When it comes to marketing, as a small business owner, you have two main options. The first option involves more traditional marketing, like paid advertising, commercials, and cold calling – whether that be in person or over the phone or email. These strategies work to some extent, but there comes a point when your potential customers simply start to ignore these traditional methods. They’re busy, and they don’t feel like being interrupted to look at an ad that they may or may not want to see.
Thankfully, there’s option two – content marketing.
So…what is content marketing?
It’s simple, really. Content marketing is just a strategic approach to marketing that involves creating valuable, informative and relevant content on a regular basis and on various channels (i.e. a blog, social media, etc.). The goal here is to use your content to attract an audience already interested in what you have to say, retain said audience, and eventually convert casual content readers into loyal customers.
Put simply – content marketing is helping your audience out by providing free, useful content, and in return, you will likely gain their business and trust.
Sounds a little too good to be true, right? If you’re on the fence, take a look at these recent statistics and facts:
- 88% of B2B marketing professionals in North America use content marketing.
- And that number is growing – 76% of marketers report that they are increasing their investment in content marketing.
- It’s also been reported that 82% of consumers feel generally more positive about a company after reading custom content on their website.
- Marketers who place a high priority on blogging quality content are 13 times more likely to have a positive ROI, and brands that regularly create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
People genuinely want to read about topics that interest them, and if you’re willing to educate your audience on the inner-workings of your industry in a way that will bring value to them, you’ll get a whole lot more out of your marketing budget than if you went about it in a more traditional way.
So, how can you get started with content marketing? There are quite a few different channels to try; some might work better than others, depending on your business. Take a look at these options and see if one might work for you:
If you haven’t started a blog for your business yet, you really should do so. It’s simple to do, and you can use it to regularly publish useful content for your readers. They’ll appreciate the free information, and you’ll begin to establish yourself as an authority within your industry or niche. Try to blog consistently, and if you’re looking for topic ideas, just ask your current customers what they’d be interested in learning more about.
If your business has social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, you can use those platforms to share useful information and helpful tips with your followers there. Also, try integrating this with your blogging strategy by sharing your blogs on all of your various social platforms to broaden your potential reach.
Videos are another great way to get quality content in front of your audience, especially if blogging really isn’t your thing. It’s a good idea to use as many content marketing channels in your business as you can reasonably keep up with. People generally process visual content much faster than plain text, so incorporating videos within your content marketing strategy can be very helpful and also effective.
Sometimes email marketing gets a bad rap, but it’s really quite useful. If someone opts in to receive newsletters from you via your website, that means they are already interested in what you have to say. Take full advantage of this by sending high quality, useful emails to those on your list as part of your content marketing strategy.
No matter how you plan to implement content marketing within your business, it’s important to give it some time and be patient – if you keep at it, you will really start to build a high level of trust with your audience, which will eventually lead to more loyal customers. It’s worth the time and effort!
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