Tip: Review your replies to customer emails, messages, and web form submissions. Often your answers can be easily aggregated and repurposed into shareable content. From Nancy Drew to Lois Lane. Now it's time to put on your investigative journalist hat and go directly to the most valuable source: your customers. Your customers and current audience, no matter how small, are the best base for your new small business content marketing strategy. Ask them directly what they would like to learn more about and what format and delivery platform they prefer.
Consider creating a survey or questionnaire to help you learn more about your customers, their needs, questions and favorite forms of content. Do an old-fashioned brainstorming session with your team or use one of the countless tools for brainstorming and topic generation that can be found online.
For instance, type "paint drying" into Portent's Title Generator and you'll get the following options amongst others.
None of the options may be exactly what you need, but they may get you thinking about new and unexpected ways to package your ideas. One of the suggestions may spur an idea you previously hadn't considered, and voila! The next piece of viral content is born. People are asking questions about your topic. Use Quora or Yahoo! Answers to do your own market research. Some of the questions and answers you find may trigger a great idea for a piece of content that your customers really want and need.
8 Reasons Every Small Business Should Utilize Content Marketing
If you create content that speaks directly to your user's experience and pain points, they are far more likely to connect and engage. If you think your small business is "boring," you're not alone in your concern. In fact, 47 percent of B2B marketers cite producing engaging content as a top challenge.
How do you move past this fear and create scintillating content with the potential for viral sharing when your business isn't based around the most exciting topic? You get creative. You're likely accustomed to thinking about your business from the same perspective, but content marketing will require you to get outside of that box and look at it from every possible angle. Use the tips in this section to inspire fresh content ideas you'll be amazed at what you come up with.
As a small business owner, you are accustomed to wearing a lot of different hats. You may be worried that embracing content marketing will require adding even more to your plate. You can't do everything. You're actually not supposed to do everything. This sounds easy, but in reality, it can be the most difficult thing for the small business owner to truly embrace. If you hire a writer, it's worth noting that you will most likely get what you pay for.
Consider just how important your small business content marketing strategy is to your business. If you're just trying to make sure you have a few posts up on the blog, then perhaps you don't need to invest much. But if you want to create a robust content marketing program that will really drive sales, you'll need to invest both time and funds into the program. Try sites like UpWork or Fiverr to find affordable outsourcing and freelance options. Word of caution: Since content writers are located all around the world, be sure the writer you are using is fluent both speaking and writing in the language of your site.
Join forces: Connect with other small business owners in complementary industries. Are you a copywriter? Find a graphic designer who may be willing to assist you with creating an infographic in exchange for web copy. Create co-branded content with other industry professionals and take advantage of both a diverse skill set and multiple audiences.
A plethora of free tools are popping up to help you create like a pro. You'll find a list of 20 recommended tools a little bit later in this article, in fact. For each piece of content, brainstorm all the potential configurations. A presentation can be uploaded to SlideShare , transcribed into blog posts, compiled into an e-book and used to create graphics. Examine old material, refresh it with new stats and repackage it for a new audience. Don't forget the value of curating and packaging valuable content from other sources, too.
Creating a list of your favorite tools or a roundup of the top industry content can prove an easy way of reaching your audience. If your small business hinges on open, active, two-way conversation with customers, user-generated content marketing may be the way to go.
Social Media Marketing Quotes
Take this example from Joy , a free wedding planning app and website. Here's how they leveraged user-generated content marketing, according to Cali Pitchel, director of growth and customer success:. With Joy, you can manage your RSVPs, share important wedding-day details, and collect photos from your guests before, during, and after your special day. We're a small team, and I'm the only non-engineer. That means I am a marketing team of one who also leads to customer success, which entails managing a team of customer success associates.
When I joined Joy, I knew that content marketing would be a cornerstone of our acquisition strategy. One, because it's what I do. I am a content marketer by training. Two, because I have seen first-hand the value of content marketing, especially content marketing that is underpinned by clear brand values. You might ask yourself, 'What's the currency of your brand? So what better way to market our product than through them? This proximity not only gives us a daily health check for our product, it creates a certain sense of openness and intimacy with our users.
