So, you've got an exciting product or service you want to sell.
But without a marketing budget to spend on advertising, where do you begin? How can you get your name out there and start bringing in sales?
Enter content marketing for small businesses.
Content marketing is an excellent way for small businesses to get started, as it can be done on a shoestring budget and doesn't require technical skills. Here’s how to do it.
Table of Contents
- Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Why Is It Important?
- Questions to Ask Before Getting Started With Content Marketing
- 10 Cost-Effective Small Business Content Marketing Ideas
- How to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Strategy
- Free Content Marketing Tools and Resources for Small Businesses
- Content Marketing for Small Business: Final Thoughts
Content Marketing for Small Businesses: Why Is It Important?
When you think of marketing, what comes to mind?
You might think of advertisements, sales pitches and product launches.
While these marketing efforts can be practical, they can also be costly and time-consuming.
For example, paid advertising, such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, can be expensive.
But what if there was a way to create marketing campaigns that drive more brand awareness, generate leads and increase sales with less effort?
Content marketing is the answer, and here’s why:
- It Increases Visibility: Content marketing can help small businesses and startups reach a larger audience and gain more visibility. Creating engaging, informative and relevant content for your target audience can help you stand out from the competition.
- It Improves Brand Awareness: Valuable and consistent content marketing can help you build a strong brand identity, which can lead to more customers and increased sales.
- It Increases Engagement: Engaging content can encourage customers to interact with your business, leading to stronger relationships and loyalty.
- It’s Cost-Effective: Most content marketing strategies are free, like starting a blog. By investing in content creation, you are putting less money into paid advertising and PR efforts.
- It Helps You Connect with Customers: If you provide valuable content, you will build trust with your customers and gain their loyalty.
- It Differentiates Your Brand from Competitors: You need brand recognition as an emerging business. When you create content, you can strategically position your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
Questions to Ask Before Getting Started With Content Marketing
64% of the best B2B marketers have a written content marketing plan. Considering these questions before starting one will help you get off on the right foot and ensure your efforts are successful:
- What Is My Expertise? Identify your core expertise. You don't need to be an expert in every subject matter, but it's important to know what topics you're qualified to discuss in your content.
- Who Is My Target Audience? Know your target audience before creating content. Understand your audience's demographics, interests and needs.
- How Can I Make Relevant Content for my Audience? Creating content that resonates with your target audience is critical. Know their challenges, pain points and what keeps them up at night. Additionally, know what content your audience likes to consume— videos, blog posts, eBooks, or webinars.
- What Is the Best Channel for My Content? Determine which channels are best for your content. The right channel will depend on the type of content you're creating and the goals you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts.
10 Cost-Effective Small Business Content Marketing Ideas
3. Leverage User-Generated Content
1. Create a Blog
Blogs are a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry, showcase your expertise and provide value to your readers.
To create a successful blog, start by planning the publication schedule. You'll want to publish new posts at least once a week, but the more frequently you publish, the better.
Next, decide on a topic for your blog and make sure it's relevant to your business. When creating your blog posts, keep them short and to the point.
Include your call to action near the end of your blog post. Also, remember to include a link to your website so that readers can learn more about your business and get in touch if they have questions.
2. Use Social Media
Research shows that 92% of marketers use social media as part of their marketing strategy, making it an ideal place to promote your business.
Start by creating a social media strategy that outlines your goals and the types of posts you plan to publish on each platform. Remember, each social media platform has different rules and regulations.
Once you’ve created a schedule for your posts, consistently follow through on your promise to publish new content regularly. Consistency is key in the world of social media marketing.
3. Leverage User-Generated Content
Asking your customers for feedback is a great way to gain insight into their thoughts and feelings about your business and to get content for your marketing efforts.
If you ask your customers to share their stories and experiences with your brand, they’ll likely be happy to do it, especially if you offer them compensation in return.
Plus, this approach also helps to humanize your brand, which could go a long way toward building trust and loyalty with your customers.
