Marketing is a big part of our daily lives, whether we’re consumers or business owners.
Estimates suggest the average American is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every day, each one designed to attract attention and earn our patronage. That number may sound overwhelming for the everyday shopper, but it presents an even greater challenge for businesses: when there’s so much marketing in front of your audience, how do you stand out?
To answer this, many businesses turn to content marketing. Digital content is an amazing tool that can increase brand awareness, add value for your customers, and cut through digital marketing noise.
Brands of any size can benefit from content creation — let us teach you how to leverage content marketing for your small business.
What is content marketing?
Businesses use a content marketing strategy to create valuable informational material like blog posts, videos, and infographics to stimulate interest in their products or services. This type of marketing focuses more on spreading brand awareness than selling specific products, though you can also use content marketing to launch new offerings.
Content marketing provides several unique benefits over other types of ads. First, excellent content marketing attracts widespread attention — whether or not the viewer is looking for (or even aware of) your brand. In this way, a business can boost web traffic and increase brand awareness organically.
Additionally, content marketing is relatively low cost. Businesses can create high-quality content with little investment, then publish the content on their blog or social media for free. Social media offers even more potential for free promotion, as users can share your content on their own accounts and further spread your brand’s reach.
9 content marketing tips for small businesses
Content marketing can help your small business build an audience and boost sales — but only if you do it right. Here are some content marketing tips so you can make the most of this type of advertising:
1. Understand your audience
While content marketing can reach just about anyone on the internet — particularly if the content goes viral — reaching an extremely broad audience probably shouldn’t be your goal. Instead, your content should strive to catch your target audience’s eye.
Analyze your customer base and try to understand what makes them tick. Where did they first discover your brand? What type of content garners the most engagement? What are your customers’ interests? These questions shape your content marketing plans.
For example, if you sell software for educators, your audience is looking to take their teaching to the next level. Instagram infographics with advice and resources for teachers is an example of content tailored to your target demographic.
2. Tailor your content to your marketing funnel
All marketing materials should move your customers down the marketing funnel, and content marketing is no exception. Ideally, your strategy should include material that reaches customers at any point in their journey, from awareness (learning about your brand) to action (making a purchase).
Here are a few examples of types of content that suit different stages in the marketing funnel:
- Awareness (the customer is learning about your brand): Blog posts, podcasts, or social media updates related to your industry, but not necessarily your products
- Evaluation (the customer considers purchasing a product or service): E-books, webinars, or emails that further educate customers about your brand and include a call to action (CTA)
- Conversion (the customer makes a purchase): Customer testimonials or product demonstration videos to add extra value to the purchase
3. Start a blog
A branded blog is one of the most important content marketing tools for small businesses. This platform is a great place to create content that drives traffic to your website, improves search rankings, and provides valuable insight for your customers.
The content on your small business’ blog can be educational posts, interviews with industry thought leaders, company updates, and anything in between. As long as the content offers some value to your customers, it’s a worthwhile piece of marketing.
4. Build a social media presence
These days, brand awareness and social media marketing go hand in hand. Content creation for social media is usually free, simple, and has the potential for massive reach. These benefits are significant for small businesses with smaller budgets who must maximize the impact of each marketing investment. When crafting your content marketing strategy, remember to make social media a priority.
5. Create an email newsletter
Businesses have many new avenues to reach their customers, but “old-school” email marketing remains a powerful tool for moving customers down the marketing funnel. Brands with a weekly or monthly email newsletter stay at the top of their customers’ minds, resulting in a high return on investment (ROI) for their marketing efforts. Many content creation and automation tools streamline creating and sending email newsletters, making it simple to integrate email marketing into your toolbox.
6. Use a content calendar
Email, social media, blogs — with so many channels at your disposal, you can quickly become overwhelmed. Fortunately, you can use an easy tool to keep track of your marketing efforts: the content calendar. A content calendar tracks what you post, when, and on which channel. This helps you stay organized, plan ahead, and test how changes in your marketing strategy affect your reach.
7. Repurpose your content across different channels
Let’s say that you interview an industry leader for your blog. That’s one piece of content, right? Actually, you can repurpose that one interview into content for all your marketing channels. Post a transcript of the interview on your blog. Post a video of the discussion on Youtube. Make clips from insightful comments during the interview and post them to your social media pages. By repurposing your content, you maximize the value of everything you create.
8. Leverage user-generated content
Great news: you don’t have to be the only person creating content for your brand. Customer reviews and influencer marketing are vital parts of a content marketing strategy. This type of content builds trust in your brand and drives new traffic from other users’ audiences.
9. Track your progress
This final tip may be the most important for any marketing strategy: set goals and measure your progress. You won’t know if your content is reaching your audience and having the impact you want if you’re not monitoring its impacts. Track impressions, click-through rates, and other metrics to gauge your content’s success and value.
How to create high-quality content
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or new to the game, content marketing is vital to your business’s success. But how do you ensure your content is top-quality? Here are a few tips to help you learn how to create content that attracts customers:
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to benefit your customers. This might mean education, product updates, or simply a good laugh. Be sure to thoroughly research every piece of content you create to provide your audience with maximum value.
Even the highest-quality content doesn’t have an impact if no one can find it. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. Use SEO research tools to find the keywords and phrases your customers search for and implement them into your content. If you do, your clients will be more likely to find your content — and, eventually, your website.
Always include a CTA
All content should include a call to action (CTA). This is simply a sentence or two at the end of your blog, video, social media caption, or email encouraging the user to take some action. This could mean checking out your blog for more information, signing up for email updates, or making a purchase. A CTA can be the final nudge your audience needs to move from “observer” to “customer,” so don’t forget it.
Master business management with Practice
Content marketing is vital to running your small business, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Practice is here to help you with every step of your business journey. Visit our blog to learn more about content marketing, SEO, and other tools to help your business grow, and check out the our client relationship management (CRM) tool to easily and efficiently manage your growing workload.