For many small business owners, it seems the quickest way to attract potential clients online is through paid ads.
And while this was certainly true in the past, today’s online world is very different.
Roughly about one-third of online users use some sort of ad-blocking software, with that number rising to almost half for the 18-24 demographic.
This means that paying for online ads is throwing good money away, and not necessarily going to help your website or your business in the long run.
So what’s the alternative to paying for clicks?
And how do you compete with the big boys online?
Two words; Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing?
Traditional marketing and advertising pitch your service or product to potential clients.
This is what we sell – would you like to buy it?
As straight-forward as it is, this way of marketing is outdated in today’s online digital world.
Whatever you’re selling, there are a thousand other websites selling the same thing.
You need a different approach to attracting customers, and this is where content marketing comes in. It is a long-term approach to building your brand, your reputation, and your relationship with the public.
Content Marketing isn’t about you or your business, it’s about your audience. It’s all about providing value and giving something to your audience in order to build a connection.
If you’re a portrait photographer specialising in newborn babies, you might share a tweet, write a blog post, or like a Facebook link about the importance of vaccination.
You don’t give vaccinations yourself, but your audience will find it interesting, and that’s what matters. You’re creating content for them, not trying to sell your photography skills, and this builds trust.
By doing so, they will subscribe to your YouTube channel, Like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter… this is how you build your audience, grow your brand, and make your sales.
Content marketing puts you in Google’s good books
The latest Google algorithms are astonishing.
Modern AI software is so advanced, it’s hard to tell if it’s a person or not.
And while this may be great for a future with self-driving cars and Ed-209s, it’s bad news for old-school websites.
It wasn’t too long ago that simply filling your website with keywords was enough to get Google’s attention and rank on their first page of results.
So if you sold dreamcatchers, then adding the words handmade dreamcatchers to every page and paragraph of your site, would let Google know you’re the best guys to show if anyone was looking to buy one.
Well, those days are long gone, and in fact, Google actively punishes sites which still try to do this.
Today’s websites are all about quality content.
Google wants to bring its users to the site which gives the best answer to their question or solves their problem the quickest.
By providing simple, useful, and original content for its users, Google will happily send them your way by moving your site up their search results.
This is especially true for evergreen content (that is, a piece of content that won’t quickly go out of date or need to be updated).
A well-written evergreen blog post can drive traffic to your website for years to come. In fact, older content ranks higher because it’s had longer to collect links and provide value to readers.
The sooner you start providing quality content, the sooner it will start to pay off.
Content Marketing is a form of customer service
Producing regular, quality-filled content isn’t just a way to get in Google’s good books, it’s a way to build trust with your audience.
Content Marketing covers a lot of options, but the most common are blog posts, Social Media, Infographics, and YouTube Videos.
These are all great ways to interact with your customers, giving you the chance to create a FAQs page or video to answer any recent queries you have received.
If there are any updates to your business, services or products, a Tweet or Facebook post will let everyone know at absolutely zero cost to you and very little effort.
Your latest offers and promotions are only a click away from potential customers, who, having already subscribed or followed you, are already interested in what you’re selling.
Content Marketing is selling without pitching
Everyone knows a sales pitch when they hear one.
And how could they not?
We are constantly being sold to. It happens so often that we’re not even aware of it anymore.
Consumers are sick of being told that the latest shampoo works even better than the new and improved one which came out last year, or that this new fashion trend is a must-have.
It’s no surprise that 70% of customers would rather read about something in an article than being told about it in an advertisement.
Content Marketing is designed for this new type of advertising industry. The exchange of interesting, valuable information is more important than selling a product or service.
If you’re a dentist, there’s no point in telling people you whiten teeth. All dentists do!
Instead, it’s better to write a blog post explaining how people with good teeth are more confident, or how people who smile more are statistically happier than those who don’t.
Explain to your audience how having white teeth can boost confidence and help you smile more.
This isn’t a sales pitch, you’re just telling them of the benefits of teeth whitening treatment.
It just so happens you’re a dentist.
Content Marketing is essential for any online business
The great thing about content marketing is, you don’t need a lot of money to do it right.
The ROI can be staggering, especially for a small business, and it’s one of the few ways the little guys can compete with the commercial giants of the world.
Content marketing can increase brand awareness, move you up in search engine results, and build a greater relationship with your customers.
But it has to be done right.
It is a long term strategy which needs continuous effort.
Creating original, interesting content in various forms isn’t easy, so if you don’t feel like you’re up to it, then let us do it for you.
We have the experience, the skills and know-how to take your business to the next level.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about how we can help with your content marketing.
With experience in everything from graphic design to teenage counseling, Gary finally settled on writing as his main weapon of choice. “But writing is just one part of this job, which is why I love it so much. It’s hard to get bored with so many irons in the fire. If I’m not researching an article, I’m on Social Media, or working behind the scenes to optimise a site for Google’s latest algorithms. I learn something new every day, and each day brings with it new challenges.”