You can get user-generated content in a few different ways— like asking your customers to submit stories or reviews, join a forum, share their thoughts or enter a contest.
4. Host a Webinar
Webinars can be a great way to educate your customers and drive leads to your business. They're also a great option if you don't have a lot of cash to spend on marketing.
To host a webinar, you'll need to create an account on a webinar platform like Zoom. Once your account is set up, you can develop your webinar content.
Webinars don't have to be long or tedious. Shorter webinars are often better since they don't give people time to lose interest.
5. Repurpose Existing Content
If you have old content that’s no longer relevant to your business, consider updating it to reflect the latest happenings in your industry.
If you don’t have old content, there are plenty of other ways to repurpose existing content. For example, you can create a presentation from a few of your blog posts or summarize a podcast episode and turn it into an article.
6. Produce Videos
Creating videos is an effective way to promote your business and engage with customers.
You can create short informational videos that provide helpful tips, share customer stories or highlight product features. Additionally, you can use videos to create tutorials or how-to guides.
7. Tap Influencers
Influencers are people who have a large following on social media and are influential within their community.
Reach out to influencers who align with your brand’s values and ask them to promote your products or services to their followers. This is an effective way to get more eyes on your business and increase brand awareness.
8. Utilize Email
Promoting your content through email marketing campaigns is a great way to get your brand in front of your customers and drive leads to your business.
Also, partnering with email marketers helps expand your reach and promote your brand to a broader audience while avoiding the cost of creating your email marketing campaigns.
9. Participate in Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to engage with your audience and offer value to them.
You can choose to host your podcast or join an existing podcast as a guest. Be consistent with your publication schedule if you decide to host your podcast.
Podcasting doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. You can start with a simple USB mic and a recording app on your smartphone.
10. Develop an eBook
eBooks are a great way to provide your customers with helpful information while promoting your brand. They're also a reliable tool to drive leads and sales.
To create an eBook, develop a topic relevant to your brand and customers. Once you have a case, create an outline and content for your eBook.
Once your eBook is ready, you can choose to host it on your website or sell it on a platform like Amazon Kindle.
How to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Strategy
This is an important step in understanding the impact of your efforts and making informed decisions about how to optimize and improve your tactics. Here are some key considerations:
- Analyze Web Traffic: The number of visitors to your website indicates how successful your content is. Track your page views, visitors' time on the page, and any conversions.
- Track Social Media Engagement: Keep tabs on likes, shares, comments, and other interactions on social media to gauge the reach of your content.
Free Content Marketing Tools and Resources for Small Businesses
- Content Creation Tools: Content creation tools such as Canva, Piktochart, and Adobe Spark provide an easy way to create stunning visuals and graphics for your blog, website, social media posts and other marketing materials. They offer a wide range of templates that can be customized to fit your brand and message.
- Social Media Management Tools: Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help you manage your social media presence with ease. With these tools, you can schedule posts in advance, track analytics and engage with your followers all in one place.
- Search Engine Optimization Tools: SEO is essential for getting your content seen by the right people. Free SEO tools such as UberSuggest can help you identify keyword trends and optimize your content for search engines.
- Content Curation Tools: Content curation tools such as Pocket, Flipboard, and Feedly makes it easy to keep up with industry trends and find relevant content to share on your channels.
- Analytics Tools: Analytics tools like Google Analytics allow you to track the performance of your content so you can measure your progress and make adjustments as needed.
Content Marketing for Small Business: Final Thoughts
For small businesses that are just getting off the ground, attracting and converting new customers means a lot more work, especially if you want to be successful in your niche.
After all, you don't want potential customers to walk away from your business because they didn't find it interesting enough. Or perhaps they weren't given enough information on the products and services you offer them.
Working with a content marketing agency can help you skip the time-consuming legwork of developing and executing a strategy on your own. Having a strategy in place can help you get the word out about your brand, generate leads, and, ultimately, grow your business.