When your day is packed with meetings, scheduling, payroll, helping customers, and other pressing concerns, sitting down to write a blog post might not be at the top of your to-do list. It can be an easy item to forget.
But content marketing is more than just writing blog posts. Content marketing encompasses any content your business creates to attract and retain your customers—whether that’s through videos, webinars, FAQs, articles, ebooks, and yes, blog posts. It’s a valuable part of any marketing strategy—especially for small businesses.
Consider these stats:
- Businesses that actively write and publish blog posts get 55% more website visitors.
- 70% of people prefer to get information from an article or blog post than from a traditional ad.
- Content marketing produces 3x more leads (per dollar) than other types of marketing.
It’s clear content marketing is a strategy your small business can’t ignore, and in this post, we’ll share all the reasons why.
13 benefits of content marketing for small businesses
Why is content marketing so important? Here are the 13 biggest benefits of content marketing for small businesses.
1. Helps you get found on search engines
Right now, more than 4.66 billion people use the internet–that’s 59% of the global population. Whether you’re planning for it or not, your customers and your potential customers are looking for you online.
That means establishing your online presence is essential and having an SEO strategy is a must. Building a website is the first step. Claiming social profiles is another. And you want to make sure you have your Google Business Profile optimized, too. That way when anyone searches for your business, they can find information about it online. With content marketing, though, you can start reaching an audience that isn’t looking for you yet.
Related: See how your online presence stacks up now with our website grader!
For example, if you run a landscaping company, you might target keywords like “summer lawn care tips” or “best annual flowers.” People searching for these terms are interested in landscaping, even if they might not be looking to book a service right away.
This supports your SEO strategy because you’re taking the keywords that you’re optimizing your website for and creating additional content to surface for related searches.
2. Leads to increased website traffic
To follow up on our last point, content marketing can drive more traffic to your website. For one, remember companies who actively write and publish blog posts get 55% more visitors to their websites.
The more relevant and valuable content you create in your niche, the more people are likely to find your website and the more likely they are to keep coming back for future questions. The more website traffic and repeat visitors you get, the more your overall website traffic can grow over the long term.
3. Establishes authority
For small businesses online, it’s important that your website is authoritative and credible. You can include trust signals, like customer logos or user reviews, to show your visitors that your business is not only real but effective for real people.
Another big way to establish your authority and prove your credibility as a business is through content marketing. The Nielsen Norman Research group found that having comprehensive, current content is one of the top four ways that a website can prove its credibility:
“In our study, users appreciated sites that contained a large amount of relevant content because it showed that the organization was well informed and committed to helping its customers. For example, participants favorably noted moving companies that presented moving tips such as how to best pack boxes to prepare for the movers.”
A moving company writing about moving tips? That sounds like a content marketing blog post.
It makes sense that businesses offering current, related content seem more credible–and it seems likely that combining trust signals with content marketing is even more effective. If a friend recommends a dentist to me, I might be more interested in checking them out if I see helpful and relevant content on their website that shows their authority.
4. Helps your small business get more leads
All the content marketing benefits on this list are important, but this might be the most significant for your bottom line: Content marketing can help you get more leads (AKA potential customers).
In fact, content marketing generates three times as many leads per dollar as traditional marketing AND costs 62% less.
But how can you generate leads with content marketing? There are lots of options. If you’re writing blog posts, you can prompt users to sign up for a blog newsletter and add them to your email marketing lists.
(PS: We’ve got monthly newsletter ideas for you to try if you want to go that route!)
This newsletter from a moving company includes educational content on their website.
You can also use pop-ups or in-text CTAs to offer a content download. In exchange for the content download, you can require users to submit information like their email address, mobile number, and name so that you can reach out with marketing offers.
If you’re hosting a webinar or event, you can use a similar approach to capture leads (AKA get your customer’s information). Post your event on social media and require the same information to register or set up a paid ad campaign to reach even more users.
The key here is to create high-quality content that your users are interested in so that you can generate leads and grow your business.
Related: See top benefits of digital marketing strategies here.
5. Can help you close more sales
Creating content that engages your readers helps to increase your lead conversion, resulting in more sales for your business. Also, given that more and more people are blocking ads on their browsers, content becomes the most vital way of communicating the value that turns readers into buyers.
The thing about great content is that it’s non-disruptive and naturally invites members of your target audience to engage with your business.
You can also use a content map to create more personalized content for your audience that speaks to their specific place in the sales funnel. This results in more engagement and an increased chance of closing more sales.
Related: Try these creative digital marketing ideas to help you get more customers.
6. Educates your audience
With content marketing, you can use blog posts, videos, webinars, and more to educate your audience about not only your offering, but the larger context of the industry you’re serving.
Here’s a great example from John Deere that the Content Marketing Institute breaks down:
By creating a magazine that was informative and educational about an industry, John Deere built trust with generations of farmers. Even though John Deere didn’t directly sell in this content–and even because John Deere didn’t directly sell here–the company established its authority on the industry and its trustworthiness as a brand. These are two big motivators for consumers when they are looking to make a purchase.
You can foster similar connections with an online marketing plan, too, by avoiding hard sells–or any selling at all–and providing meaningful, helpful tips for your audience. In fact, this commitment to understanding your audience and connecting with them is often what makes a content marketing strategy successful.
