How Does Content Marketing Help Small Businesses?

content marketing

There’s a considerable difference between big businesses and small businesses regarding their resources and know-how with content marketing, and this affects how successful their campaigns are. Of course, it’s only natural to think that larger companies are going to be more successful at content marketing campaigns because they have more money to invest in the effort. It’s even easier to become discouraged, thinking “let’s just leave content marketing to the big guys” — but this is a mistake.

Small businesses can make excellent headway with content marketing thanks to the internet. Small businesses may not have substantial marketing budgets or big teams to execute their marketing strategies. However, they can still increase sales, attract new customers, and grow brand awareness with a bit of gumption.

Don’t allow what your small business lacks to stop you from taking advantage of content marketing. Instead, focus on making strategic content creation and distribution choices that are true to your brand and in alignment with your target audience’s desires.

Here’s why content marketing is a good choice for small businesses.

Scale Your Marketing Strategy

First, content marketing can boost your overall marketing strategy. Not only will you be required to reevaluate your company goals, but you’ll also have to establish clear marketing objectives that support your overarching marketing strategy.

When you set company-wide goals, attach them to smaller marketing plans and define each department’s role, it ensures each person has direction, productivity gets better, and your business’s bottom line improves. These goals are generally going to be based on problems that need to be solved, and you can even take a visual approach when defining these goals with a visual problem-solving flowchart:

  1. First, draw a shape that represents the problem you’re trying to solve.
  2. Then draw a shape that represents a goal or a decision, and ask yes-or-no questions concerning these goals.
  3. Based on these answers, you’ll connect the possible paths you can take to work through the steps and individual processes.
  4. Keep going down these paths and asking questions until you’re able to narrow them down to goals that could feasibly solve the original problem.
  5. Select the goal you’d like to commit to, and then pursue it. If it doesn’t ultimately work, you can review this process and analyze what might have gone wrong, as well as select a new, more viable goal.

Additionally, it’s crucial to map out how you’re going to track your marketing team’s productivity and how they work together with other departments. By doing so, you create bandwidth in your business for content marketing and establish a workflow that supports a solid customer experience with your marketing.

Next, content marketing can make it easier to build a customer base.

Build a Customer Base

Instead of relying on word-of-mouth or traditional marketing efforts, you can reach more people with good content.

You can publish content across various channels and platforms, extending your reach beyond local, state, and even international lines. In addition, you can build a community of people that support your business and are loyal advocates of your brand with a solid content marketing strategy.

Furthermore, not only can you create a customer base, but you can learn more about it through content marketing.

Learn More About Your Target Audience

content marketing

When you create and distribute content, you have access to more data about your target audience and how they engage with your brand and business. It’s integral to not just your content marketing strategy but your overall marketing goals and business plan, to continually learn about your target audience.

By setting up data analytics tools to track the performance of your content and how your target audience engages with it, you’ll be able to make insightful adjustments to your strategy when needed.

You also have more creative freedom in a small business content marketing strategy.

Exercise Creative Freedom

There is a lot of room for creativity in a small business’s content marketing strategy. The marketing department in a small business is usually a one-person show, a small team, or run by the owner.

You don’t have to get permission from someone higher up about content marketing decisions when you call the shots. Instead, you can take creative risks with content, experiment with various platforms, and try out different distribution methods at will.

Another way content marketing can help your small business is by establishing your brand as an expert.

Establish Your Brand as an Expert

You can establish your brand as an expert when you do content marketing right. By constantly churning out entertaining, educational, helpful, interactive content, you’ll have a better chance at establishing trust-filled relationships with members of your target audience.

Content can also be the difference between becoming a thought leader in your industry or remaining in the shadows of big businesses. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you truly know what you’re talking about, or you’ll get called out for it, and may achieve the opposite of your goals. Failure to understand your industry is one of the most grow brand awareness, so make sure you don’t look like a newbie or a chump by brushing up on industry knowledge.

Lastly, content marketing helps your small business work on brand consistency.

