Consulting

Content Marketing and its Importance in SMBs

Content marketing for Your Business

The internet is a powerhouse for building your business from scratch and taking it to places you have only dreamt of. Things are running at a faster pace than ever before, and the create-publish-discard cycle is producing never-ending digital content. Voluminous content spurred by businesses has narrowed down the attention span of the users to 8 secs. It has hooked the users to regularly look for new content topics and quickly discard irrelevant content that doesn’t grab their attention.

Until a few years ago, marketing was mostly limited to newspaper ad, tv commercial, flashy banners, and annoying pop-up tricking naïve visitors. But the landscape has changed drastically with the humble content being the key enabler of marketing strategies.

We shall take a deep dive on how to build an effective content marketing strategy. From avoiding the apparent mistakes to creating high-end content, you can learn about its nitty-gritty in this ultimate guide to content marketing.

Introduction to Content Marketing

Before defining what content marketing is, let us get to know what content is all about. Due to too much noise around content marketing these days, the fundamental meaning keeps getting differently interpreted. In the world of online marketing, content simply means information. It is the ongoing conversation between you, and the customer. Although the definition is simple, putting the complete information about your business into a single box is quite a task.

Hence, there must be a process and strategy in place to develop content. Content marketing is a strategy to create and align your business interest around storytelling and branding.

What is it about, and how does it work?

Content marketing is a type of marketing done to attract, engage and acquire customers with a clearly defined objective to drive conversions up. The strategy is to build a community of loyal customers by showcasing how you can solve their problems.

A content marketing strategy works well for your business if you are starting from scratch or implementing an existing one. The Content Marketing Institute states that it starts from knowing your audience first. Then put technology in the right place to have a realistic view of audience behavior and choices.

Where does it fit in the marketing funnel?

The content marketing funnel is a step-by-step process that helps you convert a cold visitor to a fan, customer, or user. This type of marketing funnel is a part of content marketing strategy; without this, it is difficult to achieve your online target. Here, the content is strategically placed so that it helps or influences the customer one step close to the lead.

To successfully convert a visitor from a “visited site” to a “purchased product” is an art. It’s almost a tricky situation, from making the required content, stitching it together with a context, and then analyzing and achieving high results.

Almost all the content we absorb online has a specific task: to make you purchase it. The ads you see, the reels you watch, or the listicle you read about “10 best kitchen hacks to use” have been carefully curated, and products are linked at the right places to get you to buy.

Let’s get started with how the sales funnel works and how it has streamlined the process of online sales.

Content Marketing Phase3 journey

Spread Awareness and Attract

The first phase is called Top-of-funnel (TOFU), where content is the center of attraction. Content is used to build brand awareness, educate the audience, and make them aware of its capabilities to solve issues.

The type of content that can be used here are:

  • Social media posts
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • eBooks

For this content to reach the netizens, you must do a lot of research. Research which consists of:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where does your target audience want?
  • What kind of content market your target audience primarily interacts with?

This research process will help you learn more about your target market, and it can ultimately save you a lot of money in the future. By evaluating the answers to these questions and using tools like Google Analytics efficiently, you can create an optimized content strategy. While making those smart changes, remember not to push your customers towards a purchase.

Enchant and interest the lead

The second phase of the funnel is called the middle of the funnel (MOFU). Here, the aim is to use the content as a sharp weapon to convert already-aware visitors into potential customers or users. The type of content that can be used here are:

  • White Papers
  • Planners
  • Free trials
  • Webinars
  • Newsletters
  • Useful Resources
  • Discount Offers

The fundamental step in this phase is to build a relationship with your audience. Without trust, there is no buyer, so creating engaging content is essential.

While you are at it, gauge yourself with specific parameters as:

  • Is this content helping me to convert “likely to buy” customers
  • Am I able to create more potential customers?

Even if you are faltering somewhere, you can focus on creating high-value content because it takes time to build MOFU. Because visitors who have reached the MOFU stage are aware of the product you are selling, it’s critical to have a detailed plan to retain them instead of rushing them through.

A detailed plan for MOFU can exhibit a rich content strategy by giving the audience a great resource to utilize, a striking relationship of trust and relatability, and politely directing them to their services or products.

