19 Mar 5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Invest in Content Marketing
Your business has reached a plateau or, worse, is suffering a decline in online sales. You are not certain why this is happening – you have a great website; you are advertising on many major social media platforms and your website is listed in many local directories. But despite all this, your website is not bringing the traffic and leads you need to grow your business.
The reason may be that your competition is doing something you are not. Yes, we are referring to the practice of creating valuable content to market your business and your services.
Content marketing has exploded in the last few years and you can no longer ignore this valuable marketing strategy if you want to succeed. Creating and sharing content is one of the most effective ways to grow traffic and generate interest in what you have to offer.
What Is Content Marketing
First and foremost, content marketing is not advertising. Your goal is not to present your product or service with the sole purpose of driving sales. Rather, it is a strategy that involves creating and publishing valuable content that a target audience (your potential customers) wants to read and share.
Why You Need Content Marketing Strategy
Today’s consumers are busy and smart. They no longer respond to hard sells from brands that only interested in selling their products. To build a following and loyal fans of your brand, you need to build trust and treat your customers as individuals and show you care about them. Creating content that appeals to potential customers is one way to achieve this.
Here are five reasons why content marketing is critical to your business survival and growth.
#1 Build Trust
Potential customers want to know who they are doing business with, and this can be accomplished through content – content in the form of stories. As a business owner, you have a story to tell about how and why you began your business; you have staff who work hard; you also have hobbies and interests. Maybe your business provides community service or supports a kids’ sports team or charity.
These are the things that make your brand “human.” And you become more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers who read or view your content. So, tell your stories on your website, in your blog, and on your social media platforms. Use lots of visuals and create videos, so that your audience can see, not just read.
#2 Show Your Expertise
Consumers looking to buy a product or service have a problem to solve. Whether you sell vacuum cleaners, gardening supplies, or interior decorating services, you must be the expert they are looking to purchase from. You become an expert in your niche by creating and publishing informative articles, e-books, etc. that demonstrate that expertise.
Let’s say you sell gardening supplies. You should be creating content about gardening in general. What are the best plants for specific climates and sun/shade conditions? Which plants are strong and hardy and/or delicate? How does a person care for specific types of plants? What fertilizers are best and what foodstuffs are natural fertilizers? Why are worms so important in gardens? These are just a few of the topics you can use for your content. And with each article you write, you become more of an expert.
#3 Helps with SEO and Organic Traffic
When consumers are looking for products or services, they conduct what are known as organic searches. They use words, but more often long-tail keyword phrases, for their searches. What you want your content to do is be “found” and indexed by search engines when those searches are conducted.
So, do some research and discover what the most common search terms are for your niche. Get them into your content, by topic title if possible, and throughout your content pieces. If you are not “spammy” by trying to promote your products or services, and you actually provide relevant and informative copy, you will be picked up by search engines and ranked well. This, of course, brings visitors to your article and, ultimately, to your website. More visitors mean more leads, means more sales.
A word here about creating that content that search engines love. It has to be unique; it has to be creative, and it should include visuals. It must also contain the right keywords/phrases.
If you need help finding the right keywords and creating visuals for your content, there are plenty of free tools to help you.
- The Ubbersuggest site has a free keyword research tool
- Canva tool is great for creating beautiful visuals for your website
- Writing services such as Grammarly or Hemingway App can help to write better copy.
- You can easily create videos these days. You can use free video app like Loom. There are also free video editing tools that can easily let you add special effects. No one has to be a videographer anymore to demonstrate the value of a product or service.
#4 Build Brand Awareness and Social Proof
Most people don’t know your business exists. Only you can change that. As you create content and get it out there, with links to your website
One of the most compelling types of content is user-generated. It means that your customers create it and you get to publish it. Consider this: You have a customer who is thrilled with your product or service. You know this because you have asked for feedback from customers. Charlie has sent you his feedback with a picture using your product. You contact Charlie and ask him is you can use his comments and photo on your Facebook or Instagram page, or both. Now, it’s not you talking about your brand’s value, it’s Charlie, and every day guy who loves it.
#5 Turn Leads into Customers
Every buyer takes a journey from being aware of your brand to actually making the decision to purchase. You already know this. You should already know that your content can move that buyer along your sales funnel faster.
Consider this example of an interior design business.
Sally, a younger millennial has just realized she has a problem. She has just bought a brand-new house. Before this, she lived in a small apartment with hand-me-down furniture, curtains and “trappings” from her parents’ home. She knows nothing about furnishing and decorating a home. So, she goes to Google and conducts a generic search – “decorating a new home on a tight budget.” She’s looking for ideas and information. She finds your article, “10 Budget-Friendly Home Decorating Tips.” She clicks on the article, reads it, views the photos, and likes what she sees. Sally is beginning to see how she might solve this problem and clicks the link to your website landing page. There, she finds a downloadable e-book, “8 Secrets for Saving Money While Turning Your Home into a Showpiece.”
You are now becoming an expert in Sally’s eyes, and that is generating the trust you want. Sally is moving toward the decision phase. She uses the contact form to reach out to you, because you have promised a free consultation. She has sent photos of her rooms, as you requested, and you have responded with some general ideas for her, along with some pricing estimates on how much those ideas might cost her if she purchases suggested items through your service. Sally likes what she sees and ultimately sends you a down payment.
Congratulations – your content and expertise has brought you a new customer.
And when things go well for Sally, and she loves what you have done, she will recommend you to others and even allow you to add rooms of her home to your portfolio.
Content marketing has many benefits. It gives your target audiences answers to questions they have; it provides solutions to problems they have; it demonstrates your expertise in your business niche. Note that not one of these reasons for content has to do with direct selling. Its all about providing value to your audience and developing trustful relationships. When you do this, and when they are ready to buy, they will choose you.