For small and medium businesses (SMB) that have limited resources to devote to advertising, content marketing is perfectly suited for them as it doesn’t require a big budget or a large development team. However, there are still a number of guidelines that SMBs need to consider when pursuing a content marketing strategy to keep them on track and see the results that matter.
1. Think Local
Although the Internet has made it possible for SMBs to reach more people, they are still more likely to bring in customers from within their town/city/state than from across the country and the world.
Take advantage of the sense of trust people might have with your brand from being in the same area, and come up with content that solves the problems of local consumers that you should be familiar with.
By focusing your content on the experiences that the average person in your neighborhood goes through, you develop a stronger connection with your target audience. It also helps in the SEO side of marketing, as your website will be much more visible in search engine results pages (SERP) for local search terms.
2. Get Closer
What SMBs can do more easily than large corporations is to have a more personal relationship with their customers simply due to scale.
A small business owner with a less complicated structure to manage can have more time to write a blog or share pictures and videos to his/her customers. This humanizes the business, and helps build trust between the two parties.
Don’t forget to share your content on social media and engage with your customers there. Answer questions and generate discussions by asking them questions, too. The insight you pick up from their comments is invaluable for improving your product, tweaking your marketing strategy, and creating new content.
3. Go Multiplatform
Generating fresh and useful content consistently is very demanding, and it’s unrealistic to expect your content development team to churn out high-quality content all the time. To alleviate your burden of having to come up with entirely new ideas, repurpose existing content into another form.
A detailed blog post can be summarized into a streamlined infographic. A presentation in a conference can be uploaded onto SlideShare. A lengthy white paper can be tackled through a series of concise videos. Remember to link related contents as well for maximum customer engagement.
4. Measure Performance
Considering the limited resources available to SMBs, it’s important to know just how well the produced content is doing for efficiency’s sake. Although tracking the ROI in content marketing is not yet an exact science, there are some metrics for awareness and conversions.
High ranks in the SERPs, social media shares and the like, as well as more first time visitors to your site as seen through analytics tools, can be your gauges for how well your content is making your business more visible to customers. As for conversions, you can analyze your conversion funnel and identify which contents helped the most in directing your customers towards subscribing to newsletters, downloading white papers, and buying your products.
5. Keep Marketing
SMBs do not have the luxury of having a recognizable brand that can be constantly reinforced by advertising through mass media. You have to be always pushing your business into the minds of your target audience. Avoid the hard sell, though, and just mention your products or include a link to a relevant landing page on your site.
An editorial calendar is necessary for you to be able to create content on a regular basis. Draft one before you begin developing content so you can develop ideas first, lay them out in an organized manner that falls in line with your customers’ buying cycles, and track your progress.
The foundation to content marketing success for SMBs is based on two principles - exploiting their strength in connecting with consumers, and managing their limitations wisely through exploring different content platforms and tracking content performance.
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