Reasons why content marketing is crucial for small businesses

Content marketing and its value really can’t be stressed enough – especially in this digital age, where 59% of the global population use the internet. It is an immensely powerful marketing strategy that can help your small business become highly visible to your target audience.

By producing quality content regularly, you build trust, authority, and credibility with your audience, which helps you stand out from your competition.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as…

“…a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

One of the key words here is ‘valuable’ – content that will speak to your potential customers, information that they want and need; information that solves a problem or pain point.

Ways content marketing can help  

Content writing is more than just writing blog posts- it covers any content that you create to attract and retain your customers. But having your own blog on your website has its merits…

These are good enough reasons in themselves, but there are many different types of content marketing – not just blogging. These include:

  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Social Media content
  • Infographics
  • Case Studies
  • Checklists
  • E-books
  • Memes
  • User-generated content
  • Podcasts
  • Customer testimonials
  • Webinars
  • Success stories
  • Interactive content

What does all this content do for your business?

With 59% of the global population using the internet, you have a huge market for your products or services, especially if you trade worldwide. So, let’s look at some reasons for taking time to create all this content.

Get your business found on search engines

With all those people online, there will be potential customers out there looking for exactly what you have to offer. If you are not online, you won’t be found. You can put your business online in many ways. You can set up an online shop, through Etsy or Shopify, or one of the other online shopping host channels, but these do tend to be expensive, especially with the fee increases we’ve seen recently.

Having your own website is a great step to take, as it is yours. You do have to pay an annual fee, but this can be done fairly cheaply, and worth it as your website can not only host your shop, but it can also tell your audience a bit about you, and you can add a blog and advertise your email newsletter all in one place.

The other thing I would definitely advocate is setting up a Google Business Profile, which is fabulous for being found locally. Again, this includes a profile, you can post and share blog posts, as well as adding photos and videos.

More traffic to your website

Linking in with being found on search engines is that content marketing helps push more traffic to your website. If you blog about a problem that you solve or write an article on your website about what your business can do for your customers, when they do a search online, your article or website will appear. Once they’re on your website, it is likely they will have a look around, visit your shop and look at your details…and if they like what they see, they are likely to return in the future.

It’s important to have a CTA (call to action) on every page of your website, which tells your visitors what to do next. You can use these buttons to tell your audience to ‘buy now,’ or ‘sign up for my email newsletter,’ or point them to your courses, training or coaching and to your customer testimonials – in fact, anything that keeps them on your site.

More sales

When a potential customer finds a site they like, or feel that a site speaks to them personally, they will return again and again. And if they are returning, they are more likely to convert to customers.

Make sure that your website includes customer testimonials about the benefits that your products or services give. I always like to read about a product before I buy it, and if there are great testimonials, which show me how a product will benefit me, I’m more likely to press that ‘buy now’ button.

Testimonials are also proof, not just that you have good products, but also you have impeccable customer service, which goes a long way to getting that button pressed too.

Establishes you as an expert

Writing valuable content that speaks to your audience, also has the added bonus of setting you up as an expert in your field. If you’re sharing content that serves your customers and gives them valuable tips or information, they’ll want to know more. Setting yourself up as an expert promotes trust with your audience and engages them to want to know more about you and your products or services…and what’s in it for them!

Enhances your brand   

This might sound a bit harsh, but generally people are not really interested in your brand or in you, they are more interested in themselves – in their wants and needs. It’s not about being selfish, it’s human nature. When someone first looks at your website, shop, social media business page, they are not interested in your brand, no matter how hard you’ve worked on it. They are interested in what you can do for them, what you have that they might like, or something that makes their life easier. This is hard to hear, but it has an upside.

If you are providing something they’re interested in for whatever reason, or if your social media pages entertain or educate them, they will then become interested in your brand, as they will see it, and therefore you, as something they can relate to.

If you are consistently publishing new, unique content on your blog or website and promoting it to your social media pages – or if you are publishing new, unique content to your social media pages, consistently, more people will get to see your name or business name and will start to relate. If they like what they see, they’re more likely to share your posts, or tell their friends and family about your wonderful products or fabulous services, so your audience will start to grow, which is when your brand really shines through. This all takes time and is not something you can achieve overnight.

