As a small business owner who is looking to increase sales via the internet you will recognise that most of your competition is already investing in one form of internet marketing or another and in some cases will have a well structured online marketing campaign in place that is consistently driving new and repeat business.
In order to implement an online marketing campaign you need to invest in quality content that speaks directly to the problems that your target audience face.
Without that compelling content getting in front of the right people at the right time, your voice will not be heard, your business offerings will go unnoticed and you will watch as your competitors thrust open their doors to new clients that could and should have been yours.
Articles, videos, blog posts, pillar content, follow up emails, social media updates, presentations and proposals: the list is endless!
To many business owners it may seem daunting or even off putting to have to produce an array of meaningful and compelling content on a regular basis that empowers your target audience to reach out and connect with you, and trust me it is.
But the truth of the matter is without the commitment to truly encapsulate your audience, online marketing will never see the results that you may have been promised or dreamed off.
But we already have a website!
To say that you have a website is not good enough. It is not.
A website on its own is NOTHING. It is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back and not knowing how to pull the chord. Useless.
In fact it is less than useless, your website becomes a cost that sucks cash from your business instead of becoming an investment that adds to your bottom line on a monthly basis.
The content that you create is the means to attracting those profitable clients. Both on your website and on other targeted websites across the internet where your audience may be visiting. When your content creation dries up or doesn’t even get off the ground in the first place you will get fewer eyeballs looking, less subscribers and even fewer sales.
Content drives the internet and quality content engages your targeted audience, arouses their interest, creates a desire and encourages them to act.
4 Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Business
1. Highly Visible Social Proof
If you claim to be the biggest, the best or the most efficient in your niche or industry then you’d better make sure there is evidence on the internet to substantiate those claims.
It is not difficult for anyone to search the internet to find out information about your business. One simple search in Google of your business name will bring back search results highlighting the most relevant pages on the internet about your business.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because you have not put anything on the internet about your firm that no one else has done it either. There are so many ways that people can talk about your business: Social media, local business directories, blogs etc that you should implement an online reputation management strategy to keep informed of how your business is being represented online.
If you are the best, then social proof will occur naturally to support these claims and then you will have some great third party generated content that you can use to market your business and win more customers with.
2. Be seen as a Thought Leader.
Pick up a trade magazine and look at the expert opinion articles, those people are providing interviews, writing articles relating to their niche and adding insight around topical issues that may confuse potential clients. By taking time to put that content out there they become a thought leader, the “go to” person in that industry, and when that happens opportunities and business relationships come your way.
The same thing happens on the internet, in fact, the very same content or remarkably similar content to the trade magazine article will be converted into a blog post, a video, an article on an industry related website, an email through to your existing database.
Staying in the spotlight at the top is not easy. It requires attention to detail, original ideas and of course, constant updating.
TIP: Sit down once a quarter and brainstorm a list of topics that you would like to cover and jot down at least 3 bullet points for each content piece so when you sit down to produce that content you have a starting point. Knowing what to produce is often the hardest part.
3. Improve Search Engine Rankings.
Having your business website listed in the top of the search engine rankings for your business niche, the products or services you offer or even the problems that your services solve is a great way to increase sales in your business. In the majority of niches there is fierce competition for the top spots in the search engines.
Google is continually updating they way they rank websites on the internet, one of the key areas they look at is the content both on and off the website. Is it related to the niche, is it good quality, is it being shared by other people, does it have third party comments, does the content get linked back to or linked out to other informative content.
All of these factors and many more are used to make a decision on the relevance and quality of your website and where it sits in the search rankings. Ultimately none of these factors can be taken into consideration if you do not have any content or create content on a regular basis.
The more QUALITY content you produce which is related to your core competencies, the easier it is for you to place in context links and also get your articles published in leading sites within your niche, which again helps your content marketing strategy by raising your profile.
Content Allows you to sell the next step in the relationship.
Not everybody will buy from you the first time they come across you. In fact according to a study by Salesforce it takes between 6 and 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead.
But content is not just about getting the first sale, it is more than that it is about developing a relationship where that potential client or existing client comes back to you time and time again for further services or different products. By continuing to drip feed content after the initial purchase you increase the prospects confidence in you, enhance the trust factor, educate the individual on how you can help them and sell that next step in their personal customer journey.
Content marketing alone is not a quick win strategy. It will not bring a horde of new business tomorrow but it certainly plays a significant part in setting your business apart from your competition, highlighting you as a thought leader and the go to player in your industry and educating existing clients on how you and your services can help them achieve their goals.