by Brian McKay
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels
Marketing for small businesses has evolved. It used to be all flyers, billboards and magazine spreads, but now you’ll find a lot of businesses using a more subtle approach to complement their traditional marketing efforts.
Content marketing is a strategic practice that involves the creation of content like videos and blog posts that don’t directly promote a brand but stimulate interest in its products or services. If the content is educational rather than promotional, that’s content marketing.
A small environmental services business might put out a newsletter celebrating Earth Day. A pet store might post a blog explaining ten reasons to take your cat to the vet. An accountant might post a video explaining top tax return mistakes. It’s not directly promoting the brand, but it is providing value to the customer, and therefore positioning the brand as a trusted expert.
This approach is effective because it can help to bring the brand to life and build trust and loyalty with customers. In becoming a valuable source of trusted content, it’s more likely people will revisit your site or share your content with friends. It can also be more cost effective and anyone can get started with it, no matter the budget, making it a great option for small businesses.
Try some of these easy content marketing techniques to see the impact they have on your small business.
Blog posts are a great example of effective content marketing for small businesses. A blog allows you to communicate the ethos, personality, and expertise behind your brand in a subtle way that builds trust and brand loyalty. Your blog needs to be interesting, useful and well-written in order to actually add value.
But while regular blogging can have a big impact, it can also be very time consuming, particularly for a small team. It’s not just writing, but also coming up with fresh and engaging ideas. Digital marketing agencies like Wayward Kind can help provide small businesses with content that is creative and strategic.
If you’re stuck for ideas for your blog, start with the questions your customers most often ask or the topics they show interest in. You can use forums like Quora to see some of the common questions relating to your industry or keyword. These can be great starting points for your posts. They’ll answer real issues or concerns for your customers and so are more likely to be read and shared.
You can make sure your blog posts go further by optimizing them for search engines. If you approach search engine optimization (SEO) correctly, you can end up towards the top of the search engine rankings in your industry, meaning more visitors and potential customers.
Social media content
Now you’ve got your well-written, engaging blog posts, you’ll want to share them with potential readers. Social media is the ideal place to do so.
Typically, a businesses’ social media strategy will sit within the overall content marketing strategy. Both should complement each other, for example by having content that is optimized for social sharing. A great thing about social media is that you can see in real time the kind of reaction your content is getting. Make sure to use analytics to track the success of your content and social media strategy, so you know what works and what to do more of.
Social media is great at getting your message out there. But it’s also a very crowded arena. How can you stand out from the crowd and start getting the traction you need? Pay-per-click ads like Facebook ads are a fantastic way to get your brand seen. Select your target audience and relevant keywords to make sure your ads reach the right people. It’s a good idea to start out small with a target in mind and track success using analytics. That way you’ll know whether to kick it up a notch or to investigate other channels.
Growing your list of email subscribers is a really effective content marketing tool. You get to communicate directly with your audience in an easy (and free!) way. There are many ways you can grow your email list, such as promoting your email newsletters via social media or adding gated lead-generating offers to your site. Your email list is a valuable tool since you can use it to create a relationship with customers and increased loyalty. A little email here and there helps to keep your company at the forefront of a customer’s mind. Just be sure that your emails are adding value to your customer, rather than being a nuisance.
Decide on the frequency of emails so that you don’t end up overburdening your customers and turning them away. You’ll also want to think about the content. Will it be a weekly newsletter? Or will you only use email to notify customers of sales and discounts? It’s a good idea to make your content completely customer focused. Think about what matters to them, what they’ll want to read, and the types of email headlines that will be irresistible to click.
Infographics can seem intimidating if you don’t have a graphic design background, but they can add a lot of interest to your content. Plus, a good infographic that’s relevant to your customers is highly sharable on social media. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure your logo is somewhere on the image. You can hire a designer to put an infographic together for you, or use an online tool to make your own.
You can easily create your own memes to share on social media or embed into your blog. These can bring humor and personality to your brand. However, be careful to only use memes if this fits in with your brand tone of voice and your audience, as humor that is out of place can be jarring and off-putting. If in doubt, it might be best to avoid.