The constant dialogue can be exhausting, but the opportunity to leverage our happy users to create content is endless. In fact, our users have become the basis for our content marketing. When a couple works on their Love Story, an Auto Response gets triggered soliciting proposal stories.
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Even if only 25 percent of those couples who respond complete the interview, that's proposal stories in four months. If we post one proposal story a day, that is over two years of content Once a post is published to the blog, we share the blog post and social links with the couple and make a simple, honest ask: 'We don't do any paid marketing. If you feel inclined, we would love if you shared this with friends and family! What we've seen is an over percent increase in the traffic to our blog.
I'm still working to tie that increased brand awareness and blog traffic to weddings created because that is my primary acquisition metric, but it's hard to doubt the impact, even if it's anecdotal. Our couples truly enjoy the posts, and they do share them with friends and family as evidenced by our new blog traffic. Word-of-mouth is undoubtedly one of the strongest influences affecting purchasing behavior. These proposal stories, when shared socially by our couples, are an endorsement of our product and their level of happiness using Joy to plan their weddings.
The biggest takeaway here is to just ask. Just like no one gets married without proposing, you won't get user-generated content without asking. If you do a Google search for best content marketing examples, there's no shortage of big brand examples. Sure it's cool stuff, but can the average small business owner really pull off these expensive and involved omnichannel campaigns? But that doesn't mean you can't be super successful with small business content marketing in your own way. Here are five small business owners who have supercharged their business with content.
Strollers and car seats are some of the most important and most confusing products that every new parent needs to buy. Strolleria sells high-quality baby gear in an online and a Scottsdale, Arizona store. Co-owner and chief marketing officer Amy Venzke has gone full in on content marketing to help parents choose the products that are right for them.
Strolleria's content largely falls into two categories: product comparisons designed to attract organic search traffic and educational resources designed to educate email subscribers through what can be a months-long buying decision. On Facebook, the stroller quiz targets moms-to-be in the Phoenix area, helping raise awareness of the local store.
On Pinterest, a promoted pin for the stroller quiz targets product keywords on a national level. Pinners searching for a brand carried by Strolleria see the pin in their search results and take the quiz to find out which stroller is right for them. This strategy has proved extremely effective for Strolleria. The SEO-optimized content launched less than a year ago, allows them to compete with much bigger, more established brands. City Select comparison, which attracts more than pageviews per month," shares Venzke.
Instead of churning out as many blog posts as possible, I focus on creating various types of content that serve different purposes in our marketing strategy. A product comparison generates the most organic page views, but it's probably too specific to help us generate leads from Facebook ads or educate new prospects in an email series. Knowing I can't do it all, I try to keep a balance between content types and prioritize work based on the business need it serves.
Rehab Financial Group, LP RFG makes secured first lien loans to real estate investors requiring capital to acquire, improve, own, operate, manage and sell one to four family residential rental properties in 15 states. Wanting to increase their web traffic and lead generation, RFG worked with Brolik , a Philadelphia-based digital agency, to create an online guide called, "Flipping Houses ".
The five-chapter guide walks customers through the entire process of finding, buying, fixing, and flipping a house. Brolik used keyword and customer service data to create a list of popular questions and topics, and that list was used to develop the chapters within "Flipping Houses As a result of this one asset launched in , RFG has seen a 5, percent increase in organic website traffic. Even better, the company's annual loan revenue grew by over percent over It answers the most popular questions from the target audience in a helpful, non-salesy way.
That's why it's been so effective. Keith Bergstrom, president of Prestwick House , an educational publisher focusing on high-school language arts resources that have been in business for about 30 years, faced an interesting challenge. The library houses custom-made free resources for teachers, including ready-to-print posters, free lesson plans, e-books on some of Prestwick House's core products, and supplemental puzzles that teachers can use in teaching novels and other books.
