Many small businesses can find it difficult to implement marketing campaigns similar to those of corporate giants, particularly when they only have a limited budget. However, content marketing is one strategy that is often on a level playing field. Content marketing usually requires limited costs upfront and has the capability of turning in a high return on investment (ROI). The Content Marketing Institute reports that content marketing costs 62% less on average than outbound marketing and also generates three times as many leads. With those figures in mind, here are 11 reasons why you should consider a content marketing strategy for your small businesses:
Keep Your Website Active
If you’re only publishing news or blogs on your website every now and then, new visitors may think you’re no longer in business if they visit when the latest post was published three months ago. Having a content strategy in place means you can publish articles frequently to keep your website fresh. This also allows you to give your customers useful content to begin building a relationship with. This all means that your website starts to become a more trustworthy resource – something good to attract new visitors to come back and ultimately turn into customers.
Set up a Content Hub
Statistics show that on average consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content before they make a purchase. This makes it important to offer your readers lots of content. Creating a content hub is one way to store what your business produces. Most businesses will use a blog as their central hub, but as your marketing becomes more versatile, you may go beyond simple blog posts with other content such as infographics, downloadable guides and videos. Should you go down this route, you may want to consider creating a ’Resource’ section or landing page for your company’s website. This acts as a bigger hub for your visitors to engage with and give them more reason to come back your website again in the future.
If you’re constantly creating expert content then it increases the chances of your articles being picked up and linked to from other websites. A general rule of thumb is that the more shares and hyperlinks your content is getting, the more people are reading it and the more visibility you’re getting. This increases the chances of your audience growing, and growing substantially too.
Inheriting backlinks is one of the main criteria that search engines use to rank your site when users make searches. If you’re attracting hyperlinks from authoritative sites you’ll likely see an increase in your rankings in search engines – giving you more exposure to an audience who are looking for your product or service.
Generating traffic to your website is great, but it means little unless you turn them into sales. A good content marketing strategy can help increase the number of online conversions, whether by a direct sale, users signing up to your newsletter or simply building trust that later turns into a sale.
Many businesses consider email newsletters ideal for bringing in sales, as generally, those who have signed up are interested in your product or service.
Campaign Monitor report that more conversions are of a result of email marketing than any other marketing channel with an average ROI of 3800%. This data suggests that businesses should be taking time and care to invest in email marketing to increase their profitability. Aside from the latest blog posts and news, infographics can be used to share through newsletters. Should the thought of this make you nervous, a digital marketing agency or a freelancer can help you create content and resources.
Cook Smarts, a meal plan subscription service, have mastered email marketing with their ‘Weekly Eats’ meal planning newsletters. These newsletters include calls to action to download their meal plans and ‘forward to a friend’. These newsletters mean users don’t have to search through the Cook Smarts website to find recipes on a blog post – they know exactly where to look after receiving the email.
Prior to starting a newsletter, split testing, a form of comparing several versions of a marketing campaign will help determine which format works best for your customer base. These tests allow you to run different variations of your emails on the same segmented audience, essentially to work out which they prefer. It’s advised to test your calls to action and layout of an email first. Other unique components that should also be considered testing include:
- Subject line
- Name of sender
- Day of the week
- Time of day
Developing Your Brand Authority
Showcase content on your website that shows you’re better than the rest of the competition. If your target audience is looking for answers to their questions, provide them with the most in-depth advice. Every blog post, infographic, ebook etc. will help develop your authority within your field which is the ultimate aim to increase your branding.
Integrate It with Your Current Marketing Strategy
Many don’t believe that your content marketing can be integrated with your current marketing strategies. This is nonsense. Whether you’re running pay per click campaigns, or trying to grow your social media following, content marketing can complement both of these strategies and many more.
Pay per Click Campaigns
A user may have visited your site through a pay per click (PPC) campaign but not reached the purchase stage of your sales funnel. Perhaps they were trying to locate more information about the product. This is where having blog posts and articles that cover relevant content are ideal for these users to answer their questions. Whilst most of your PPC campaigns may be targeting a sales page, it’s worth considering putting your blog one click away from these landing pages to help solve any queries.
There are more than 60 million Facebook business pages (Venturebeat) to give you an idea of how popular social media is today. This also means that your business could be facing a significant amount of competition. Users aren’t going to interact with your content if it’s not relevant, unique and up-to-date. Your social media presence is important to both building and maintaining your brand’s reputation.
Expedia are a great example of social media done well. Whilst they primarily sell flights, accommodation and holidays, it can be difficult to keep their customers excited before even mentioning how competitive their industry is. To combat this, Expedia created the blog Out There Starts Here aimed at offering their audience tips, inspiration and guides for any future trips.
Their blog posts are shared on their Facebook page with the intention of driving users to their website with the hope of them booking their next holiday through Expedia.
Boost Your Organic Search Rankings
Search engines aim to give their users the most relevant information higher up in their search results. Many website and business owners know the importance of ranking highly for keywords in their industry. A blog enables you to incorporate your keywords in a search engine-friendly manner to help improve your positions in the search results, inexpensively.
Google Answer Box
Whilst first place in Google’s search engine results has often been the sweet spot, you can now appear above this. Google Answer Boxes extracts a summary of text from a webpage that answers a specific query. These results are always picked up from pages that are already ranking on page one. The additional answer box includes your page title and URL, essentially giving you two results on the first page, including the top result.
The example above is information from iCatCare.org answering the query ‘What is a Pedigree cat?’. There’s no cost to appear in these boxes, you simply need to produce the strongest piece of content with a couple of requirements:
- Include the query or keyword as a heading tag or page title
- Answer the question in your page’s content (a paragraph, list or table format works best)
- Use schema mark up to tell Google more about the on page content
- Add coding to make the content stand out (a pull quote)
Stone Temple Consulting recently discovered that 30% of the 1.4 million queries they researched included an answer box. I expect this number will certainly continue to rise in the future.