The $1.7m Blog Post

By · Filed in Content Marketing

What would you do? Your business has been installing swimming pools for 20 years and it’s going backwards. You’re based in Northern Virginia and the weather there is great for pools, but the economic climate has turned extremely wintery. Instead of installing about 5 pools a month you are struggling to find two new customers a month.

What would you do?

The crunch hit when four customers changed their mind and asked for their deposit back causing the company to overdraw its bank account for three consecutive weeks.  Marcus Sheridan, the CEO of River Pools and Spas decided that things needed to change!

And change they did! So much so that the company is now doing better than ever. And just one of the things that they did resulted in $1.7m of sales.

The company had been spending around $250,000 each year on TV, radio and Pay Per Click advertising. Marcus realised that they could not afford this and yet they needed more business. He changed the company’s advertising approach to Content Marketing.

Content Marketing is all about putting valuable content out on the Internet where people will find it and using it to demonstrate they you and your business are experts and are worth contacting by anybody who is a serious prospect. What we refer to as building your KLT (Know, Like and Trust) factor.

In an interview, Marcus explained how he went about it: “I just started thinking more about the way I use the Internet. Most of the time when I type in a search, I’m looking for an answer to a specific question. The problem in my industry, and a lot of industries, is you don’t get a lot of great search results because most businesses don’t want to give answers; they want to talk about their company. So I realized that if I was willing to answer all these questions that people have about fiberglass pools, we might have a chance to pull this out.”

The first question that Marcus chose to answer is the one that he and all his competition had always attempted to defer or avoid answering for as long as possible: “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?” He explained that pool companies “hate talking about how much a pool costs until we have you in person because there are so many options and accessories we want to sell you. As a result, pool companies never mention price on their Web sites. But I said, I don’t care what the question is, we’re going to answer it.”

He realised that he could not give an exact answer to the question so he answered it as best he could with a blog post on his website words along the lines of: “there are a ton of options, so it depends, the price can range anywhere from $20,000 to $200,000 and a lot of our customers end up between $40,000 and $80,000.”

And that did it! By next day that blog post was number one for “every fiberglass-pool, cost-related phrase you could possibly type in”. Marcus tracks his marketing activities and “so far to this day, I’ve been able to track a minimum of $1.7 million in sales to that one article”.

His next blog post was answering another question he would previously try to avoid: What are the problems with fibreglass pools? The “concrete pool guys” would emphasise the disadvantages of fibreglass pools so this question came up quite often. Marcus wrote a blog post setting out the problems with fibreglass pools and their pros and cons as clearly as he could “Here are the issues. Here are the benefits. You decide.” Again this post ranked well on Google because nobody else was answering the question. People would read it and think “Oh my gosh, these guys are so honest.”

He also went on to answer the question “who are some of the other good pool companies?” He wrote a blog post titled “Who Are The Best Pool Builders in Richmond Virginia?(Reviews/Ratings)”. Here he posted short reviews on his best competitors. As a result, this blog post appears for search terms when people are reviewing his competitors and he is attracting much more traffic to his website. Not only that, River Pools and Spas are coming over as open and honest.

The rest, as they say, is history. The company grew and they now post other forms of content such as videos but the principle remains the same, they offer valuable content that their prospects might genuinely want to know. As Marcus said “If somebody reads 30 pages of my River Pools Web site, and we go on a sales appointment, they buy 80 percent of the time. The industry average for sales appointments is 10 percent. So, our whole marketing campaign revolves around getting people to stick around and read our stuff, because the longer they stay on our site, the greater the chance they’re going to fall in love with our company.”

And how do his competitors react to it? “They still don’t really get it. They’re nice about it. I’ll have one of my best-pool-builder lists come out, and I’ll run into them. And they’ll say, ‘Hey, man, thanks for including me in that list. I’m not sure why you did it, but thanks.’”

So, go to it and create the content that your prospects want to see. Or give us a call if you want us to lend a hand.

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