Gone are the days of traditional marketing, where you had to pay to promote your brand on TV or on radio. If you are a small business owner, this has become easier with content marketing.
According to datareportal, the number of users of social media in the USA in 2023 was equivalent to 72.5% of the total population.
Content marketing isn’t new. It began in 1895, when John Deere produced a magazine for farmers called “The Furrow”. Apart from targeting farmers, the stories they published were so enjoyable and engaging that other people started reading the magazine. Creating relevant and engaging content is the reason why it is still being published today.
As the story suggested it took time, but the results were worth the effort (and wait). The Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) stats state that 72% of marketers say content marketing increases engagement.
By publishing content that interests your audience, they will actively seek out small business. Successful content marketing can also emphasize the value of your product or service, leading to increased sales.
Given that small businesses may not have a large audience, creating popular content can significantly expand your reach. Quality content engages your audience, fosters loyalty, and drives sales. This is why creating an effective content marketing strategy will not only provide value to your customers, but also establish trust and strengthen relationships.
Moreover, content marketing presents an affordable approach for small businesses to reach a large target audience with the support of search engine optimization (SEO). Creating valuable content for your specific audience may not incur any costs, yet it can bring in numerous customers.
What Is Content Marketing?
When it comes to content marketing, writing blogs, social media posts, and videos are what come to mind. However, these elements only represent a small fraction of content marketing.
Essentially, it is a comprehensive strategy that utilizes different content formats to build trust and loyalty with your audience and enhance engagement over the long term.
Steps to create a content marketing strategy:
Understand Your Audience
To avoid wasting time producing uninteresting or irrelevant content for your customer base, it is crucial to conduct thorough research to gain a deep understanding of your audience, their interests, and their buying habits.
Instead of aiming for a broad range of people, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of who you are creating content for. This allows you to produce specific and relevant content that resonates with your intended audience.
Additionally, comprehending your audience enables you to determine the appropriate channels and content formats for distribution.
To accomplish this, start by examining your existing customers. Consider the concerns or questions they have raised, how they discovered your business and their interests.
Compile a comprehensive list of characteristics that define your target audience and segment them according to a demographic (age, gender, income, etc.), striving for maximum specificity. This will provide insights into the type of content that will be valuable and engaging for them.
Gain Insights from Your Audience
There are numerous ways to collect data and gain a better understanding of your core audience. One effective method is to conduct questionnaires with your existing customers.
Seek their opinions on your business, services, and overall messaging, aiming to learn as much as possible about your customer base. Gathering information on average age, gender, income, and purchasing habits will inspire your content creation.
Research your competitors and where your target audience spends time on their social media channels. As a small business, it is crucial to create content that adds value to the customer. If they are not finding what they are looking for, your efforts won’t be meaningful.
You can also align your strategies according to the sales funnel, which is how a customer interacts with your content:
- Attention: A customer learns about your website, or a most through social media.
- Interest: Wants to know what more you have to offer if the content provides value
- Desire: Interested in your services to purchase them (subscribes, signs up, visits your website)
- Action: Finally purchases the products or services you offer
Another indirect approach is to analyze the audience of your competitors. If your competitors are successful, observe their social media followers and the type of content they employ. Pay attention to how they target customers through advertisements and posts.
Have A Social Media Presence Where Your Audience Is
In the realm of content marketing for small businesses, social media plays a vital role. As a small business owner, you are likely already utilizing social media platforms.
However, it is important to ensure that you are directing your efforts towards the right channels. Revisit the knowledge you have gained about your customers and ensure that your focus aligns with the social media platforms that resonate best with your audience.
To achieve success in social media marketing, it is essential to be present where your customers are. Examine any available data you have on your customers to identify the platforms they predominantly engage with. Pay attention to the social media platforms that your competitors prioritize and analyze your Google Analytics data to gain a better understanding of your customers’ online behavior.
Once you have determined the social media platforms to prioritize, utilize them as platforms to share valuable content that captivates your audience. Avoid solely focusing on sales pitches; instead, engage and assist your audience through social media.
