Low Cost Marketing for FM Consultants : Writing Blogs by Stephen Brown, CFM, FMP, SFP, CPE, CBCP, CESCO, REM FM-adviso, Ltd.
Monday, April 3rd, 2017
Part of my marketing scheme involves that I write and post blogs.
I established my Facility Management training and consulting business because I really enjoy the facets of the FM industry and interacting with my clients. My efforts make the clients happy when they become more efficient – improving service delivery, reducing operational costs, and providing better support of the organization core business. But the business was founded to make a profit – to provide me the income that I desired. To be profitable, there must be paid activity. So I need to market and promote my business :
- identify interested parties,
- make them aware of the value the business can derive from the FM training and consulting,
- help them to recognize my business as an industry resource, and accept the services proposal.
An important way to connect with possible customers is to write and post blogs.
My business clients are global with more than 70% of them located in the countries and emirates of the Gulf Cooperation Council and in the Caribbean. It’s definitely not a typical market presence, but it represents a business demographic where the need exists and where I have strength of experience.
It is a very difficult challenge to develop new long-distance client relationships. One of the solutions to make business persons aware of my company and the services we offer is to inform and educate.
- When I get their attention, they become aware that my company exists.
- When they are aware we exist, I can encourage them to visit the company website.
- Then the business relationship can start to grow
The first reason to write blogs is to establish yourself as a resource or as an authority.
Write on a topic that will catch their interest. When you offer solutions or the latest technology developments or can clarify and explain positions you will get readers! You will get the broadest interest if you can answer common questions or to make suggestions on how to resolve issues that prospective clients often face.
As you compose the topics of the articles, remember this is an opportunity toward a sale. You want to craft the blog to create a desire to know more and to enable the reader to want to contact you for the additional details. This can develop a lead for a business opportunity! This is your first chance to help them toward a solution and is the first step towards developing a valuable and trusting business relationship.
Always remember that providing this support is a much stronger position than a ‘sales focused’ discussion. Your blog can set a foundation from which you can build more rapport.
Another reason to write blogs is to introduce your website.
Every business wants to increase the ‘hits’ to their website. There are a number of strategies that can accomplish this but they either entail direct financial cost or involve lesser results.
You might take out paid adverts but this requires expenditures and the results vary widely. It may be very disappointing unless you use focused marketing in industry or trade resources. Again, I’ll point out the atypical regions where my business is found. It is simply not viable to have precise ads for clients in both Oman and in the Bahamas!
Another option is to ‘blast’ information via marketing e-mails to your contacts list. The results from this can be better than the paid ads, but you don’t make new contacts. It is only a reminder of who you are. Another negative is that this approach may be viewed as less desirable ‘junk mail’ and your address might be blocked from future contacts. You certainly don’t want to lose the contacts you have made.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great option to increase your visibility. It is human nature that most persons who execute a web search tend to click on the first few sites that are presented and subsequently make a choice from those clicks. As a result there is a huge benefit to being one of the top few sites that are presented after key word searches. You have three primary options to be at or near the top of the list. You can –
- buy an ad that will display very near the top of the list.
- pay for your website to be displayed closer to the top of the ‘non-ad’ list.
- develop a higher click rate. (The top sites displayed are either there because they are ranked high resulting from the number of clicks or other web mentions.)
If you don’t want to pay for your display, the best ways to solicit and increase website traffic (clicks) is by blogging and social media. The more you are mentioned and/or visited, the SEO occurs without cost.
When you write and post a blog it can be an indexed page on your website and that becomes additional opportunity for you to show up in search engines. This becomes an input for the algorithms that Google and the other search engines use to give indication that your website is active and new content is worth checking out.
Posting the blog via social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook) or announcing the blog on Twitter expands the awareness to a much larger number of people. Your content is made available to an expanded audience. You can also find amazing benefit from sharing the blogs of others. Again, your ‘tweet’ or ‘share’ contacts can contribute to your becoming known as a resource. Your value climbs and your name and website are remembered!
A one-time effort can really pay amazing dividends because the on-line activities occur 24/7/365 via the re-Tweets, and shares, and views by your website visitors. Also recall that web content is ‘forever’. At any point in the future, your blog can turn up in a web-search without any effort on your part. Also, there are a number of applications like TweetDeck that can manage the Twitter accounts you monitor and automatically re-Tweet to the followers/accounts you identify – again raising your profile and visibility!
An ultimate reason to blog is to identify the persons who could become clients.
Our websites exist to inform the world who we are and what we do, but we also need to make sure that we use the sites to identify the persons who visit. If your blog results in getting persons to visit your website, use the opportunity to allow them to identify themselves to you – again, generating contacts.
A successful and spontaneous method for this is to invite the readers of your blog and visitors to your website to receive an item of value in exchange for their contact information. By offering a no-cost download of a whitepaper/report, a check-list/tic-list, or other free resource, you are finding interested parties who are potential clients. You will find that not everybody will participate and others may ‘unsubscribe’ after a short period. But the ones who remain represent prospective business! This supports the initial reason to blog – to establish you as a resource or authority – and takes a strategic view in client development.
In summary, the top benefit in writing blogs is found in marketing and business development.
- The investment is your time and creativity.
- The dividend is client contact and relationship development.
- The ultimate result is that your business can expand and flourish.
Now you know why I compose and post the blogs. They are extremely worthwhile endeavors!
After a successful beginning in US facilities management, Stephen Brown assumed a position with an international portfolio. As his career progressed, Brown held senior FM posts in the Caribbean, UK / Europe, and the Middle East. These included multi-site facility portfolios, organizational contracting / procurement, and project management responsibilities.
After 20 years managing the built environment for both private and public sector organizations, Brown transitioned into consulting on facility strategies, condition assessments, service provision / operational efficiencies, administration, contract management, environmental matters, and emergency response / business continuity. Additionally, he facilitates IFMA and DRII credential training (formally qualified by these global organizations) as well as client-specific facility, health & safety, environmental, and staff development training programs.
Brown earned an MBA after undergraduate work that combined studies in Architectural and Business Management. He serves on the IFMA International Credentials Commission and has also served as Subject Matter Expert in contributions to the IFMA CFM and FMP credential programs. Brown is adjunct faculty and has been published or cited in multiple FM-related magazines and journals and posts regular articles on FM topics via diverse media channels.
Confirming his knowledge and experience, Brown has earned IFMA Certified Facility Manager®, Facility Management Professional®, and Sustainable Facilities Professional® credentials. He also holds Certified Plant Engineer, Master Business Continuity Professional, Registered Environmental Manager, and Certified Environmental & Safety Compliance Officer credentials.
Past clients include Fortune 500 corporations, academic (universities and K-12), government, NGO’s, and volunteer activities. An avid SCUBA diver, he regularly contributes efforts to coral reef recovery and marine environmental awareness.
FM-adviso is a founding partner in the multi-disciplinary Global Facility Management Alliance. This consortium of FM consultants facilitates broader strategic support for larger clients and projects of greater complexity.
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