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You’ve probably heard that content marketing is an important piece of marketing for your business – but do you really know all the ins and outs of content marketing and what it can do for your business?

Many businesses, especially small businesses, feel they don’t have the time or resources to manage a content marketing strategy for their business. And even if they had the time, they don’t know where to start or what to write about.

Content needs to be well-written, relevant to your audience, comprehensive and valuable. Otherwise, it can be a big time suck that doesn’t provide the results you’d like.

But this shouldn’t scare you away from content marketing!

When done well, it can open a multitude of doors for your business. And honestly, you’re probably already engaging in some content marketing without even knowing it, so you might as well do it well and with purpose.

If you aren’t sold on creating a content marketing plan for your business yet, here are some things to consider:

1. Content marketing can improve your SEO ranking on search platforms like Google.

When you create content on your website that directly speaks to your audience and their needs, uses keywords and contains valuable information, it’ll improve your small business’s search ranking. This means that your website will show up higher in search results on a search engine such as Google.

The goal would to be on the very first page of search results, since research shows that the first page of search results get 95 percent of traffic, while all remaining pages only get 5 percent combined. What does it mean to speak to your audience, using keywords and containing valuable information?

Here’s an example: 

If you’re a Northeast Ohio hair salon, you’d want to use local keywords like Akron and Canton, depending on where you’re located and who you typically service. Then, you’d want to think about the services your clientele is typically searching for, such as highlights, or even more niched like “shadow roots.” If you specialize in something, make sure to write about it!

 

To create content that would speak to that audience, you could create a post about caring for your highlighted hair (a topic that would interest your specific audience). To increase SEO results even more, include the products that you’d recommend and link to them for purchase (hello, affiliate links!). Finally, you can include information about your salon and services in your call-to-action at the end, including your localized keywords and a way to contact you.

2. Content marketing builds credibility and spreads your reach in your market.

When you write valuable content for your audience, they’ll start seeing you as their go-to expert. High-quality, relevant and valuable information makes consumers more likely to take an action.

Let’s go back to our hair salon example. If you write an awesome article about caring for your highlights, using methods that most people don’t know about, or calling out specific products that people can use in their care regimen, they’re likely to forward it along to their friends or share it to their social media followers. These friends may never have heard of your salon before, but now they’ve been introduced through a really cool

article.

 

They may check out the rest of your website or even decide to come to your salon the next time their highlights need refreshed. Just remember, it can’t be age-old information. It has to be information that others look to you as the expert on, for fresh ideas and cool information that not just anyone would know.

Want more leads?

At Huddle, we know the value of putting dollars behind marketing efforts and seeing those dollars multiply as leads come in.

Here’s a secret:

Content marketing costs about 62 percent less than traditional marketing, such as paid advertisements. Not only that, but inbound marketing tactics, such as content marketing, generate about 3x as many leads.

3. Content marketing sets you apart from the competition for a lower cost.

Many small businesses opt of out content marketing. They don’t have the time for it, or the money to pay a dedicated person to do it. Most small businesses don’t have a marketing person at all.

Here’s a secret: content marketing costs about 62 percent less than traditional marketing, such as paid advertisements. Not only that, but inbound marketing tactics, such as content marketing, generate about 3x as many leads.

Check around some local businesses and see just how many have blogs. If they do have a blog, how often are they updating it and how valuable is the content? Starting your blog could put you ahead of other businesses in the area, just for including information on your website that they don’t have. Which leads us to the next point….

4. Consumers are hungry for information. 

We are in an era where many people want as much information as possible before making a decision, and they usually want to be able to look it up online and digest it on their own. They don’t want to have to pick up the phone and call your business to get the information. They don’t want to have to send an email or come in person.

In fact, 70 percent of customers want to learn about your company through your own article versus through an advertisement.

The more information you can give them, the better. If your services meet their needs or spike their interest, they’ll be much more likely to give you a call or click around your website more. If they come across a bare bones website with minimal information, they’re likely to go somewhere else to find what they need.

5. Content marketing is a great way to get potential customers into your sales funnel.

This goes back to how much information you offer on your website, and especially how many calls-to-action you provide. If you have your website set up with a Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to see how many people are entering your website, which pages they’re looking at and where they exit, to name a few data points. This is a great place for you to start being more strategic with your website pages and content.

If people frequently read a specific piece of content on your site, you’ll want to capitalize on that. If your blog about highlight care is getting a lot of traffic, you’d want to add a call-to-action on that page to try to collect information about your visitors or try to get them to take the next step in your sales funnel.

Maybe you’d want them to see a pop-up with highlight specials at your salon, or a place for them to sign up their email to get coupons. You just want to find a way to capture those visitors and try to keep their interest, moving them along to hopefully become customers.

 

6. Turn leads into customers.

It’s important to know your audience and what matters to them. Once they’ve entered your funnel, you want to send them personalized content based on their interests and the action you’d like them to take.

Nurtured customers make 47 percent larger purchases than any other customer. They’re also more likely to recall your brand and become loyal customers.

Going again back to our salon example again, if someone has visited your website and signed up for updates (putting them in your funnel) you can now send them email updates about the latest hair trends, ways to keep their locks healthy, coupons and even a calendar invite to schedule their own appointment.

Sending information and interesting content regularly keeps you top of mind and gains trust from your potential customers until they’re ready to commit to a sale.

7. Content marketing isn’t just blogs and articles.

Just because you don’t have a blog page on your website doesn’t mean you aren’t already engaged in content marketing. Content marketing includes everything from using social media for your business, posting pictures, using infographics, hosting in-person events, using print materials and much more. If you’re already doing these things, you might as well put some thought into a content marketing strategy to give your efforts their full potential.

Creating a strategy also helps you think more critically about what you’re putting out into the world and if it really helps your audience. It can also give you an idea of when to post so that you don’t have long hiatuses or post too much all at once. It’s helpful to look at your sales funnel and envision where your potential customers are at each stage and what content could be useful to them at that time, and create content around the funnel.

Final Thoughts

Overall, content marketing goes hand in hand with your small business marketing strategy when you take the time to flesh out who your audience is, what stage on the funnel they’re in and what information they may want from you.

Without content marketing, a business can lose a lot of potential customers that can’t find relevant information about your business, don’t see you as trustworthy or just don’t have enough information to make an informed decision, causing them to walk away.

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