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Content marketing is all but essential for your small business. The benefits are simply too good to pass up. And while many small business owners know this, not very many have taken hold of the content marketing reigns and actually ushered in their own campaign.
At its core, content marketing isn’t meant to directly sell. It’s meant to get new visitors to your page, build your brand image, increase your online presence, and provide your audience with useful information. All of these things will draw people to your page, eventually funneling them into conversions.
It’s important to note, however, that content marketing today is vastly different than it was even just ten years ago. Today, both Internet users and the search engines that catalog web pages demand content that provides value. This means no keyword stuffing, no copied content, no spamming. Everything has to be unique, natural, and informative to provide value to customers and be highly ranked by search engines.
Though content marketing can be time consuming, especially for a small business, you should not pass it up. Below are the top points that reiterate the effectiveness of content marketing for a small business.
#1. Make a Personal Connection
Perhaps the biggest benefit of content marketing, and the one you should place the most emphasis on yourself, is that it helps you make a personal connection with your audience.
The facts are in. Consumers much prefer to buy products or services from those companies that provide custom content for readers. In fact, research from the Custom Content Council shows that up to 55 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a company that provides custom content as opposed to one that doesn’t. Out of this group of consumers, 68 percent say they like custom content because it is tailored to their specific interests.
Content marketing simply allows you to kill two birds with one stone. As you build your brand image, you are also able to build stronger relationships with your audience.
It’s also important to note just how valuable creating image-heavy content has become. It no longer cuts it just to provide content in the form of text. You must add in photos, videos, graphics, and other images if you hope to truly connect with modern day consumers.
#2. Attract New Viewers
Content marketing also helps bring new viewers to your website. Though there are other ways that people can find your site, by far the most common is through the use of search engines.
That’s why using content marketing in conjunction with good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques is so important. Writing natural, valuable content that is tailored to your audience and is search engine friendly is essential.
Not getting where we’re going? Think of it like this. When people want information online, what do they do? They Google it to find a solution. And over 75 percent of Internet users don’t look past the first page of Google search results. That means that if your website isn’t up there on that first page, you’re not going to get much new traffic.
And content marketing is exactly how you can increase your search engine rankings. Provide a steady stream of regular content, aimed at specific keywords within your niche, and you’ll slowly work your way up the search engine ladder, attracting new users like flies in the process.
So how exactly can you utilize SEO and make your small business more visible through the use of online content? Top content marketing suggestions include:
- Create a blog and update it regularly.
- Write guest posts for other established blogs.
- Stay active on social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn)
#3. Closes the Deal
At the end of the day, content marketing helps you close the deal with customers. After attracting new viewers and making a personal connection with them, chances are high that strong content will turn them into sales. It’s a cycle with “closing the deal” as the last step.
It’s important to craft content specifically for this last stage of the cycle. While the content that viewers initially see should be more informative in nature, the content they see later on should be more promotional. It should drive them to want to buy whatever product or service you offer. It needs to convince these prospective customers that you’re the right company for them.
Additional Benefits of Content Marketing
The three benefits discussed above are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the benefits of content marketing go. Though they encompass most of the other benefits, it is worth pointing the specifics out. These smaller, sub-benefits include:
- Increases brand visibility.
- Improves brand awareness and recognition.
- Creates customer loyalty and trust.
- Builds authority and credibility.
- Creates the image you are an industry expert.
- Generates increased traffic.
- Improves lead generation.
- Opens channel of communication (especially through social platforms).
- Provides value.
- Speeds up customer decision process.
So What’s the Next Step?
As a small business, your best option for content marketing is to just get started. Set aside time on a regular basis to write blog posts, articles, and other types of content that provide value and education to your readers.
After you write your first few blog posts, you’ll begin to learn about the type of content your audience actually wants to see. How do you do this? Most blogging platforms allow you to access a variety of information about your viewers. These metrics show you which of your blog posts are attracting the most views as well as who/where these views are coming from. The majority of blogging platforms also offer several basis tools that can help you improve your content’s SEO.
The great thing about content marketing is that it is easy to learn how to implement effectively. Start writing blog posts and you’ll slowly build a better knowledge of the top SEO techniques. As you learn how to better work keywords into your content, you’ll likely notice that your page views go up.
At the end of the day, every small business should create some sort of online content. Without even a basic content marketing plan, your website is all but guaranteed to receive far less traffic (and, in the end, sales) than it has the potential to.