To put it simply, content marketing involves creating and distributing consistent, relevant, and high-value content to attract and retain a particular audience group. Its end goal is to drive these prospective customers and clients into making profitable customer action. Very straightfoward, right?
Well, content marketing includes a lot of marketing collaterals:
- Blogsite and blog posts / articles
- Marketing videos (instructional and informative)
- Social media posts
- eBooks and white papers
- Reviews, case studies, and other feedbacks
But maybe you're hesitating, “does content marketing really work for small and local businesses?” It's a resounding yes!
In fact, content marketing is known to be such a profitable investment for companies to the point that 73% of businesses are now hiring externally to help them in their content strategy. And if you're interested in getting the help of one, just know that we're the experts in helping local businesses for their marketing strategies.
Truth be told, your primary goal is always to sell. But nowadays, people are already bombarded with product placements and advertisements whenever they check their social media accounts or even when they scroll through Google to search for something. The point is that people don't want to be sold. And this is where content marketing comes in the picture.
Here are the major benefits of using content marketing for your small business:
1. Builds trust with your website visitors
Content marketing's primary goal is to create content that shares knowledge and facts about your industry and business to your current and prospective customers. It's best to create content that are focused on a specified niche that makes everything you write and produce more relevant to a very specific target audience.
For instance, your main product is coffee beans. Some ways you can share knowledge about it is through blogging and writing blog posts about the differences of the most common types and kinds of coffee beans and grounds. More so, you can create infographics that illustrates statistics and other information on how certain coffee should be brewed or the general process of brewing.
Having these kind of content in your blog or website doesn't only attract more customers but it also builds trust with every person who visits your website. This only shows that you have a good grasp of what you're selling and know more than enough about the industry and business you are in.
2. Builds brand authority
Moving on, this is another benefit of having a content marketing strategy for your small business. When you're trusted by your followers, website visitors, and current customers and clients, you become an authoritative figure within your industry.
If you're wondering how you can build more brand authority through content marketing, here are some tips:
- Answer questions from your audience - Helps you connect with more people and become a "go-to" place for people who are seeking answers for questions that are related to your business or problems that your products can solve.
- Highlight your past customers' reviews, case studies, and other proof of your expertise - Aids you in presenting your expertise in certain topics as well as emphasize how great are your products and services based on others' testimonials
- Partner and collaborate with other authoritative brands - Shows that you're open to collaboration with other local businesses to always bring value to your audience
3. Creates brand awareness
Normally, having a small business is very different. Of course, you don't have the big budget that those huge companies and corporations have. So one way for you to let your brand and local business be known by people is through creating content that is valuable and relevant to them.
Actually, Hubspot shared this case study from Dropbox. By simply having different share options for users to refer Dropbox to their peers and colleagues, Dropbox has increased its chances to be known by a vast group of people more than ever.
As for the case of a small and local business like yours, for example, you can use social media where you can post simple infographics that can catch the attention of people who might be interested in your business. As previously mentioned, focus on a certain set of people to target. So for instance, if you're selling cakes and pastries, maybe you can share some tips on how to prolong the storage life of a certain baked product.
By doing this, you're not only offering useful tips and information to the people who might see your posts on social media, but you also somehow promote your brand through providing them with content that are relevant to them, showing how knowledgeable you are in your business and industry.
4. Boosts organic search visibility
More often than not, when people open their browsers, they type a keyword or phrase into their search engines. Then, of course, that search engine immediately shows the most relevant information to the user based on her or his search query. So it's very important for local businesses to get to have a great understanding of local SEO to boost their visibility.
And content marketing helps you with this! As you create more expert content by sharing information that are relevant and useful information to your target audience. search engines recognizes that the content you produce is indeed important and it answers the most in-demand questions that people are searching for. This way, your pages (and posts) will rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP).
You should also take note that algorithms in search engines often change. But this doesn't mean that you should abandon working on more content because while you're consistently creating content that are updated, informative, and useful, these pages will rank higher and longer in SERPs.
Additionally, Hubspot reports that over a two year period, there was an increase of 900%+ in mobile searches for "___ near me today/tonight." So it's very important that you always focus on creating content that addresses not only the needs of a broad target audience but also of your specific buyer personas.
For example, your local business is a clothes boutique within a community. It's best if you write blog posts or create social media graphics that talks about what makes your business unique and how your business relates with the local community. As a local, you most probably have greater grasp of the locals' quirks, their concerns, and their pain points. Use them in your marketing materials.
5. Generates leads for your business
Take a look at this data: 70% of consumers said that they prefer learning about a product or service through content rather than ads. So this is a great opportunity to tap into the potential of creating and distributing more content.
After building your brand awareness and having the authority within your business and industry, another great thing about content marketing is it attracts prospective customers and clients. And rightly so! Content marketing allows other people to see your website and other content through the useful and informative marketing materials you're producing.
So it's great to have comprehensive content that discusses a certain topic to attract more leads that might be interested in what you're offering. The things is we all need leads to be able to sell, and this is one of the goals of content marketing: to reach these leads.
