Small business owners face a unique challenge when it comes to marketing their services. As you have probably noticed, people these days tend to be a bit defensive toward advertising in general. And when it comes to trusting the advertising words of any company? You’re attempting to row upstream without a paddle if you try to “convince” someone that they should choose you over your competitors.
Yet, as you are well aware, you do have to market yourself, but carefully and creatively, so that you don’t turn off the very people you hope to attract. You need to “sell” without “selling” and this is where the small business owner can utilize content marketing to improve their marketing results.
What is content marketing for small business?
Content marketing is a strategy in which you consistently create and distribute information (content) which is valuable and relevant to your intended audience. The idea is to communicate with your clients and prospective clients without the intention of selling them anything. The focus is placed on your audience and developing a relationship with them, rather than making blatant attempts to herd them through your office doors.
How does that work?
What we know about consumer behavior is this: People buy products or utilize services from companies that they know, like, and trust. If you’re hoping to convince someone to use your services without first building that trust, you’re going about the process backwards.
Content marketing helps you to establish that trust and in doing so, leads your prospects to deciding on their own that they need the services you provide. In the process, your willingness to provide this information at no charge builds your credibility.
So how do I utilize content marketing to grow my business?
You may already be using offline forms of content marketing in your business. If you have ever hosted a free seminar or provided a training session to your clients then you have conducted offline content marketing. Think for a moment how this process transpired…
- You identified an audience and developed a program (content) that was valuable to them.
- You invited people to attend without charging them.
- You didn’t try to “sell” them anything but rather provided value that was intended to make the audience come to their own conclusion that they need your service. This fostered a relationship and customer loyalty.
- Bonus: At the seminar you gathered contact information such as phone numbers or email addresses and now you can pursue further contact with them.
Your online content marketing efforts take on the same action steps and goals. Through clever use of your blog, social media platforms, and email, you can accomplish many of the same results as a live seminar. One major difference, however, is that you can outsource this task to professionals in order to leverage your time and you can cost effectively reach a larger audience.
If you’ve ever found yourself wishing for better results from your website or social media tools, then a strong content marketing campaign in the next step.
Stay tuned for future articles on this topic to learn more about starting, maintaining, and evaluating your content marketing efforts.