• Shriya Pandey

How can content marketing shape small and medium sized businesses?

Content marketing has become such a ubiquitous term that it is difficult to hone in on a specific use and application. This is where small and medium sized businesses come into the picture. Content marketing is a particularly beneficial and cost effective strategy for small businesses. As a small or medium sized business owner, you may face monetary and resource related challenges that can impede success and growth.

A solid content marketing strategy will help you reduce such challenges, scale up and fight competition. In fact, content marketing can also help you grab a first mover advantage. In business parlance, first mover advantage describes companies that are first to market. Pepsi, Amazon and Kellogg’s are some popular examples of companies reaping the benefits of mass marketing from the get go. The same principle applies to content marketing-quality content marketing will enable your business to over time gain authority and become a thought leader. Once you become a trustworthy brand, your audience will market your brand for you. The best part- unlike traditional advertising and promotional efforts, you don’t need to be a big business to take advantage of content marketing.

Content marketing is one aspect of a company’s overall market strategy that can help establish business relevance, expertise and reputation in the market. However, content marketing for small and medium sized business is a different kind of beast and requires a separate outlook from marketing for big conglomerates. As resources are limited, small businesses are forced to compromise. But it needn’t be all for nought and in fact, finding a niche and devoting resources to that specific area can work in a small business’s favour. Let’s discuss what content marketing actually entails and how it can be utilized to grow small and medium sized businesses in particular.

What is content marketing exactly?

The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Content marketing however is distinguishable from traditional advertising which actively implores the audience to purchase. Content marketing on the other hand is more subtle and aims to educate and excite which may in turn lead to trust and purchase. Basically, purchase in case of content marketing is not the most important or primary goal.

Strategies and Benefits of Content Marketing for Small Businesses

1. Affordable- Did you know that irrespective of whether you are a small or medium sized business, you have one resource that is completely free and easily available at your fingertips? What is that tool you ask? Well, it is the internet and social media. As a small and medium sized owner, the internet is your best friend. A strong social media presence is half the job done. Whether it is podcasts, videos, eBooks or infographics, you can promote your brand in a myriad of ways. And it is far more affordable than traditional marketing.

A 2016 report from Demand Metric noted that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3 times as many leads. These are some massively positive numbers, re enforcing the fact that content marketing is the best proposition for small businesses with limited resources and marketing funds at their disposal.

2. Greater ROI on Smaller Investment- Content marketing is a budget friendly method to generate returns on investment. For the same amount of investment as traditional marketing, you are likely to receive 3 times as much results with content marketing. One such example of low cost, high returns content marketing effort is email marketing. According to Neil Patel, content marketing in the form of email marketing offers the widest and highly targeted reaches with some of the best ROI.

3. Boost search ranking with minimal spend- Unlike pay-per-click advertising, content marketing can help bring free, organic traffic to your website. Every person that finds your website through Google is a potential customer so higher ranking will result in higher sales for your small business. Additionally, impactful marketing that is also purposeful and SEO optimized will bring leads to your website without any reliance on expensive traditional marketing techniques that don’t always deliver results.

4. Build trust- Remember, as a new business, your first goal should be to build authority. According to a 2016 report by Clutch, 46% of small businesses do not even have websites. One of the top two reasons found in the survey-because it is too expensive and they are short on resources and manpower. However, not having a website is a critical mistake that a small business cannot afford to make. A website enables a potential customer to verify a business’s existence, increases credibility, and provides valuable information that aids in purchase making decisions. A website also helps new customers find the business when they are searching for similar services. Relying on third party sites like Quora and Yelp reviews will not serve small businesses well in the long run. On the other hand, content marketing through blog posts and other business specific content on a dedicated website will help build authority, reputation and ultimately leads. The initial costs will also pay off quickly. New products and services can also be launched and brought to customer attention through blog posts. Basically eliminating the need for ad spend altogether or at least reduce dependence.

5. Consistency- Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. And new and small businesses in particular cannot afford to lose momentum or traction in their marketing efforts. A consistent content marketing strategy that is focused on quality will help keep your brand keep the buzz alive for years to come. Use your website to publish useful blog posts that answer relevant questions that consumers may have about the particular niche you are operating in. And then sneak in some self promotion somewhere in there. Maybe a mention of a new product that will answer the very problem the blog post is exploring. The possibilities are endless. Infact studies show that companies with a blog receive 55% more website traffic. Guest posting is another great strategy for small businesses to gain backlinks and improve search engine ranking.

7. Email marketing- Do not undermine the benefits of seemingly outdated marketing methods like email marketing. In a surprising discovery, a 2018 US survey found that 67% of millenials and Gen Z consumers enjoy email reminders from brands and retailers. What are the odds right? Nothing says trending more than Gen Z support, making email marketing a valuable tool for reaching a younger audience. Email marketing is a great way for small and medium sized businesses to cultivate interest and advertise new products and deals. Email marketing can also fuel content marketing efforts. For example surveys sent through email will give you a better idea of whether the content (blog posts etc.) advertised through company emails are valuable to subscribers. You can also link to articles on your company website through official emails. Email newsletters are another example of content marketing and email marketing working in harmony to reach and convert potential customers.

8. Facebook marketing- In 2019, a whopping 15 lakh small and medium businesses from India were reported as advertising on Facebook. And the numbers are not surprising at all as Facebook is an inexpensive and effective way to market to virtually any audience. Facebook also provides the added functionality of targeted advertising by providing options for selecting specific demographics, locations etc. Creating Facebook ads is also very simple. All you need is a solid headline and a bit of descriptive copy. As a small business, time is of great value and your manpower should be able to multitask. Simplicity is key when marketing as a small or medium sized business. While Facebook ads are a paid form of advertising, they can be coupled with content marketing to maximise potential. You can promote your existing website content or blog posts through Facebook ads for example.

9. Boost organic search visibility to build brand recall-Building helpful and quality content is not enough. By consistently creating useful content that your audience relates to and specifically searching for, you can boost organic search results for your business. Content like free downloadable e-books, whitepapers and newsletters are some ways you can attract potential leads to your website content and eventually turn them into revenue generating customers.

Professional content writing services that are specially focused on providing content related assistance to small businesses and start-ups will save you a lot of blood, sweat and tears as an industry newbie. By outsourcing your content related needs to reputed content marketing companies, you can focus your energies on your actual saleable asset-the products and services you need the marketing for in the first place. Write Right, Talatel and Estorytellers are the best Indian content marketing services in the industry that are currently providing affordable services to new and small businesses. Remember first mover advantage? Don’t waste time and get your content writing and strategizing needs met today.

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