This seems to be a tricky time for marketers. Consumers are avoiding all forms of advertisements. In fact, about 615 million people have installed ad-blocking software worldwide by the end of 2016. So if you want to spread the message about your brand, you need to leverage something more useful and insightful. Enter content marketing!
According to a report by Aberdeen “The conversion rates are nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters.” So if you are looking forward to build brand equity and win loyal customers, content marketing is a must.
For most businesses content marketing is about having a corporate blog with tons of useless content and posting updates on social media occasionally. However, if you really want to reap the benefits of content marketing you need to do a lot more.
Having a dedicated content team who understand the organizational goals and know how to achieve them is essential. But this isn’t easy for small and medium businesses (SMBs) because they often have little revenue and capital and having a dedicated content team is usually a pricy affair. So how would SMBs leverage content to get the best results, especially in the formative years?
Here are some effective content marketing tips:
1. Influencer Marketing
Marketing a brand or products is the biggest challenge for small to medium businesses. Cutting through the noise where big brands rule is actually very tough for the small players. While big brands try to build reputation by investing thousands of dollars on content marketing campaigns, small businesses need to focus on building strong relationships with their existing and potential customers. It is their trust that will help them carry on for long.
Influencer marketing thus can be very helpful. Influencer marketing is a modern form of word-of-mouth marketing, which is considered to be the most powerful form of marketing. Instead of using promotional content to persuade a customer to get engaged with your brand, you convince a trusted source to talk about your brand. This trusted source is the influencer, who has a huge following. Influencers have great rapport with their followers and can easily affect their buying decisions.
Bottled smoothie brand, Naked Juice teamed up with key influencers in their niche to promote their products on Instagram. For example, Kate La Vie, a well-known lifestyle blogger shared sponsored posts featuring snapshots of her daily outfits and beauty essentials which also included a bottle of Naked Juice.
Another example of effective influencer marketing is Gap’s Styld.by campaign. The brand hired multiple influencers with large following across social media. The influencers were photographed wearing Gap products and the photos were posted along with a short description about their style choices.
The key to successful content marketing is having a loyal following – people who believe in your brand and would be willing to spread the word about your products/services. Influencers create content (on a budget) that resonate with your targeted audience, thus raising trust levels. However, for small business with a tight budget, it is often best to target small influencers who would be willing to promote your brand in return of freebies or free services.
By investing in influencer marketing you can ensure:
- Cost effective marketing
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase trust and loyalty quickly
- Ensure a high ROI
- Build content asset that is highly valuable
2. Leverage Visual Content
37 percent of marketers agree visual marketing is the best form of content for their business. Moreover, video content will represent 74 percent of the overall Internet traffic by 2017. Therefore along with creating high-quality textual content (such as blogs, articles, white papers, etc.) it is important for the SMBs to create visual content such as videos, infographics, and others.
Toms’ “#WithoutShoes” campaign is a good example of visual marketing. The campaign urged people to post unique photos of bare feet on Instagram along with the hashtag “#withoutshoes”. For every post, Tom’s donated a pair of shoes to a child. More than 27,000 children in 10 countries received new shoes.
The best thing – SMBs need not worry about producing professional quality visual content to attract attention. Creating decent visuals can be effective. PewDiePie for instance the gamer/comedian has 50 million YouTube subscribers and was estimated to earn $15 million in 2016 through his videos. However, his videos are not professional quality and that does not matter for his audience.
So start creating useful visual content and share it across multiple channels.
3. Measure Content Marketing Efforts
If you want to maximize your sales leads, conversions, and ROI, measuring the performance of your content is a must. Measuring content marketing efforts help you:
- Understand how every piece of content is performing
- Test and validate content to improve customer experience
- Understand what changes are to be made to ensure better ROI/conversion
- Identify the gaps in communication
According to TopRank Blog, 88 percent marketers are using content marketing and 76 percent plan to produce more content, but 65 percent are unsure of the effectiveness of the content. Some of the most useful metrics to measure the effectiveness of content are:
- Engagement- Consider the number of visits, bounce rates, time on site and email open rates
- Promotion – Consider the traffic sources and social metrics such as reach, social engagement, etc.
- Sharing – Consider how often your content gets shared. It indicates how well the content resonates with your targeted audience
- Lead generation
There are a number of tools such as Google Analytics, Scoop.it, WorkZone, Buffer, and others that help you measure the above metrics easily. By measuring your content marketing efforts you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Thus you can modify the content strategy accordingly to get better results.
With increasing competition, it has become even more difficult to attract attention. With the right content strategy, you can reach out to your audience and spread the message. However, it is tougher than it sounds; especially for SMBs who do not have the right skill sets or revenue to hire dedicated professionals. By considering the above tips, SMBs can get started on their content marketing endeavors and achieve their goals.