In today's high-traffic digital highway, potential customers must sift through scores of emails, ads, and coupons to filter out useful information. How can small business owners stand out from the bogged-down digital news feed and grab someone's attention? By implementing an effective content marketing strategy that gives customers interesting and intriguing information, instead of a glaringly obvious ad or sales pitch. Engage your customers with valuable, relevant information and they'll look forward to your communications instead of sending it straight through to the cyber-trash can in the sky. If you get your customers to care about what you say, chances are they'll care about the goods and services you offer.
Let's define content marketing and then discuss three ways content marketing can help grow your small business.
What is content marketing?
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience." The goal is to promote behavior that is desirable to customers and profitable to your business. Instead of pitching products and services, give potential customers useful, intriguing and maybe even entertaining information that may relate to your business and products, but is not a direct sales pitch. A great example of a company who pulls this off beautifully is Denny's restaurant. Denny's runs a Tumbler blog with topics such as alternative uses for pancakes, where zany posts like using pancakes as shoe cushion inserts can be explored. Being able to connect to your customers through humor is a valuable asset, especially when people can now easily share something they deem authentic and worthwhile.
It builds customer trust
Marketing guru Seth Godin has been quoted as saying, "Content marketing is the only marketing left." He also described trust-building content saying, "I think that it's human, it's personal, it's relevant, it isn't greedy, and it doesn't trick people. If the recipient knew what the sender knows, would she still be happy? If the answer to that question is yes, then it's likely it's going to build trust." Like all relationships, trust is a key component of a customer-business relationship. If a customer trusts what you say, which is critical for business growth, he or she will likely put faith in your expertise, in your products and in your services.
It boosts brand familiarity
When frequently publishing fresh content, whether it's posting a cannoli-filling video or explaining how to change a flat tire, you are connecting with your customers, as well as a wider audience. Your company name can be spread with a quality video or blog post, encouraging customers to recognize your business when looking for products or services you offer.
Sharable content attracts new customers
Posting fresh, fun and fascinating content on a wide range of topics promotes increased website traffic, social media sharing, higher internet search engine rankings and people talking about your company. This kind of positive sharing cycle can help bring in more orders and attract new traffic to your online site or physical storefront. Making your posts memorable, creative, and relevant should ultimately interest new customers and keep current customers coming back for more.
This article was written by Lori Melton for CBS Small Business Pulse
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