As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate, and not nearly enough time or resources to accomplish everything that you would like. Oftentimes, that means marketing your business gets pushed aside as operational needs require much of your focus.
The success of your business, however, depends heavily on getting the word out about the products and services you offer, and how they are a better choice than that offered by your competitors. So, it’s time to move marketing higher on your ‘To Do’ list.
Marketing is a pretty broad term, however, and the task can feel overwhelming, especially for a small business owner trying to do it alone. As paid advertising becomes less effective – considering that more than 615 million electronic devices have ad blockers installed – content marketing for small businesses is one method that is not only cost-effective but also highly result-oriented.
So what exactly is content marketing? It may bring to mind blogs, published articles, and social media, but is really so much more. It is a long-term strategy that uses content in a variety of formats to build a stronger relationship with your audience, capture their attention, improve engagement, and build brand awareness. Consider that 88% of consumers use online search to seek out information, and 53% say that offering free content on a topic that they are interested in is effective for attracting their business.
While paid advertising is designed to get something from your audience (a sale), content marketing is about providing value to the audience in order to build trust. Content marketing for small businesses can help you:
- Establish and maintain a successful brand identity that your audience connects with;
- Gain competitive advantage over competitors not using content marketing;
- Create a long-term, trustworthy relationship with customers and prospects;
- Position your business as an expert in your industry; and
- Drive potential customers to your website, and convert more visitors into leads and sales.
The good news is that small businesses don’t need to spend a lot of money to get results from content marketing. Content marketing typically costs about 62% less than traditional, outbound marketing tactics, but generates 3X the number of leads.
Customers appreciate that content marketing is permission-based – they are following you on social media and subscribing to updates because they want to hear from you. In fact, 70% of customers prefer to learn about a company through authentic content like an article than over any kind of advertisement “forced” on them. Moreover, 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
Generally speaking, business owners and marketers use a combination of tactics that work with their audience. The top tactics used by B2B marketers are:
- Social media 83%
- Blogs 80%
- Email newsletter 77%
- In-person events 68%
- E-books | white papers 65%
- Video 60%
- Infographics 58%
- Webinars 58%
The fact is that customers have increasing control over what marketing messages they choose to consume. The days of being able to bombard your audience with sales messages are gone, and instead customers are demanding thoughtful, authentic, and valuable content that will help them make their buying decisions. So whether you have a full marketing team, or are a one-man team, it is essential that you enter the content marketing arena with your customers – they are there, so you should be too.