Paid ads have long been a very popular and effective way of attracting new customers.
Since retargeting has exploded, paid ads have helped businesses reduce cart abandonment, and retain customers.
But unfortunately, paid advertising is no longer as effective as it once was.
It is estimated that more than 600 million devices have ad blockers installed and 11% of the global internet population is blocking ads on the web.
But it’s not only limited to desktop – there are ad blockers for mobile too.
This means most users can enjoy a better browsing experience, but where does this leave brands who mainly rely on paid ads to market their products and services?
This is where content marketing comes in.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is more than just creating content. It’s more than just blogs and social media – in fact it is a long-term strategy that uses content to build a stronger brand image, capture an audience and improve engagement.
There are many benefits to content marketing that can be seen throughout the sales funnel.
According to Neil Patel, content marketing drives 3x more leads that paid search per dollar spent. It also costs more than 60% less compared to outbound tactics.
Here are a few other interesting content marketing facts:
- 70% of consumers prefer to get information of a product from an article rather than an advertisement.
- 91% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing.
- Businesses that blog generates 126% more lead growth compared to those that don’t.
- Businesses that use content marketing enjoy a conversion rate 6x higher than those who don’t.
While paid advertising is used to turn a visitor into a paid customer, content marketing is more about providing value and giving something to the audience to promote trust.
There are so many different ways in which you can use content as part of your marketing strategy – here are a few options:
If you are looking for more ways to use content as part of your marketing strategy, Convince and Convert has shared a helpful list of more than 100 types of content that you can use to fill up your content calendar.
You don’t have to use all of these of course, but this gives you plenty of great options if you run out of ideas to promote your business with content.
On average, B2B marketers use 8 different content marketing tactics:
- Social media content
- Email newsletters
- In-person events
- E-books & White Papers
You can find the right mix for your business and customize it to work for your specific audience.
Does content marketing really work?
We frequently hear about major brands across the world that push out tons of amazing content on various platforms and we use them as examples of how to do content marketing the right way.
You might think that brands like Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola have deep pockets and can spend a lot of content marketing – so will this work for a small business?
It’s important to realize that 70% of consumers prefer to get information from an article rather than an ad. And you don’t need a ton of money to do it right.
There are a lot of customers on the Internet looking for valuable content:
So, you don’t know where to start? You are not alone.
If you are not sure how to do it, or you don’t have the time, you can outsource your content marketing to get all of the benefits.
Content marketing has grown significantly – so it’s no surprise that 73% of brands now hire someone to help with their content strategy.
If you are already busy growing and managing your business, you can hire the right people to handle all your content marketing needs.
The benefits are definitely worth the investment. Here are 7 reasons why you should invest in content marketing for your small business.
1. Greater return on investment
Even if you hire someone to produce content for your business or outsource all your content marketing needs, it’s still much more affordable than other forms of advertising.
In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional outbound marketing tactics.
In addition to costing less, content marketing also generates around 3x the number of leads than other forms of advertising, making it a great investment for any business.
But getting new leads also forms part of a larger amount of traffic that can lead to new prospects, social shares and increased brand visibility.
For smaller businesses, content marketing is an affordable way of getting results.
Which brings us to email marketing.
Email marketing is a popular and very effective form of email marketing that allows you to reach your customers and offer a great ROI.
According to Campaign Monitor, email campaigns that make use of segmented lists can lead to an increase of up to 760% in revenue, compared to traditional email blasts.
This goes to show just how powerful content marketing can be for a small business.
2. Promotion without selling
When people subscribe to your social media channels or sign up for updates it’s because they want to hear from you.
They want to get valuable information, promotions and special offers.
What they don’t want is hearing you promote your business every day.
While your customers may benefit form a specific product or service you have, you may want to remember that they have other issues that your information and valuable content can solve.
With content marketing you can provide value beyond your products and this gives your customers even more reason to follow you.
A great example of a brand that grew with valuable content is Monetate.
They assembled a small team that had one goal: promote Monetate without ever talking about them. Instead, they took a different approach and shared what was important for their audience outside of their own products.
As a result of their efforts, they grew their visits with 255%, with 46% of their traffic coming from referrals.
3. Increase your brand awareness
When it comes to content sharing among users on the Web, news takes the lead. But that’s not the only thing being shared.
When you have high quality content, your readers will be encouraged to share it with friends and colleagues, or with their own readers.
Fractl has published a chart that shows the average content shares per month across various industries, based on the top 22,000 content pieces during a 6-month period.
Once these pieces are published they will continue to send traffic your way month after month at no extra cost.
This means that every share puts your content in front of a growing audience.
Compare this to traditional paid advertising where your ad’s reach stops as soon as your campaign stops running.
Another great examples if Pepe Jeans.
When they increased the frequency of their social posts and focused more on localized content, they saw a 48% boost in customer engagement and their fan base grew to more than 2 million followers.