Since the launch of the program after the first quarter of , website visits have grown from 34, to 70, Additionally, over , resources have been downloaded. Prestwick House has integrated the library into its broader marketing plans. This helps build our credibility as an expert in the field," says Bergstrom. Derek Miller is a content strategist for CopyPress , a content marketing business in Tampa, Florida with about 20 employees. You'd think that being an agency specializing in content marketing they'd naturally excel, but CopyPress is unique among agencies, who typically suffer from "roofer's roof.
We built a lead funnel marketing strategy that used gated content as the foundation with targeted drip campaigns after. The process worked like this:.
Additionally, since the launch of this program in October , they're SEMRush metrics have grown by percent and they're averaging almost 10 new leads per day. If we would have only stuck with this for one month, we might have considered this strategy a failure, but because we stuck with it, we have built a scalable way to grow organic traffic and tangible leads. Not only has our results improved month over month, but we have adapted our program as we've continued so that we can turn these pieces of content out more quickly and at a lower cost.
If you have a content marketing strategy, you have to be willing to invest several months before you start reaping the rewards. The company matches service providers with clients in seven U. We even quote local business owners in the post to boost local relevance signals. Out of these efforts, Clayton and his team discover surprising questions people are asking, like, "When is the best time of day to mow your yard? The resulting blog post received over 10, views. Now let's take a deep dive into19 of the best free content marketing tools around for small business success.
These tools for content marketing will help you become a graphic guru , a story-telling sorcerer, a social media superhero and a project management professional. All at the same time. You're an entrepreneur. You can do anything. In the last two years, the search volume for infographics has increased by over percent. It used to be that only professional designers or businesses with the budget for expensive outsourcing could afford to create these complicated graphics, but now tools for small business, like Piktochart, make it possible for anyone to create stunning visual data displays.
Using the intuitive drag-and-drop interface, a library of templates and thousands of images and icons and the ability to upload your own , you can be on your way to creating an eye-catching infographic in no time! Graphic design just got a whole lot easier. Canva allows users to create designs for web or print. From graphics for your blog, a template for your upcoming presentation or a cover for your Facebook page, Canva's simple drag-and-drop interface and impressive library of graphics, templates, and icons puts you in the designer's seat.
Inspiration: Canva's step-by-step instructions are not just wonderful tutorials , they are also an excellent example of small business content marketing at its best: helping customers to use your product more by walking them through the actual creation process. If an average image is worth words, a Thinglink image must be worth at least a million. This software allows users to create interactive websites, blogs, infographics, maps, and presentations.
By adding video, text, music and more, your visual content truly comes alive for your audience so that you can tell your story. Inspiration: It took three minutes to upload a photo, search out links and add tags to this stock photo of a workspace. Ever notice how large companies don't just rely on simple screenshots to showcase their site or app? This is one of the tools for small business that puts you in the big leagues. With Placeit you can engage your audience by placing your app or site into a beautiful quality image.
Inspiration: Making this image with a screenshot of Infusionsoft by Keap's mobile site was a snap with Placeit. Prezi, a cloud-based platform, allows users to create memorable presentations. These presentations can be created, edited or accessed on the go, and they automatically sync with other devices. Public presentations are free, and a three-tiered pay scale allows for offline editing, custom-branded themes, and private presentations.
Slideshare has become the world's largest community for sharing presentations and with over 60 million unique visitors per month , it is among the most visited websites in the world. The SlideShare platform allows users to upload and share presentations, infographics, videos, webinars and more.
In the past you needed a large budget for things like television and radio advertising and direct mail. Nowadays your company only has to be good at what it does. When people are buying something they frequently look to see what their friends on social media sites like Facebook recommend or they look at review sites. Nowadays a Facebook page is as essential as a website.
