Small business owners have been hit hard in 2020 and we are just half-way through the year! We know that as small business owners, we have had to adapt quickly and be brave on the marketing landscape. It’s hard to know if your traditional marketing strategies will work or if new methods are even worth it. Thankfully, we have spent years developing our content marketing techniques and we make it work for our business model. Many business have been hit especially hard. They were on track to just opening and then the corona virus hit. Those businesses barely had time to adjust their business model before they were loosing all of their projected income.
We can imagine there have been times when they have wanted to throw their hands up and say, “I have had it, that’s it.” But success is about adapting to meet challenges, and like all of you, we had to rise to them. One of the most powerful tools we’ve used? Content marketing.
Content marketing is a tool that you can use to reach potential customers and retain the ones you have. But it’s not one-size-fits-all, so try different platforms, content types, and ways to engage with your unique customers.
What you have tried or haven’t tried
Maybe you haven’t tried writing digital content or maybe your strategy had to change fast when the pandemic hit. No matter where you are, improving your content marketing can help you get to the next level.
Let’s take a look at why content marketing is important and the benefits of content marketing for your business. But we dive into ideas, you might be asking yourself how do I actually grow my business using content marketing.
Basically, it can increase brand awareness, enhance customer loyalty, and drive sales.
When most people hear content marketing, they think blog. But a content marketing strategy includes social media, video, SEO, email marketing, and more. It’s all about creating great content and getting it out there.
So, how do you get started?
Start by asking yourself a few key questions.
- Have you done any type of online marketing? If so, where?
- What is your marketing budget?
- Do you have a website, social media accounts, and how are those optimizing your presence on the search engines?
Once you’ve done that, here are three content marketing ideas you can try today.
You’ve probably heard that you should start a blog, create high quality content, and post on a regular basis. While that is good advice, let’s explore some other options that are commonly overlooked.
1. Think Beyond the Blog for Content Marketing
You can use multiple platforms to elevate your content marketing. Start with Facebook. Facebook is a platform that everyone is familiar with. Target your customers here first by providing content that relates to and reflects your products and services, including a call-to-action. You can expand from there.
What will make the difference is to engage on the platforms your target audience spends time. It might not be Facebook for you, maybe it’s Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or Medium. Wherever your audience is, create relevant content for those platforms.
Then, start posting 2-3 posts, maybe 4, a week. That’s all you need to be effective. By keeping it small, you can focus on the data and analytics, which is how you know what’s working and what’s not.
If Facebook works for your audience, you can take it a step further by advertising your products, services, or even content using Facebook Pixel.
Facebook Pixel allows you to collect data—tracking click-through rates, cost per conversion, and more. When paired with with Google Analytics, Pixel will help you understand how your marketing is working for you.
You should also know that there are a few platforms, like Alignable or AVVO for attorneys, that provide a forum for business and firm owners to interact with each other—asking and answering questions. Use it. Showcase yourself and your reputation within your sphere of influence and beyond.
2. Tap into the Power of Video Marketing for Content Marketing
Aside from social media, consider creating video content for your business.
Videos are a fantastic way to reach more potential customers, and branded (or how-to) videos are especially valuable for your homepage. Websites with a video on their homepage are 53x more likely to get a higher rank in Google search.
Okay, so how do you get started on video creation? Isn’t it expensive and difficult? It doesn’t have to be. Video content is actually very affordable to create, once you know how. There is a perception that video content or a brand video can costs thousands to produce. While, that can be true, if that’s your choice, but it doesn’t have to be your only option. Video content is actually very affordable to create, once you know how.
Break down “professional” videos into two components.
- Visual Creatives—the video footage and static images.
- Storyboard—the video’s message and call-to-action, which makes your video compelling to your viewers.
When it comes to visual creatives, they must be high resolution and completed by a professional, which can cost you money. However, it’s a great investment because you can repurpose the visuals in hundreds of ways.
The good news is that there are a wide range of amazing options for sourcing video content that range from expensive (gettyimages) to mid-range (deposit photos, twenty20, and istock) to free (Unsplash and Artgrid).
As for the storyboard, it is usually the business owner as the video client that usually has the best skills to execute a storyboard because when she or he tells the story or creates the pitch it is more convincing because they own it. It is more authentic and tends to be a stronger message when it comes from the business owner.
3. Reach Your Audience With Creative Content Marketing
You want your customers to engage with your pieces of content, and that might take some experimenting. One option? Try creating an experience that feels like an in-person interaction. Like virtual tours.
Say for instance, you are a real estate agent. Virtual tours are great introductions to a property they are trying to sell. It’s very convenient for many buyers and offers a personal connection that’s missing from other content marketing tactics.
But this tip isn’t just for real estate agents; it works for other industries too.
- Own a restaurant? Host a virtual tour of your kitchen.
- Provide software as a service? Give an insider look at development or customer service.
- Work as a consultant? Shoot a tour of your office or the steps you take to work with customers.
Your options are only limited by your imagination.
Just remember that “the attention span is shorter online,” says Stuart Carter from Octavemode, who uses the concept of virtual tours for teaching. “Online, you must suit the client’s needs at the moment. [Also] consider the quality of transmission, which changes day to day, and choose activities that work.”
For example, one day it might make sense to host a live virtual tour on Facebook with viewers asking questions on the fly. Another time it might make sense to gather questions in advance and use them to plan your tour.
Wondering if this will work for you?
It’s been wildly successful for Charlene Hakkers from Aloette Cosmetics, who uses Zoom to do virtual shows and virtual consults for her personal shopping experience. Year-over-year, Charlene was able to double her business for April—despite the pandemic. “Our franchise went from $200,000 in sales in April 2019 to over $400,000 in April 2020. Who would have thought that in a time of recession that we would sell over $400,000 of beauty products!”
Does Content Marketing Work? A Case Study
So, now you’re wondering, “Does all this work?” Well, it did for, Kelly Vo, who has a safari business called Brave Africa which was only six months old when corona virus hit and travel stopped completely—along with all of her income.
Unlike her competitors with more resources, she wasn’t able to host live virtual safaris or spend on ads. Instead, she had to think outside the box.
Here’s what she tried:
- Online puzzles: She transformed images into online puzzles for our social media followers.
- Coloring book pages: She created downloadable coloring book pictures (based on safari photos).
- Short virtual tours: While she couldn’t offer live virtual safaris, she did have enough video to offer short snippets to show viewers what it’s like to go on safari.
- One of these videos went viral with 6,300 views (she normally get less than 100) and increasing our YouTube subscribers.
- She joined a few travel writer groups and were featured on CNN Travel, driving almost 500 new visitors to our website.
- She used Google Search Console to discover low-hanging keywords to improve our overall search position.
We hope this has provided some good information and inspiration on content marketing. Now let me know what content marketing ideas have you tried? Where are you sharing your content? Tell us what’s working well, what flopped, or what you want to try next. We can help you implement content marketing ideas that can work for your business.