Desire and Action

The last phase of the funnel is called the Bottom of the funnel or “BOFU”. This part of the funnel acts upon desire and action. Here, the action plan is to convert your retained customers of MOFU into believing that this is the “right” product or service for

  • Testimonials
  • Live Product demo
  • Reviews
  • Side-by-side comparison
  • Freemium product
  • Sales calls

At this phase of the funnel, content creation effort is less required. Because all the stages were built around it until now, it is time to re-engage and constantly remind the product or service’s value.

  • Keep in mind if the content’s call to action is still in place
  • Is the buying process of a product straightforward?
  • Is the messaging of the product done right?

When someone is purchasing online for the first time, trust and results come as a steppingstone for revisiting or recommending products. So, a free trial, reviews, or testimonials gives qualified leads a sense of trust to purchase your product or service.

Is Content marketing same as SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not Content Marketing. However, when used together, they are the perfect recipe to achieve a great result in the digital marketing universe. It is easy to get confused between the two, but they are simply different marketing strategies at play.

SEO is a continuous technical process to improve the quality and quantity of website traffic by attracting visitors through search engine results. It is tied with content marketing as each website requires keywords, quality content, and articles.

Earlier websites didn’t bother much about the quality of the content; placing the right keywords helped them with a higher rank. But time has changed, and so has the SEO strategy. SEO strategies have been shooting up lately with the rise of content optimization software or AI-assisted content. But the fundamental strategies are still in place, and there’s no way you can skip over them.

To have the best of both worlds, the content does not have to be good; it must be more. Superior content must have a quality backlink and updated content.

Is it effective for growing online business?

For an online business to flourish, consistent effort is the critical strategy. Here, the constant effort is content marketing — creating relatable content that identifies with your brand, promoting it across various social media platforms, and successfully generating sales from it.

You can reap the benefits of content marketing by consistently creating content marketing campaigns through the influencer market, raising brand awareness, conducting webinars, and publishing articles.

Types of Content Marketing

We have already discussed the different phases of a marketing funnel; let us look further for the types of content marketing material to accelerate your business reach.

TOFU

BLOG POSTS

A blog post is a way of putting together information, images, opinion, and insights. It is designed chronologically so that the recently published one comes first and encourages engagement from the potential audience.

A blog is a constructive way to put your perspective and provide information to customers, simultaneously optimizing for SEO.

E-BOOK

As we all know, E-book is short for an electronic book because it is the digital version of an actual book that can be read on a computer or e-reader device like Kindle. It is neither a long-format article nor just a plain collection of facts and information. Instead, it is a potent resource ground that arms customers with helpful information. For example, an eBook about mental health can focus on depression, anxiety, and mood disorders and help a reader book a therapy session with you.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Social media posts are the most creative aspect of online marketing. You don’t sell a product; you sell a story, experience, and memories. It is essential to focus on what your customers want and how to have an engaging conversation with them.

VIDEOS

The significance of video marketing is getting more attention as we are stepping further into the digital world. Brands are moving away from the traditional ad world and investing in creating more appealing content. If you are thinking of getting started with video marketing, then there are two basic rules: extensive research and thorough planning.

MOFU

WHITEPAPER

A whitepaper is written to explain or provide customers with in-depth solutions, results, and unbiased information. It might sound not very interesting, but it’s different from what it is perceived to be. Whitepapers can be both i.e., utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing by including charts, surveys, and lucid formatting.

Cybersecurity Photo

For example, Capgemini’s whitepaper on Cybersecurity in automotive is a comprehensive overview of this topic. It has visually appealing images and tables explaining information in detail.

NEWSLETTERS

A newsletter is an exciting way to interact with your audience, and marketers are highly acting upon it. Most of the time, people are interested in purchasing new things that solve current issues. And if your newsletter is not refreshing, competitive, and updated, then this dreaded unsubscribe button can be used swiftly. So, curating a newsletter semi-monthly or biweekly is a must to nurture a relationship with your audience.

Moz

BOFU

WEBINARS

Webinars are modern-day seminars. Content marketers are adding webinars to their bag of effective strategies to convert a lead to a customer successfully. A webinar is more productive and cost-effective as it connects over a global platform and educates the audience. They are more versatile in terms of live streaming, interacting with the audience, and most importantly, the customer can revisit or replay missed information.

For example, SEMrush hosts educational webinars on various topics like market research, SEO Tools and search engines to help engage learners.

