How sexy is your business?

The problem with a lot of online marketing advice is that it seems to be tailored for trendy, photogenic businesses.

If you run a yoga retreat you can blast social media with eye-catching photos.

Heavenly landscapes… mouth-watering food… impossibly beautiful people doing the lotus position on the beach in their pants…

It’s a bit trickier if you’re renting out skips.

How are you supposed to follow advice about design, blogging and social media if you’ve got a ‘boring’, less visual product?

Let’s face it, we don’t all run health food stores, travel companies, or barista workshops.

What if you work in an area that’s a little less sexy?

The good news is there’s no such thing as a boring product (I mean that!) and as you’re about to see there are some simple content marketing techniques you can use to attract new buyers and keep your existing clients hyper engaged.

“Help! My business is just too ‘boring’ to do any effective content marketing”

One of the common reasons I hear for businesses not using digital content marketing – blogs, email, social media, videos and other forms – is that their business is “boring” or “non-visual”.

They don’t believe there’s anything to share, or write about, with their customer base. There’s no big debate, no controversy, nothing to get emotional about.

The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you run a business that solves a problem, fulfils a need, entertains someone or makes another person’s life easier your business isn’t boring, it’s brilliant.

Yes, it may be easier in the first instance to create dazzling-looking websites and social media pages if you make cakes or sell holiday experiences as part of your business.

But there is virtually no business that doesn’t lend itself to content marketing.

Whether you run a plumbers’ merchants, a paper factory, an accountancy firm or an undertakers there is a great deal you can do to make your business stand out.

To show you, I want to look at a company that rents skips and run through some of the techniques they use to great effect in their marketing.

Case Study: How to make skips interesting

If there’s anything that represents dull, functional and boring, it has to be the humble skip. It is effectively a big yellow bin that sits on the road.

What is there to say about that?

Actually there’s a great deal to say about skips.

Gemma the hairdresser or Dave the nurse might not be interested in reading up on skips, but there are plenty of people who are… people in the building trade: architects, project managers, construction experts, scaffolding firms, removal companies and that’s who you’re reaching out to.

Here’s a skip-based business that’s turned this boring product into something funny, engaging and popular.

Skip Hire Magazine began in 2005, a small publication for the hire industry to be read by drivers, workers, office staff and management.

While ‘skip hire’ might not sound interesting, they’ve packed their website full of relevant news stories, humorous items, industry alerts and interviews.

And that content is all presented with flair and fun, using a number of different digital marketing tools.

    • Relevant news stories
    • Quirky and fun articles
    • Event news
    • Social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)
    • A YouTube channel with customer videos
    • Special reports on the skip industry
    • Chatty profiles of people in the skip business

It includes elements you might consider boring, such as regulation updates, changes in law, and insurance. But it also includes less corporate news. For example they recently had a piece about some kittens found dumped in a skip (don’t worry, they were rescued!)

They also used to have some amusing pieces, such as ‘Skip Chick’ and ‘Skip Hunk of the Month’.

This is the reason why they’ve appeared on Have I Got News for You and Chris Evans’ radio show, thereby attracting more readers from this free advertising. And that’s all down to their content marketing.

They have an active Twitter feed with over 4,000 followers.

A YouTube Channel where they interview readers…

And a Facebook page where you get to see the team behind the magazine, out and about.

On the website they split their content into…

Industry news

They call this ‘The Big Story’ – all the events and developments in their sector.

Blog topics

Under ‘Skip News’ they also have a blog that covers a broader range of topics.

Lessons to be learned:

Even if your business is non-visual or ‘ugly’, there are things that people want to see – pictures of the team, interviews with customers, interesting articles about the industry.

While a subject might be dry, you can liven it up with conversational copy and a light, personal tone.

Any business with customers will have information that customers will find useful, from legal issues to new products and promotions. If you can present that in a way that’s easy to read and fun, you can attract an audience.

By using social media networks you get to talk to customers in their personal space…

There’s no excuse – if someone can make skips interesting, then anything’s possible.