One of the keys to small-business marketing is building name and brand awareness. Everyone talks about social media today, but it’s more than posting pictures and snappy quotes. Social media marketing is all about gaining a voice in a very crowded communication space, no matter what your business, industry or market segment is. The key rule of thumb is to use your content to convert searchers, readers and fans into buyers by driving them to your website where they can take your call-to-action. (CTA)
Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles authored by others, as well as videos, podcasts, blogs and other media. This approach establishes expertise, promotes brand awareness, and keeps your business top of mind when it’s time to buy what you sell.
In “days of olde,” marketers talked about the 4 Ps – Product, Price, Physical Distribution and Promotion. Today in the world of social media marketing we must be concerned with the new marketing formula – the 4 Cs – introduced by Bob Lauterborn in Advertising Age magazine article in the early ’90s. why? Because online marketing is one of the only ways to create dialogue between sellers and buyers today.
The 4 Cs start with the most important element in the formula and that is the customer, since they are the people who will be purchasing or using the products or services being marketed. Who is the targeted customer?
Second is communications since it includes all the interactions between the brand and their customers. How are you going to reach this targeted audience?
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Third is the cost that includes all the expenses a business invests to market and sell its products. What tools will you use and how much will you have to invest to position yourself with the potential buyers?
And lastly, convenience, which focuses on the customer shopping experience. This encompasses making it as easy as possible to make the purchase of the products or services of the business. How many outlets will you use to reach your customer to make it easy to buy?
What can a small business do to improve its content marketing?
By creating valuable and relevant content, businesses can attract and engage their targeted audience so they are more aware of their offerings. It means following the buying continuum, which is unawareness to awareness to understanding to believability to trial to purchase, repurchase and referral.
Using curated content by brands builds credibility and trust. When informative and quality content is offered, buyers see the brand as industry experts and knowledge leaders.
Generating leads and driving conversions. Content marketing is the vehicle where sellers address the pain points of potential buyers by offering solutions to the problems they are facing. The valuable content that is offered by sellers guides buyers through the continuum from unawareness to referrals.
Connecting with buyers – post sales. Content marketing that provides valuable input to buyers enables sellers to stay connected with their audience after trial, purchase and potentially repurchase and/or referral. Ongoing valuable content marketing can further nurture the buyer/seller relationship and encourage return visits, repeat purchases and foster brand advocacy.
When seeking content marketing strategies small business marketers might consider the following:
Give your brand a voice. Customers have to identify with the brands they use on a regular basis. What do they connect with? They connect with the values that the brand represents. The content provided via marketing communications must connect with the values that ownership has attached to the brand. Consistency, value, service, quality. All values that buyers need to connect to their own value system.
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Headlines first and foremost. The most difficult portion of marketing today is to get buyers’ attention. The content might be great, but if buyers never get to the body of your message, it’s a lost effort. Choose headlines that connect with targeted customers and leave them with the lingering thought “tell me more,” so they invest the time to consume the content of your messaging.
Don’t post, engage. It is easy to post. Search the web for content and posts. What is missing is engaging the reader so they take the call-to-action (CTA) that you have designed into the post. If they never leave the initial communication and don’t get to your website or contact you for more information on your solution, the initiative is again, wasted.
Have a plan. Just like every business initiative, have a content marketing plan so that with each post or message delivery you take the buyer or potential buyer one step closer to closing or making a sale. What is the route you want buyers to take so they understand your message, then believe it so they will try to buy you?
quality matters. You can buy content. You can curate content. Or you can take the time to create content that has a focused connection to you and your value proposition (the need, want or desire you are fulfilling). It is a mistake to take the easy route just to get the task done. Take the time to decide what content is important to drive visitors to your posts to your website to convert them into customers. Then create content that is tailored to you and your business.
Content marketing turns searchers and readers into buyers. When they read your blogs, posts or email marketing offers, they learn how you can reduce their pains by the offer of your gains (www.strategyzer.com).
Contributed by: Marc L. Goldberg, Certified Mentor, SCORE Cape Cod & the Islands. www.score.org/capecod, [email protected], 508-775-4884. Sources: Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Mailchimp. Michael Luchies, Kayakonlinemarketing.com. Contact SCORE for Free and Confidential Mentoring.
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This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: Social media for small businesses: Tips to interest, keep customers