3 Digital Marketing Trends for Service Businesses [Traffic and Conversion Summit Edition]

In this episode you’ll discover the three biggest digital marketing trends impacting service businesses. I just returned from Traffic and Conversion Summit, where the entire conference was focused on these three shifts.

I’ve distilled it down to principles you need to apply to your business, and explained why they’re important. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have a high-level game plan for marketing your firm in 2018 and beyond.

3 Digital Marketing Insights from Traffic and Conversion Summit

Here’s what’s inside this episode…

  1. The critical role of content in your marketing (and the unique advantage it gives you, if you do it right).
  2. How to connect with the influencers and key prospects in your niche in a new and powerful way (this is especially useful if you do tradeshow or conference marketing).
  3. A new way of creating more human experiences on your website that high-ticket prospects prefer, and will shorten your sales cycle.

Mentioned in the Show

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In this episode, I’m going to share a recap of Traffic &Conversion Summit. It’s the big marketing conference that happens in San Diego every year. I came away with three key insights that I’m going to share with you. They’re what I call the Three Cs from Traffic &Conversion. We’re going to walk through those. Before we do, I want to encourage you to go get my latest book, The Exponential Network Strategy. It’s available completely for free. You can go to UnstoppableCEO.net/ExponentialNetwork and grab the book there completely free. You can download it. There are videos that take you chapter by chapter through the book where I explain each concept. You’re going to get a ton out of it. Our response has been positive so far. I look forward to you getting that. Drop me a line and let me know what you think once you got it.

Traffic &Conversion was a great conference. There were close to 7,000 attendees out there from all corners of the marketing world. As I talked with folks at the conference and attended sessions, in my mind there were three big themes that came out of it that you can apply in your business. I call them the Three Cs from Traffic &Conversion. The first C is content. There was a lot of talk about content and content marketing. It’s a digital marketing conference so no surprise there. What struck me was the fact that despite all of the changes in marketing, despite all of the content that is put out currently, more now than ever before in human history, content is still an incredibly one of the most effective ways to sell today. I see a lot of people doing it in a way that is damaging. They’re doing what I call churn and burn content where they’re creating fluffy content that doesn’t have a lot of depth to it. That isn’t working as well. That content is commoditized. You can get it anywhere. To be quite honest, Google isn’t going to reward that content. They’re not going to rank it.

What I gathered out of the conference from watching several speakers talk about this is that the real success is in sharing deep content., In-depth articles, in-depth videos, in-depth interviews where you’re going beyond surface level and getting into information that is worthy of someone’s time. It works for a number of reasons. Number one, it conveys to a prospect your worldview. When you have shared worldview with another human, you begin to develop a relationship. You begin to develop trust in that person or that business. Shared worldview is critically important and one of the things that needs to be in content. One of the reasons that you see that surface level content that a lot of people put out is that it can be done without sharing your worldview, without having much of an opinion. You see this in posts or articles that just share ten tips, but each of the tips is at the top surface level. That thing doesn’t get you the relationship and trust that you’re looking for to advance the sale. Google is the primary entity that can put eyeballs in front of that, unless you’re driving your own people to it through ads. They’re not going to reward that because their customers, the people searching, aren’t going to find that useful. It’s important to infuse everything that you’re doing with your worldview. It needs to be opinionated.

The second reason that it works so well is that when you transfer real insights, that’s something we’ve been doing as human beings for a long time. From an evolutionary standpoint, probably a fundamental advantage that humans have over other species on the planet is our ability to share information is unique and powerful. It’s something that’s baked into us. When we share useful information, particularly when it’s deep information that helps another person achieve something, get a result, or move forward in some way, gain some understanding that they didn’t have, it helps develop trust and relationship. We’re sharing something of ourselves, something that we’ve gained a resource in the form of knowledge, insight, wisdom that we’ve created, and we’re transferring that to another person. It’s incredibly powerful and can lay the foundation of trust and relationship and do it at a scale that you can’t do it in any other way. That part is critical.