Creating a Strong Online Presence for Marketing Success
Many people use a CMS program like Wordpress or Drupal to develop their site and with all the plug ins available for these and the fact they are open source it's a sound idea. Many small companies market on craft social media sites like Etsy where the most important factor is your product is unique in some way. A blog is getting to be essential for a small business and it can help feed traffic to the companies main website.
Sites like YouTube too are very important and if you get lots of hits for your video it can turn a very small company into a phenomenon in a very short space of time. It most important factor is it should be witty and have that wow factor. There was a company that manufactured food processors and they did a video where they crunched up an iphone in one and sold all their stock in a very short space of time. I did quite enjoy this book which I would recommend.
Apr 03, Carol Gino rated it really liked it.
8 Powerful Reasons You Need to Use Video Marketing [TRENDS]
I thought this book was easy to read and very comprehensive. It gave me so many ideas about how to get my products and my brand out there. I really didn't think a business book could be an enjoyable read, but this one was.. Hernan Gonzalez camacho rated it it was amazing Jan 27, Patricia rated it liked it Jan 16, Heather Wright rated it it was amazing Jul 26, Annika Lass rated it liked it Dec 10, John rated it really liked it Jan 27, Ricky De rated it really liked it Jan 13, Pat Courtney rated it it was amazing Apr 04, Michael Salzmann rated it did not like it Jul 26, Apr 03, L.
Viivika Tamm rated it liked it Oct 15, Naomi marked it as to-read Jan 10, Deborah added it Feb 16, Jacqueline marked it as to-read Aug 12, Jon H marked it as to-read Dec 15, SinTing is currently reading it Mar 10, Gill marked it as to-read Sep 09, Julie Saeger Nierenberg marked it as to-read Mar 21, Since developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost any business. Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand. It is essential to often engage with your customers and start developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your product, it is also a leading platform for promotional campaigns.
A customer sees these platforms as service channels where they can directly communicate with the business. Social media plays a vital role in networking and communication platform. With the help of these platforms, creating a voice for your company is important in improving the overall brand image. Customers appreciate the fact that when they post comments on your page, they receive a modified reply rather than a computerized message. A brand that values its customers, takes the time to compose a personal message, which is perceived naturally in a positive light.
One of the best ways to find the needs and wants of your customers instead of directly communicating with them is Marketplace awareness. It is also considered as the most valuable advantage of social media. As a complementary research tool, social media can help you get information and a better understanding of your industry. Once you get a large following, you can then use additional tools to examine other demographics of your consumers.
For making your business more powerful, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction both play a major role, but it all comes down to communication. When customers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to their queries and posting original content, it helps them build a positive image in their minds. Regularly interacting with your customers proves that you and your business care about them. Once you get a few satisfied customers, who are vocal about their positive purchase experience, you can let the advertising be done for you by genuine customers who appreciated your product or service.
One of the other benefits of Social Media is that it also helps increase your website traffic. By sharing your content on social media, you are giving users a reason to click-through to your website. On your social account, the more quality content you share, the more inbound traffic you will generate while making conversion opportunities. Social media presence is becoming a vital factor in calculating rankings. These days, to secure a successful ranking, SEO requirements are continuously varying.
Therefore, it is no longer enough to simply optimize your website and regularly update your blog. Businesses sharing their content on social media are sending out a brand signal to search engine that speaks to your brand validity, integrity, and constancy. There is no denying that Social media marketing has many advantages for startups and established brands. By regular updating the right social media marketing strategy, it will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, improved brand loyalty, healthier customer satisfaction and much more.
The earlier you start, the faster you see the growth in your business. The post is nice, social networks are purely made for personal use, and people tend to ignore any pushy sales or promotional material. Great article.. Thanks for this amazing article. You have very well explained the importance of social media for business. However, it is very important to create a killer social media calendar for the growth of business. Nice article, ya it is true now a days social media can help you to achieve your goal as well as promotes you.
In the early days, brands would rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote their offerings. But today with Youtube, Pinterest, Google Plus and Instagram, there is plethora of options to choose from. And while options are good, choosing the right platforms is crucial.