If you’ve been reading stuff about growing your small business online, you must have come across the term “content marketing” many times. But how does content marketing help a small business like you?
Content marketing is the consistent creation and distribution of valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a target audience. Different businesses could have different content marketing goals, so they need a different content strategy. Some want to raise brand awareness, some want to become an industry authority.
But the ultimate goal of content marketing is to inspire an audience to perform a specific action. The action could be as simple as subscribing to an email list or as advanced as buying a product. The offered content is not limited to blog posts and articles. It could be a mixture of newsletters, videos, podcasts, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, quizzes, and more.
8 Reasons to Use Content Marketing
A caveat, though: content marketing is not an overnight strategy. It’s a long-winded process. If you are in it for the long haul, content marketing can give your business compounding results. Here are eight ways content marketing can benefit your small business in the long run:
1. Drive qualified traffic
Of all content marketing goals, attracting traffic to a website is the most basic. However, a business website does not need just about any traffic. It has to be high-quality. To drive high-quality traffic, your content has to be targeted, meaning they are relevant to your audience.
Google is the main source of most organic search traffic. Social channels are also a great source of traffic, depending on where your target audience hangs out most of the time.
2. Generate pre-qualified leads
Some marketers might confuse unsuspecting business owners that the more traffic a website have, the more leads it gets. It’s true to some degree, but it’s not always the case. This is why it’s important to have targeted content, so you attract the right people to your website. The more targeted your content is, the more you get pre-qualified leads.
Inbound traffic is good, but they are unfiltered. The best way to generate pre-qualified leads is through lead magnets, wherein visitors are required to sign up to get access to premium content, ebook, quiz results, whitepapers, etc.
3. Nurture prospects
For products and services with a longer sales cycle, prospects need to be nurtured well before reaching their buying decision. Content is best used to warm them up for sale.
Just about any content will not do. The content has to meet where your audience’s head’s at to maximize engagement. Hence, knowing which stage they are in the marketing funnel works wonders.
4. Raise brand awareness
Brand awareness is the most achieved goal in B2B content marketing. If you are a company that’s virtually unknown or you have a novelty product/service, chances are you need to raise brand awareness. There’s no other better way to do so than use content to put your brand in front of your target audience.
5. Build trust and authority
As you establish brand awareness for your product, service, or company, trust follows eventually. If you consistently deliver relevant, useful content, you’ll be surprised when your audience starts to come up to you to ask questions. It’s a tell-tale sign that they trust and respect you. And that’s when you know your authority starts to build up.
6. Close sales
Most visitors won’t be ready to buy from you right off their first visit. As I mentioned, some offers have a longer sales cycle. In this case, you can use content to carefully move your prospects down the marketing funnel until they become paying customers.
7. Retain customers
Content marketing does not end when prospects swipe their cards. You need to make sure that they come back for more. Whether you use your website’s blog, social channels, or email, you can use content to continue engaging your customers and turn them into repeat buyers. When they become repeat customers, they are like your biggest fans who will do the talk for your company.
8. Bring compounding ROI
While you need to play the long game with content, you can expect the results to snowball over time. For one blog post that you publish today, you never know how much leads and prospects it will bring in the next 5 to 10 years living on the internet.
Is Content Marketing for Your Business?
The million-dollar question now is: is content marketing for you? Yes…and no.
Yes, if your offer has a longer sales cycle, if you are a business that wants to last a long time, or if you want a cost-effective marketing strategy with a high return.
No, if your business is based on fad, if you’ve got the money to spend on ads, if you want short-term results, or if you want overnight success.
Many businesses outsource their content marketing — even if they have a content team — because it makes sense. After all, running a serious business requires undivided attention.