In a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 50% of respondents ranked this the most important factor for success:
A content marketing strategy can help your small business reach more people and build brand awareness. With a content marketing strategy dedicated to educating your audience, you can do even more and connect with your audience.
Related: Help your customers understand who you are and what you do. Get our tips for how to write a business description.
7. Helps you compete against top competitors
I know, I know–keeping up with the Joneses is an unending task, but making sure you have the same new power tool as your neighbor is not the same thing as making sure you’re using all the same marketing channels as your competitors.
When your brand isn’t represented where your competitor is, you’re missing out on winning business because you’re not even in the game.
Let’s take a look at an example.
Someone searching for “packing tips for moving in a hurry” isn’t looking to make a purchase, but they are looking for information. Even more, they are likely in the market for moving supplies, like tape and boxes, and even booking moving services.
If a person searches for these tips, they see five moving companies in the search results:
Without a content marketing strategy in place, other moving companies likely won’t appear for similar searches and could miss out on valuable business.
8. Can increase brand loyalty
Brand loyalty is the bullseye. Content marketing helps you gain customers first by converting readers to first-time buyers and then continues to influence those first-time buyers to become repeat customers. Over time, content marketing helps you cultivate among your customers an affinity to your brand and a preference for yours over your competitors. This can help you build a strong brand community and increase customer retention.
9. Contributes to a stronger social media presence
Knowing what to post on social media to engage your audience can be difficult. One of the benefits of content marketing is that it provides a built-in social media strategy because you can promote your content on your social media pages.
Customers (and non-customers) will engage with and share your content if it’s helpful or solves a problem they have. Plus, sharing your content will diversify your posts so you’re not using your social media pages to simply promote your business—but to educate and engage with your audience.
10. Can improve customer relationships
Customer relationships have always been important, but they’re even more crucial now that customers have so many options when it comes to who to do business with. And, we know that customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
One of the benefits of content marketing is that it’s a great way to address the needs of your customers and tackle any pain points they might be having with your products or services. Use FAQ pages, blog posts, and other online resources to provide a superior experience for customers who won’t be able to help themselves by spreading the word about your business.
11. Promotes brand recognition
Have you ever Googled a product and clicked on a website even though it wasn’t the first item in search results? Chances are, you clicked on that website because you’ve seen or heard about it before.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to make your brand so familiar that buyers in your niche are naturally drawn to you when they’re searching for solutions you offer. As buyers are becoming more careful about what they purchase, content marketing is a great way to maintain top-of-mind status with the audiences you want to reach.
12. Supports your other marketing strategies
Aligning all your marketing activities and channels can be a tough call, especially with the number of channels and activities that go into marketing today. One huge benefit of content marketing is that it acts as the glue that binds each channel and activity together to grow your business. It’s a great tool for ensuring that your marketing messages and goals are in sync all the time.
Related: Why brand consistency is so important.
For example, say you create a really great ebook and downloadable checklist about how to prepare your home for the winter. You can promote this ebook with organic social media posts, through Facebook ads, search ads, and display ads. You can also send it to your customers as part of your email marketing. This one piece of content has now helped support your multichannel marketing strategy!
13. Presents partnership opportunities
Another great benefit of content marketing is that it introduces opportunities for co-marketing. Co-marketing is teaming up with another, related business to promote an offer. This is a great way to build brand awareness by expanding your reach. In your promotion, you can get a link on your marketing partner’s website, and you can make sure you’re tagged in their social posts.
Ideally, the business should be related to yours but not a direct competitor. That way, you’re getting in front of more people who will likely be interested in your offering, not people who already found their solution.
The content marketing comes in with the offer: You can co-create and co-promote a content download, and event, or webinar.
Here’s a great example of a co-marketed webinar.
Hosting a webinar or creating a guide can be a lot to start with, though, especially for small businesses just jumping into content marketing. Guest post swaps–where you’re each writing a post for the other’s blog–are also a very light form of co-marketing, and a great place to start. You can get more content for your blog, and you can also get exposure and a link on someone’s website.
Remember that Nielsen Normal study about website credibility, too? Another factor they identified as key for establishing authority is how connected a website is to the rest of the internet.
“An isolated website that does not link to and cannot be found on third-party review sites, social media, or news outlets appears to either have something to hide or not be a fully established, stable company.”
Guest posts, and other co-marketing, make your website more connected.
So co-marketing is not only a great way to broaden your reach, but also a great way to make your website more deeply connected to other places on the internet with links and social media.
Start capitalizing on the benefits of content marketing for your small business
The benefits of content marketing for small businesses are clear–you can make more people aware of your business and offering, you can create meaningful connections with your audience, and you can even start getting more leads. All of these are important steps for growing your business.
To recap, here are those top benefits of content marketing for small businesses:
- Gets your business found on search engines
- Increases website traffic
- Establishes authority
- Generates more leads for your business
- Makes closing sales easier
- Educates your audience
- Helps you compete with top competitors
- Increases brand loyalty
- Contributes to stronger social media presence
- Improves customer relationships
- Promotes brand recognition
- Supports your other marketing strategies
- Presents partnership opportunities
When you think about the impact content marketing can have, suddenly writing that blog post doesn’t seem so easy to put off, does it? Time to get started! We’ve got 22 content marketing ideas to help you right here.