31 Dec Why Your Business Needs Content Marketing
As the owner of a small-to-medium-size business, you probably hear about various marketing trends and immediately decide they’re only for big brands with big budgets. But if content marketing has crossed your radar and you’ve made the same snap judgement, you need to take a few minutes to learn why this isn’t the case. Content marketing is a proven, effective way to gain new customers and retain the existing ones – at significantly less cost than traditional advertising!
In fact, statistics from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. And the CMI’s 2018 B2C content marketing statistics reveal that 86% of B2C marketers think content marketing is a key strategy. In addition, the organization’s statistics show that 72% of marketers say content marketing has increased their number of leads and engagements – through which customers build a relationship with the business. And digital marketing expert Neil Patel weighs in on the question if content marketing really works for small businesses with the following reply:
“What small business owners need to realize is that 70% of customers would rather learn about a company through an article over any kind of advertisement. And a lot of customers are out there actively looking for that content.”
But First – What is Content Marketing?
Assuming you considered this just another buzzword you initially swatted away, CMI defines content marketing as follows:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
CMI summarizes by noting, “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”
Types of content marketing include – but are not limited to – the following:
- Email campaigns/newsletters
- Case studies
- Testimonials and reviews
- How-to guides
Advantages of Content Marketing to Small-to-Medium-Size Businesses
Content marketing experts agree on a fundamental list of advantages for businesses that effectively utilize its methods.
Greater ROI at less expense – According to analytics firm Demand Metric, content marketing costs on average 62% less than traditional and outbound marketing tactics, yet is three times more effective in lead generation. In particular, Patel singles out email marketing as offering “… the widest and highly targeted reaches with some for the best ROI. According to data shared by Campaign Monitor, highly targeted email campaigns using segmented lists can generate up to 760% more revenue that traditional email blasts.
“That’s a testament to the power of content marketing when it’s personalized, targeted, and placed in front of the right customer at the right time with the right message.”
Helps to establish brand identity – As we often point out, even a sole proprietorship is a brand. Mike Lannon – founder of Vermont web development agency Eternity – writes his observation on the value of content marketing in setting your brand apart from your competitors.
“It is impossible to overestimate the power of an established brand in influencing the business decisions of the buying public. But suppose you are just starting out, and are yet to establish a strong presence. In this case, your business will still benefit from a content marketing strategy that highlights its unique identity. Your strategy could use viral content like videos, pop trends, blog posts, or audio. Whatever medium you choose, a unique voice for your business is likely to resonate with the members of the public it aims to serve.”
Patel adds that once content marketing differentiates your brand in the marketplace, it provides the additional advantage of solidifying it as a key resource.
“Your customers are grateful for the service and solutions you provide, but when you ramp up the value you bring to the table you position yourself as a key resource they need to pay attention to. The more your customers return to you for your resources, the more likely they are to turn to you when it’s time to make a purchase. You become an authority and reliable resource to them. More importantly, you gain their trust.”
Improves organic SEO – As we noted in our blog post – “Why Your Website Needs a Blog” – Google rewards websites that add content on a regular basis with better visibility. Unless you have an e-commerce site with a constantly changing inventory, your business probably has little reason to update its home page or add web pages (although we do advocate for landing pages). A blog with posts published on a weekly basis lets Google know your website is a living, dynamic entity worthy of notice – giving it more reasons to index your website more often.
Considering that the vast majority of people search online for goods and services, the higher your website’s ranking, the more likely you’ll be found before your competitors when people are looking for what you sell.
Improves lead generation – Because content marketing can help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), it also helps bring more potential customers to your site – thus improving the chance they’ll continue their buyers’ journey and make a purchase or sign up for your service. Data from NewsCred Insights shows that relevant, high-quality content geared toward a specific audience resulted in current and prospective customers spending more time on the website.
“Generating leads is the first and last reason for doing any sort of marketing,” writes Lannon. “The end game is to attract new people to your business that you can sell to. Content marketing allows you to attract people who may not have even decided to buy yet. They discover your business through all your useful content and they get interested, once they arrive at your website you offer them more information that converts them over time. The best thing about this stage of the marketing process is the complete absence of your competitors.”
Performance is easy to track and analyze – An effective content marketing strategy allows you to easily track and analyze your numbers, and quickly determine what is working for your audience, and what isn’t – which also greatly improves lead generation.
What is the Future of Content Marketing?
Someone once wrote, “The future is here to stay.” The same is true of content marketing, which continues to evolve along with consumer buying patterns and preferences – which made a huge leap online in 2020. While this move had already been progressing, it got an unfortunate acceleration due to COVID-19 quarantines and lockdowns. Perhaps because of the circumstances, businesses that communicate a strong sense of empathy with their target audience through content marketing have a good opportunity to thrive.
According to HubSpot Senior Content Strategist Amanda Zantal-Wiener, “Where I’m starting to see content turning a corner is in the area of empathy. In the years to come, marketers are going to start creating more content that’s truly created in the mindset of putting themselves in the shoes of others — be it their customers, prospects, partners, or someone else within their audiences. They’ll ask questions like, ‘What does my audience need from me right now? What can I create that’s truly going to help them?’ … Content marketing is trending towards audience enrichment as opposed to product promotion. If this shifting tide holds true, content marketing will continue to become more targeted, purposeful, and customer-centric as the practice evolves … above all else, focus on consistently creating high-quality content that your audience will always be able to get something out of.”
The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion
Producing high-quality content in content marketing usually requires going out-of-house to hire a professional content writer – or a digital marketing agency that has a team of such experienced, talented individuals. Our team at Virtual Stacks Systems is ready to put our content marketing and SEO inspiration, talent and analytical nature to work to help your organization achieve its goals. Contact us to get started!