Depending on the nature of your business, you can share helpful tips, intriguing ideas, do-it-yourself videos, or even entertaining memes to maintain the interest of your audience.
Develop a Content Calendar
The key to successful content marketing for small businesses lies not only in producing quality content but also in maintaining consistency. Establishing a well-defined plan will enable you to consistently deliver content across various channels.
Construct a content marketing calendar that outlines precisely what content you will publish and when it will be published. This approach ensures organizational efficiency and keeps your content marketing strategy aligned with your goals.
Ideally, create the content marketing calendar at least one month in advance, specifying the content to be posted across each channel.
Repurpose Your Content in Diverse Formats
As previously mentioned, there is an abundance of content marketing channels and platforms available. By repurposing a single outstanding piece of content, you can transform it into various forms, amplifying its value.
For instance, if you write a compelling blog article, you can repurpose it into a YouTube video, convert it into a podcast episode, or even transform it into an infographic.
Additional relevant blog articles or information can be incorporated to create an eBook. Furthermore, you can extract key insights from the article to create short, condensed video clips tailored for social media.
This way, you can generate five distinct content types from one blog post, effectively distributing them across your marketing channels to attract more customers to your small business.
Create a Conversion-Focused Website
Building a great website is no easy task, especially if you lack expertise in copywriting, coding, or web design. If possible, enlist the help of professionals or a content marketing agency with holistic services.
Numerous small details can make or break your site’s performance. For instance, speed is crucial, as visitors tend to leave if your website takes longer than three seconds to load.
Other factors contributing to high bounce rates include the absence of mobile optimization, uninteresting web copy, broken functionality, and unclear navigation.
Your website serves as the central hub for your content marketing strategy. Cutting corners here can easily deter visitors.
Considering that over half of all customers research businesses online before making a purchase, it is vital to have a high-quality and reliable platform. To ensure this, Salt Marketing offers solutions that are right for your business goals.
Do Not Forget Keyword Research
Most importantly, incorporate words and phrases that resonate with your audience and align with the information they are actively seeking. Keyword research is fundamental to online marketing, ensuring that your content connects with your target audience.
Social media is an important part of any small business’s content marketing strategy. Being a small business, you must already be on social media.
But are you focused on the right platforms? Go back to the understanding you gained of your customers and make sure that you focus on social media platforms that best align with your audience.
For successful social media marketing, you should be where your customers are. Check any data that you might have on your customers to see where they’re spending most of their time online.
Pay attention to the social media channels that your competitors focus on, and review your Google Analytics to better understand your customers’ online behavior.
Once you’ve established which social media channels to focus on, use them to publish helpful content that your audience will find interesting. Don’t just try to sell your products; use social media to engage and help your audience. Depending on your business, you could publish helpful tips and interesting ideas.
There are, however, key things to consider while developing a content strategy:
Given the changes made by Google’s algorithms that penalize duplicate content, anyone who has been on the internet in the past three years should not be surprised.
In the past, websites thrived on repetitive content sourced from various locations, but Google has now put an end to that.
To attract visitors to your website through content, it is crucial to create original content. This can be achieved by either creating it in-house or outsourcing it to freelance copywriters available on the internet from around the world.
Informative and Accurate
Great content provides people with new knowledge and information. Sometimes it’s something fun and interesting to share at a party, while other times it’s a practical step-by-step guide. The most informative content falls somewhere in between.
When creating informative content, it’s important to make it interesting. The content should tell a story, be engaging, and avoid using too much technical language.
However, include facts and statistics and always link to them. Moreover, use credible sources relevant to the information or content being provided.
It’s crucial to consider your audience and adjust your writing style accordingly. Writing for an experienced user will be different from writing for someone new to the industry.
What Content Will Generate Engagement?
As a small business owner, you can incorporate the strategies mentioned into these forms of content.
Video marketing is a powerful way of promoting or showing your message. While articles can be quickly skimmed, the same cannot be said for videos. A staggering 55% of people engage with videos thoroughly, as skimming through them is practically impossible. This makes videos an incredibly effective tool for delivering your message to your target audience.