6. Attracts prospective customers and clients
As you know, having a good number of leads is great. But if they're unqualified leads, they're close to nothing. What you need to attract are ideal buyers of your products and services. Of course, you don't want to waste your marketing and sales efforts.
Aside from leads, content marketing also enables your small business to attract buyers. Through the content you're producing, you're letting people know of your expertise about your industry. The thing is that only a selected few are interested in what you're saying. But don't worry! Most often, these are the people who are interested in your field and business.
The great thing about this is that they conduct research and they'll see your blog articles, for example. Among these readers, only a few will be very interested in your brand and what you do. Once again, these audience will be filtered out since only a few of them will be truly captivated by the content in your website and / or blog. Those qualified leads are going to fill out your form with their personal information to get access to some of your more valuable content (which are usually gated, meaning, they still have to fill out a form to download or view your eBook, for example).
So at that point, you'll easily determine which ones you can target which can save you a lot of time, energy, money.
7. Keeps your website fresh and relevant
Content marketing allows you to consistently create content for your small business. And when you regularly create comprehensive and meaningful content about your industry that are valuable to your target audience, you're also making new and fresh content that are up-to-date based on current trends and news within your niche. This also allows you to incorporate links pointing to other older content within your website and blog.
As a result, when Google or other search engines decide what content to show users, content marketing increases the chances of your blog article, for example, getting selected to be shown on the first page instead of having that content of your competitor appear on the first page. But you should remember that it's not enough that you have new and update content. Rather, your materials should also always be relevant to your target audience and specific to their current needs and goals. If it's not the case, you're just probably wasting resources on creating long-form content that doesn't get recognized.
8. Creates backlinks for SEO
Having expert content that is always updated, relevant, and authoritative will help you become more visible not only to prospective buyers but also to other businesses related to yours. More often than not, they also have their own marketing strategies and techniques in place. So they'll be researching for content that talks about the topic their business is related to.
This way, having comprehensive and evergreen content can boost your chances of getting a backlink. Essentially, a backlink is a link created when a website links to another. Having more of these (which are high-quality) is good for SEO; thus, it increases your website traffic and visibility, of course!
Moreover, here are some ways on how you can leverage content marketing in link building:
- Case studies - Having case studies that have great results can be used by other websites for the good data and information they can get from your case studies
- Interviews - Thought leaders and experts you might interview can have a few great quotes to say. With this, others might use your interview as a resource for their blog article, for example.
- Long-form guides - Your guide can be a great resource for everyone interested with the topic you're discussing.
- Infographics - These kind of content can also be used as a great resource especially if it contains report summaries, data and statistics, and other pertinent information.
- Local press release - Having press releases can earn your website a great backlink especially if your business is covered by a reputable news website or channel.
- Surveys - More often than not, these content contain important data and statistics which attract more backlinks.
More technical aspects of SEO and local SEO are beyond the scope of this article. So if you're interested in learning more about these, you can check out our article about what is local SEO and where to start.
9. Generates great return on small investment
Interestingly, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing techniques and generates about 3 times as many leads. Plus, creating content nowadays is so much easier and it's almost good as free.
With content marketing producing 3 times more leads, it's great to note that this also increases your website traffic. Those traffic consists of new prospects, shares through your socials, and yes, of course, brand visibility. But while these things can be considered mere vanity metrics, it's still a great factor to look at.
This said, content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways for local businesses to get more results for their marketing initiatives. And this means a lot specially if you're still a starting business. More so, it's easy to start your content marketing projects.
First, you have to identify your goals and determine your target audience. From there, you can create content that you think are valuable for your market. Of course, it's best to know what already exists and how to fill the knowledge gaps. Always think how you can always contribute to the discussion within our industry.
Just imagine the prospects and leads that your content will attract. The key principle is to create meaningful and useful content for your prospects that will drive them to be interested in your business which eventually help them in their buying decision (the result being a purchase from your business).
10. Becomes a way of promotion without obviously advertising your business
As we mentioned in the previous points, content marketing's primary purpose is to produce and share content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience. And in implementing a solid marketing strategy for you small business, it's great that you get to share knowledge and information to everyone especially those interested in your business and industry.
The thing is that people are now tired of advertisements and obvious promotions. In fact, the average U.S. consumer is said to be exposed to 10,000 messages a day. And that's a lot! Good thing, content marketing is here to address this issue. When implemented correctly, content marketing can promote your business in a subtle way without overtly selling your business to your prospects.
For example, you if you're a clothing boutique owner, you can create a mini guide on styles, how to dress up for a certain season, and such informative content that educate people, or if need be, entertain them to a certain point that makes them interested more in clothes, fashion, and style.
The key takeaway here is that there are more reasons why you should implement a content marketing strategy into your local business. Indeed, small businesses also need to market themselves to people especially online with the rise of more online markets.
Now that you know that there are more advantages to having a content marketing plan and strategy in place for you small business, you might want to get started right away. If you need an expert who can guide you further, please let us know!