January 6, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There’s no question that the current health and economic crisis has shifted priorities for small businesses. However, one priority above all remains unchanged and that’s building a healthy bottom line. Profit isn’t the only priority, of course, but it’s a major focus. Staying profitable means staying in business, and that usually means marketing.
Yet with all that’s changing around you daily, how can you as a small-business owner maximize your company’s marketing efforts while addressing shifting consumer expectations, economic downturns and startups, and different buyer behavior?
Content marketing remains one of the most effective ways to achieve your marketing goals. Succeeding at content marketing in this new economic environment means thinking creatively about content, how you create it, where you publish it, and how it gets promoted. Consider these eight ways to improve your content marketing game right now.
1. Start with a funnel-aware content audit
Conduct a content audit for your brand that takes into account the stages of your brand’s sales funnel. For each stage in your sales funnel, your content should speak to the prospects there specifically. What does that target audience need to know? What do you have to do to help guide them step by step to the next stage? Audit existing content in terms of that funnel so you know where the existing gaps are. That will tell you where you need to focus your energies and prioritize your efforts.
2. Explore in-house content capabilities
Thanks to technological advances, it’s never been simpler or easier to create all kinds of great content assets for your brand. You might also have some unappreciated talent among your existing team members. Capturing images and editing them, short videos, blogging, white papers — all can be done in-house and you don’t need a huge financial investment to make such content creation a reality.
3. Hire a freelancer
Or take the opposite approach and hire a freelancer to push out some top-quality content for your prospects. You don’t necessarily need to agree to a long-term, frequent-use contract. One blog post every week or month, for example, or a white paper each quarter might provide the competitive content edge you need to convert more users into paying customers.
4. Take a fresh look at storytelling
Storytelling in marketing has evolved from buzzword to tested strategy. Now’s the time to look for better, smaller stories — not only the big, grand founder’s story that you’ve already told but also quick-bite narratives from employees, prospects, customers, and even the community at large, including influencers.
Incorporate those stories into fresh content. What narratives help you counter pushback from your prospects? Think about getting testimonials from happy customers by telephone, then incorporating them into video, graphic and written content.
5. Put existing content to (harder) work
Check your analytics for your website and social media accounts, and identify the top-performing and most popular pieces of content. Then look for ways you can repurpose that content and extend its useful life. Update old stories so they maintain their SEO punch. Extend blog posts into white papers. Combine images into infographics. Make case studies into episodes of a podcast. You’re limited solely by your imagination.
6. Get animated
The realities of the current health crisis can mean that it is not safe to put people right next to each other. As a result, making videos can be a real challenge, if not impossible. Instead, explore animated demo and explainer videos.
Agencies can create dynamic, visually captivating and highly persuasive videos for your brand. And these days, video marketing is no longer optional. No other content medium is quite as packed with potential for furthering your message and helping it stick the landing with your prospects.
7. Loosen up on social
If you’ve been uncertain about your social media approach, consider lightening up and letting your personality shine. Lots of brands are crushing it on social media with a little personal flair. Check out brands like Wendy’s and MoonPie on Twitter, or the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on Instagram.
Yes, it’s possible that you might rub a few folks the wrong way, but those who resonate with your brand and your mission might love you even more.
8. Show your audience you’re still there
Digital marketing efforts should aim at getting your prospects to join your list so you can first segment those subscribers in ways that make sense for your products/services. Then send them individualized messages that encourage them down your funnel. Make sure you include calls to action and lead capture forms on your best content. You can also think about ways you can apply the first seven tactics to your e-mail marketing efforts.
At the very least, use your list to promote your content to your existing audience. Send out links when you have new blog posts, videos, white papers, and significant conversations or threads on social media to share.