Content Marketing for Small Business: 7 Powerful Tactics for Small Budgets
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
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.
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
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:
- Segmenting Your List
- Collecting Customer Feedback
- Improving Email Copy
- Using Email Sequences and Workflows
- Leveraging Autoresponder Emails
- Maintaining and Cleaning Your Email List
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 eBook.