Work on Brand Consistency

content marketing

Consistency is critical when building brand awareness. You want people to recognize your brand no matter how or where they encounter it. Ensuring your brand is represented the same in your content can help.

Content marketing helps you work on your brand consistency. You’ll have to nail down the messaging, brand voice, guidelines for visuals, and other brand elements you’ll include in your content to be as consistent as possible.

Ultimately, when you prioritize brand consistency in your content marketing, it’ll be easier for your target audience to identify your brand through your content, no matter the platform or channel.

Conclusion

Content marketing is beneficial to small businesses looking to scale their marketing strategies while staying within budget and within the realm of what their small teams can produce.

It can also help you build a sizeable customer base, learn more about your target audience, and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. It will take some time, but your small business can leverage content marketing effectively with a bit of creativity, brand consistency, and dedication.

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11 Ways to Use Content Marketing in Every Stage of the Sales Funnel

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A content marketing strategy that effectively serves its purpose is one that guides people from awareness to conversion. However, achieving this aim is a multi-step process.

Research has shown that the average person consumes about 11 pieces of content before making a purchase. B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before settling on a vendor.

The reason for the high levels of content consumption is that people must go on what is known as the “buyer’s journey.” This is the process wherein an individual moves from becoming aware of a product to ultimately purchasing that item.

Content is the tool that facilitates that journey.

A strong content marketing strategy successfully guides shoppers through the sales funnel and generates sales for eCommerce retailers. Therefore, understanding how to use content in each stage of the funnel is critical to the profitability of a content marketing program.

However, before diving into how to use content for each stage a consumer will move through, let’s examine those phases a bit closer.

The Sales Funnel Stages

In its most basic form, the sales funnel has three stages: awareness, evaluation and purchase.

Top of Funnel: Awareness

At the awareness stage of the sales funnel, consumers are attempting to meet a need, solve a problem or obtain an answer. Folks achieve this aim through seeking out educational content that will help to point them toward the solution they seek.

At this point, the value of the lead is low, as there is little promise that they will buy from any specific seller. That said, those who find a merchant’s content to help enlightening or enjoyable often find themselves moving on to the middle of the funnel.

Middle of Funnel: Evaluation

When an individual enters the middle of the funnel, it indicates that a retailer has successfully caught their attention. These people now have some understanding of how to resolve their problem or need and are now interested in the best solution possible.

At this point, sellers should begin to educate prospects as to why their solutions are the best option for the consumer. It is here where shoppers are likely to spend most of their time, as merchants will need to invest time in nurturing consumers, establishing trust and building a relationship.

Bottom of Funnel: Purchase

When consumers reach the bottom of the funnel, they are ready to make a decision on their purchase. In most cases, those at this stage will need one final nudge to get them to buy from a seller.

By presenting the right offer, incentive or call-to-action, merchants can successfully drive conversions for their eCommerce store.

With the broad strokes covered, it’s time to establish the various ways that sellers can use content marketing at each stage of the funnel.

Creating Content to Move Shoppers Through the Sales Funnel

Naturally, before beginning the content creation process, sellers will need to choose content marketing topics for maximum impact. However, this is outside of the scope of this piece.

Assuming that merchants understand the topics and subject matter that their audience is interested in consuming, here is how merchants can use content at each stage of the funnel.

Top of Funnel Content

Top of the funnel content is geared toward reaching the broadest range of prospective buyers possible.

Some of the best types of content for this stage include:

  • Blog posts: Many potential customers will turn to Google for answers to their problems. Crafting targeted, intent-based blog posts can be a powerful eCommerce SEO strategy that gets a brand in front of the right audiences at the right time. Moreover, by making these publications shareable, sellers can potentially increase their reach.

content marketing

  • Infographics: These images break down a subject in a visually appealing manner, thereby making them easy to understand and highly shareable.

Infographics

Videos

  • Podcasts: Podcasting is a prevalent form of content as podcasts are essentially the modern version of radio shows. Moreover, podcasts can be transcribed and used to create other types of content, such as blogs and infographics.

