We’re living in strange times. The economic crisis surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more important for small businesses to gain the trust of consumers. Trust generates loyalty, especially in times when nothing is predictable or constant.
Building trust and loyalty among consumers is easy for big corporations with millions of marketing dollars at their disposal. How can small businesses compete, especially when business may be shut down or have limited hours during a pandemic?
But how do you connect to consumers when you can’t connect?
Content marketing is key.
Marketing professionals define content marketing as, “a strategic approach to delivering valuable, relevant content to your customers on a regular basis,” content marketing has become the panacea for every challenge facing small businesses.
Need to relate to customers? Content marketing. Need to build your brand? Content marketing. Need to show your relevance in an ever-changing world? Content marketing.
But how do you “do” content marketing without a fully staffed marketing team and an unlimited budget? How can a small business incorporate content marketing into their business strategy?
Start by talking to your customers on your existing channels.
Places like Facebook, Instagram and Linked In are where your customers congregate digitally and it’s where your message has a chance to connect. Stay active on your social media platforms. If you don’t have a blog, consider starting one. If you do blog, keep it up.
It’s as easy as telling a story.
Tell your brand’s history or relate the story of a customer who found success by using your products and services. Talk about what you do and how you do it. Don’t try to sell – just talk.
Illustrate your story with images.
When possible (and appropriate) show consumers the faces of your company – the people who make it what it is. Content marketing gives you the perfect opportunity to humanize your brand by showing off the people behind your operations. Chances are, your employees live and play in your community, so they’re relatable to the consumers you’re trying to reach.
Show your relevance.
What challenges are your consumers facing and how can you address those challenges? Have you switched gears during the COVID-19 crisis to service a different segment of consumers or provide products you didn’t used to offer? How is what you’re doing right now (whatever the economic or cultural environment) pertinent to the people you’re trying to connect to? These are great topics for any post, from a quick tweet on Twitter to a full blog post on your website.
Stay honest and approachable.
Allow consumers to comment on your posts. The best content allows people to engage and interact. Try to incorporate interactive elements to open up conversations. Ask relevant questions and solicit input. And, most importantly, monitor that input. Address comments, questions, and especially complaints quickly and professionally.
Content marketing isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t require a big budget to implement. Start small and scale up. Post consistently and watch what gets a response then tailor your content accordingly.
Finally, have fun with it.
Content marketing might seem like a chore at first. But eventually it becomes just another way to stay connected with customers.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Visit The CMA.
Here are some of our local favorites who excel at content marketing.
National Museum of African American Music (awesome blog)
Mercy Community Healthcare (rocking Instagram!)
Michael Hyatt Productions (mastering Facebook)
Who do you follow?