There is an ocean of content out there. And much of it relates to marketing products and services. Every major enterprise has a huge digital presence – ads everywhere, social media platforms, amazing websites, not to mention their offline marketing. What small business, with a tiny marketing budget, can compete with huge companies like Red Bull, Target, Nike, or IBM? Or even medium-sized businesses such as IKEA or Jack Daniels?
The good news is that, as a small business, you do not need a large budget to get a market share of your audience. You already know you will never have the revenue of a Coca-Cola, but you can grow your business to meet your revenue goals. And content marketing, if done right, can get you that market share. Best of all? It’s the cheapest form of marketing there is.
Here are five content marketing ideas for 2019.
While many claim that email is a “dead” marketing tool, nothing could be further from the truth. When done right, it is powerful. Here’s an interesting piece of research. The average return for $1 spent on effective email marketing, a business can expect a $38 return.
Not to define effective email marketing. Here are the keys:
- No spamming. A big mistake that businesses make is to purchase email lists and indiscriminately send marketing messages to all of these strangers. This does not work.
- Email lists need to grow gradually, over time, based on people who have subscribed to receive them via your website, your blog, of social media accounts, who have made purchases, who have shown an interest in your product or service.
- Email lists should be segmented according to where people are in your sales funnel. Unique emails should be created for each segment.
- Your subject line is critical. No one opens emails unless those subject lines intrigue, promise something wonderful, entertain, or inspire. And whatever you promise, you must deliver in the email itself. Otherwise, you will never get beyond one open. If you are not creative, then you might want to use a service like Canada-Writers and Men with Pens. Or you can use any one of a number of headline generator tools, or an individual freelance writer from sites like Upwork of Fivver.
Say It with Visuals and Media
The human brain processes visual information faster and better than text. In fact, it retains more of what is seen than read. Think about your own experiences. Explainer and how-to videos are far more engaging than the written word. A great photo or infographic catches your eye; And if you can add some humor or inspiration while “educating” your audience, all the better. During 2019, the following trends will be “hot.”
Video remains a powerful marketing tool. And they don’t have to be professionally produced. Part of marketing is developing relationships with your audience, and part of that relationship means that you are “genuine.” There are some great video-making tools today, and, armed with a smartphone and a good script, you can produce them easily and well. Let your audience get to know you and your team as real people. Loosen up and add some humor; promote the value of your product or service, not the product itself. How will it solve a problem for the customer? The other big plus? Search engines like videos.
“The newest trends in media are interactivity, specifically, augmented and virtual reality,” shares Amanda Sparks, digital marketer and author of Top Down Writer. “While these had their beginning in gaming, they have now become an engaging marketing tool,” she adds. At first, this was complex technology. Now, though, there are tools that allow the average non-techie to craft AR and VR experiences for their audiences. This will continue to be a big trend in 2019,
Find Reputable Related Business Owners
This too is a powerful way to spread your brand to a larger audience. Suppose your business sells soft home furnishings – curtains, blinds, bedding, wall art, etc. Think about related businesses you could partner up with – perhaps a company that sells kitchen supplies – dishes, silverware, pots and pans, glassware, etc. Once you are certain that the related business is reputable, you can do the following:
- Promote each other on your websites
- Contribute to each other’s blogs with a backlink to your sites
- Bundle discounts and coupons
- Use joint email and social media campaigns for promotions and special deals.
If you can partner up with several related businesses, think how much wider your audience grows and grows quickly.
James Campbell, a content writer, and the editor for Get Good Grade speaks to his success in this area: “My career revolves around freelance writing, education, and promoting my blog. Once we partnered up with other organizations related to education (blogs for college students, scholarship services, foreign exchange programs), we were able to grow our following, as well as get lots of writing gigs. It really does work.”
Maintain an Active Blog
This is a long-term marketing strategy, but over time, you can gain a large following, if you do the following:
- Use your blog to educate and inform, but also use it to entertain and inspire
- Make sure that you have social media sharing buttons, and ask people to share for a discount on a product or service
- Have conversations threads. Ask questions, and solicit discussions
- Backlink to specific posts from everywhere else you have a presence – your social media accounts, guest blogs, collaborative arrangements, etc.
- Offer something special if readers will opt in to your emails and newsletter
James Daily, a content writer, and the founder of the Brainished blog, puts it this way: “We began our blog when we launched our business. It was slow going at first. But we came up with topics that addressed issues and problems, amazing headlines, and offered discounts when visitors shared or subscribed to our newsletter. It took a few years, but we have a following (and business) that grows steadily. It’s all about providing value in that blog.”
Using Social Media
First cardinal rule – you cannot be everywhere. As a small business owner, you only have so much time. Use it wisely. Do your research and find out where your target audience spends most of its social media time. Pick just a couple of platforms that you can maintain well. “Maintain” means that you can post often and regularly.
Your posts should be engaging and worthy of sharing. This means that you do not use social media to sell – as has been the case for the past several years, 2019 will be no different. Social media is called “social” for a reason. Use it to establish relationships with your audience. Entertain and/or inspire. Here are a couple of tips that should guide your presence during 2019:
- Use more media, especially video
- Consider getting a theme – a joke of the day; an inspirational quote of the day; little known and amazing facts. These will keep your audience coming back for more and sharing your content with others who in turn may become followers. Of course, you should add links to your website.
- Consider getting a humorous mascot- if boring insurance companies can have the Aflac duck, Flo, and the gecko, then you can certainly have one too. This is a great way to tell serial-type stories that relate to your brand.
- Every once in a while, feature a satisfied customer. You can solicit home videos from them using your product or service.
- Run contests, quizzes, and surveys – everyone likes to participate and/or provide their opinions. And these things are highly shareable.
Charles Gardner, Social Media Specialist for Best Writers Canada, says this: “We learned that the majority of our potential customers hang out on Facebook and Instagram. So, we have focused on those two platforms. Our topics relate to writing, but we always add some humor and occasionally some quizzes which our followers love. Once you get your ‘groove’ with your audience, it will grow naturally.”
Business owners are busy people. But those businesses won’t grow without solid marketing campaigns that take advantage of two things – the latest trends in content and the low cost of being competitive. What content marketing does take is time, and that is the challenge. It’s a challenge you must meet, whether by yourself or through the use of outside experts.
Natalie Andersen, a chief content writer, and enthusiastic blogger. She believes that everyone’s life has to be the result of the choices they make but a helping hand is always welcomed. You can connect with Natalie on Twitter or Facebook.