Helps you compete with your competitors

I’m not talking about copying or doing the same as your competitors, but there is something to be said to ensuring that you’re using the same (and more) marketing channels as your competitors. When your business and brand is not in a place where your competitor is, you’re potentially losing out on business.

It’s worth doing research on your competitors and finding out more about them, so that your business is in the right places to compete.

Improve customer relationships

Having good relationships with your customers goes without saying, we all know that. But it’s even more important in this digital age, as customers have so much choice when it comes to who they want to do business with. And it’s important to remember that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Content marketing is the best way to show your customers and potential customers that you understand their problems or pain points…and that your products or services solve those problems. If you have a website, you could add a list of FAQs to help explain how your products or services solve those problems, or you can write about it in your blog or email newsletter.

This really helps improve those customer relationships, instil trust, and encourages them to spread the word about your business.

Helps your overall marketing strategy

Content marketing is just one aspect of your marketing strategy, but it is the glue that holds each activity together to help you grow your business. If you can align all your marketing activities with your content, it will help you achieve your goals and keep them coordinated with everything else you do.

For example, you decide to create an e-book alongside a downloadable checklist. You can promote this on social media, or in Facebook ads. You can also send it to your customers in your email newsletter, and you can promote it on your website. You could even write a blog post about it and how it solves a particular problem. So, just this one piece of content will help support your multi-channel marketing strategy.

Content marketing is good value for your business

Finally, if you research and write your content yourself, it is an economical option and costs you nothing but your time. You’ll learn a lot from the research you do, and you’ll find more content you can use as you go.

Not everyone wants to write their own content, and if your business is very busy, it may be worth you outsourcing some of the copywriting work. This is still excellent value for money, as you’ll be asking for expert help from someone who already knows how everything works and will know about your kind of business.

Conclusion

Content marketing is crucial for small businesses. One of the biggest challenges that you face as a small business is reaching your potential customers. To create brand awareness without access to a huge budget for marketing campaigns, content marketing is your answer. Having the right kind of content marketing strategy in place to ensure that you reach your target audience, will help your business stand out from your competitors and build trust, authority, and credibility with your customers.

If you need help with your content marketing, take a look at my website to find out how I can help you. Or contact me for a free 30-minute chat to see how I can help.

Hard skills vs soft skills of a marketer

As someone who does all the marketing for my business, I know there are many skills that marketers need. There are hard skills, which are more the technical and analytical side, and soft skills, the more creative, collaborative side.

Marketing Skills

Hard skills

Let’s take a look at the hard skills first.

Analytics

Analytics is about finding your way around the large sets of data, to help you interpret your audience’s behaviour, look at the performance of campaigns and measure the ROI (return on yours or your customer’s investment).

When working with content creation and product marketing, it’s imperative to be able to measure what you do and whether it’s having the desired outcome and impact on your target audience. Marketers with excellent hard skills like this are very sought after in both corporate and retail companies, as well as the smaller businesses.

There are several tools you can use to measure data, such as google analytics, and if you are a social media manager, using the insights on the pages you manage is invaluable.

Content Strategy

Content Strategy

If you are into content creation, then content marketing and a strategy is a fundamental part of your job. Here are a few statistics that illustrate the importance of content creation and content marketing.

  • 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with brand.  Source
  • 84% of people expect brands to produce content. Source
  • 91% of B2B marketers say that they use content marketing in their strategies. Source

So, you can see that content creation is a very valued skill. Content isn’t just about making a few pretty images, it’s about the sales pitch or the caption that is written to go along with the images you curate. Some social media channels require a short and concise caption, whilst others, such as Instagram, can be longer and more detailed.

Content creation also includes things like blog posts, articles, eBooks, emails and other written materials. Effective writing skills are very sought after and not something that can be automated. It’s a very human skill and crucial if you are a marketer.

Social Media

Most businesses use social media platforms to advertise their products or services and to put their brand out there. Over the past 10 years, social media has transformed the way that people interact with brands online and also the way that marketers communicate with target audiences.