We’re all beginning to understand what it’s like to operate a business in a truly global economy. That was talked about a lot in the ‘80s. It was talked about more in the ‘90s. It’s here now. One of the ways that we can build relationship across geographies, whether that’s a regional geography, whether that is national or international, is share our knowledge and insights. It’s one of the few ways that we can do right now with available technology that has a cost low enough that makes it work. That’s one of the reasons you’re seeing so much content out there. One of the reasons you didn’t see it twenty years ago is not that we have any more knowledge today than we had then, but it’s just so much easier to distribute it and less expensive to distribute it. We don’t have to stick it on a piece of paper and have someone physically deliver it. Because of that, we’re seeing a proliferation of the content. Service business are businesses where what we do isn’t easy to show anyone. What we do isn’t necessarily a tangible thing. Creating content, sharing your worldview and sharing your expertise, your wisdom, and your insights gives you a way to demonstrate that you can’t do in any other forum.

It’s amazing to see the importance of getting together face-to-face

The product folks, the ones that are selling product where it’s tangible and you can see it and see the utility in it, have it much easier. They’re able to demonstrate what they have and show it to you. In a way that if you’re a doctor and you’re about to do surgery, you can’t possibly demonstrate the surgery to the patient beforehand. If you’re an attorney, it’s hard to demonstrate how you’re going to litigate that case before you litigate the case. Regardless of what profession you’re in, we all run into that problem. Content, no matter what form it’s in, whether it’s an article, a podcast, a webinar, or a live presentation, however you deliver it, gives you an opportunity to demonstrate what you do for your clients, to make that a tangible thing that they can see and assess objectively before they engage you. It can become very powerful if you use it that way. For those three reasons, shared worldview, the ability to build trust, relationship, and scale, and the ability to demonstrate an otherwise intangible service, content is extremely powerful and that’s why we’re seeing so much of it. The thing that came out of the summit was that it is becoming more and more effective to use content to convert bigger and bigger clients. No matter what business you’re in at this stage, it needs to be playing a part in what you’re doing.

The second big insight that I gained from the conference was the idea of connection. It’s amazing to see the importance of getting together face to face. We’ve replaced so much human interaction with social media. Even with high-level online interaction through video conferencing, Skype, Zoom and all those great tools, there’s still tremendous value in connecting with other humans face to face in the same physical location and space. I had such a great opportunity to connect with so many of the people that I’d met and interviewed on the podcast in person and deepen those relationships. I saw Tony GrebmeierJohn CorcoranDr. Jeremy WeiszDan KuschellMitch RussoMandi EllefsonBob SerlingKevin ThompsonJosh Turner and so many more that you’ll hear from on the podcast. It’s something that if you aren’t building that into your business development, make sure that you’ve got a way to go connect with prospects and the influencers that are in your niche, in your industry.

One of the great tools to have in your toolbox as you’re doing that is some platform where you’re interviewing these people. I talk about this a lot in my new book, The Exponential Network Strategy. If you haven’t gone and gotten a copy, I encourage you to go get a copy. The URL is Unstoppable CEO.net/ExponentialNetwork. In the book, I basically lay out the playbook for you on how to use these types of interviews with the people that you want to connect with as a high-value way to open the relationship. Give them value and create strong relationships quickly, because of the way that you’re opening the relationship. It’s been transformational for our business. We’ve used it for years and have formalized it over the last year in this podcast. I encourage you to look at what I lay out in the book and then think about how you can apply that the next time you’re going to be someplace where your influencers, your prospects or the people are that you need to connect with and bring into your network. It’s a very powerful way to do it, to be able to take those relationships and be very different than anyone else that is at that event. At Traffic & Conversion, there are a lot of people who have podcasts and do interviews. That had more to do with the fact that it was a bunch of marketers getting together than anything else. If you’re in another industry and you show up at that industry conference, chances are you’re going to be the only one that’s doing this thing. It will allow you to be extremely different than anyone else. That’s a powerful place to be.

