How Content Marketing Can Help Grow Your Small Business

????????????????????????????????A common misconception is that content marketing is only imperative for large businesses.  Companies such as Red Bull, Nike and Apple have all used content marketing, which has helped aid in their great success. However, what some companies cease to realize is the impact that content marketing can have on small businesses as well. Whether your company has deep pockets or just a few pennies to throw at content marketing, there are options available for small businesses with all size budgets. Here are a few companies that made the leap from insignificant to well-recognized brand because of their content marketing efforts.

How would you feel if you received an $87 million paycheck?

In 1954 Magnolia opened its very first photography and stationary store, which soon thereafter began selling electronics as well. After four decades of simply maintaining sales, a man named Roger Parker helped completely transform the business when he launched the “Buyer’s Guide Place.” The content available in the “Buyer’s Guide Place” helped put Magnolia on the national map, and in 2000, Best Buy acquired Magnolia for $87 million. The Magnolia team attributes the sale to their content marketing strategy. Previously, Magnolia had been doing little to no marketing up until they created a seven step content marketing plan that changed everything.

These are the seven steps that helped transform Magnolia’s business:

  1. Refocus your prospect’s attention
  2. Create a hub for your content marketing
  3. Offer relevant support
  4. Set your message apart through design
  5. Nurture your content
  6. Scale your content
  7. Sell your content marketing to your employees

Magnolia was fortunate, in that while they were small, they were able to spend a good amount of marketing dollars on content, but what about companies whose pockets aren’t quite as deep?

Small Investment, Huge Return

Unlike Magnolia, DollarShaveClub did not have much money to spend on content marketing. They did however create a very short and inexpensive YouTube video that only cost them $4,500. That small investment produced content that went viral to the tune of 9.5 million views. Not to mention the company’s Facebook following increased by 76,000, and 23,000 followers joined the company’s Twitter page.  Most noteworthy, though, is that they received 12,000 new customers in merely two days! At the time the video was created, the two founders Michael Dubin and Mark Levine had zero employees. The video helped take their company to the next level, and currently they have over twenty personnel and have raised roughly $10.8 million in financing.

The small budget that DollarShaveClub was able to pull together proved to be very valuable for their businesses, and in order to properly produce the video it was necessary. But what if you’ve got no marketing dollars at all? You could always let your audience create the content for you, right?

No Money? No Problem

You’d probably be pretty excited if your business grew 50% in less than a year. The founder of Good Greens, Keith Pabley knows exactly how that feels, and he has content marketing to thank. In 2011, the company’s sales grew $50,000 per month by simply reaching out and establishing connections with local bloggers, who “plug” for and help promote the company’s various products at no cost on their own websites. With over 30 local bloggers in the Cleveland area, it has helped greatly in driving traffic to both their stores and website, and has even helped with their Google optimization. Through these relationships, Pabley was able to drastically expand his business, and it cost him absolutely nothing.

Even if your company cannot afford to spend money on content marketing in the same manner that Magnolia and DollarShaveClub did, there are still numerous free strategies to help build your business. In Joey Hall’s blog he notes 6 free content marketing tools that can be very beneficial to companies both big and small.  Any content marketing that a company can pursue is very beneficial, and small companies can really explode through the use of it.

It is important to note that these success stories contained one common element. Quality, engaging content. Make sure that any content marketing your company undertakes is of high quality and contains information that is relevant to the company’s audience.  Producing content just for the sake of producing it is not effective, and will not help further your business. Having a big budget is not imperative for creating strong content marketing. There are numerous inexpensive/free content marketing tactics that have proven to be successful by businesses of all sizes: blogs, newsletters, videos, webcasts/podcasts, websites, social media, events and mobile apps. Content marketing is the perfect way of getting the name of your business out there and in helping create a strong reputation as long as you do it correctly.

Carolyn HarrityContent Creator

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