Outside of running my business, I’ve always got at least a few projects going on, such as data crunching and learning to code. For the past four years, one of my “side projects” at Envera Consulting has been building my company’s brand through content marketing. And it’s been quite a success, if I do say so myself.
Let me tell you a little about that brand-building. But first, some background on my company as a whole.
Why I Founded Envera
Envera Consulting is a professional service provider that helps businesses comply with Southern California’s air-quality regulations. Our clients, who mostly come from the manufacturing sector, range from small family businesses to global Fortune 500 companies.
Southern California is known to have pretty poor air quality. Among U.S. regions, it ranks among the worst every year by the American Lung Association. So it’s not surprising that Southern California has some of the most stringent air-quality regulations in the nation. Air quality is a result of three factors: topography, climate, and population. When you mix those three together, SoCal is in a unique situation in which those factors work against us to produce those poor-quality air issues. Mountains to the north and east trap air in the basin, our warm, sunny climate makes for the perfect “breeding ground” for ozone, and our millions of residents — and their many, many vehicles — spew out emissions faster than they can toss out last year’s fashions. It’s the perfect environmental storm.
Envera Consulting started out with the goal of helping smaller to mid-sized businesses comply with air-quality regulations. I’ve been in this line of work for more than a decade and in that time I’ve noticed that about 80 percent of the area’s consulting firms target only about 20 percent of the businesses regulated by the SCAQMD. Although that might make sense from a business standpoint, it leaves the smaller companies in the lurch. Not only do the smaller fries not know how to comply with the rules, usually because they can’t afford a consultant or a full-time employee dedicated to environmental compliance, but they’re also intimidated by the process due to the legal, technical, and cost implications.
And that’s why I started Envera: to help those folks. And although today I do have some of those larger companies as clients, I find it more fulfilling to help the smaller guys. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy working with the large companies — I do — but the project dynamic is more intimate when the client isn’t a corporate behemoth.
Our Strategy for Content Marketing
So if you compare Envera to its competitors, you’ll notice we’re quite different — and that’s by design. Not only do we focus on the smaller fish in the SoCal pond, but we also try to help those who aren’t our clients by providing information that our competition often sees as “trade secrets.” And I provide that information free for a number of reasons.
- A Mix of Altruism and Forward-Thinking. I believe that businesses should help each other. By providing detailed, long-form content about environmental compliance, I’m providing a service to those businesses that may not be able to afford a consultant — at least, not right now. Some of our articles detail the exact strategies that we use with our paying clients. I offer it on our site for free because it provides upfront value. If a reader likes what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll come back later, either when they hit a snag that they can’t overcome themselves or when their business has grown so large that they can finally afford a consultant.
- To Reach a Larger Base of Prospects. Having observed my competition for some time, I’ve realized that many of them, who happen to be of an older generation, don’t really grasp how the internet works, let alone how powerful it can be as a marketing tool. When they have a problem they can’t solve themselves, they just call in an expert. They don’t realize that for a large portion of the population, the internet is that expert, whether it’s performing a Google search or crowdsourcing a solution. So I decided to provide the same sort of problem-solving content on a topic that has remained largely untouched online. I reasoned that if I posted articles about air-quality compliance, they’d get picked up by the search engines, making it easy for prospective clients to find. And that’s exactly what has happened.
Content marketing isn’t new, but when I started four years ago, it wasn’t being done in my industry. So I set out to be the first — and it’s paid off.
Marketing Results (So Far)
Envera has grown from a company that started with zero clients in July 2014 to 15 clients (and counting) today. I estimate that nearly a third of those clients came about due to content marketing. We’ve retained many long-term clients because of the great job we do, but we might not have found them if it hadn’t been for our website, which now gets traffic from all 50 states. Our content has not only driven revenue but also helped create greater brand awareness. I doubt many of our clients would have ever found us had it not been for the website.
We have email subscribers that actually work at the very agency that creates the regulations we help clients comply with. Heck, some of my competitors have admitted they read the Envera blog. I’ve even gotten fan mail about the quality of our content. (If you’d like an autographed photo, feel free to contact me.) Our content has made us different, which has helped us stand out from the crowd. And I know our competitors have taken notice because many of them have started to create content. But to be honest, I don’t think the quality is even close.
And there have been some unforeseen benefits. For example, many prospective clients have the same questions — which is natural. Rather than writing them lengthy emails, I instead point them to content on my site. In fact, many of the ideas I get from posts come from the very questions my clients ask. And with this ready-made content, I can send them a link in seconds and know that it contains everything I want to say. It’s not only saved me hours of time, it’s also made a bigger impact. When a prospective client sees high-quality content — content they can understand without translating tech jargon — it has a much greater impact than if I were to shoot them a cursory email.
So check out our content or read an interview where I discuss the content-creation process in more depth. And if you have a question, send me an email. I’ll be shackled to my computer writing the next Envera blog post, just for you.