If you’re looking for effective marketing techniques to get your small business off the ground, having to work within the confines of a small budget can be discouraging. Bigger companies can afford to funnel thousands of dollars into intensive marketing endeavors, whereas you’ll likely have to be more conservative with your dollars. However, there are still tons of options out there, and with the right amount of strategizing and planning, you can find clever ways to stretch your wallet.
Content marketing is a great place to start, because it does multiple things:
- Establishes your brand as an expert in your field.
- Helps you gain trust and respect from consumers and followers.
- Consistent generation of more website traffic which will in turn get you more exposure without the huge investment.
- Convert more visitors into leads and sales.
- Higher media visibility.
To learn more about what Content Marketing is and does, check out our previous article What Is Content Marketing? Using content marketing to advertise your small business will help you reap the most benefits without a high price tag. It’s best if you are able to put out content on a consistent basis, but even just one great video or blog post will continue to generate visitors to your social media or website for months, even years. One of the biggest advantages of being a small business is that consumers will trust you by default more than they trust big companies. A poll from Gallup showed that 70% of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in small business, more than three times the 21% confidence rating for big business. This gives small businesses a lot of leverage in terms of content marketing, as one of the key functions of this type of marketing is winning your consumers’ trust. Still with us? Great! Let’s get into strategy.
Know your audience.
One of the most crucial aspects of content marketing is forging a connection to your audience. But how are you supposed to do that if you don’t know who your audience is? Take some time to really nail down who is interested in your brand and why. Then, use that information to carefully craft content that will speak to that group specifically. This will play a major role in your audience feeling heard, respected, and cared about which will generate a lifelong, loyal customer base.
You can then use this basic “outline” as a jumping off point for future marketing endeavors. For example, if you’re a small business that sells yoga mats, then your customer base is likely made up of people who enjoy doing yoga. So what other content might they be interested in? (Things like healthy recipes, exercise, active lifestyle, mindfulness etc.)
Make use of visuals and videos.
Images and videos do an excellent job at communicating messages. Visuals have the ability to rouse an instant flood of emotions in a person that words sometimes cannot capture. When people are scrolling through social media, they aren’t going to stop and read a 500 word post, but they will pause to see a minute long clip if it captures their interest. In the same vein, your audience will burn out quickly trying to read an article that is 90% text with only one or two underwhelming images. Photos help break up long chunks of text and keep the reader interested and engaged.
Make content shareable.
This should be a no-brainer. If you post content on your social media or even your website, there should be a clear, simple way for followers to share your content. This is where the marketing takes care of itself. If you want to see your strategy play out over time, you need to make sharing an option. On your website, have a clear “Share to…” toolbar on each piece of content you produce, with a way to post to popular sites like Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, etc in a matter of a few easy clicks.
Have a home-base for your content.
While a content-based website is preferable, it may not always be in the budget. A Facebook page or any user-friendly social media platform that allows for pages to be created and posted on will work. Store all of your content there so that users know they have a place to go to find your content, and can revisit anything they want to read or watch again (and then hopefully share with their followers).
Share the love from your followers.
Another great way to leverage your user base is to be on the lookout for user-generated content. For example, if someone posts a positive review, or an image or video of them using your product or service, ask if you can have the person’s permission to share the post to your page. Not only does it get their post more exposure, but it also helps you out too by showing potential and current followers that your brand has made a positive impact on a real customer.