If you’re like most small business owners, you have a limited local marketing budget. You’re trying to get the most for your advertising dollars. A website that is optimized for search engine ranking is part of a platform you need to draw in customers.
The other side of that is a content marketing strategy. SEO is the technical aspects of your website that provides a good user experience when they come looking for your product or service.
Content is what fills up your website. You need content both so your customers can find you online, and so you can provide the information your customers need and that makes them want to choose your business over your competition. That’s why content marketing is indispensable for small businesses.
What Is Content Marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the strategic approach on creating and distributing valuable and relevant information to attract a clearly defined audience.” In other words, you have a plan to offer content to potential customers that you hope will ultimately lead them to make a purchase.
Demand Metric provides some statistics about content strategy that can help you understand the importance of content on your website:
✦ Users spend about one-fifth (20 percent) of their internet time browsing content
✦ 68 percent of people enjoy reading about brands that they are interested in
✦ 80 percent of people want to learn about brands through content
✦ Content costs up to 62 percent less than traditional marketing
✦ A majority of customers would rather learn about your company through content than through advertising
✦ 90 percent of customers find custom content helpful and useful
High-quality content keeps the reader’s attention, which boosts your site’s ranking in SEO. The search engine bots want to see users engage with your site. Content can improve loyalty to your brand. Customers want to know why they should shop with you. The content on your site can generate leads and increase your sales by solving the problems of your customers.
How Do You Create a Content Strategy That Works?
A small business content marketing strategy can’t be a haphazard smattering of information and advertisements on the website.
What makes content marketing different than advertising is the key elements of “valuable and relevant” information.
Every person receives thousands of marketing messages every day. If the information isn’t relevant to the person at that time, it’s likely they’ll forget it in just a few seconds. Content marketing sticks with a person, because it’s valuable to their needs.
Step 1 – Line Up Your Business Objectives With Your Creative Marketing Strategy
Content marketing for small business involves having great content, but it goes much deeper than creating. You should know the purpose of your content and have a plan in place to implement your strategy.
What do you want your customers to know about your organization and why? What can your business provide that your competitors aren’t? Which of your products are best suited to content marketing?
If you’re unsure how to approach local online marketing, a digital marketing company can be an asset. Instead of trying to invent the wheel, you can focus on what you know best, your business. Your marketing agency can bridge the gap between the technical aspects of online marketing and your knowledge of your industry. It will save you time, money and frustration to bring in specialists from the go.
Step 2 – Know Your Audience
You probably have customer demographics about who uses your product. When you’re starting out in content marketing for small businesses, you want to focus on your best customer segment.
Content marketing takes time to build an audience. By narrowing your focus, you gain valuable data about what works and what doesn’t. You can learn what your customers want and what it takes to convert someone into making a sale.
Step 3 – Create Custom Content for Your Business Objectives
Content marketing doesn’t interrupt the reader to ask them to purchase your product. That’s traditional advertising. Content marketing is invited into the room. The audience is giving your business permission to share your product with them. The higher the quality of your content, the more likely it is that someone will share it with their family or friends.
You have to think about your core objectives in creating content for your online marketing campaign. A relatively new concept is that of 10x content, which is defined as “content that is 10 times better than the best result in search results…”
Your content has to be unique to your organization, instead of being just like every other article on the topic. It answers questions that your customer didn’t even know they had.
Step 4 – Use Data Analytics to Get Better
Content marketing can be measured and tracked through analytics to give you insight into what works and what doesn’t. If you’re not using this data, you’re missing an essential element of your strategy. Working with your digital marketing company, you can tweak your campaign to be more successful.
Content marketing is here to stay
Following best practices now will not only help you gain customers, but it will also help you maintain your search rankings when Google changes the algorithm that determines rankings.
You can’t afford to not have a strategy for content marketing if you want to see your business grow.
Have questions about how content marketing can help your small business? Open up a live chat with one of our digital marketing experts or drop it in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more smart online marketing tips like these delivered right to your inbox.
Annette joined the BizIQ marketing department in Jan of 2017 as a copywriter and is now BizIQ’s Marketing Editor. Annette manages the content calendar, writes well-crafted content, oversees a team of talented writers, and collaborates with the rest of the marketing team and other departments in their content production efforts. She’s dedicated to developing content that’s informative, entertaining, educational, and helps businesses be more successful.