3 CONTENT MARKETING SECRETS TO GROW YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
On a windswept hillside in southern California lives the world's oldest oak tree. Emerging in an icy wasteland over 13,000 years ago from a single acorn, this ancient organism has braved it all. Biting frosts, forest fires, droughts, storms and gales – this tree's ability to conquer challenging conditions is all down to its receptiveness to change.
Like our resilient oak, a new business needs the right conditions to not only thrive, but stand the test of time – and nothing boosts growth like the loyalty of an engaged client-base. But with so much choice out there, retention is a lot harder than it sounds. It's not enough to just have a great product – customers want to interact with real people at the right time. And content marketing makes it so easy, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.
Well written, designed and timed content sets you apart from the competition, provides a human aspect to digital practices, and is a convenient way to keep clients engaged with your brand when you're busy ironing out the creases in your business.
1. DEVELOP YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
So you've just launched your new business, but how much thought have you given to what comes next? It's one thing getting your offering out there, it's another spreading the word and getting people talking about it.
To stand out, be memorable. Think of brands like Innocent and Virgin. It's not what they do, but HOW they do it that makes them unique.
What does this mean for you? Don't waste your time and resources reinventing the wheel at this stage. For the sake of getting your offering out there and in front of your ideal prospects, quickly get to the heart of what makes them tick and build your brand around that. If you focus your efforts instead of being everything to everyone, you'll be a honeypot for the type of customers you want to attract.
2. REACH OUT TO YOUR CLIENT-BASE
You don't need to be a tech guru to stay in touch with clients.
Free email marketing services like MailChimp let you design and deliver beautiful, responsive communications in a couple of clicks. Whether it's a monthly newsletter, one-off competition or new product giveaway, intuitive design means even the least tech-savvy can get the hang of sending out regular comms.
While we're on the subject of sharing, don't underestimate the power of social media. Having a presence online—no matter how big or small—will stimulate trust in your brand. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+ can play a crucially important role in boosting the credibility of your business so it pays to do it right. Don't wait for the phone to ring. Get out there and start connecting the dots across your digital landscape and reaching your best customers on the channels of their choice.
Research your customers and stick to a quarterly marketing plan (there's less distance between milestones which helps to maintain momentum) If you're being held back by your lack of inbound marketing or social-media-for-business knowledge, check out Lynda.com, the Web's best resource for beginners in modern marketing for business.
3. ASK YOUR CLIENTS WHAT THEY THINK
Just launched a new product? Website? Service? This is a great time to be in touch with your clients.
Use sites like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to create and send interactive questionnaires in minutes, and get realtime reports so you can action their feedback and information immediately. If you're using an email marketing service like MailChimp or Infusionsoft, both SurveyMonkey and Typeform can be integrated quickly and seamlessly.
Regular 1-2-1 engagement with your database makes it easier to fight fires. if someone wants to complain about your business, you can limit the fallout from it by addressing their concerns immediately. PR disasters are amplified by social media, so it's important you give unhappy customers a place to vent, to slash the chances of them going elsewhere.
If bad news travels 10x faster than good, letting EVERY client know you care will work in your favour. Put your best foot forward to encourage positive word-of-mouth, and help grow your business organically.
DON'T FORGET – IT ONLY TAKES AN ACORN.