation for solving those problems and allowing your audience to sample your expertise for free.
In terms of content marketing, Jason Mlicki offers another great example for professional services firms. Part of this strategy emphasizes building camaraderie with the customer through content, like we described above, but being very purposeful about the times in which you do so. For example, every Friday, a media company will deliver a Venn diagram to its online subscribers with commentary on the media landscape. Most importantly, says Mlicki, “it’s used to ‘create an appointment’ with the company’s subscriber list. Every Friday, we’re going to send you this useful piece of content. Over time, people begin to expect that Friday email; possibly even look forward to it.”
When you do not have that product to photograph, other areas of your business need to be emphasized instead, like your expertise and your stability or regularity. These types of content marketing aren’t optional — they are vital in today’s digital landscape. And as the founder of the Content Marketing Institute Joe Pulizzi explains, finding the journalistic talent necessary to create remarkable content is no longer difficult. There are more outstanding writers at content marketing firms than ever before who can learn your business and write good material for you.
What are you waiting for?
Image credit: CC by iamdanw