Engaging content brings prospects, leads, and new customers to your business. While some small businesses find success through their blog, others fail to experience tangible results. An effective content strategy can make the difference between successful or unsuccessful content marketing.
These days, there are so many options to create and publish content. An effective content strategy would identify the following:
Who are you trying to reach? Not every consumer will be your customer, your marketing should target the people who need your product and are willing to pay for it. For example, a small business who builds nursery furniture may want to target expectant parents rather than empty nesters. This may seem obvious, but often a small business team will run their website and social media channels without targeting the interests of their prospective customers.
What topics interest your target audience? What questions do they have that you can answer? What resources can you provide? What problems do they want to solve? By choosing topics that interest your ideal customer, you attract those people to your business website.
Where will you reach your target audience? This will determine whether you should include a blog on your website or focus on social media channels. Although social media may be effective, we also encourage you to develop your own website so you can start building more direct relationships with your existing and potential customers.
What type of content do they seek? Options include blog posts, ebooks, videos, informational graphics, memes, apps, or white papers. Blog posts and articles are the easiest to produce and bring traffic to your website.
One goal of content marketing is to create content that your customers will pay attention to and value. Whether that content is a blog post or short video, effective content has numerous benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Brings traffic to your website or social media channel.
- Attracts consumers to your sales funnel and generates prospects, leads, or new customers.
- Increasing awareness and interest in your brand.
- Establishes thought leadership or builds your reputation as an expert in the field.
Four Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy
1. Effective Content Helps Customers Find You: Why SEO is Important for Your Website
You invest your time and resources towards developing a professional website. However, what good is that website if consumers can’t find it?
There are basically two ways to bring traffic to your website:
Paid Traffic: Search or social media advertising are two ways to send paid traffic to your website. Paid traffic may help you reach your goals, but that traffic ends once you stop paying for the ads.
Organic Traffic: This refers to traffic resulting from any unpaid means. Social media and search engines are two of the primary sources of organic traffic for most small businesses. Creating engaging content helps attract organic traffic through both social media and search engines.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to anything you do to optimize your website for discovery in search results on Google and Bing. Content creation is a highly effective way to boost your SEO. Best of all, SEO generates unpaid traffic through Over time, unlike paid advertisements. A helpful, well-written blog post may bring traffic to your site for months or even years to come.
2. Engaging Content Generates Traffic to Your Sales Funnel
Sales and marketing professionals frequently visualize a customer’s decision process as a “sales funnel.” A typical sales funnel has four stages:
Awareness – This is the widest part of the funnel and includes people who are not yet your customers and are only just becoming aware of your brand. Website visitors, people who walk by your store are examples. They may not even recognize a need for your product or service.
Interest – This includes potential customers who recognize a need and are interested in your product. They may not be serious yet, but they may be window shopping or kicking the tires.
Decision – At this point, a consumer is interested in purchasing a service or product like yours. They may be comparison shopping, researching specs, or even accepting sales calls.
Action – The narrowest point of the funnel is where your prospect becomes your client or customer.
An effective content strategy may target customers from every part of the sales funnel. Someone in the awareness phase may be looking for general information to address a problem they face. In contrast, someone in the decision phase may be actively seeking out detailed information about 2-3 products including yours.
The magic of content marketing is that it is a way to reach your future customer before they even know that they need your product or service.
3. Your Content Builds an Increased Awareness of Your Brand
Remember that sales funnel? Awareness is at the top of the funnel for a reason. You want your customers to think of you first when they have a need that you can fulfill. Consistently publishing high-quality content expands awareness of your company, your brand, and your products or services.
Today’s consumers spend hours online each day whether they are browsing their social media feeds, watching streaming entertainment or doing research. Your content offers you a chance to engage with consumers at their convenience.
4. Your Content Showcases Your Business Expertise
When you publish content that is both original and useful, you showcase your expertise and you build credibility with your future customers.
Consumers search for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. For example, imagine a potential customer just spilled red wine on her carpet. She picks up her phone and searches for instructions on how to remove red wine stains. A local carpet cleaning service published a blog post along with a short video demonstration. She follows the tips and they work! On the surface, you may wonder why a carpet cleaner would teach potential customers how to remove stains. However, this consumer will recognize that business as a helpful resource and she may even join their mailing list. She may then notice her living room carpet looks a little dingy and may book that carpet cleaning service in the future.
Whether you offer a business-to-business service or a business-to-consumer product, your content is a prime opportunity to showcase your expertise and establish yourself as a leader. Good content may result in media coverage, social media shares, lead generation, or sales.