Podcasts

While there are other forms of top of the funnel content, these are some of the most popular and effective methods of drawing in potential buyers.

Middle of Funnel Content

Now that retailers have captured the attention of a consumer with some useful information, it is time to begin delivering more in-depth educational pieces that will help move them to the next stage of the funnel.

Here, sellers will want to capture an individual’s contact information so that they can be nurtured and cultivate a sense of trust toward the brand. Therefore, retailers will likely want to deploy a lead magnet as this is a useful tool in achieving the two previously mentioned aims.

Some of the lead magnets that sellers might opt to use include:

  1. Guides or eBooks: These tend to be “how-to” types pieces that help the audience to solve a problem. However, retailers should remember when creating a guide or eBook to go into detail about how their product or service can help to resolve the issue more quickly or efficiently.
  2. Worksheets: This is often a complementary lead magnet to a “how-to” piece that helps to guide and track the progress of an individual as they work through the problem.
  3. Case studies: This is a data-driven form of original research that produces unique insights and showcases how a product or service helped resolve the issue in question.
  4. White papers: This form of content is an authoritative, in-depth report on a specific subject that presents a problem and a solution as a means of educating the audience. A white paper is essentially an advanced problem-solving guide.

When developing lead magnets, the key is to create a piece that is unique, practical and actionable for consumers. These must provide tangible value that individuals can put to use in an immediate way.

Bottom of Funnel Content

As opposed to the broad, general top of the funnel content, this is where things get far more personal. Bottom of the funnel content should serve as the bridge between the free information provided thus far and the paid product sold by the store.

This type of content is frequently (though not always) delivered via email after potential buyers have been entered into an email nurture campaign. This type of sequence gradually builds on itself and helps to connect the dots for consumers, leading them from the original problem to the crescendo of the solution. Once this has all been outlined for them, retailers can then deliver:

  1. Product comparison charts: With this piece of content, sellers show customers exactly what they get when they purchase an item and how it stacks up against competitor products. This saves shoppers much of the energy they would invest in their decision-making efforts and lays out the benefits a particular product has over others in a clear and easily consumable format.
  2. User-generated content: This can be anything from Instagram images to product reviews, customer testimonials or other forms of user-generated content that highlight how much other buyers have enjoyed a product and found it to be worthy of their dollars.
  • Time-sensitive discount offer: Providing potential buyers with a limited-time discount code to use on their first purchase can be the motivating factor that gets the shopper off the fence and into the checkout process.
  • A strong content marketing strategy successfully guides shoppers through the sales funnel and generates sales for eCommerce retailers.

While retailers who engage the bottom of the funnel consumers with content are likely to earn a sale, it is essential to remember that this is just the beginning of the relationship. Therefore, sellers will have to follow through and continue to deliver content that cultivates loyalty.

Given the sheer amount of content that goes into each stage of the sales funnel and relationship thereafter, sellers might want to consider partnering with an eCommerce content marketing agency to ensure that each phase is handled in an effective and profitable manner.

To effectively move a consumer from awareness to purchase, sellers must approach their content production and promotion differently for each stage of the sales funnel. It is all about getting the right kind of content in front of users at the right time and in the right way.

However, no matter which stage of the funnel a consumer resides in, it is critical to understand whom a retailer is speaking to and providing them with the relevant information for where they are currently.

Utilize the content forms listed above to create a content marketing sales funnel that develops authority, traffic and sales.

Ronald Dod, Guest writer, CMO and co-founder at Visituresmall business coach

The Basics of Digital Marketing

The Basics of Digital Marketing

In this day and time, we are all connected now. Marketing and advertising are no longer what they used to be. One of the easiest ways to confirm this is to look at the power and influence social media networks now have. After all, you now have new platforms to communicate with existing and potential customers. But what exactly is digital marketing and what does it involve? As a business owner, it is essential to know the basics of digital marketing and some digital marketing strategies that you could deploy.

