Planning and implementing a marketing campaign can seem out of reach for small business owners. Having smaller revenue streams and less capital than larger companies limits the strategies they can implement.
And, not having employees dedicated to marketing or the resources to contract that work out to third parties is a serious handicap that is can be tough to overcome.
What to do?
Content marketing is one of the best options that a small business with limited resources can choose. A content marketing campaign is both affordable and easily achievable, even when a business is on a shoe-string budget.
Unfortunately, creating a content marketing campaign is still a labor and time intensive process that can easily overwhelm anyone who is also trying to keep their head above water.
Here is a three step process that will enable any small business owner to quickly launch a content marketing campaign in the most affordable, efficient and effective way possible.
First Step: Do Your Marketing Campaign Research
In this step you’re going to gather the information you need to make the rest of your marketing strategy possible.
This is the specific information you need to find out:
Who is your audience?
This is an easy question to answer, you know who your customers are already; your past and current customers should reflect the audience you’re selling to. Now comes the tricky part – you need to find out what type of content your typical customer consumes, what their needs are, and where they go to find new information. Think of each fact you learn about your target audience like the concentric rings of a target; each one leads you closer to the bullseye of converting site visitors into leads (or even customers).
What’s Your Competition Doing?
Study your competition; see who is having the most success with a content marketing campaign and look at what form their content takes. Is your competitor seeing success with video, email marketing, free digital content, or some other content format?
Do you see a way to improve on what others are doing?
Don’t reinvent the wheel; learn from both the successes and failures of others to create the most effective content campaign for your business with the least time and effort.
Where is your target audience getting their information?
What are the most popular social media sites that your target demographic is using? How does your audience find their information online? What is the best way to “speak” to them with your content?
Next Step: Set Your Goals
Now you need to set your campaign’s goals.
Use the information you’ve discovered to approximate what success you can achieve considering the place you currently occupy in your niche or industry. Then consider your business capacity and create a list of specific goals for your content marketing campaign.
What are you trying to accomplish?
Content marketing can be used for many different purposes.
Do you need fuel for SEO? Maybe you want engaging, shareable content for a social media campaign?
Maybe you’re using content marketing to retain customers? Or do you want your website to convert better? You need to decide what you want to accomplish before you can set up an effective content strategy.
You’ll need to decide on a timeframe.
Content marketing can be a slow and long-term strategy for most business, but there are ways to speed up the process; how much time and money are you willing to invest for quicker results?
Facebook and Google both have paid options to get your content quickly in front of your target demographic. Devoting time and effort into publishing a lot of high-quality content will also speed up your results.
Finally: How Are You Going to Do it?
You know what your goals are now you need to iron the exact details of how you’re going to proceed. You need to draw up a detailed plan of what steps you’ll take and in what order to get the results you want.
Start by separating your campaign into distinct steps. A business blog will need more than a few pieces of compelling, valuable content before you can begin promoting it on social media. You need to build up your social media presence to get the most bang for your buck. An email marketing campaign will need email addresses.
Next, consider who will be responsible for the campaign and what resources you want to allocate to the effort.
Lastly; build flexibility into your marketing campaign.
Rarely does anything go according to plan and the ability to reassess your position and do a complete 180 can possibly save you from weeks of wasted effort.
These steps should allow any small business owner to successfully conduct an effective content marketing campaign even when handicapped by limited resources. A content marketing campaign can be a difficult and at times complex undertaking, but still well within the capabilities of most people who need the benefits of content marketing, but can’t afford to hire the work out.
Watch Nick Leech, Group Marketing Director at Host Europe Group, as he talks about an online marketing campaign that you can do that costs next to nothing or absolutely nothing except for the time that you have.