As a small business owner, promoting your business through digital content marketing should be your top priority. Because if people don’t know about your products and services online, you end up losing customers to your competition. Yet many small business owners struggle to effectively promote their business on the web. This is mainly because they have little idea about what to do or what works best.
The fact remains that online promotion can make, or break, your small business. Which is why it is extremely important to have utmost clarity about the steps that you need to take to reach out to your potential customers.
When it comes to acquiring new customers and retaining the existing ones, there is no doubt that advertising has worked extremely well for many, many small businesses.
However, thanks to a recent Adblock Report by PageFair, we know the number of ad blockers installed on more than 615 million devices is growing, causing paid advertising to be less efficient or effective as it used to be a few years ago. This year, based on a study, it has been shown that nearly 25.8% of internet users block advertisements on the devices they are using. This percentage is estimated to increase thus resulting to failure of ¼ of paid advertising campaigns.
Your ultimate goal is to make sure that your small business is not ignored by your potential customers. Which is why it is imperative that you connect to your target audience in a way that they find both, appealing and respectable.
The way you communicate with your customers makes a huge difference to the results that you see from your marketing efforts. So whether you’re looking for targeted blog post topic ideas or a better video storyline, it all starts with the aim to deliver a better experience to your customers.
Regardless of the market you’re in, your audience wants to read and see content that not only helps them but also entertains. Content that delivers value in more than one way.
Your objective is to become a part of their customer journey without interrupting them. That is how they end up viewing your business as a source of valuable information and useful knowledge.
In short: the name of the game today is content marketing.
What is Digital Content Marketing?
Promoting brand awareness and engaging with target audience are two goals that every small business should focus on. Digital content marketing helps your small business create a connection with your customer by working towards these goals.
However, you cannot create and distribute content just for the heck of it. In other words, the information that you provide has to be packed with value and should be relevant to the interest of your audience. This helps you attract customers on a consistent basis and retain them over a longer period of time.
Unlike other marketing and advertising methods, content marketing is a long-term game. It is a way to market to your audience while building a firm relationship with them. With the right kind of content, you not only grab their attention but also engage with them on a higher level. Which ultimately leads to a stronger brand and a more profitable business
According to a report published by Content Marketing Institute, 30% of B2B marketers believe their company uses content marketing with great results.
While paid advertising is designed to get something from the audience, ultimately converting the prospect into a customer, content marketing is all about providing value and giving something to the audience in order to build trust.
If you look around, you’ll find many established small businesses using content marketing to generate high quality leads, convert these leads into customers and improve the lifetime value of each customer. So content marketing is not just about creating interest and building a brand but it goes beyond that.
If you look at the paid advertising model, it is geared towards getting something from the prospect and convert them into customer. Content marketing on the other hand is about giving first, before asking. It is about providing real value and building a trustable Foundation before going for the sale.
A research done by Demand Metric found out that, content marketing is not only less expensive than outbound marketing, but also generates 3 times more leads. Every small business owner wants to promote and market their products and services without exceeding their limited budget. Content marketing works as an inexpensive bridge between a small business and its potential customer. And eventually helps add more leads to the sales funnel without putting a dent in your wallet.
So when it comes to working with a small budget, content marketing takes the cake. Of course, this means that the small business owner, which is you, should be ready to put in the time and effort into publishing high quality content on a regular basis.
However, do keep in mind that customer acquisition with content marketing can become expensive in terms of time and money if you are not strategic in your approach. In order to get the most out of your inbound marketing efforts, you have to create the right kind of content – there’s no other way round it.
We have listed below some of the most effective digital content marketing ideas to help your small business do just that.
#1: Create Evergreen Content
Getting the most out of your content marketing strategy requires you to create content that delivers value regardless of the time it was published. The best way to achieve this is to create evergreen content.
The reason why evergreen content works so well in helping you achieve your content marketing goals is because it stays relevant, fresh and valuable to readers over a long period of time. Which means a well-optimized piece of content that is evergreen in nature has the potential to drive targeted traffic to your site for years to come.
The content that you publish on your website has to be sustainable if you want it to give you long term results. For example, a blog post that you publish about the current situation of your industry may not be relevant after a weeks or months. Whereas an article discussing some useful tips may be relevant well past its publication date.
Here are three things you should keep in mind when creating evergreen content:
1. Go for long tail keywords: First and foremost, it is extremely important that you choose the right keywords so that your content continues to rank in the search engine for a long time. What’s the use of creating evergreen content if nobody is searching for it? Choose to go for long tail keywords or the “low hanging fruit”. Because the search volume for such keywords has a high chance of growing with time as more and more people search for them. Besides that, getting your evergreen content to rank for a long tail keyword is much more easier when compared to a broader one.