It is strongly recommended that your small business incorporate video into its content marketing strategy to captivate a wider audience and attract interested customers.
While YouTube is a prominent platform for video content, there are several other avenues where videos can be utilized. You can create short-form video content specifically tailored for social media, incorporate videos into your landing pages, utilize videos to capture customer testimonials and explore other creative applications.
Videos that are 60 seconds or less have a higher likelihood of being watched in their entirety. Since video content has its limitations regarding time, grabbing attention in time is challenging.
However, the opportunities and possibilities are endless.
- Showcase a product demonstration.
- Interview someone from your company or an industry expert.
- Share tips on unique ways to utilize your product.
- Present a talking head format where you provide valuable insights or advice.
- Offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your company.
- Livestream an event for real-time engagement.
Remember, videos can be pre-recorded or streamed live, and it’s worth exploring and testing as they attract different audiences (live streaming is particularly effective for capturing the attention of social-savvy followers on platforms like Facebook).
There are numerous options available when it comes to shaping your content marketing strategy, but one of the most effective approaches remains blogging.
Blogging provides a cost-free opportunity for small businesses to establish their expertise in a particular niche and significantly increase website traffic.
Blog content tailored to your audience can have a positive impact on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and improve your search engine rankings. This also ensures that a well-ranked blog post maintains its position for an extended period, delivering lasting value to your business.
In addition to enhancing website SEO, blogs offer valuable content that benefits your customers. Your blog can serve as a tool for lead generation and increasing exposure for your business.
When you embark on blogging, consider the topics that will captivate your audience. These subjects should be relevant to your business without being overly promotional.
Utilize your expertise as a small business owner to create insightful and informative blog articles that address your audience’s inquiries. Here are some tried-and-true blog topic ideas that work well for small business owners:
- Share your best tips for customers interested in your industry.
- Express your enthusiasm for different aspects of your industry.
- Craft helpful guides that provide insights into your audience’s pain points.
- Showcase innovative and creative uses of your product.
- Share customer success stories.
- Provide answers to frequently asked questions from your customers.
- Conduct interviews with team members or industry experts in your field.
- Explain complex topics in your industry using an easy-to-follow format.
- Utilize your blog to share video content.
When dealing with substantial yet valuable information, it can be challenging to maintain the attention of your audience.
This is where infographics prove to be a valuable content marketing tool, as they are 30 times more likely to be read compared to text-only articles.
Infographics effectively present written content in a visually appealing manner, making it easier for people to process information. They are particularly useful for conveying content that involves a significant number of statistics and data, which can be illustrated through charts, graphs, and captivating images.
The next time you need to cover a topic rich in data, consider testing two approaches: writing an article and creating an infographic. Then, measure the results of each to determine which one is more successful in attracting your audience.
Figure Out Content To Create
Equipped with the right knowledge and strategies for content marketing, the next step is to figure out the topics you want to create content about, the format, and on which social media platform the content will be published.
As a small business owner, you may need to consider the following questions:
- What interests my audience?
- What form of content are they sharing?
- Who is my competition, and what is working for them?
- What questions are my customers asking?
These are some content marketing tips for small businesses that you can cultivate and restructure accordingly.
Customers are spammed with advertisements. To ensure that customers feel valued and heard, creating an effective content marketing strategy becomes essential.
Small and medium-sized businesses often face difficulties in building brand awareness and generating sales. Thankfully, a digital marketing agency can provide holistic solutions to these challenges.
The best thing is that it doesn’t require a large budget. In fact, it’s much more affordable compared to other marketing methods such as advertising. Content marketing with techniques like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), create relevant and connect with your target audience. to ensure your content reaches them naturally.
The results may not be quick and immediate, but they tend to grow over time and serve as an indicator of the potential of content marketing for your brand.
To make the most of your efforts and improve your business’s profits, connect with us to get an in-depth and free consultation and have the right content production team for your digital marketing solutions.