Content marketing works. It is without a doubt a giant killer for small businesses. Failing to create and publish content is a sure-fire way to watch your business disappear.
Strong words? Yes. Correct? You bet.
Traditional Marketing is a Losing Battle
The normal marketing playbook is growing more obsolete every day. Although the tools are getting fancier, potential prospects are getting smarter. Your customer can filter out your advertising by creating email filters, unsubscribing, or watching their favorite TV programs on Netflix and Amazon.
There’s an old adage that says “People hate to be sold.” That is what traditional marketing and advertising does. It sells.
As a result, customers are trained to play “keep away” with their wallet. The moment you sound like an advertiser, is the moment you lose the prospect’s respect.
Every customer is precious to your small business. You can’t afford to lose any relying on obsolete marketing techniques.
Content marketing is the key to building your business without getting labeled as “just another business.”
Small Business Content Marketing
It’s important that you understand that content isn’t simply information. Effective content is much more.
“Effective content is an experience delivered creatively to the right customer on their terms.”
Let’s dissect that definition….
“…is an experience”
We are entertainment consumers. We are always on the hunt for something to dazzle, surprise, educate, or motivate us. That’s why Hollywood is still the hottest business in town.
An experience changes your customers mindset from being on guard to being receptive and open to your information. This experience can be a story, a video, even a PowerPoint deck. The platform isn’t as important as the message.
Your small business has a story. Your job is to build, nurture, and communicate it. That’s why I also call content marketing – Storytelling for Sales.
Being boring is a cardinal sin. Simply writing pages and pages of content will not work. You need to deliver your content in a new way – and change your delivery method often.
The need to creatively deliver content is the reason why Facebook, Pinterest, iTunes, Slideshare, and blogs are important to your business. Each of these platforms gives you a new way to tell your story.
That’s why simply posting the front page of your slide deck on Pinterest is a waste of time and space. Pinterest is a visual “pulpit” – your small business will win if you learn how to use this platform to reach and fascinate your prospects.
…to the right customer
Small businesses win when they focus on a specific customer group with a unique problem.
Pop quiz – who does your product serve? If you’re stumped then I’m 100% sure your audience is too big, too vague, and probably nonexistent. Content marketing won’t save your business from targeting the wrong customer.
In fact, Content Marketing works best when a specific type of customer is identified, researched, and tracked back to their favorite online/offline hangouts.
For example, B2B businesses should investigate turning their content into audio podcasts because their business prospect most likely commutes to work – and listens to audio books and podcasts on the way there and back home.
…on their terms
Content Marketing is a permission-based approach. You can’t shove content down your audience’s throat. You can’t shout at them. Instead you have to be ready to deliver your best content experience when they are ready for it.
This means that you need to have multiple ways to encourage prospects to read your content. You need to have interesting opt-in forms that work. You need to get comfortable with writing email campaigns that offer interesting information and build relationships over weeks and months.
The objective is to be ready to tell your story when your future customer is ready to hear it.
Who Has The Time?
You’re probably thinking….”I don’t have time for this”
You’re probably right. But the real question is…does your competitor have time to creatively deliver a content experience to key prospects at the right time?
Your business isn’t competing in a vacuum.
The best way to find time is to evaluate your marketing task. If you spend more than 2 hours a week on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn then you have time to deploy a content marketing plan.
If you waste a few hours every week cold-calling prospects and fighting with gatekeepers then you can launch a content marketing initiative.
It’s a question of priorities.
Content marketing works. It’s time to decide if you want it to work for you.