Content marketing is just one of the small business marketing strategies getting great results. Along with a digital strategy that includes email, social media, PPC and other campaigns, content marketing can help drive businesses to the next level. Here’s what Content Marketing Institute advises small businesses to focus on in 2015, based on the latest research.
Get to know your audience
It’s not a luxury. Knowing your audience is a core component that comprises the foundation of a successful business. After all, if you don’t know your audience’s likes and dislikes, their pain points or where they spend time, how you can accurately target potential customers?
The average B2C business markets to about four customer types. Defining these buyer personas should be a priority so you can learn about their needs, how your products support these consumers, and how valuable each one is to your business’ growth, revenue potential and marketing outlay.
Spread the idea of using buyer persona profiles across your teams and departments. A good gauge of how well you know your audience is if your employees use them across the board. If they don’t, it’s likely that you need to better understand your audience, and use these insights to inform business objectives.
Need to improve your understanding of target audiences? Hire an employee dedicated to this task, or assign an employee to oversee the project. Get customers involved directly, and reward them for responding to surveys.
Create and document your strategy
The key insight that has recently evolved out of content marketing research is one that all businesses need to heed: Having a documented content marketing strategy greatly boosts your chances of success. In fact, in studies it has been the clear benchmark of successful marketing, and the dividing line between great performance and dismal outcomes. Content Marketing Institute has created a guide to walk businesses through the process, called “The Essentials of a Documented Strategy Guide.”
Don’t fall into the trap of resting on your laurels once you’ve put the strategy to paper, however. This is where the work really begins. Much of the strategy will be static and remain unchanged. On the other hand, everything from the strategies you use to the topics planned for release to the channels employed in the program may change.
Plan on revisiting the strategy frequently, assessing the success of its components and acknowledging defeat. It’s a chance to adjust the plan, too, making tweaks to the strategy and fine-tuning what works.
Marketers are increasingly discovering the advantages that a rapt audience offers. In this day and age, email is the avenue to which businesses can harness consumer attention. An email component should be part of your comprehensive digital strategy. The first step involves building a subscriber base to which you can send out regular product updates, informational messages, and more. Another benefit of email audiences, they are solely owned by your business, meaning, no one else can affect your reach due to an algorithm update.
Know what works
Performance can only improve if you spend time evaluating your systems. Recognizing the impact your business is having on customers involves assessing the programs you’ve implemented. Identify key metrics that support your business goals and then measure performance. Once you know what is and isn’t working, you can put more marketing dollars toward revenue-generating programs and retire those that aren’t getting results.
With an effective approach to content marketing, small businesses can succeed in 2015. Make your content marketing count with a better understanding of your target audiences, operating with a documented content marketing strategy, building a subscription-based email program, and measuring the programs.