May 26, 2015

Why Small Businesses Need a Better Content Marketing Plan

Small businesses are the backbone of a good economy especially when you consider that just a few short years ago, small businesses with less than 20 employees accounted for nearly 90 percent of the U.S. economy. And part of that continued success will come from small businesses casting an eye to content marketing.

Though a number of smaller companies are beginning to leverage content marketing vehicles like blogging, social media and email marketing, they have a ways to go in terms of effectiveness. In fact, only 39 percent of small businesses indicate they have a documented content strategy in place, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 “Small Business Marketing Trends-North America” report. Of the majority of small businesses with only a “verbal strategy” in place, the study only saw 33 percent of respondents calling their undocumented strategy “effective.”

So why do you need to improve your content marketing plan? Let’s take a look…

  • The customer has evolved: Consumers today aren’t what they used to be. They’re smarter and more connected than ever before. Industry experts have found that 75 percent of consumers don’t trust company ads and 92 percent would rather find information on the product or service elsewhere online. No longer will an overarching TV ad generate the same number of leads it once did; rather consumers are looking to blogs, email marketing messages, reviews and social media to make their decisions, making targeting these consumers difficult. You need to discover what kind of content they are looking for, how to craft that content for them and then execute a plan in a logical and methodical way. This can be accomplished by creating buyer personas to center content around, building editorial calendars to keep you focused and tying it all together with an integrated strategy that leverages all of the content marketing vehicles for one common goal.
  • Google is (seemingly) out to get you: In a recent post we discussed what Google’s algorithm change means a mobile-first mentality will help in your ranking results. But we all know the search engine giant will not sleep any time soon. Today’s small businesses have to refine their content marketing strategies to account for imminent changes. Without a documented strategy how can you know what needs to be changed, keep track of the parameters that have been altered and gauge how you have acclimated to the search engines new specifications? Those without a documented plan could find one part of their team optimizing for one algorithm and another half for a different one, meaning your team runs the risk of working against itself.
  • It’s all about the ROI: Return on investment is everything, but tracking it isn’t as easy as some like to believe. Content marketing comes with a plethora of vehicles, which means it can sometimes feel more difficult to track ROI. You’ll need to keep note of website traffic visitors, SEO rankings, customer acquisition numbers and we haven’t even gotten to social media yet. If you’re unable to track, and therefore visualize, this data how will you know if you’re content marketing strategy is being effective? How will you know what needs to be changed and what areas you’ve been effective in? Without a documented strategy, you run the risk of wasting precious budget dollars, and not even knowing you’re doing so.

Small businesses today are optimistic about 2015 with 51 percent reporting they expect profits to increase by more than 20 percent. So why not make 2015 not just a big year, but a huge one?

What’s your next step?

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