CONTENT MARKETING FOR SME’s
Content marketing services have become a buzz word and an important marketing strategy to remain competitive in business. However, SME’s have limited financial resources to spend on marketing and that is where curating great ideas to execute successful marketing campaigns is very important.
With the introduction of digital marketing, newer forms marketing avenues have opened up and one of them is B2B content marketing. Today due to mobile devices, information is accessible at the click of few buttons. There has been a major shift in focus towards content marketing services as an integral part of marketing in organizations.
Content marketing for SMEs has become a critical part of their marketing effort since it costs almost 62% less than traditional marketing and has nearly 6% higher conversion rate. Content marketing plan involves producing and publishing useful information that attracts, converts, closes and delights an organization’s customers.
Effective content marketing tools can involve textual content like blogs, eBooks, newsletters, reports, case studies, whitepapers or video, audio, presentation slides and infographics etc. All these helps prospects to solve their business problem online to become a customer. Creating and delivering quality content also gives an opportunity to position an organization as a thought leader or expert in its field.
Content marketing for an SME: Is it beneficial?
Content marketing has become the most efficient way to increase brand awareness among customers in a cost-effective manner. Thoughtfully produced content by an organization displays its commitment to share solutions to solve a customer’s problem. It usually creates an opportunity to connect with online prospects seeking solutions to their problem. Effective content marketing educates and enhances to showcase the experience customers will receive from organization’s offering.
In today’s social media connected world, content marketing also becomes a very cost effective method of marketing. Such content can be easily delivered and distributed in comparison to traditional marketing. The content has longevity as compared to advertising which has shorter lifespan and impact. Though the primary goal of the content marketing plan is to provide value to the customers, but the ultimate aim to drive users to interact and engage with the business. The mode of interaction can be sharing, linking or subscribing to the content either on social media or company’s website, in turn leading to driving sales of products or services.
Content marketing for SME’s is undoubtedly critical to remain relevant, create connection and conversion of prospects online.
Marketo, a marketing automation company ran a blog which outlined in details the problem that the company was solving for its customers. Instead of beta testing their product, they tested the idea through the blog and integrated all the feedback they received from their readers early on in their product development process. By using content marketing, the company started engaging the prospects in their solution and has built a pipeline of more than 14000 interested buyers before the product came to the market. Thus one can see the benefits quality content can provide even before the creation of the product for a company.
Ref. Book: Traction: A startup guide to getting customers. Page 17.
Content marketing process for SME’s: Getting big results with small budgets
Content marketing comprises of four different stages which are outlined below.
- Defining objective of content marketing campaign and what the company actually wants to achieve
Content marketing creates both a direct and indirect impact on a business. SME’s in particularly will be focused more on lead generations from prospects who access the organization’s content. Another benefit it provides is increased brand awareness, creating brand identity and web traffic generation by actual visits of customers to the site.
It can also help in getting access to quantifiable data which can provide insights on customers, potential prospects or target market. A content marketing plan can achieve much more than this however, it is important not to see it as an act of publishing few blogs, as one forgets that content sits in the middle of everything that a company does.
The objectives of a content marketing plan can be refreshed over a period of time however, it is important to put a metrics to each of the objectives decided by the organization.
- Developing a content marketing plan
This stage includes conducting a complete audit of the company and its competitors. This comprises of what kind of content is being published and shared in the industry, specific content ideas and themes.
Further, the company should analyze links coming through and social mentions, social media following, volume, and frequency of content that has been posted. There are various online tools to find details of target customers and social media tools being used by them or their recent web page visits. Such audit of the company should be benchmarked against its competitors.
The organization should develop specific content ideas and themes that form the basis of its content strategy.
- Building a content creation and delivery team
The reality is that great content alone is not enough, it also has to reach the targeted audience. Usually, SME’s confuse themselves between content idea and content format. An infographics or blog is a content format, but it may not be the best way to represent the content.
Content can take multiple forms like video, articles or reports, but if the idea behind it does not resonate with the prospect or has no real feeling of their knowledge gaps then they don’t care what type of content it is.
To get such strategy right an SME should tap into a diverse set of skills and knowledge. The company should accelerate credibility of its content through teams’ authority and leverage editor/blogger connection of the team. SME’s should ensure that the content is well shared, liked, commented on by all the employees and existing network so as to amplify the contents reach.
- Measuring success of the content marketing strategy
Finally, it is important to gauge how and why a company’s audience enjoys sharing and viewing its pieces of content. It is an important part to review a campaign’s success. The company should start calculating the true value of a website visitor: the conversion rate, average online order value, customer lifetime value etc.
Additionally monitoring other factors like social shares on content and online reach, brand awareness through branded search, new brand mentions and link acquisitions and web traffic content engagement. There are various dashboards available to measure these variables which pull data from all places.
Content marketing for SME is about creating content that is useful to organizations potential customers with underlying motivation for them to take a particular action. Such interactions with a company’s brand drive profitability – like sharing the content with their network, signing up for newsletters, purchasing latest products or writing reviews.
Usually, SME’s try outsourcing content marketing services tasks to external agencies however for various companies who have tried the above strategies in-house have received phenomenal success. Marketers and SME owners should use the content effectively as the return on investment are well worth the cost. An SME with a plan behind their content is one worth paying attention to. Small businesses are doing many things well when it comes to content marketing – things that are giving them a competitive advantage and putting them on equally footing with their competitors.
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