This type of growth doesn’t easily happen on its own, so it’s important to have a content marketing strategy to implement and continually monitor.
Having a content strategy and checklist in place is a great way to start.
4. Increase trust with lead nurturing
how can you get customers to stay with your business over the long term? How do you get them to buy more?
With lead nurturing.
According to Marketo, brands that focus on lead nurturing spend about one third less on their marketing campaigns than those that don’t. They also enjoy 50% more leads with their content marketing campaigns.
Those conversions also tend to spend more, as nurtured customers on average make 47% larger purchases than other types of customers.
However, some businesses say that their leads require a long nurturing cycle before they convert or make a purchase decision.
So, how do you nurture leads?
With content marketing.
Content is one of the best ways to improve a customer’s trust. As they start to trust your brand, they’ll be more willing to return for more content and also share your content.
Another benefit of having your content shared is the increase in brand engagement.
Research shows that customers want personalized content and this will encourage them to make a purchase.
Personalized content also helps a customer to remember your brand and your products.
NewsCred has published insights where they show how relevant, high-quality content for a specific audience can result in prospective customers spending more time on websites.
Over time, the increase in engagement and exposure for your brand will increase sales and nurture prospects to become loyal customers.
5. Boost organic search visibility
When you create a ton of valuable, helpful content it can really help your marketing efforts, but if no one sees it, what good is it?
Can your small business even compete with all those big brands that are already dominating search engines?
CMI’s data shows that 70% of marketers are planning to create more content now than ever before.
Don’t let that intimidate you – the size of the company has nothing to do with getting your content rank in search engine results.
What matters is quality, topic relevancy and a few other factors.
Most of these factors are within your control, with proof of how many other small businesses have enjoyed great success with content marketing.
Take Strolleria for example.
They sell high-end baby gear online, operating from a store in Arizona. How does a small business compete with big brands?
The company turned their focus to customer education, creating product comparisons and buyer guides to help prospective customers.
The content is then promoted via paid and organic channels.
They now have page 1 listings for several of their content pages, which attracts hundreds of views per month.
During holiday periods like Black Friday, some of their landing pages performed better than larger retailer and this led to record sales for the company.
6. Content is a lead magnet for your small business
Becoming a trusted resource and providing regular content for your audience is a great way to increase traffic and visibility.
If you produce quality content on a regular basis, you’ll see consistent growth in the number of leads you generate.
This is especially true if you perform content at every stage of your sales funnel.
With the right content you can boost your customer conversion and with an attractive lead magnet in place you can capture more leads.
A HubSpot study found that business who regularly publish quality content to their blog can enjoy as much as 126% more leads than companies without a blog.
The Rehab Financial Group worked with a digital agency to develop their guide Flipping Houses 101. This guide helps to answer most questions from their audience while providing them with helpful information on how to flip houses.
They started by creating a value-packed resource and then used that to market their content and generate leads.
The result? An amazing 5,000% increase in organic traffic and a further 110% increase in revenue.
This is the perfect example of how content can be used to provide a lot of value without directly promoting your business.
7. Keep your website relevant
You always hear that you should create quality content, but what exactly makes a piece of content high quality?
It’s not necessarily the depth of the content that Google looks at when determining your rank and relevancy. It also looks at the freshness of the content you publish.
When Google and other search engines score content, they rate your content freshness on a number of factors:
- When it was first published
- How often it’s updated
- Changes to the context
- The number of inbound links to the content
- Engagement and traffic metrics
Each time you create and publish content, you create a steady stream of fresh new content for your website, along with updates and new links that point to content.
This can increase your chances of ranking well within Google when they weigh which content to show search users – yours or a competitor’s.
But having fresh content only is not enough. The content you create should be valuable.
Otherwise you run the risk of running into the same problem that almost put Groove out of business.
Groove, a popular helpdesk platform, started out with aggressive content marketing when they first launched. They created a lot of content to boost organic visibility and ensure an increase in traffic – but that didn’t happen.
They weren’t targeting the things their customers cared about.
Groove was writing content that their readers didn’t read and it didn’t appeal to their audience. And it quickly showed in their search metrics.
They started asking the right questions, spending more time on researching their audience’s needs and finding out what their biggest problems were.
Then they adjusted their content marketing strategy.
Once they were on point and relevant, they published fresh, relevant content on a regular basis and their business started to turn around.
They’ve grown their subscriber base to more than 250,000 followers and generate more than $5 million every year.
There isn’t a single business that can’t benefit from more traffic and an increase in customer loyalty. Not to mention a reduction in cost.
The best part of content marketing is that it doesn’t have to cost you a lot. It remains there, continually sending traffic your way and most importantly – leads.
Create content your customers are looking for.
Solve their problems and give them answers.
There might be huge brands out there with loads of content being published every day, but that does not mean you can’t compete as a small business.
You just need to create content that is better, more relevant and a reliable resource for your audience.
What kind of content marketing techniques are you using in your small business? Have you had any success?