When someone talks about content marketing, many people are generally thinking of large companies like Nike that spend millions on advertising. However, in reality, content marketing is a good strategy that can produce incredible results for a business of any size. This is especially true for small businesses because content marketing is a cheap and extremely effective alternative to others advertising strategies.
For example, content marketing costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing but it produces 3x as many leads, according to a recent study by Demand Metric. Unsurprisingly, more and more small businesses are using content marketing to stand out and win more customers.
Do you want to explore this inexpensive way to lead online leads down sales funnel? Here’s why it is a great option for your small business.
What is Content Marketing?
To avoid getting ignored or skipped over in the sea of other brands, small businesses must craft messages that their target audience wants to see. This message should have content that will not be perceived by the viewers as interruption, but a provider of valued information. In other words, a brand that provides valuable information instead of sales pitches, wins the competition.
There’s a name for this effective technique – it’s called content marketing. One of the leading online sources of information about the technique, Content Marketing Institute, defines it as:
…a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Clearly, the most important word in this definition is “valuable.” If a potential customer doesn’t see the value in the content produced by a brand, he or she will ignore it. The share of people influenced by custom content is also significant. For example, Dragon Search reported that the share consists of 61 percent:
So, content marketing can come to the rescue if your current strategies are not working. If you are still not sure what type of content is involved in this strategy, content marketing’s most popular pieces are videos, podcasts, articles, and social media posts. Each of them has its own strengths that help to build trust and credibility, while strengthening brand recognition.
For example, here are ways in which content marketing drives good results for small businesses.
Builds a reputation of an authoritative source of information
Imagine there are five more companies in town providing the same services but only one shares useful information with potential customers. For example, this information educates the town’s communities about innovations in the area and provides tips on the most common problems occurring with anyone using the services.
In this scenario, that one company is a clear leader because it is demonstrating its expertise, thus earning reputation of being trustworthy.
Boosts brand awareness
By publishing fresh content on a regular basis, a brand creates many opportunities for a target marketing to see its name. For example, if the brand’s social media accounts consistently produce quality content with its name on it, more and more people will become familiar with it.
As the result, the possibility that the name of your brand will pop up in a customer’s head when he needs a product increases.
Encourages a target audience to take action
Many people hesitate whether to spend money on a product or service if they don’t know the answers to their questions regarding that product or service. However, if your content provides these answers, the shoppers will be more motivated to take that action and make that purchase.
How to Begin with Content Marketing?
If you’re interested in launching your own content marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place, too! In the following sections, we’ll describe how professionals do it.
Step 1. Understand Your Audience
There is absolutely no point in producing content if you don’t know the needs and concerns of your target audience. If you do, though, it will be perceived as irrelevant and uninteresting. To avoid this mistake, you need to get into their heads by conducting research.
You can collect the data in various ways. One good way is to conduct questionnaires with current customer base; for example, you can ask them about their thoughts about your business, service, and quality. Companies such as professional writing services that require specific customer data often engage in this tactic to collect information. Try to learn as much as you can, even if it includes simple data like income, age, and gender.
Also, you can share the questionnaire on your social media profiles or send it to your email list. Don’t hesitate to offer incentives like discounts to those who complete it fully! To automate the process of creation of questionnaires, use tools like Typeform.
You can also use a platform like Scatter to get insights on your customers' conversations, relevant context, and trending discussions. That way, you'll be able to dive into your audience needs and interests more.
Step 2. Design a Website that Focuses on Conversion
Your website and social media profiles are essentially business cards. In case with content marketing, they’re also a home base where the people convert into leads and customers. Given that many people research a business before deciding to buy from it, the online experience delivered by you should be flawless.
For example, the 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey found that the first step in 54 percent of consumers after reading a positive review about a business was to visit its website.
You don’t want your potential customers to find a slow, outdated, and uninformative website when they read about how good your business is. So, provide a great, responsive design that leads to a landing page where all the conversion magic happens.
Step 3. Use Effective Types of Content
There are different types of content that the online audience especially likes, including videos. Video content is quickly emerging, and recent studies claim that it is becoming one of the best marketing mediums. Besides, it’s accessible and relatively cheap.
Here are some stats that suggest why videos are the future of content marketing. According to Medium, click-through rates of emails with videos increases by up to 300 percent and landing page with a video increases conversions by 80 percent. MWP Digital Media also stated that 78 percent of people watch videos online every week and predicted that by 2018, video will take up 79 percent of consumer Internet traffic.
Step 4. Make Your Content Easy to Find
Whatever the purpose of your content is, the best way to generate some great results is to produce content that solves the problems faced by the target audience. Making sure that it could be found by the viewers is another critical issue that you will face. To achieve this goal, research keywords before creating content, build a strong presence on social media, and invest in promotion. To measure how your content performs and identify areas for improvement, you can use good old Google Analytics.
Content marketing offers a lot of benefits for small businesses, but engaging in this strategy is no easy task. However, thorough planning and desire to create really useful content will ultimately make a drastic difference for you.
About the author: Tom Jager is a professional blogger. He works at Awriter. He has degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+ or Facebook.