Today someone left the following question on my contact form: Can content marketing work for a very small business?
It might be unnerving to read about big companies like Coca-Cola, IBM and American Express putting all their energies into content marketing – this must make you wonder, if such big companies are using content marketing, does content marketing work for a very small business too?
My answer is, the smaller the business, the better content marketing is for you.
Content marketing can definitely work for a very small business because
- The cost of content marketing can be easily scaled according to the size of your business.
- Even if you are a very small business, you can start content marketing today, right this very moment.
- As a small business, you can do content marketing yourself, if you have the time, and if you have some budget, you can even hire someone to do content marketing for you. You may like to read Hire a professional content writer for your business.
- Most of the tools needed for content marketing are available for free or on trial basis. Read 14 tools you can use to optimize content marketing.
- If you can write, much better for your very small business because then you can kick start your content marketing at this very moment.
- For content marketing to work for a very small business all you need is a blog and the right social networking accounts. Read Why your business needs a blog (20 reasons).
There is all the more reason for a very small business to use content market instead of conventional advertising. These days people skip most of the ads. Just imagine, you are spending all that hard-earned money on ads people don’t even see. When was it the last time you voluntarily saw an ad unless it was irresistible? A very big reason why Netflix and Hulu are popular because people don’t want to see ads.
As a very small business you simply cannot afford to lose so much money on advertisements and the best option for you is content marketing where you can rest assured the investment that you make is going to get you more business. Read Why content marketing is important for your business.
Why content marketing works for very small businesses?
I think content marketing is ideal for very small businesses who don’t have very big budgets for advertising and marketing. If you use something like AdWords you pay for every click. So, if you have to pay, let’s suppose, $0.50 for every click for multiple keywords, for every hundred clicks you are paying $50 to Google. This will definitely get you instant traffic provided you know how to manage a PPC campaign.
PPC advertising is a marketing branch in itself and there are companies specifically helping businesses optimize their PPC campaigns. So, for a very small business, online advertising may work and may not work. If you want to be sure that it works, you will need to work with the search marketing company which means, aside from spending money on every click that you get, you will also have to pay the search marketing company.
Plus, there is always your competition. Since there is always going to be someone who is ready to spend more money than you, you will have to go on increasing your ad budget. This can lead to your very small business to ruin.
Content marketing on the other hand – assuming you do it the right way – always works no matter what small business you are running.
This is because no matter how much content there is on the Internet, your business is unique so your content is also going to be unique. There is always going to be some factor that will distinguish your content from your competitor’s content, and this gives you an edge, and this is why content marketing can work for a very small business.
If you are wondering what’s content marketing, you may like to read What is content marketing? Explained in detail.
The advantage that a very small business has is that you can be very flexible. You can quickly create content needed by your target audience. You can be very specific.
Unlike big businesses, a very small business has a very narrow market, so you don’t have to put a lot of effort in carrying out your content marketing strategy. You need to generate content catering to only a small audience. You can also easily find out which social platform your target customers and clients prefer: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or LinkedIn (contemporary platforms, at the time of reading this, there might be many more).
Benefits of content marketing for a very small business
- Content marketing improves your SEO: If you are a very small business that depends on search engine traffic then an improved SEO would help, right? You will get more traffic without paying for every click. The nature of content marketing is such that it automatically improves your SEO. Read Can content marketing improve your SEO?
- Content marketing can help you build a reputation as an industry leader: Reputation in business always helps. When people know you and they respect you for your knowledge, they feel more eager to do business with you. And it has a cascading effect: you get more business with your reputation and since you get more business, your reputation increases and because your reputation increases, you get more business. This can easily be achieved with targeted content marketing. As a very small business since you have a deep knowledge of your customers and clients, you can create highly targeted content for them, sharing your wisdom and knowledge and answering their questions.
- Content marketing reduces your marketing budget: With content marketing, you don’t have to spend on traditional marketing. You get so much visibility on the Internet that people come to your website rather than you interrupting them at odd moments. Once you create a search engine and social media presence for yourself you won’t have to pay for every click. On their own people will be coming to your website.
- Content marketing helps you build a loyal customer base: When you continuously publish helpful content, people begin to like you and feel good about associating with you. They tend to share your content more among their friends and colleagues. They also tend to recommend your business because they trust you. Having a loyal customer base is far better than targeting people with advertisements.
- Content marketing helps you engage people continuously: Interesting content encourages people to share your content and talk about it with each other. You never know which piece of content may go viral and millions of people come to know of it within a few hours. Yes, this has happened to many businesses.
- Content marketing helps you build your own mailing list: A mailing list that you have built on the strength of your own content is one of the best business assets you can ever develop. These are the people who have subscribed to your mailing list on their own. They are open to getting messages from you on a regular basis. They like to hear from you. If you keep sending them helpful content they will always know that when they need that particular service or product, you are there to provide. It doesn’t matter to them that you are a very small business; provided you provide them with great content they’re always going to do business with you.
What sort of content marketing can a very small business do?
As a very small business you have multiple content marketing channels available to you that you can start using right now. Some of these channels I am describing below:
- Start a blog: This is the best content marketing step a very small business can take immediately. If you already have a website all you have to do is go to WordPress.com, download the installation files and set up a blog in a separate directory (something like yourdomain.com/blog/). If you don’t want to do it yourself, every web host these days has this “one click” feature that allows you to install contemporary content management systems in a jiffy.
- Create a list of keywords relevant to your very small business: You don’t need to start publishing blog posts the moment you set up a blog. Do some keyword research. You don’t have to target very small keywords because they will be very competitive. Instead, focus on longtail keywords. Here is a blog post you may like to read: 11 essential ingredients for creating great blog posts.
- Create a list of questions and queries your target customers and clients may have about your business: People these days use questions and queries on search engines. If you have a flower shop people won’t simply search for “flower shop”. They will probably search for “is there an online flower shop in my area?” or “is there an online flower shop that can deliver fresh roses immediately?” List down all possible questions your target customers and clients may have before they decide to do business with you.
- Start creating blog posts out of the questions and queries you have compiled: This is a very good way of creating relevant content as a very small business. By the time you have covered all the questions (the question is the title and the blog content is the answer) you will be having lots of blog posts on your blog and you will have covered lots of keywords relevant to your business.
- Share your updates on your preferred social networking platforms: You can post your links on multiple platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. You can use a service like Hootsuite or Buffer App to post your content across multiple social networking platforms in one go. Even a very small business can afford to use these services.
Is content marketing a quick fix work for a very small business?
Not at all. Just because lots of things on the Internet are free and easily available, it doesn’t mean content marketing is one of those things. It’s a legitimate form of marketing. Whether you are a very small business or a very big business content marketing requires effort. Being a very small business, may be the effort won’t be very big and hence you may be able to manage your content marketing on your own, but effort WILL be required.
If you don’t have time for that effort, you will need to hire someone who can take care of basic content marketing like creating and publishing fresh and relevant content and then distributing your content using your social networking platforms. Good content writers are easily available. You may like to read 20 benefits of hiring professional content writing services.
As your very small business transitions into a small business and then a medium-sized business and then a large business, your content marketing will also evolve. Just like you have to continuously promote your business using conventional advertising and marketing, you will need to employ content marketing to keep yourself in the race.