What is content marketing and how small businesses can get benefit from it?

Promoting your business online is not an easy job. Even if you are in a niche market, you are going to face some pretty stiff competition. Promotional emails and simple advertisements will never be enough. You definitely need an effective content marketing strategy if you want to stand out.

What is content marketing?

When you hear “content marketing,” you are likely to directly think about articles, blogs, and maybe social media.

But in reality, it is so much more than that.

The definition of content marketing is something more than just the format of content.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy which uses various formats of content to capture the attention of your audience, to build a stronger relationship with them and to improve brand recall.

While paid advertising is designed to get something from the audience and eventually convert the prospect into a customer, content marketing is solely about giving something to the audience to build trust and providing value.

 

Does content marketing really work for small businesses?

Definitely.

And you do not need to invest a ton of money for it.

Small business owners need to realize that 70% of customers would preferably learn about a company through an article instead of any kind of advertisement.

And a lot of customers are out there actively looking for that content.

73% of brands now hire someone to help manage their content strategy as it has grown to be a great profitable investment for companies of all sizes.

Rather than to write it yourself and add more to your plate, you can hire or outsource to people who know how to connect with your audience, manage resources, and target content to effectively move those prospects through your funnel.

The benefits of content marketing far exceed the money, time, and effort that goes into it. Let’s look at 7 benefits you’ll enjoy when you make content the center of your Internet marketing strategy.

 

  1. Content Provides Consistent Value to Your Audience and search engines

Taking time to fill out your social profiles and to create an informative website is worthy and crucial to your online marketing strategy.

But what motivation does your audience have to return once they have seen that information?

When you produce and distribute content regularly, you are not only providing ongoing value to your audience, but you are also showing search engines like Google that your content is fresh, valuable and relevant to the conversation. In other words, you give yourself an increase in the search rankings.

 

  1. Content Marketing Produces a Shareable Commodity

Did you know that 82% of Americans still seek recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase? Or that 67% say they are at least a little more likely to buy a product that family or friends recommended them via email or social media?

The takeaway here is simple. If instead of just pushing a product you bring something helpful to the table, your audience will appreciate and share that information. And that means to repeat and referral business for you!

 

  1. Content Fuels Your Online Marketing Channels

A little content can go a long route. A blog post, for example, can be featured in your weekly email newsletter, repurposed as an eye-catching infographic and of course shared across social media. Plus, gated content that requires the reader to fill out a lead capture form can be used to collect data for generating new leads.

 

  1. Content Marketing Establishes You as a Go-To Resource

Letting customers know that you are available whenever they have a question is a nice gesture. But it would be better to you show your expertise on a consistent basis and earn your reputation as a go-to industry expert.

Content marketing gives you that opportunity.

Want to share some insightful industry statistics? Create an infographic. Want to guide prospective customers through a potential solution or process? Create a how-to guide.

Each piece of informative content you create and share via online marketing not only builds your reputation, but it also solidifies you as a top-of-mind resource when questions arise — and when it’s time to make a purchase.

 

  1. Content Marketing Nurtures Relationships

Perhaps the most significant thing about content marketing is that it gives you the opportunity to target particular segments of your audience, no matter where they are in the buying process, and help them on their journey towards conversion.

Along the way, relationships get stronger and bonds of loyalty form. The next thing you know, you have got a host of brand advocates on your hands, which only helps to expand your audience further and raise brand awareness.

 

  1. Content Marketing Drives Repeat Business 

The more helpful you are to old customers, the more likely they are to do business with you again. Let’s say you are a real estate agent who sold a house to a client 5 years ago. Over the years, you’ve sent a couple of emails with real estate info and market information, but the majority of your emails have taken a helping approach not the sell.

Because of this, your client remembers your name. And also, has a positive association with you. When it’s time to look for a new home, you’re the realtor to call.

 

  1. Content Marketing Helps with Long Sales Cycles

Professionals such as insurance agents, loan officers, real estate agents, and many others have to deal with long sales cycles.

In the industries like these, your customers are not likely to need your services for some time periods like every month, every 6 months, or, in some cases, not for years. In this type of situations, you want to keep in touch with your old but also potential customers, but not in an annoying style.

And there is little that is more annoying than hearing the same “buy, buy, buy” message when you are not even in the market and are not likely to be for a long time. Eventually, customers will tune out these messages. Or even worse, unsubscribe altogether.

 

As you see, a solid content marketing strategy provides remarkable benefits, and we have only scratched at the tip of the iceberg!

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