Content Marketing. Two simple words that have thoroughly changed the Internet marketing game. But what does this term really mean?
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is a practice designed to garner an ever-growing readership by publishing interesting, useful, relevant content on a regular basis. The goal of content marketing is to drive these readers to fulfill the call to action you have set out for them.
In addition to being transparent in your sales approach, you are providing your audience with rewarding information in the hopes that they will return the favor by continuing to consume your content and purchase what you have to sell. Still not sure what this all means? We’ve got some great local business content marketing examples below.
In the last few years, content marketing has changed the landscape for local businesses, allowing them to self-promote on the web in ways they never could have imagined before. Whether you love to spread the word on Facebook, can’t update your website pages enough, or stay on Twitter ‘round the clock, there is a content marketing outlet for every type of business. But popularity and limitless opportunities aside, why did we all decide that content deserves to wear the royal crown?
At Vivial, we could go on ad nauseam about why your business needs content marketing to succeed, but for brevity’s sake, we’re going to distil its importance into three simple points.
1. Build Customer Relationships
When you post a relevant news story to your company’s Twitter page, or share an interesting study on Facebook, you are engaging with your readers and establishing a relationship with them. By consistently posting a variety of trending, pertinent, entertaining content, you are creating a trusted reputation for your business in the virtual world. Your readers will continue turning to you for updates, which will lead to site traffic and conversion.
Studies have shown that website conversion rates are almost 6x higher for companies employing content marketing rather than those who don’t (2.9% vs 0.5%). Like any relationship, it takes time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it.
2. Tell Your Brand Story
Since it’s geographically and logistically impossible to go door-to-door describing your brand identity and business model to each and every one of the customers you hope to retain, the next best option is using the web to spread the word. With less leg work and a larger reach, it makes good, clean sense to take the time to craft your company’s image and continue promoting it on a regular basis. Essentially, you want to make readers’ jobs as easy as possible. Take the guess work out of the equation and tell them upfront what you are all about. The faster and clearer the message delivery, the more likely those readers will stick around to see what else you have to say.
The Custom Content Council recently found that an impressive 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, and are more likely to make a purchase from them. If you want readers to complete the desired call to action (purchase an item, download a PDF, subscribe to a newsletter, call one of your sales people, etc) you’ll have to connect with them on some level.
3. Become An Industry Expert
By publishing interesting, thought-provoking, relevant content on a regular basis, your readers will start to see you as a trusted industry expert. While that’s hugely beneficial for the sake of retaining and building your customer base, there are also some less-obvious, behind-the-scenes advantages as well. In order to be an industry expert, you have to engage in discussions with other active members in your industry and learn from one another. In the process of building your reputation, you’ll have the knowledge to back it up.
SMB Content Marketing Examples
Foiled Cupcakes – Increased revenue projections by 600% with content marketing!
This Chicago bakery managed to get 93% of sales (exceeding their revenue ambitions by 600%) without a brick and mortar location. How? Content marketing. Owner and creator, Mari Luangrath started her online cupcake business five years ago, but in her first six weeks of business the website was malfunctioning and could not accept orders.
Instead of waiting out this website malfunction, she jumped on Twitter and started posting and chatting on a regular basis. Alongside her constant tweets, she launched an incredible cupcake blog. She went from no customers to thousands of followers during that time!
Birchbox – Content marketing drives significant paid subscriptions.
This beauty subscription service has paved the way for scores of other subscription services in different areas of business. With non-stop blog updates, tweets, Facebook posts and Youtube videos, it’s no surprise that Birchbox has grown into such a successful brand.
Since all posts link back to the company’s website, website traffic continues to multiply, leading to more subscribers and more sales.
The Waffle Shop – Unusual in-restaurant talk show drives customers.
This Pittsburgh breakfast destination stepped their content marketing efforts way up when they decided to think outside the box and create a live-stream talk show between themselves and their customers.
Broadcasted right in the middle of the restaurant, the show allowed for anyone to get on the mic and discuss anything that came to mind. By adding this unusual, live-theater aspect to their eatery, The Waffle Shop drew in customers who were not only interested in the food but the show as well.
What’s It All Mean?
One of the best aspects of content marketing is the flexibility and wealth of options that it offers. There isn’t just one tried-and-true way to approach this method of creating and sharing media, but one common theme throughout is its clear-cut benefit to local businesses of all kinds.
Whether you want to get your feet wet posting an article or two, or plan on updating your company blog every single day, there’s no right or wrong way to join the party and find out for yourself why content is the present-day leader of the pack in the internet marketing world. Need help getting started? Check out Localvox’s beginner’s guide and get all the help you need to take your business to the next level.