Content marketing is an effective way for small business owners to increase their brand’s exposure, build consumer trust, generate leads, and drive sales. Unlike paid tactics, this type of marketing stimulates interest in your products and services through entertaining and informative organic content – not ads. Videos, blogs, podcasts, social media, webinars, newsletters, and direct mail and are just a few forms of content marketing that business owners can use to connect with customers.
If you’re still wondering ‘What is content marketing?’ or ‘How can content marketing work for my business?’ here are 10 key tips from Canadian small business owners who have found success with content marketing.
- Believe in the value of content marketing
Content marketing – when done well – offers great ROI for SMBs. Market research by Fractl shows 53 percent of consumers say offering free content on a topic they’re interested in is effective for attracting their business. “Content marketing is an excellent mechanism to reach potential clients in a manner that’s mutually beneficial,” says Toronto-based personal injury lawyer Jasmine Daya of Jasmine Daya & Co. “I use law-related videos and podcasts combined with traditional networking to grow my business.”
- Choose the right platform for your audience
Restaurateur Justin Tisdall, co-owner of Vancouver’s Juke Fried Chicken, uses content marketing strategies to connect with his digital-savvy target demographic, particularly Instagram where much of the business’ customer activity takes place. “Social media is the most tactile and organic platform for us…it’s where we share our voice and have conversations directly with guests,” he explains. “Meanwhile our monthly newsletters convey more focused information and include a call-to-action, which has had a great impact on engagement with our featured promotions.”
- Try creating different forms of content
Content marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy, so try experimenting with different types of content to see what feels right for you and your business. “I film videos, host a podcast, write blog posts and speak at events to market my law firm,” says Daya. “I do all of this because I love what I do, and it, therefore, doesn't feel like work in the traditional sense.”
- Create timely, relevant content
Jason Lang, managing partner of Toronto-based mortgage brokerage Outline Financial, suggests identifying hot topics that can help you tailor customized content that will appeal to clients. “Whether we’re updating our audience on a new government mortgage program or changing rates, we always try to get ahead of the story and create content pieces around it,” he says. “People start to look to us as a trusted thought-leader, which results in referrals and growth for our business.”
- Show off your expertise
As a business owner, content marketing gives you a chance to spotlight your skills and experience. “In early 2020, we started creating long-form content to share our insights with others while helping our boutique agency attract new business,” explains Shelley McArthur Everett, principal and founder of Vancouver PR firm SMC Communications. “We post bi-weekly blogs and case studies to provide potential clients with a glimpse of our expertise and the results our team can deliver.”
- Be consistent
When it comes to blogging, social media, podcasting, and other forms of content marketing, consistency is key. Don’t just set it and forget it; try to share fresh content on a frequent basis. “You need to really dive-in and commit to whatever marketing you are trying to push,” says Tisdall. But remember, quality is more important than quantity.
- Leverage your team to build your brand
Recruit team members to contribute their ideas and talents to your content marketing efforts. “Let people connect with your team…cultivating a brand that accurately represents your company and people is critical for anyone looking to scale their business,” says Lang. At Juke, Tisdall enlists chefs and bartenders to film 'how-to' videos that are included with the restaurant’s cocktail kits and holiday meal packages. “These videos have been fun for our team to make and our guests really enjoy them,” he notes.
- Track your success
High-quality content can be a significant expense for SMBs and a major time investment, so it’s critical to measure your ROI. “Digital platforms come with powerful measurement tools, so I recommend paying close attention to your engagement metrics, whether that’s web traffic, newsletter open rates, podcast downloads, or social likes, shares, and new followers,” notes McArthur Everett. "Measuring what type of content is resonating and converting into customer action can help you determine what’s working – and what’s not – and you can allocate your efforts accordingly.”
- Do what works for you
The best content marketing examples are an authentic reflection of your business, so don’t force yourself to produce content that doesn’t come naturally. “The best strategy is to decide what suits your business as well as your personality; if it’s not ‘you’, then it won’t work,” says Daya. “It's better to think of content marketing as a passion project. If it doesn't attract the business you had hoped for, at least you enjoyed the project.”
- Go for it
At the end of the day, content marketing success starts with taking the leap. “The biggest challenge business owners face is overthinking something and getting analysis paralysis,” says Lang. “If you have a good sense of who you are and how you want to position yourself in the market, then just go for it!”
Ready to supercharge your content marketing program? The experts at YP can help your business create professional-looking video content, drive website traffic via SEO and SEM, and get your content in front of potential new customers. Call 1-877-553-6883 today for a free consultation with one of our Media Account Consultants.