Why Content Marketing is the Key to Growth for a Small Business
Achieving growth in a gruelingly competitive marketplace is a challenge small businesses face every day. Small business owners must find strategic and innovative solutions to overcome their size and limited resources.
What Are the Barriers to Growth for a Small Business?
Owners of small businesses often worry they will be unable to survive as they struggle to compete against industry giants. They often look at their limited resources and wonder how they can remain competitive against larger businesses with a strong market presence. Common questions small business owners ask themselves:
- How can I grow my business when my marketing budget is so limited?
- Will customers ever start to recognize my brand?
- How can my business compete against companies with an entire department devoted to marketing?
- How can I compete against competitors with enterprise level websites?
Content Marketing is the Key to Growth for a Small Business
Fortunately, there is a solution that enables small business owners to address each of these concerns. Content marketing is the answer for business owners in search of the steady and sustained growth that will give them the brand recognition they desire. Below are just a few reasons why small business owners should invest in content marketing:
- Affordability. While generating content requires time, there are no software costs.
- Flexibility. You can create new content at any point in time.
- Customizability. You can choose the type(s) of content that you wish to create.
- Utility. Content marketing will be useful to your customers.
- Educational. Preparing fresh content will help you stay on top of current industry trends.
What are the Top 5 Benefits of Content Marketing?
Just because content marketing is affordable, educational, and useful does not mean you should immediately launch a content marketing campaign. First, you need to understand the important role content marketing will play in your company’s growth, and there are a number of ways content marketing will help build your company’s online presence.
1. Bolsters awareness of your brand. High quality content will help your brand message stand out from the crowd. With consumers exposed to thousands of brand messages every day, you need to make sure that your brand cuts through the noise and is one customers will remember. You can help your brand stand out through content marketing.
- Choose your brand logo with care and include it with frequency in all content
- Make sure the tone of your content matches the brand image you wish to convey
- Keep your brand messages short and alluring to help customers remember your brand
2. Establishes your company as a trusted industry expert. Trust and expertise are two qualities customers seek when evaluating a business. You can build your presence as a trusted resource by creating content that is useful, helpful, and educational. Some content marketing strategies that will help illustrate your company’s trustworthiness and expertise can include:
- Posting photos of customers touring your offices on your website
- Preparing monthly newsletters that educate customers about new industry trends
- Posting photos of your company participating in industry trade shows on social media
3. Generates high quality leads. Customers appreciate content that is interesting, valuable, and pertinent to their needs. Companies that produce content with these qualities will be rewarded with serious, high quality customer inquiries. You can attract high quality leads through content by:
- Including short instructional product videos on your website
- Starting a blog and post content that educates customers about your new products and services
- Featuring news about industry awards and certifications
4. Motivates customers to buy. Content that is interesting and helpful to customers will often stimulate them to invest in your brand. Examples of content that can influence your customer’s buying decisions are product specification sheets, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.
5. Helps to keep your website current and relevant. Failure to regularly update your website with fresh content not only makes your brand appear dated to visitors, but it also makes your information appear out of date to search engines. You can keep your brand current through website updates such as:
- Featuring photos and information about new products and services as you introduce them
- Establishing a blog and make sure you update it regularly with posts that are useful to your target audience
- Making sure you are regularly posting photos and information on your company’s social media sites
Are There Any Risks With Content Marketing?
Before you invest in a content marketing campaign, it is helpful to understand the risks associated with this strategy. Failure to recognize these risks can lead to stagnancy and brand confusion for your company.
- Overuse of one type of content. For instance, using only written content may bore customers, while only including photos may not fully communicate your company’s mission.
- Solution: Engage customers by using a mixture of content types, such as photos, videos and written content.
- Failure to connect with your customers. This risk typically stems from a failure to understand the needs and preferences of your audience.
- Solution: Know the needs and interests of your target persona and tailor your content to meet them.
- Unprofessional content. Typos, run-on sentences, poor grammar, and jargon can wreak havoc on your content marketing efforts. They can also lower customer confidence in your brand and create a negative brand image.
- Solution: Use proofreading software or have content reviewed by at least one other person prior to posting.
- Content creator burnout. Many small and medium-sized businesses have only one employee dedicated to the creation of content. Focusing on content marketing day in and day out can lead to burnout and can lead to stale, boring content.
- Solution: Outsource your content marketing, or dedicate a specific time each week to content development.
- Brand inconsistency. This is a risk for companies that have no common theme to their messages and no structure to their marketing schedules. For instance, a company may create a blog with the intent of updating it on a weekly basis but months may pass by without updates.
- Solution: Review the content on your website regularly. Create a blog schedule and stick to it!
When Can I Expect to See A Return on My Investment?
Regardless of whether you choose to develop a content marketing strategy on your own or enlist the guidance of a professional, you need to approach content marketing with a realistic set of expectations. Specifically, you should understand the following:
- Content marketing is an effective but long-term strategy
- You should view content marketing like an investment that offers compounding returns
- In general, it may take several months for you to begin to see a return on your investment
The key to a successful content marketing strategy is maintaining a focus on your business goals and on the goals of your personas. The better you are at addressing customer needs through quality content while continuing to move them along in the funnel, the better chance you’ll have at long-term success.