2. Target beginners: In order to get the best results with your evergreen content, try and target beginners. You want to share your expertise with people who are new to the topic you are writing about. The basic premise of creating evergreen content is to build an audience and have recurring traffic coming in. By focusing on beginners instead of experts, you are more likely to reach your organic traffic goals.
3. Technical jargon: Avoid using technical jargon when creating a piece of evergreen content. The reason being simple: beginners who are most likely to consume your content won’t be able to understand the overtly-technical side of it. While it is okay to create content that is in depth, make sure it is easy to follow and digest.
#2: Leverage User-Generated Content
As the name implies, user generated content is any content created by individual users or contributors who don’t get paid for it. Everything from forum content to the comments your readers leave on your blog is user generated content. Even the testimonials that you receive for your product or service and the social media content generated on your Facebook page is UGC.
But why do people on the internet contribute content to a website without seeking anything in return? It’s because of their inherent need to be appreciated and recognized by others. Which is why user generated content is not only free that is also mostly high in quality.
Another reason why user generated content is better than branded content is because it is more authentic and trustworthy in the eyes of customers. UGC cannot be faked in many cases, which leads to a much stronger and trusting customer experience.
Numerous small businesses have started to incorporate UGC into their digital content marketing campaigns because it’s working. Some of the direct and indirect benefits UGC offers are:
- Increase in sales numbers
- Higher level of customer trust
- Stronger relationship with customers
- Increase number of social media followers
- Better social media reach
To ensure user generated content adds value to your overall content marketing campaign, see to it that you:
- Maintain your credibility by favoring honest/authentic reviews for your product or service, (including both positive and negative ones)
- Waste no time in getting back to your customer and answer their queries without being harsh
- Get your customers to share a short and informative video testimonials speaking about their experience with your product or service
- Take criticism constructively and positively
#3: Curate Content
Time is extremely valuable for any small business practicing digital content marketing. Without making the most effective use of time, you won’t be able to get the kind of returns you want from your content marketing efforts.
Content curation not only saves you time but also allows you to publish your content at the right place. It gives you the freedom and means to provide value to your prospects and customer without sacrificing quality. Which makes it an integral part of an efficient, result-oriented content marketing strategy. Also, the content that you curate can lead to a meaningful communication with your target audience and strengthen your relationship with them.
Another reason why content curation is important to add to your content marketing mix is because it helps you maintain consistency. Producing top notch content on a regular basis not easy for a small business. By leveraging content curation, you don’t have to wait until you have original content ready. Go ahead and fill the gap with curated content.
When it comes to finding success with digital content marketing, you should realize the importance of timeliness. Without being timely in your approach, even quality content curation will not give you the results that you want. You need to publish the right content at the right time or else you will not only lose out on traffic but also on revenue.
Keep the following three things in mind when curating content if you want to make it effective.
– Make sure to add your personal insights to the content that you are curating. It makes your content look more unique and authentic. Your aim should be to help your readers grasp the information that you are sharing with them in whatever way you can. Your personal insights help the reader understand your purpose or reason behind referencing this content. And why you believe it is helpful or useful to them.
– Just because you are curating content does not mean you can cut down on quality. See to it that you are only curating content that is high in quality and is worth referencing. By sharing information from real, credible sources, your content curation efforts will resonate with your target audience. It can potentially give your content an extra boost in the search engine result pages while helping you build your credibility in the eyes of your prospects and customers.
– When your customers realize that your website is their go-to place for finding relevant and timely information they will keep coming back for more. Which is why it is integral that you keep giving value to your readers by providing them with the exact kind of content they are usually looking for.
Curating great content and timing your curation right is the perfect way to give your audience useful and original information on a consistent basis.
#4: Teach Don’t Sell
Do your customers care about your products or services? Do they care how well your business is performing and where it is going? Of course not. Customers care about one thing and that it themselves. Keeping this in mind, the content that you produce should not be centered around yourself.
You need to create your marketing content by focusing on your customers and their needs. Here are some questions you can use to get to know your audience better:
- What are their fears?
- What are their probable excuses not to buy your product or get your services?
- What keeps them going everyday? Can your product/service help them? If yes, in what way will it change their everyday life?
- What are their life goals? Who and where do they want to be a few years from now?
- Why haven’t they achieved these life goals yet?
