Even in the very early stages of my career, when I was in my early twenties, I knew I wanted to run my own small business. The idea of being my own boss, not having to ‘punch the clock’ and not having to commute were all very appealing.
After I felt I’d gained the work experience I needed in the corporate world and when I was confident I could deliver a service that businesses needed ...
I started Sharpe Design Solutions. Since 1997, my business has had its ups and downs, like any small business. There were times when I had “more work than I can poke a stick at” and I was totally focussed on servicing the business I currently had. I was so busy marketing other people’s small businesses that I didn’t have the time, or thought I needed to, market my own!
Then there were times when I had no work and I’d resort to a “panic promotion” or run an ad to try and drum up new business (please bare in mind this was pre website, pre social media, pre inbound marketing!).
And there in lies one of the biggest pitfalls for small business…if you only market during periods of downturn, you’ll have an increased risk of failure. And this is especially true for small businesses because the stakes are so high. Marketing consistently, in good times and in bad, is the key to fuelling business growth.
So how do you start fuelling your business growth? Start with your content marketing strategy. Content Marketing is key to inbound lead generation and there are three simple content categories you can focus on; creating Relevant Content, Indexable Content and Social Content.
1. Create Relevant Content
First and foremost, the content that you create must be relevant, interesting and useful to the people you’re creating it for – your customers. Obviously knowing who your ideal customers are is crucial. Think about what it is they want to see on your website, your blog or your Facebook page. What information can you share? If you’re a B2B company, how about a FREE eBook or slide share or access to the latest survey data? If you sell a product, how about tips and advice, other uses for your product, links to other relevant data etc.
2. Idexable Content
So many of my clients ask me how they can get on the first page of Google search results, organically. Creating relevant, optimized content not only provides your customers with helpful information, it also allows search engines to index your business website on the results page. Keywords are important, but don’t try to add them out of context in an obvious attempt at SEO! Instead, well-written content enhanced with keywords will be appreciated by both your customers and search engines. Adding fresh content regularly is also a must.
3. Social Content
Speaking of your ideal customers, do you know where they are? Of course I’m referring to social media. Do they spend their time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Pinterest? Do they read blogs? From a B2B viewpoint, marketers are often on Twitter, service providers (lawyers, accountants) are on LinkedIn, non-profits [and almost everyone else!] is on Facebook, and designers & creatives are on Pinterest. The content that you share needs to be tailored to each channel. Twitter is short and sharp at 140 characters with a link to your blog or website. Ditto for LinkedIn. Facebook and Pinterest can be more visual.
Getting customers to follow you on social media will be made easier by posting highly shareable content. Before you post, ask yourself “if I was the customer, would I want to share this information with my friends and colleagues?” Post content that is relevant to your industry, provide links to interesting articles and other sources, share your achievements (but don’t boast too much), ask questions and always respond to comments promptly.
By creating relevant, indexable and social content to share on your website, blog and social media channels, you’ll generate inbound leads to fuel your business growth and avoid ever having to run a “panic promotion” again!
Need some help with your content marketing or small business growth? We'd love to chat! Call us on 02 4333 6274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jody Sharpe has over 20 years experience in marketing & branding and is passionate about helping local small businesses grow.