I have a confession to make.
I love content marketing.
It’s one of the best ways for small businesses to attract customers.
There are 3 misconceptions about content marketing that keep coming up, and if you’re going to blog about your business or use content marketing to attract customers, you should know about them.
Let’s dive right in.
You don’t need to create great content.
I’m kidding, right?
This is the best kept secret in content marketing.
You don’t need to create great content – you can build an effective content strategy without creating anything, if you know how to curate to build an audience.
Curating reduces the time it takes to do content marketing. Instead of creating and promoting content, you simply find amazing content and share it with your audience.
While most of us do a blend of creation and curation, you can do a successful content strategy exclusively through curation. If you’re going to do this, you need to be an excellent curator. Check out this post to learn how to do that.
It’s not just for leads.
The goal of content marketing is to create relevant and engaging content that potential customers will love, so you can add them to your inbound marketing funnel and convert them over time.
But content marketing can also be a powerful retention tool for customers.
- Imagine you’re a physiotherapist…
Instead of giving your clients exercises to do at home on a sheet of paper, you give them access to an interactive website, where they can see videos of the exercises, tips on how to do them properly and even add notes about their experience or challenges, so you can address them in your next session.
- Imagine you’re a nutritionist…
Instead of sharing reports on healthy eating habits or printing information to give to your clients about why they should keep following the plan you created, you make a short podcast each week to share health and wellness updates and inspire your clients to stick with the program.
- Imagine you’re a real estate agent…
Instead of losing track of your customers after they buy their first home, you create a blog that answers all the questions home owners are asking, including new trends and hot design topics, so when they’re ready to upgrade or buy another house, you’re top of mind.
Content marketing is a powerful tool to attract leads, to turn those leads into customers, and to turn new customer into a repeat clients.
The key at every stage along the funnel is to create content that answers your customers questions and solves their problems in a relevant and engaging way.
It’s not free.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive.
- River Pools and Spas grew their business 400% after cutting their marketing budget by $100,000 and investing the remaining $50,000 in inbound marketing.
But it’s not free. It takes time.
And time is the most important asset small business owners have.
Let’s say you’re blogging to attract customers. You need time to plan, research, write, upload and promote your posts, in addition to curating content on the social channels you want to be on. And you need to do this on a regular basis – whether that’s 2x a week, 1x a week or even 1 x a month.
Inbound marketing also takes time to work, roughly 3-6 months before you start seeing serious results. So, if you don’t have time to continually create or curate content for your inbound strategy, you won’t have a lot of success, and should find another form of marketing to invest in.
Content marketing works, but it’s not free.
It’s older than advertising.
Some people think content marketing is a fad.
It’s not. It’s older than advertising.
Modern advertising was invented by a fellow name Edward Bernays, who was hired by the tobacco companies in the 1920’s to help them sell cigarettes to women.
Edward’s campaign focused on the sexy and powerful illusion that cigarettes provided, removing the taboo that women didn’t know how to smoke. He hired models to march for women’s rights in the New York City Easter Parade, showcasing them smoking Lucky Strikes as a sign of freedom. Cigarettes become known as “Torches of Freedom” – a phrase created to encourage women to aspire to a better life.
The percent of cigarettes smoked by women rose from 5% in 1923 to 12% in 1929 – women were now smoking almost 1.4 billion cigarettes a year, creating a demand where none existed before.
Content marketing was born in 1885 when John Deere wanted to sell more green tractors. They created The Furrow Magazine, a publication that educated farmers on how to incorporate new technology into their farming practices to make them more efficient, leading to more profitable farmers and business owners.
Over 125 years later, there are 1.5 million copies of The Furrow in circulation in 40 countries and John Deere is still a market leader.
So, why should you care?
Content marketing is one of the oldest ways to get customers because it works. It’s changed lives, saved businesses from bankruptcy and built million dollar companies. And it can do the same for you too.
So, if your content strategy isn’t working, go back to the drawing board and re-examine the problems your customers have and what they’re searching for, so you can redesign what types of content you need to create to attract them.
If you’re skeptical about whether content marketing will work for you, read this post on 11 powerful content marketing examples from small businesses.
Final Thoughts: Content Marketing
Content marketing is only as strong as the inbound marketing funneling that it’s paired with, if you’re using it to generate leads. Or the customer service team that’s supporting your business, if you’re using it for customer retention.
Make sure you understand what part of the customer funnel you’re using content marketing for, and how you can optimize the content you’re creating to deliver the best experience for your customers.
So, what’s your favourite content marketing trick to convert customers?