You see, the deeper you get to know how your target market feels, the more likely you’ll create content that is valuable to them. Every piece of content that you produce should fulfill their need in one way or the other. By doing this, you are essentially creating an emotional relationship or connection with your customers. You are helping them trust your brand and making it easy for them to do business with you.
There is nothing wrong with a sales pitch. But when presented at the wrong time, it can do more harm than good to your business. Your customers are mostly looking for information that can help them in some way, not sales pitches. By teaching and not selling you are using the power of educational marketing where the information you provide is anything but sales oriented. Using education based content has always work and will continue to work as long as it is done in the right spirit.
Any digital content marketing material that you create and distribute to your prospective customers should be relevant to them. You need to create buyer personas and craft your content around these for best results.
Keep in mind that people don’t like forced advertisements, which is why your aim should be to engage them with free and effective education that gives them real value. Let them look around your website, understand the products/services that you are offering and consume the information you are providing at their own pace.
Say no to hard selling: When creating educational content, try not to carry out any kind of hard selling. It may seem difficult to avoid doing so but in the long run the results will speak for themselves. Customers nowadays or smart enough to understand a business that is trying to hard sell them. Your sales oriented content can prove to be a turn off for any potential customer. Remember the purpose of digital content marketing – it is to teach and show how things are done and not sell.
Do not be redundant: Your product or service may be offering a lot of value to your customers but that does not mean that you should go on creating content around it from different angles. Your customers are not looking for content about your product or service. They are looking for information that can enhance their life or business in some way or the other. You want to build your credibility with educational content so that the customers trust you enough to do business with you. But when you only talk about your own offering, it comes off as soft selling. Even though it does not involve any hard selling, it doesn’t help you achieve your purpose.
Leverage industry experts: When you associate yourself with industry experts, your credibility slash authenticity shoots up. By partnering with other experts in one way or the other, you will be able to provide top quality information that comes from a credible, trusted source. Whether you do this by interviewing an expert or having them write a guest article on your site, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that by leveraging experts, you add immense value to the content you are providing to your prospects and customers. These articles are a lot more valuable because the insights shared within them are unique, and not easy to copy or replicate. This also makes your content stand out from the rest of the competition.
Keep engagement in the forefront: There’s no doubt that educational content should be informative. But at the same time it has to be entertaining enough. The last thing you want to do is bore your readers bit technical jargon. Your reason for creating educational content is to make sure your customers are getting real value. Making the content engaging will help you increase the overall value of the content you are providing. Remember, the more engaging your content is, the better results you will see in the long run.
#5: Have an Editorial Calendar
Moving towards your content marketing goals starts with creating a plan. Because when you don’t plan out what needs to be done it would be difficult to see a positive return on your investment. Any small business that wants to make the most of content marketing should focus on taking the help of a proper editorial calendar.
When you have an editorial calendar in front of you, you have the clarity needed to take care of any task that needs to be done. It basically gives you a bird’s view of your content marketing strategy and lets you take care of any shortcomings beforehand.
1. Know your target audience
Your customer’s need should serve as a starting point for the content you create. Without creating content that is relevant to your target audience, you can’t expect to create a sense of excitement amongst them. They simply won’t be interested in your content.
By understanding your target audience and looking into their problems/concerns, you get the needed clarity. Which in turn helps you understand what type of content they would be interested in. Learning more about your audience comes before developing an editorial calendar. You can simply start by interacting with your audience via surveys or through one-on-one conversations. When you have enough information on what your target audience is looking for, creating content solves their problems and fulfills their needs becomes more realistic.
2. Decide on your publishing schedule
As you plan an editorial calendar, you’ll need to answer the following questions:
When you’re working on your editorial calendar, it’s crucial to have answers to the following questions:
- What kind of content will you be publishing?
- How much content you plan to publish?
- How frequently do you wish to publish content?
- Who will be responsible for both writing and non-writing tasks?
Having answers to the above questions can make your editorial calendar more effective.
3. Have multiple editorial calendars
The first one should be a master calendar that provides a quick overview of all the content you have planned, broken down by day and week. The other calendars should focus on tasks for specific projects such as your blog or newsletter. Multiple calendars allow you to see the big picture as well as ensure each project is on track.
While not everybody favors creating multiple editorial calendars, it’s something that can get your content marketing even more organized. Your first calendar gives you an overview about every piece of content that you are going to publish throughout the week or month. You can use other calendars in specific area such as your blog. Keeping each of your digital content marketing projects on track becomes simpler when you can see the big picture.