As a small business owner, you’ll no doubt understand the benefits of a strong digital marketing strategy. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be used to drive more customers to your website, and paid marketing on Google AdWords can increase your sales online.
However, one of the most effective digital marketing techniques that is commonly overlooked by small businesses is content marketing. Below, we’ve put together a plan to help generate more leads and take your business to the next level – and it’s simpler than you might think.
- Write content that ranks on Google
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its ability to rank on search engines for terms that are relevant to your niche. Writing content that provides value, is insightful and goes above and beyond what’s already out there will allow you to rank for competitive terms and drive free, organic traffic back to your website. And remember: every new visitor is a potential customer.
Start by thinking about the needs of your customers, and write content that answers their questions and provides information that will benefit and aid in their purchasing decisions. If you’re struggling for ideas, then consider holding a focus group or asking your customers what sort of content they’d like to see. Guides and tutorials are often the most popular types of content, but you should experiment with different styles and formats and see what works best.
- Add calls to action to generate leads
Another way that you can use content marketing to grow your business is to use it as a lead generation tactic. By driving organic traffic to your website through writing quality content, you can reach out to more potential customers and capture their email addresses and contact information in a call to action at the bottom of your blog posts. This could be as simple as a newsletter signup form, or the offer of a free ebook or special discount for those who sign up.
If your website is powered by WordPress, then you’ll be able to choose from a whole manner of call to action plugins, which are free. Simply create an email list on a website like MailChimp, and you’ll be able to build a list in no time. You can then use email marketing to send updates on your business, special discounts on your products and services, and news on your niche.
- Provide case studies to convert leads
Selling to customers online is much more challenging than selling to customers face-to-face, as you have to convince them at you’re a reputable company, and that your products and services are good value for money. Include case studies, customer testimonials and success stories as part of your content marketing strategy, and you’ll quickly convert more readers into customers.
There are a number of ways that you can present case studies and testimonials as part of a content marketing strategy, but some of the most effective methods include:
- Tell a story: Storytelling can be incredibly effective as part of a content marketing strategy – go behind the scenes of your business and mention the customers you’ve helped. You could even tell your story through images or social media posts.
- Film a video: Video marketing has exploded in popularity in recent years, and although it can be expensive and time-consuming, it’s worth the effort. Film a video that includes a case study or two and feature it on your blog and landing pages.
- Spotlight a business: If you’re a business-to-business company, put the spotlight on one of your clients and explain how your products and services have helped.
- Feature a product: Write a blog post that goes into detail about one of your products, and then include some testimonials and feedback from customers as part of the piece.
- Use user-generated content: User-generated content is a powerful way to show that your business is reputable and trustworthy. Feature videos and social media posts that have been sent in by your customers – you can encourage them to do so by offering discounts or special offers on their next purchase in exchange for a review or shoutout.
- Offer customer service through content
Delivering good customer service is essential if you want to grow your business and keep your clients happy, and turning to content to do so is a sensible move. Write tutorials and guides on how to use your products or services, and feature them in a knowledge base or on your blog.
By creating a huge bank of valuable content, you’ll be able to direct customers to the appropriate articles and keep your customer service strategy consistent and reliable.
Although creating these guides may be time-consuming and expensive, they will, in time, reduce the strain on your customer service operation and allow you to scale your business without the need for new support staff. You can even invest in artificial intelligence and have articles sent to customer comments and emails automatically to help resolve queries as quickly as possible.
- Guest blog to expose your brand
Another way to use content marketing to grow your business is through guest blogging. Every time you write a blog post on a third-party website, you’re putting your name in front of a new audience and increasing your authority as a business owner. If you’re featured on blogs such as The Huffington Post and Forbes, your business will appear more authoritative and trustworthy, and customers will be more likely to come back to your business because they know you’re an expert within your niche. This is where content marketing can be most effective.
Before you start guest blogging, a quick word of warning. You should focus on writing the very best content for your own website before you start writing for other websites, or you’ll miss out on more traffic and increased search engine optimisation. As soon as you’ve nailed your onsite content marketing strategy, you can move into the guest blogging territory and grow your brand.
There’s no denying that content marketing is hard work. Unless you’re a trained writer, you may struggle to come up with new ideas and write content that customers want to read, but with some hard work and practice, you’ll get there eventually. Whether you’re only just embarking on a content marketing strategy or you’re looking to fine-tune your approach, good luck.
About the Author
Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing. When he’s not writing blogs or working on campaigns, he enjoys spending time watching Netflix and walking his dog.