Semrush

CASE STUDIES

Content marketing case studies are the living examples that make you believe that content marketing strategies pay off. In the last stage of the content marketing funnel, case studies, testimonials, and reviews help both buyer and seller. It provides an optimistic lens to a buyer while building the seller’s confidence.

Content Marketing Strategy

A content marketing strategy is a detailed plan for building your audience by creating, publishing, and distributing frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into customers.

The strategy not only gives higher ROI but also develops relationships with your audience (who could turn into customers) so that they keep coming or give you a recommendation.

The following are part of a typical content marketing strategy:

  • Know your audience
  • Analyze content goals
  • Content Creation and Content Calendar
  • Content distribution and Publishing

Importance of content marketing in business models

Content matters like never before when you want to reach SMB or modern consumers. Creating engaging content is the fundamental rule for promoting your products or services. But when it comes to implementing effective content marketing strategies, digital marketers usually speak from the experience of a business-to-consumer (B2C) perspective. Social media posts going viral may not be helpful in the case of business-to-business (B2B) organizations.

For example, a Volvo ad appearing on a consumer’s smartphone will be of little help to them. Because the ad display specifically targets commercial truck customers. Unlike a Land Rover ad which is consumer-centric. So, different strategies are played out for B2B and B2C target customers. Below is a great infographic that illustrates the difference in a simplified manner.

B2B vs B2C

B2B Content markteing

Content for the Buyers Journey

B2B buyer’s journey varies from the B2C buyer’s journey. In B2B you can see it has a longer sales cycle, and the decision to do a business also takes time. Here the strategies take the same path as the traditional advertising journey but with a fresh twist of information presentation. This content is marketed using social media, a great tool to build brand awareness.

A reported survey mentioned that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level executives use social media while purchasing. Let’s explore some of the best ways to engage B2B decision-makers and help you have a leg up in the competition.

  • Understanding buyer persona is the first step to strategizing content marketing goals. Identifying and solving customer challenges will help you research and get to know your target audience.

For example, financial institutions use customer due diligence (CDD) to have a simplified approach in a complicated field. With a CDD in place, it helps financial institutions to know their potential customers better and help them with suitable services and products.

  • Unique content creation and diversifying it also help to reach new markets. If you are publishing content through the same channel and not getting traction, it is essential to catch and fix the bug. Alongside blogs, eBooks, and case studies, you can educate customers with the help of videos, workshops, or topic clusters. Because marketing is more than selling products here, it is about solving problems.
  • The purpose and intent of the content should be thoroughly planned, and definitive goals must be set. Defining goals helps you with lead generation, increase social reach and have a visible impact on brand awareness and visibility.

SEO can drive more traffic to your content and achieve your marketing goals. It supports your content marketing efforts when you refresh your content feed, optimizes it with high quality, and use the right keywords.

Google Search

B2C Content Marketing

Overall Level of Content Marketing Success

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) survey reports that B2C marketers can gain more success by creating brand awareness and creating sustainable content to drive profit. Business to consumer (B2C) content marketing is about formulating your methods and practices to sell your products and services to customers while generating revenue, increasing sales, and building relationships.

We will help you build a strategy that will help consumers find a solution to their problems and interest in your products.

  • A consumer buyer persona will reveal the type of content you need to build, keeping your product at the center. It’s imperative to prioritize consumer emotions and value. This will help you grab attention and give them a reason to avail of your services.
  • Here, the sales cycle is short. End consumers don’t go through the layers of budget approval. So, targeting buyers with content like blogs, videos, infographics, and resources will help them make quicker purchase decisions.
  • Content promotion is an essential step in the content marketing strategy. Be it on social media, newsletters, or online communities, promote it everywhere on the digital wave. Having buyer interaction while content promotion gives a significant boost to your campaign. Collecting consumer feedback and giving them a chance to get involved with your product and service enhances your social media engagement. This helps in providing better leads and expanding markets.

The Neekan Advantage

We at Neekan have been helping clients across a wide spectrum of industry verticals in crafting a tailor-made content strategy, plagiarism-free, high quality, original, creative content, and digital marketing. With our consulting and digital marketing expertise, we promise to bring you the best-in-class solutions that will convert your leads to customers sooner than you think.

Content marketing in conjunction with digital marketing produces stunning results in gaining customers and retaining the existing ones. If you need to see your content marketing strategy in full action, you can feel free to contact us.