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Content Marketing

Content Marketing for Small Business: 7 Powerful Tactics for Small Budgets

For small businesses, content marketing can be daunting. Even for larger companies, content requires a significant investment, requiring a substantial amount of time and resources. As a result, a lot of small businesses don't experiment with content marketing, preferring more traditional methods of marketing.

However, some of the most successful small businesses use content marketing to achieve their growth.

Sweetgreen has over 165k followers on their Instagram.

StickerGiant made it into the Guinness Book of World Records with a content marketing ploy.

HED Cycling has hundreds of thousands of views on their YouTube videos.

In reality, you don't need a massive budget or team to deploy content marketing that works. In fact, all you need is the right tactics.

Running Content Marketing for Small Business

While you may expect for the secret of content marketing to be your budget, the real success lies in how well you know your customer. With extensive knowledge about the topics, formats, and channels your customer values, you can craft a content marketing strategy that focuses on the most effective initiatives.

We have a few go-to methods we recommend for small businesses, none of which require a large team or unlimited resources.

Tactic 1: Reach Customers Through Text Messaging

If you work in a business that requires appointments, demos, and meetings, SMS texting could be a great way to engage with customers. Entrepreneur.com recommends following a few best practices when incorporating this into your outreach efforts, including:

  • Consider when you send the messages
  • Share your shortcode (what you message from) throughout marketing materials
  • Keep the texts short and under 160 characters

For more information, check out these 6 SMS Marketing Tips for Small Businesses. If you want to branch out more, you can also learn How to Use Facebook Messenger for Your Business.

Tactic 2: Create A Topic Map

You can use a tool like HubSpot topic clusters to create a topic map. Even if you don't have HubSpot, you can make a topic cluster utilizing The Future of Content Strategy. The most important takeaway about topic clusters and maps is 2-3 overarching subjects that relate to your core areas of expertise.

A few brand examples include:

  • HubSpot with Inbound Marketing and Sales
  • Buffer with Social Media Marketing
  • Wistia with Video Marketing and Analytics

Each topic is broad enough to cover the brand's primary services, and can easily be a foundation for more specific content assets. Once you have these topics, you can make 2-3 anchor pages and spin all of your blog post ideas from that. To start, check out How to Create an Effective Topic Cluster and Pillar Page.

Tactic 3: Reuse and Recycle Your Content

To get the most potential ROI from your material, you should not let any of your content go to waste. You can turn a blog post into a video, turn an eBook into a podcast series, and use snippets of that material and reuse it on social channels.

You can also get more from your content with newer distribution channels, and learn how to use Medium for business blogging. A few companies even achieve a lot of engagement with forums, with Neil Patel instructing how to attract 9872 visitors from Quora in one month.

We wrote an entire guide on how to repurpose content across channels. You can download our Repurposing Toolkit: Why & How to Repurpose Content to start.

Tactic 4: Invest in Cost-Effective Video Marketing

You can make affordable videos that deliver a lot of ROI. All you need to do is set goals, create a content strategy, invest in production with a freelancer or an agency, and follow a distribution strategy to deliver the content across the most effective channels. With this approach, you can begin to experiment with video without burning through your marketing spend.

The goal is to allocate your video marketing budget wisely. We incorporate our video marketing into an overall inbound strategy and follow best practices to get more value from our investment, which we explain in, How to Craft a Video Marketing Strategy Without Exploding Your Budget.

Tactic 5: Get Crazy Good At SEO

If you learn how to conduct search engine optimization, you can get even more from your website and blog material. The first step? Learn how to do better keyword research. We have a few go-to tools and tactics to execute flawless SEO, such as the one resource we believe to be the best keyword research tool, hands down.

There are a few more SEO tools that we use every day, such as:

We use these to increase organic website traffic, with 12 tactics that work together to get us month-over-month growth. 

Tactic 6: Make The Most Of Email

Email marketing is still a great way to reach your target audience. You can grow your email list through gated content offers and CTAs in your blog that encourage sign-ups. We have a few tactics we use to get more from email, including:

If you can prepare every email for the best possible performance, and invest in ongoing testing and optimization, there are a lot of opportunities here.

Tactic 7: Get The Most ROI From Sales and Marketing Teams

In Growth-Driven-Design, you undergo a transfer stage after launch. The principle is that after you launch and run reports on your customer behavior, you share that information with other departments. You can also use this approach for any customer research, such as insights coming from your marketing and sales teams.

If you can get access to common questions, areas of concern, preferences, and more, you can use that insight to inform all of your initiatives. You can also get more return from your team by investing in their professional development, such as training, certifications, webinars, and more. When you enable them to expand their knowledge of marketing and sales trends and tactics, they can create more effective materials for your brand.

You can learn how to build the ideal marketing team in our guide.

Point 8: Commit To Reporting and Testing

If you built your marketing strategy correctly, you began with setting specific and measurable goals. You should at least have a baseline when launching new marketing initiatives, or overall marketing objectives to start. Otherwise, you can't measure success or learn from your content. And using these goals, you can create a reporting and testing process and methodology that helps you learn from the material you produce.

As a result, you can ensure you're attributing leads converting from content assets. There are a few additional reporting tools that can provide insight into how those materials are performing, such as Google Analytics, Cyfe, Supermetrics, and more. We're a fan of HubSpot reporting, which gives us insight into sources, behavior history, and opportunities for optimization.

Ongoing Growth With Content Marketing

Content marketing is an excellent way to experience growth in your small business. With content, you can achieve compounding results, generate more organic traffic, and nurture your leads. There are a ton of benefits to content marketing that exceeds the effectiveness of paid media or traditional methods, putting small businesses in the best possible position to get a return on their investment.

When you align your content marketing with inbound efforts, you get even more value. As a result, all of your marketing initiatives will be in sync, and customers will experience a cohesive, integrated experience. To learn how you can create this kind of nurturing and engagement for the best possible audience, download our Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain eBookFree Ebook: Climbing the Inbound Marketing Mountain

Ten Tips Before You Start Hiking.

The Inbound Marketing mountain can be daunting. Have no doubt, even the most experienced climbers are challenged by Inbound’s steep cliffs, changing weather, and long journey. Just like climbing a mountain, Inbound Marketing requires preparation. Be a smart hiker. Download Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain and get ready for the climb.

Our Inbound Marketing e-book offers insights into inbound marketing goal setting, defining and detailing personas, tips for building a team of Inbound Marketers, and key components of your editorial calendar. 

Before you climb, get to know the best places to set-up camp, including Awareness Waterfall, Consideration Cliff, and Decision Divide!  

Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain

By reading this ebook you'll learn:

  • The important questions to consider when setting Inbound goals.

  • Deeper insights into why and how to select personas, to get them right.

  • Key elements of the editorial calendar, the most important tool in your Inbound campaign.

  • How to find content that works best by regularly testing content ideas.  

Grab Your Free Copy

Written by Melissa Elise Randall / February 5, 2019

As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa enjoys writing and curating real content about high-converting websites, content, and marketing tactics. When she's not producing inbound content, she's an avid traveler. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.

Articles by Melissa Elise Randall