‘Helpfulness’ May Have a Delayed ROI, But Hang in There Anyway

About five years ago, a business owner requested a meeting with my team to help rebrand his company. When we met, he set down a three-ring binder filled with copies of my weekly marketing column and said, “I’ve been reading you and saving your columns for three years. I’m finally in a position to hire you. I don’t want to work with anyone else.” So, instead of obsessing over immediate ROI, solve problems by teaching, sharing and being helpful in your content. Some readers may never be ready to buy, but their trust in you may lead to valuable referrals, recommendations and introductions. The lesson here is that being helpful doesn’t immediately translate to sales, but it does earn trust. Most people hitting the web for information are in the early stages of the sales funnel. But sharing content on your website that makes them smarter -- via podcasts and newsletters -- will keep potential customers coming back. Eventually, if and when they’re in the market to buy, they’ll choose the person they trust. Case in point: The client who collected my weekly columns has remained our customer for more than five years and brought in nearly half a million dollars since that first project. In short, invest in the long term. Time is a limited commodity, and it could take years to create a bank of helpful content that draws new clients. But in our case, it’s been worth it. Since launching our agency blog in 2007, we’ve brought in more than a million dollars in billings from the readers we’ve helped. Here are five of our strategies: 1. Share your knowledge. Content comes in many forms: podcasts, ebooks, webinars, blog posts, newsletters. Employing a variety of mediums [...]