Are you a small business owner looking to unlock the power of content marketing and draw more customers your way?
You’ve probably heard that “content is king” when it comes to digital marketing, but how do you make sure your valuable message gets seen in an increasingly noisy world? Whether you are a plumber, a maid service business, or even an up-and-coming lawncare company, by following this simple guide on content marketing, you’ll be able to find success online.
Keep reading to learn about effective content creation for local businesses like yours.
Introduction: What the heck is content marketing, anyway?
Content marketing just means creating content in order to attract and retain customers.
Content marketing for small businesses can take on many forms, such as blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars, e-books, and more. But usually, when small business talks about content marketing, what they mean is adding a blog to their website and sharing useful information so they turn up in Google searches. A blog also gives the business something to share on social media besides advertising — hopefully, something customers and prospects will find helpful and useful.
Some businesses find it works better to create their content in video or podcast form instead of as a blog. And some businesses do all three!
The secret to a successful content marketing strategy for small businesses is to provide valuable and relevant information that helps build a strong connection between your brand and its target audience. For instance, a plumber might share information about how to protect your pipes in freezing weather, and a lawncare company could share posts about common weeds and pests or gardening with native plants. When local homeowners — potential prospects — go to the internet with their questions, they’ll find your business waiting for them with answers (and perhaps a free trial offer for your services.)
Content marketing can help businesses reach potential new customers as well as strengthen relationships with existing ones by providing helpful material that answers their questions, educates them — or even entertains them. Content can drive high-quality organic search traffic to your site, build trust, and showcase your team’s expertise in your field.
How to create a content marketing strategy for small business
Creating an effective content marketing strategy for a small business is essential for success, but knowing where to start can be daunting.
Just follow these steps and you’ll have a handle on it in no time.
1. Establish objectives for your content marketing
The first step is knowing what you want to accomplish with your content marketing. For most businesses, that means:
- Attract potential customers to website with content
- Entice them to take action: schedule a service, sign up for a free trial, join a mailing list, etc
- Stay in touch with existing customers by sharing new content via email and/or social media
- Establish a strong reputation as a local industry expert
Your goals might match these exactly or could vary somewhat, depending on your industry.
2. Define your target audience
A target audience is a specific group of people to whom an advertising message is addressed. It might include characteristics such as age, gender, interests, income level, geographic location, or lifestyle.
To create compelling content, you need to know your target audience and speak directly to them. Knowing your target audience helps you tailor the content of your blog post so that it resonates with readers and encourages them to take action. This is easier to do if you know exactly who you’re speaking to. For example, a maid service targeting young single professionals would have a very different focus than a maid service targeting upper-class suburban wives.
Ultimately, developing a deeper understanding of your target audience will help you craft more compelling blog posts that make an impact on potential customers. This is one of the biggest keys to a successful content marketing strategy for a small business.
To get started, ask yourself these questions about your best potential customers:
- Where do they live?
- What is their income range?
- What is their age range/family status?
- What are their biggest problems, related to your industry?
- What questions do they have?
- How can you help them?
3. Make a list of long-tail keywords for your business
Long-tail keywords are phrases of 3-5 words that users might type into a search engine.
By targeting long-tail keywords, you’ll focus on specific phrases that have less competition but still drive traffic to your website. Unlike generic, short keywords that are used by thousands of businesses and have a lot of competition, long-tail keywords are more targeted, making it easier for potential customers to find their way to your website.
For example, a lawn care service in Missouri might not be able to get on the first page of search results for “lawn care.” This is because there are too many competitors around the country competing for that.
But they might have success (and attract more local traffic) with long-tail keywords like:
• Best grass for Missouri
• Lawncare service St. Louis MO
• Professional lawn mowing in Missouri
• Hot summer grasses
You can use a keyword tool like Ubersuggest to find long-tail keywords related to your business or industry.
Create a list of as many long-tail keywords for your business as you can — you’ll be using them in the next step.
4. Create a content calendar
A content calendar is simply a list of what content you are going to publish, and when you plan to publish it.
You’ll want to create blog posts, videos, or podcast episodes about each idea on your keyword list, and set up a regular publishing schedule so that at least one new post a week is being added to your blog. That keeps your content fresh, which impresses Google.
Your content calendar should include target dates to write, edit, and publish each piece of content, as well as dates to share it on social media and in your email newsletter.
So, for example, if your writer submits work on Monday, your designated editor can read through it and publish it on Wednesdays, on Thursday it can go to social media, and once a month you can share that month’s posts in your company newsletter by email.
5. Optimize your posts for SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is how you make sure Google knows what your blog posts are about.
By optimizing your blog posts for SEO, you can make sure that your website appears higher up on search engine result pages. This can help you attract more visitors to your website and boost business.
Generally speaking, it is important to use your keywords several times throughout your post — especially in headings and titles. Also, make sure to link back to relevant blog posts or other websites if necessary; this helps with SEO and can be beneficial for networking purposes.
Finally, set up an account with Google Search Console so you can submit your work for faster indexing.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy for a small business requires understanding your target audience, researching long-tail keywords, creating content calendars to plan out posts in advance, optimizing for SEO, and submitting work to Google Search Console.
Once you attract that traffic to your site, you can offer them the option of scheduling their first appointment online if you’re using ServiceWorks software. The platform lets you offer online scheduling and also helps with scheduling, routing, customer service, processing payments, and so much more. Check out ServiceWorks with a free trial and see why some ServiceWorks customers say it’s like an extra employee in their back office.