All social media platforms have measurement tools to help you get to know the audience that follows you, likes and comments on your posts and generally engages with your business and brand. A social media content strategy will include setting goals for your business, based on social media posts and campaigns.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

There are literally billions of people interacting online at any one time during the day or night. Most of us look first to the internet if we want to buy something and even look at reviews of products or services before we even press that ‘buy now’ button. But how do they find what they’re looking for? That’s where SEO comes in.

If you’re a marketer, you need to at least have a fundamental understanding of SEO, so you can be sure that your business, or your customers’ business, is found online. This includes keywords and phrases to help Google find your business, when someone types into the Google search bar.   

SEO doesn’t just apply to websites and social media, it’s also vital to ensure that anything you post is optimised for mobile users as well as desktop, tablet or iPad users. Most website hosts do this for you, but it’s always worth checking that your content looks good on a mobile as that’s where most people do their searches.

Technology

Technology

This is kind of linked to analytics, but what I’m getting at here is actual technology, such as the tools and platforms that you might use to promote your business or help you manage your business. For example, if you send out a regular email or newsletter, the General Data Protection Regulations, (GDPR) states that you must get customers to opt-in to your emails – you can’t send them anything without their express permission. And the easiest way to do this is by setting up your opt-in on a platform, such as Convertkit, MailChimp or Mailerlite, which are the three platforms I use for my clients. When you set up your subscription opt-in on these platforms, they automatically ask the right questions so you are compliant with GDPR – they also give your customers the option to unsubscribe to your newsletter or email via a button at the bottom of each email that goes out – which keeps you compliant with the rules and regulations.     

SOFT SKILLS

Soft skills are the more creative and collaborative side of marketing, probably the bit that most marketers love – well I do!

As well as creativity etc., soft skills also include many different attributes, such as honesty, leadership, a good work ethic, time management – skills that are very difficult to quantify.

Here are some of the top soft skills.

Creativity

Creativity

This includes bringing new ideas and interpretation to common problems, and how to solve them using the written word.

Flexibility

Marketing means you have to be flexible – there are always new tasks to take on and new responsibilities constantly pop up. Very often, what you started off doing a few months ago for a client, will look very different 6 months down the line. You have to constantly be on top of new ways of doing things and you often have to hit the ground running with new platforms etc.

Resourcefulness and Adaptability

A resourceful marketer uses all the tools available to her, to find the most appropriate one for each customer or business. It’s also important to be on top of the analytics to help make that informed decision.

Marketers have to learn as much as they can about target audiences, in order to be able to make decisions about the way to market a product or service. Intuition and adaptability plays a big part here and covers things like quick decision making, keeping calm under pressure or going against the norm to achieve success for your clients.

Adaptability also means that you’re able to change plans at the drop of a hat and tackle new challenges with determination and vigour.  

Collaboration

You might work for a small business or a large corporation on their marketing. Whichever it is for you, collaboration will be a big part of everything you do. You need to build good, strong relationships with your clients and with other people who work for that client or company too. For example, you might be asked to do email marketing or write a regular blog post, and your client may already have a social media manager. You will definitely need to collaborate so that the social media marketing takes into account the emails or blog posts you write – and that subject matter is consistent with the overall marketing plan or strategy. 

Leadership

Leadership

Leadership is the last point I’m going to cover, but a crucially important one. So, what is leadership? It’s about having the ability to keep a good group dynamic, be able to lead a team with compassion, and inspire your team with your business insights, experience and innovation.

It’s also about being able to assess situations and defuse anything that could get out of hand. A leader will usually drive any collaborations, adapt to new technology and lead the marketing strategy in the best way possible.

A leader will need to know the customer or target audience inside out. What they like, don’t like, making sure that everything that’s done or suggested has the customer at the heart of everything. Are their problems being solved? What makes them happy? What makes them tick?

Marketing is something that never goes away. No matter whether your business is small (or just you!), or whether you own a multi-million organisation, marketing is the key to getting your products and services in front of your target audience. It’s not something that you can wing and hope it works – it needs to be carefully planned, organised and executed with a sound strategy.

If you’d like help to build your marketing strategy, find out who your target audience is and how to reach them, but don’t know how, drop me a mail and I can help.

cindymobey@outlook.com