In 2007, The New York Times published “Anywhere the eye can see, it’s likely to see an ad.” Over a decade later, the average person sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day. With that kind of competition, how can your small business stand out from the crowd? The answer is content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing sounds like a buzzword and the kind of activity small businesses are too busy for. But listen. Instead of investing your time (and limited marketing budget) in ways to give your customers information they don’t want, how about you try giving them information they do want. Put up a blog everyone sees, rather than a billboard no one notices. Or a Youtube video that shows your product in action. Make your brand and your product stand out. That’s content marketing.
Content marketing sounds complicated, but it works in three simple steps.
- You produce content that attracts your customer’s attention.
- Your content strategy brings customers to your website.
- Your businesses website turns your audience into customers.
For example, producing blog content on your website can increase the number of visitors to your website by 55%. On your website, your readers are a click away from becoming customers.
Content marketing isn’t just blogging. It includes a wide range of content, including:
- Blog posts
- Youtube Videos
- Buyers Guides
- Social media posts
- Email Newsletters
Curious? Let’s talk about why content marketing is important for small businesses.
Why Content Marketing is Important for Small Businesses.
Over 75% of consumers expect the brands they buy from to make a contribution to their wellbeing and life. Your customers want to know your product, but they also want to know you – as a business. If you’re a small business, content marketing will help you:
- Bring your brand to a large audience of potential customers.
- Increase your web presence
- Increase your long-term sales.
Content marketing does more, but it also costs less than traditional marketing. When we measure the effectiveness of marketing techniques, we measure the cost of reaching a thousand people, or ‘cost per thousand impressions’ (CPM).
A magazine ad or newspaper will cost you a minimum of $16CPM, while a TV ad will cost you over $28CPM. However, a content marketing strategy on social media will cost you just $2.5CPM. Of all the forms of marketing available in 2020, content marketing has the highest engagement rate and the highest return on investment. Why? Unlike TV, Newspaper or Magazine advertising content marketing will take your audience to the content they asked to see.
Content marketing doesn’t just expose your customers to your brand. It creates a personal connection between you and them. It allows you to share the wisdom of your business, and the ingenuity of your product directly. You don’t need a newspaper, a billboard or an advertising team. All you need is you.
A good content strategy shows a human face to your business – something your customers will remember at the checkout.
Designing Your Content Marketing Strategy.
Now that we’ve talked about why content marketing is important, it’s time to turn our attention to content strategy. “What’s content strategy?”, you might wonder. Content strategy is the art of producing content that brings value into your customer’s lives. The kind of content that solves their ‘pain points’, answers their questions and shares the knowledge you’ve cultivated about your field.
The right content strategy for your business is going to depend on your answers to a few questions. Firstly, who is your audience? Your audience should be your businesses customers, but who are they? Are they other businesses? Parents? Young people? You need to figure out who your content strategy is for before you start tailoring it to them.
Next, we need to consider where your audience is online. A good content strategy brings content to your audience. Although you want your audience to visit your website, you need a way of bringing them there. But remember, no one looks for financial planners on Instagram. Where you produce content has to be related to what you sell. Instagram and Facebook are perfect for boutique cupcake businesses, but LinkedIn and Medium are far more suited to B2B advertising.
Finally, we have to consider what your customers want to see, and what their pain points are. If you’re a tax accountant, you’ll exclusively work with people who need their taxes done. They’ll have questions like ‘what should a CPA cost’ or ‘how to find a CPA’. The simplest content strategy is simply to write posts answering that question on your website.
If you aren’t immediately brimming with ideas, ask yourself this: what questions do your customers always ask you, and what do you want them to know?
Now that you know how to design a good content marketing strategy, let’s talk about how to measure content marketing success.
How To Measure Content Marketing Success.
Once your content strategy is designed, you’re going to need a way of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing. The best way to measure content marketing success is to calculate your ‘cost per thousand impressions’ (CPM). To do this, you simply divide the cost of your strategy by the number of people it reached. While considering how many people your content reached, it’s important to remember that different platforms count views with different criteria. For example:
- YouTube only counts viewers that watched for longer than 30 seconds.
- Instagram and Facebook only count viewers that have engaged for at least 3 seconds.
- Twitter counts a view as longer than 2 seconds, with 50% of the tweet onscreen.
- LinkedIn counts any engagement that is longer than 3 seconds.
- A website view is counted when a user loads a page.
While your CPM figure on platforms like Twitter and Facebook might be lower, you may get a higher conversion rate from YouTube, as your ‘viewers’ are engaged for longer.
Before you start your content strategy, it’s important to set subjective Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for your business. The best KPI’s use the SMART technique, as they are Specific, Timely, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. To write the best KPI for your business, you can use this format:
“By (date), (business) will release (amount of content), reaching (engagement goal).”
The best content strategy is effective without having to reach millions of people. You don’t have to write perfect posts or great videos. Content marketing is as simple as using the wisdom of your business to provide customers with valuable content.
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