A guide to effective content marketing for small business

11 MINS
Eunice Asuncion

Content marketing serves various purposes, from helping your website show up higher in search results, getting new potential customers, retaining a clearly defined audience, and increasing revenues.

According to a study, 91% of marketing pros achieved success with their content marketing. However, the true challenge lies in knowing what content to create. With countless formats and platforms available, the options can feel overwhelming, particularly for small businesses with limited resources.

In this article, let’s discuss what content marketing is, explore some effective content types specifically suited for small businesses, and lay the groundwork for building a successful content marketing plan.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is more than just writing a blog and hitting publish. It involves creating, publishing, and sharing content online. Your content can be in the form of articles, videos, social media posts, and more. Whether it’s emails, tweets, or web pages, the aim is to make people aware of your brand.

But it doesn’t stop there. You can use content to connect with customers at every step of their buying journey. The key is to provide valuable information that the audience finds useful or enjoyable.

Content marketing is a long-term plan that helps businesses of all sizes. Even small and growing brands can use it to build a strong brand, stand out from the competition, and show expertise in a chosen area. Content also plays a vital role in getting new leads, which ultimately boosts sales and conversions.

4 types of content + best practices for small business owners

As an online store owner, you can’t just focus on your products. You must also include relevant content to attract and engage your target audience. Knowing what content to include and how to best do it can be challenging. 

Whether your store is on eBay, Etsy, or you host your own website on Shopify, the content you post can make a difference in site traffic and increase your sales. To help you, we’ve put together a list of the best types of content for eCommerce websites and some strategies that will help you produce it effectively. 

Blog content

Blogging continues to be one of the most popular types of content for eCommerce websites because of its versatility. Blog topics can include just about any kind of format you can think of, but some of the more common ones include news posts, how-to tutorials or guides, reference guides, and opinion posts. They’re also a great way for you to establish yourself as an authority on your products or services. 

Best practices for blog content

  • Catchy headlines. Your readers will often decide whether they’ll read your post based on the headline or title alone, so you must make sure that it’s engaging, relevant, and click-worthy. 
  • Short paragraphs. Many blog readers will pass over content that looks too lengthy. Use shorter paragraphs to appeal to your audience. 
  • Interesting images. Pages that are filled with text-only can look boring and unappealing to the reader, so use interesting or humorous images to break up your text. 
  • Regular posting schedule. When your audience knows that you have a regular posting schedule, they’re more likely to visit your site more often, so do your best to keep a set publishing schedule. 
  • Relevant themes. Tailor your articles to stay relevant. Search trending words or phrases in your industry and give your brand’s input on the subject. Seasonal topics like summer blogs can give your brand a little personality too. 

How to repurpose old blog posts and improve SEO for free 

There’s value in repurposing old blog posts. One, it cuts down on the time you spend writing new blog posts. Two, it allows you to extend the life of your content. And three, boosting visibility and engagement also boosts your search engine results. 

Luckily, repurposing blog posts is not hard to do – and is a very smart content marketing strategy. So, here’s how to get started: 

Identify the blog posts that people liked

Instead of blindly choosing blog posts to repurpose and republish, take a look at your analytics and pick the blog posts and topics that have generated the most page views, comments, and shares. 

Update and republish one old blog post/month

Let’s say you publish one blog post per week. Update your editorial calendar to include one old blog post per month. Update the blog post with new information, remove outdated tips, change up the title and CTA, add new links if applicable, and boom – you’re good to go. 

Write round-up posts

Your blog posts are already categorized by topic, so consider writing round-up posts that include the top posts per category. Include a link to the original post and a summary of the information your audience will find in that post. 

Write a best-of-the-year post 

At the end or beginning of the calendar year, write a best-of post that includes your top 10 (or whatever number you choose) blog posts of the year based on page views, engagement, etc. 

Update and promote old eBooks, guides, etc.

eBooks are not blog posts, but they are likely composed of old blog posts. Furthermore, you probably wrote a blog post promoting it. Hence this suggestion. 

There’s no shame in updating and promoting old eBooks, guides, and other more in-depth content you have created. After all, if Merriam-Webster can update their dictionary every year, you can surely republish an eBook you wrote 5 years ago. 

Turn blog posts into videos or animations

For B2B companies and small businesses, one of the smartest ways to reach your audience is by turning a meaty blog post into a visually stunning video or animated presentation. You can then share it via a blog post and on social media. Work with a graphic designer to ensure your presentation is as polished and beautiful as possible. Yes, this will take some time, but your efforts will pay off. 

Videos 

Video content is modern and visual: two qualities that appeal to today’s online shoppers. Like blogging, you can create video content about any subject matter. Video content for eCommerce websites can show your products in action, provide customers with additional information about your products, and it has been shown to strengthen bonds with buyers and improve customer loyalty. 

Best practices for video content 

  • How-to videos. Whenever you post a “How-To,” whether written or video, you’re demonstrating that you’re an authority on your product. Use videos when the procedure is better explained visually, or when you’re appealing to a younger audience. 
  • Product videos. All online stores should have product videos. Videos provide a clear view of the item, how it works, and its benefits, which helps customers make confident buying decisions. 
  • Publish transcripts. Including a transcript of your video will improve your SEO ranking, as search engines cannot yet handle video as text. It will also appeal to your shoppers that prefer reading. 
  • Live streaming. Videos that allow viewers to engage with brands in real-time are booming as a content marketing strategy. The live-streaming industry grew 99% between 2019 and 2020 and is expected to be worth over $184 billion by 2027.

