As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the world of online marketing. You may have a dozen competitors located in your hometown. If you run an online-only business, that number can rise to the hundreds or more. So what are the best ways for a small business to stay ahead in a competitive market?
Embrace your strengths. If you’re just starting out with a blog or are looking to revamp your online marketing efforts, you have one huge advantage over large or long-running businesses: you’re looking at the marketing world with fresh eyes. Your social media presence and blog are a key part of your small business website design. These are a great opportunity for you to try fresh new strategies and make a name for yourself with a streamlined website, memorable brand, and innovative blog and marketing campaigns.
However, throwing ideas out at random and hoping one sticks can be risky. That’s why it’s important to keep the principles of smart website content in mind with all of your efforts.
How Can Content Marketing Help Your Small Business?
You’ve created a professional and welcoming commercial website. You’ve signed up for your favorite social media accounts and are generating buzz about your business. Great! Now that you’ve got some traffic coming your way, it’s time to turn curious potential customers into loyal repeat business. How do you do that? Through content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy in which the business creates and shares material that promotes their brand and builds interest in their products or services. This can include social media updates, blog posts, and the creation of videos and images. Basically, instead of directly trying to sell something to people you hope will be interested, you organically draw potential customers in.
Why Do Content Marketing?
Instead of trying to target vast numbers of people with ads for products they may or may not want, you organically draw them into your corner of the web with content they value. That allows you to build up your reputation into a brand that they value. They may not want your roofing services now, but when a storm comes through and damages their home, your name will be one of the first they think of. That creates a grassroots base of customer support for your business.
How to Create Killer Content
Now you understand the importance of content marketing, but the question is, how do you do it? Over time you’ll experiment, develop your content style and ‘voice,’ and get a better feel for what your audience and potential customers want. However, when you’re starting out it’s best to stick to the foundational principles of good web content.
Focus on Your Passions and Strengths
Creating content can be challenging at first. That’s why it’s important to focus on aspects of your business or product that you’re really passionate about. Audiences will sense that this is something you care about and respond more positively than to a bland blog post like a hundred they’ve seen before.
You can also take this opportunity to explore your passions and learn more. For instance, if your company sells medical devices, you can blog about the history of a related medical ailment. That lets you educate, entertain, and intrigue your audience while you explore your passion, too.
The second part of this is to focus on your strengths. If you have a great visual talent, a social media platform like Pinterest may be the perfect fit for your business. If you aren’t quite as adept with words, you may want to hire someone to write engaging blog posts. There are so many different kinds of content marketing that you can be very successful while still focusing on your content creation strengths. Stay on-brand and produce quality content and you’ll probably like the results.
Aim for Evergreen, Social Media-Optimized Content
A good piece of online content does a lot of things at once. It:
- raises your small business SEO on search engines
- draws interested customers to your website
- raises awareness around what problems your goods and services solve
- acts as free advertising when shared on social media
- builds your reputation as a knowledgeable authority
- is a one-time investment that will continue to bring value for years to come
This may sound like a lot, but everything will fall into place if you keep your content evergreen and optimize it to your social media platforms of choice.
Create Content Regularly
Posting an excellent, insightful blog post is a great first step, but what next? Your piece of content will be quickly buried under the flood of other information competing for audience attention. They will get distracted and quickly forget all about your business. This leads many companies to worry about how to increase blog traffic.
However, the answer is simple. Create more, on a regular schedule. Why? The next time audiences come across a killer social media update from you, there’s a good chance they’ll remember your business as the one that gave them great value earlier. Keep repeating this cycle and soon they’ll be able to instantly recognize your branding and will eagerly open your newsletter or click on your post … because you have built trust. They trust that you will give them valuable content instead of a hard sell. That’s how you build a loyal customer base, and that’s why it’s worth making the time to create content, even though you’re very busy.
A final advantage of regular content creation is that it gives audiences a good reason to subscribe to your channel, sign up for your newsletter, and otherwise give you priority for their attention. Your mailing list or subscriber’s list is one of your most powerful marketing tools. It lets you skip the crowds and give content directly to customers. Best of all, these customers have selected your business as relevant to their interests. This lets you create more effective and precisely targeted ad campaigns and you’ll see your revenues soar.
Looking for more great content marketing tips for your small business? Learn how to make your brand more visible on the web: Content Marketing 101: 25 Copywriting Best Practices to Build a Better Brand.