How can content marketing help SMEs
BY 12handz Team
Why your SME NEEDS to be doing Content Marketing.
Although content marketing has recently exploded in popularity the idea is not new. In 1985 John Deere started “The Furrow”, an agriculture magazine praising content marketing as a helpful resource for farmers. It’s a practical way to build trust. This is the essence of content marketing. Instead of directly selling to potential customers you can give them valuable information and let them make the decision themselves.
Show customers you’re great at what you do.
As someone with a background in advertising, it’s easy to admit that often people cringe when they experience a “hard sell”. You know, when you’re told what to think and what to do. Despite being able to remember some advertising jingles from my childhood, to me they still equate to “buy, Buy, BUY!!!” – the car-salesmen approach. While memorable, that type of marketing didn’t provide any real value.
We all know that advertising is about selling to customers, to tell people that you’re great at what you do. But content marketing is about helping customers solve their issues. In other words, you show people you’re great at what you do. Good content should be useful and can be very powerful. It helps you to build a relationship with your customers and that relationship leads to exposure and sales.
Become a Trusted Expert
The reason why you would create content boils down to essentially two basic reasons:
1) Get Leads
2) Get Known
While the first reason is obvious, you want to make sales, the second reason is more intimately tied to your content. You can set up ways to collect lead information from the content you’re sharing but quality content provides the opportunity for a more involved interaction with potential customers. Because you’re demonstrating your knowledge by providing valuable information you can position yourself as a trusted expert. The content helps shape how other people should perceive your business. When you’ve created information that’s valuable, you don’t need to jump through hoops to get customers interested in what you offer. Valuable information is something people want to read. You can make your content about how to solve a problem that your target market has. Now that’s something worth sharing.
Nurture potential customers
The idea of investing time and resources to create valuable content only makes sense if it leads to sales. And it does. Social media – specifically Facebook – is one of the primary places that content is shared. After following a business on social media, 89% of customers will make a purchase and 85% make a recommendation to family or friends. This shows the power of leveraging good content on social media platforms.
Have your content do the walking
Having well written content on your website is one of the key factors to get your pages highly ranked by search engines. It’s really quite straightforward. Although people are reading your website, search engines read it too. The technology for search engines has come a long way when it comes to evaluating the quality of what’s written. It used to be ok to use keyword stuffing (that’s when you cram in tons of your keywords into the text even though it doesn’t make much sense). But now, the search engines look for quality content that reads well and makes sense. If you’ve invested in that, it should help give your SEO a boost. For example, if your website has a blog, (and it should) then make each blog article relate to something your potential customers might search for online. When they search for that topic, you’ve got a blog article explaining just what they’re looking for.
For example, if you’re an Estate Agent in Manchester and you’re looking for more houses to sell, you can write a blog article about tips for sellers to get for the most money for their house. Now when someone in Manchester is thinking about selling their house and they do a search about how to get the most money for it, BOOM!, your blog article comes up. They read your article and you’ve just positioned yourself as an expert. While it might not work this smoothly every time, the more quality content you have, the more opportunities you have for it to come up in a web search. Once you’ve made the original investment this means less work for you.
Spend less, get more
For a small or medium business, investing in quality content might seem out of budget. If you consider paying about £100 for a single blog post, with a robust content strategy you could end up with sticker shock by the end of the month. But there’s another way to think of it. Just compare content marketing with conventional types of advertising and the picture will look very different. Producing a basic 30-second TV commercial is likely to cost you over £25,000 and that doesn’t include the hundreds or thousands of pounds you could be spending on purchasing mass media time slots. Even local billboard ads will cost large amounts to create, print, and display when compared to digital content. So when comparing the cost of rolling out a content strategy to the cost of traditional mass-media advertising, it starts to makes more sense.
Writing content is much more accessible for smaller businesses. There’s no shortage when it comes to types of content ideas and you can really dial it in to reach your ideal customers. But for that you’ll need to define your content strategy.
Plan before you post
“Some people think that marketing is just about the individual activity. So if you’re creating content like a blog post or social media video then that’s marketing, right? Wrong. It’s not. Without a good plan it’s not marketing. It’s just wasting time and money.”
— Yannay Politi, Creative Director 12Handz
At the heart of successful content marketing is a plan. You can toss a bunch of blog posts on a website, but that doesn’t mean it will resonate with your potential customers. For that you need to spend time upfront investing in how all of your content will help your customers and how you intend to reach them with it. Once you’ve invested time planning, you should get a sizeable payoff. What’s great about good content is that once it’s online you’ll continue to reap the rewards.
Yes, you should invest in content
A well-written article, a thoughtful e-book, or even an on-topic webinar can be used for many years. Your content will continue to prove that you’re good at what you do and help customers perceive you as an expert in your industry. Your work will speak for itself. Properly planned and leveraged content will do the work for you to attract customers. If it’s valuable information, other people will be happy to share it and increase your exposure. Then, when your beautiful piece of content hits your target audience, the leads will come to you and you’ll get more customers.
for your business
(not anybody else’s)