To be able to engage in a conversation virtually, either through email or some of the new chat tools, gives you a very different way of engaging a prospect

The third and final big takeaway from Traffic &Conversion Summit for me was the idea of conversations. We’ve talked about the Three Cs, content, connection, and the third is conversation. The trend is conversational marketing. In other words, instead of simply trying to gather leads, one way communicate with those leads once we’ve collected them is to quickly engage in a conversation. This can be done through email. In fact, we had a full day workshop with our elite mastermind clients. We went through how to do this in email because you can do it there just as effectively as some of the other tools that I’m going to talk about to be able to create these interactions where there’s a back and forth between you and the prospect and you get them into that back and forth very quickly after they come to you. The goal is to create some momentum in that conversation and in that interaction towards a next step with you.

For most of the businesses that we would work with, that next step is going to be a meeting, a discovery call, a needs analysis, a sales call. To be able to engage in a conversation virtually, either through email or some of the new chat tools, the bots as they’re called, gives you a very different way of engaging a prospect. While there are companies doing it, there are a lot fewer companies doing it right now than we’re going to see in eighteen months to two years, five years. It’s going to become more of the mainstream way to interact with prospects. For most of our audience where you’re selling at a high ticket or you’re selling B2B, this is something that you’re going to want to be thinking about. How can I engage my prospects in a conversation that helps me understand them more, serves them, helps them get to a result faster, and takes us down a sales process more quickly and effectively?

The way that I see this changing things is right now, particularly with digital marketing and online marketing, someone comes to your website and it’s basically a ‘choose your own adventure’ for the prospect. Sometimes it’s not a great adventure. It’s a “choose your own adventure.” They come, they may land on an article that you’ve written, they may go to another article or series of articles, they may leave, they may come back. You’re probably only trying to capture an email address. While that’s good and important, and I’m not recommending that you stopped doing that at all, there’s a way to turn that from a “choose your own adventure” experience to a guided and led adventure that better serves the prospect ultimately. That’s where these conversational tools can come into play and be an advantage for you and for your business and a great service for the prospects. If you’ve gone through any of these processes, you’ll note, if they’re done well, that it helps you tremendously. It saves you a ton of time because you’re able to get to the point more quickly and get the answer that you need more quickly with that particular business.

They’re not all done well. Some of them are the digital equivalent of the department store clerk that the minute you walked through the doors of the department store says, “How can I help you today?”That’s great, but the advantage is being able to see where people are interacting, observe what they’re doing, and then come in and open the conversation with something that’s relevant. Similar to a great department store clerk who will do that, they’ll watch what you’re looking at. They’ll get a sense for what you might be interested in, and then they will come along and begin a conversation with you that is additive to that, rather than just being lazy and saying, “How can I help you today?”That’s the advantage that these tools give, particularly for folks who are in B2B or high ticket sales. In the past, there was no good way to do this without coming off as being a little bit pushy. There are going to be ways to incorporate these tools to help guide your prospects towards the discovery of what would otherwise be a complicated solution for them. Get them to a point where they’re being served more efficiently. The advantage to them is they’re going to save time and the advantage to you is you’re going to cut time out of the sales cycle. It’s definitely something to be paying attention to.

Content is still critically important for service businesses because it gives you the power of demonstration.

Those are the three big takeaways from Traffic & Conversion. Content is still critically important for service businesses especially because it gives you the power of demonstration which you don’t have otherwise. Connection, get out there and get in front of people. Use The Exponential Network Strategy and what I share in the book as a way to connect with people that might otherwise be difficult for you to reach and connect with. Then third, begin to think about how you can use conversational marketing in the communication that you have with your prospects. You can do this perfectly well over email and then grow into some of these other, more sophisticated tools as it makes sense to do that.

I hope you got a lot out of this. It was a fantastic event. Next year, let me know when you’re going and we’ll connect. Until next time, stay unstoppable.

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