Simply put, digital marketing is a new way of marketing that uses the Internet and other technologies to advertise your small business and your products or services. Here are the basics of digital marketing strategies that can help you grow your business.

The Basics of Digital Marketing Strategies:

 

#1: Social Media Marketing:

Social media networks have changed the way businesses operate. Now, small businesses are no longer “isolated”. We are an integral part of the social community through our business pages in which we can contact with our customers, find new ones, show our business mission and goals, highlight our products, among so many other things. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest are all examples of social media networks that should be a part of your marketing campaigns.

One of the best things about social media is the fact that it allows something that could only be seen related to physical businesses: word of mouth.

Social media includes a wide range of opportunities since it allows small businesses to get in touch with our customers daily and get their feedback. In addition, it also works very well when you want to make an announcement viral.

#2: Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

SEO is another powerful digital marketing strategy that every small business owner should use. Simply put, SEO refers to the optimization of your own website so it can rank higher on search engines like Google, Bing, among others. The higher your small business website is ranked, the more traffic it will receive, the more sales you will make, the more revenue you will have.

SEO includes multiple techniques and tactics. Here are the more important ones:

  • the use of keywords;
  • link building;
  • site structure (your website needs to be user-friendly and ready for mobiles);
  • content published;

In addition to these techniques, SEO also involves optimizing meta tags and descriptions, improving page load speed, and ensuring your website is easily navigable for both users and search engine crawlers. By implementing these strategies effectively, small businesses can increase their online visibility, reach their target audience, and ultimately drive organic traffic to their website.

When it comes to learning more about digital marketing and SEO, there are several valuable resources available. Many online platforms provide in-depth guides, tutorials, and up-to-date industry insights on various aspects of digital marketing. Additionally, there are free courses and certifications offered by well-known search engines that can help individuals gain a deeper understanding of website analytics and optimization techniques. These resources can be immensely beneficial for small business owners looking to enhance their digital marketing strategies and achieve long-term success online.

#3: Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

SEM can be considered as a part of SEO: However, it goes one step beyond and also includes the use of pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns and other online advertising models.

The most popular PPC program is Google Adwords. You will need to have an account with Google and create an ad for what the service that you are trying to promote, for example, You will also need to choose the keywords and decide on the bid for each one of the keywords that you choose.

When your campaign is live, people will be able to see your ad ranking on the top of Google results. Whenever someone clicks on your ad, you’ll pay the bid that you set.

#4: Email Marketing:

While there are many marketers who no longer believe in email marketing, we believe that it is still one of the most powerful tools to communicate directly with your customers and prospects. While in the old days, email marketing campaigns were only designed to promote products or services, this is no longer the case. You will need to nurture every lead that you have on your list and earn their respect and trust. However, as soon as you add them to your list you cannot be sure they will be willing to buy from you. All marketing takes repetition.

#5: Content Marketing:

Content marketing is another powerful technique that is used in digital marketing. With this strategy, you will need to produce content that is valuable, interesting, and relevant to your targeted audience. This is another way to gain their trust and engage with them.

When you decide to implement a content marketing strategy, you can do a lot more than simply publishing blog posts. You can use white-papers, videos, infographics, among so many others.

#6: Other Channels:

  • Video Marketing:

Videos are extremely popular and YouTube is the king of the industry. If you don’t have any problem standing in front of the camera or, at least, speak while using graphics without showing your face, you can benefit from video. This is definitely a strategy that you should consider using within your digital marketing plan.

  • SMS Marketing:

This is another popular digital marketing strategy. After all, everyone carries their smartphones everywhere. However, this tends to be a bit costly.

Conclusion

As you can see, digital marketing includes many different strategies that you can use to grow your small business. It’s up to you and to your small business coach to decide on how you should implement each one of them.

Caution: Implement One Digital Strategy at a Time

However, allow us to give you a word of caution: implementing too many digital marketing strategies at the same time may not be a good idea. The truth is that you’ll have a hard time measuring the real results of each one of the campaigns. So, take one at the time, and learn to do each one well. For more information, check out this article on generating leads.

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