Social media

You can’t neglect social media content for your eCommerce website. Posts on social media can drive traffic to your main site, attract new buyers, develop more personal relationships with shoppers, and promote sales events and campaigns. Plus, it’s free. Where else are you going to find free marketing? 

Best practices for social media content

  • Engage with your viewers. Social media allows you to have direct contact with your buyers – use it! Remember that you can start conversations as well as respond. For the best relationship building, the street should run both ways. Asking your followers questions is a great way to get conversations started. 
  • Apply the 70-20-10 Rule. Many professional media marketers use this rule:
    • 70% – posts that are relevant to your products, but not self-promotional 
    • 20% – shared content 
    • 10% – self-promotional content 
  • Pay attention to platform demographics. Be sure that you are using the right social media platforms for your target audience. The following are some industry user demographics  for the most popular social media sites: 
    • Twitter – ages 18-29 (34.1% female, 61.29% male) 
    • Facebook – ages 25-34 (44% female, 56% male) 
    • Pinterest – ages 25-34 (76.2% female, 17% male) 
    • Instagram – ages 18-24 (48.2% female, 51.8% male) 
    • Snapchat – ages 18-24 (51% female, 48% male) 
    • TikTok – ages 18-24 (54% female, 46% male) 
  • Use a posting tool. There are many posting tools available that will remember to post for you on a schedule, so you don’t have to set any alarms. It’s as easy as entering your posts and then they will publish on their own when you schedule them. Hootsuite and Sendible are two of the most popular. 

Email

Email should be a staple of your toolkit. It allows you to have direct communication with your shoppers. You can use it to alert them to new sales, campaigns, products, and personalized recommendations. Another useful email is a survey that will allow you to improve your site based on the feedback you receive. While email marketing best practices depend on the type of content you’re producing, there are some general rules you can follow. 

Best practices for email content 

  • Compose creative subject lines. The subject line of an email often determines whether the receiver will open it, so make yours creative and enticing. 
  • Personalize. Use your customers’ purchasing history to create personalized emails. You can offer customized recommendations, let them know when items that they have previously purchased are on sale, or when you add products that fit their interests. 
  • Use transactional emails. These emails are not sent to everyone, but rather they are triggered by a customer’s action on your site. Some examples of transactional emails are:
    • Welcome email. Send this email whenever a shopper registers or enters their email address. Welcome and thank them for signing up and list some of the features of your site and products. 
    • Follow-up email. After a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email to ask for reviews, ratings, or feedback. 
    • Abandoned cart email. This email is a friendly reminder that the customer left your site without making a purchase. 
    • “We miss you” email. Send this to customers who haven’t purchased anything for a while. You may want to include a discount code, free shipping, or other incentives if they come back. 

7 content marketing tips for small business owners

Identify a clear goal

Knowing what you want to achieve before creating content for a business will make developing a strategy much easier. 

See if you can align your content marketing goals with the overall company goals. If the business is unified under the goal of selling 10,000 handmade sun hats this year, make sure your content is aimed toward attracting new customers looking for handmade sun hats. If the current goal is to make the CEO into an influencer in the industry, write blogs that use deep niche market terminology to project expertise. 

Define your audience

Your target market is a specific subgroup of consumers at which your product or service is aimed. By understanding your market, you can know what outlets and publications would be most effective in reaching them. 

Decide on a tactic 

Once you’ve properly defined your target audience and their preferences, you can choose an outlet (or outlets) to reach the customer base. 

There is a wide range of outlets that a business can utilize to reach its target audience. For example, a survey found that 94% of content marketers are using social media as a distribution channel for their content. According to Hubspot, other popular tactics are videos, blogs, infographics, case studies, interviews, eBooks, and white papers.  

You don’t have to limit your content marketing efforts to those few tactics. Hubspot provided readers with 44 formats you can use when creating content. 

Create quality content

You need to put in the effort. While having a single popular and timeless article that consistently attracts visitors would be ideal, it’s unlikely to repeatedly go viral. That’s why you constantly need fresh content. Whether it’s blog posts, eBooks, or social media posts, make sure that you’re up to date on your content. Research industry trends to provide fresh content at least weekly to your readers. 

Track your results

It’s important to track the results of your content marketing efforts so that you can see what’s working and what’s not. Use analytics tools to track things like website traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation. This information will help you improve your content marketing strategy over time. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. What works for one small business might not work for another. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content, formats, and promotion strategies. 

Get help from experts 

If you don’t have the time or resources to do content marketing yourself, there are plenty of experts who can help. At Web.com, we can assist you in creating and implementing a tailored content marketing strategy that aligns with your business goals and reaches your target audience effectively. Our team of professionals is experienced in crafting high-quality content that drives results, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business while reaping the benefits of a strong online presence. 

Start creating a killer small business content marketing strategy

Creating a successful content marketing strategy is more than just making blogs or videos. It means looking at the big picture, including how you create content, how you share it, and the results you want. This requires careful planning, getting things done right, and working together with different people in your team.

It’s important to know that a good content strategy doesn’t happen quickly, but starting the process early means you’ll get to your goals faster and meet the targets you’ve set.

  • Eunice Asuncion

    Eunice is a Content Marketing Specialist at Web.com. With over three years of writing experience, she uses the power of valuable content to not only inform but also inspire growth and success for individuals and business owners in the digital landscape.

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