Every year, I have tons of prospects who ask me, “Is content marketing right for my industry?”
Their industries range from local firms, established brands, small businesses, and highly technical companies who make stuff many of us would have trouble understanding.
Either they think they don’t need content marketing because everyone knows they’re there – or they don’t quite know how to explain what they do and why people need their product.
And sadly, they’re wrong on both counts. Content marketing can help businesses in any industry enter new markets and hang on to the ones they already have.
- Content marketing helps you build awareness of your brand and trust in what you offer.
- Even well-known local mainstays can benefit from content marketing.
- Businesses in highly technical niche industries especially need content marketing to unpack difficult-to-understand concepts.
- Small businesses have much to gain by investing in content marketing compared to ads and other traditional marketing tactics.
Content marketing is simply demonstrating your expertise in your industry by helping people in your target market segments solve problems or inform themselves about new ideas that can help them live better lives and conduct business more efficiently. It’s all about building trust and awareness of all you have to offer. And done well, it can help ignite a customer’s desire for what you sell.
The Local Mainstay
Let’s look at what content marketing can offer a local business that’s a neighborhood staple. Sure, longtime residents are aware that it’s there. But what about people who have moved in recently? What about people who plan to move there? And what about visitors passing through?
I have a friend who lives in a small town. Practically everyone is related, and many businesses there have been around for over a century. She works in a content marketing agency in a nearby city, but she can’t talk these local businesses into giving content marketing a go.
One such business leader was a real estate agent who worked for a longtime local agency. When my friend told the agent that she was writing descriptions of rural and suburban properties for big-city real estate agencies, the agent shrugged her shoulders, saying, “I don’t know why they’d pay a content agency for property descriptions. I just write my own.”
When my friend looked at the agent’s descriptions, she did some shrugging of her own. Filled with run-on sentences and a yawnfest of a description, it was no wonder that the agent only had a meager number of listings.
Another one was a local grocery. A few years ago, my friend approached its owner about the benefits of content marketing. Another shrug on the part of the owner. However, this local business did listen.
Although he didn’t hire my friend’s agency, he did take the hint after a few years of wandering in mediocrity. His daughter, who had just graduated with a degree in marketing, lobbied her dad to add some content marketing pieces to his store’s website.
The last time my friend looked at the grocer’s website, she drove straight to his store instead of one a lot closer. What was the draw? A drool-worthy description of their bakery’s signature peanut butter crème donuts.
That store has doubled its quality and its number of customers over the years since it adopted content marketing. Awareness is one thing. Enticement can drive customers to your front door. That store mastered both.
Customize content for local populations: Customizing your content to your local market’s needs, desires, and even their linguistic nuances is the best way to grasp a larger share of the market. Even if you’re a new business, you can get out into the community by becoming involved with organizations, taking part in local celebrations, and sponsoring sports teams.
Localize and optimize for SEO and customer preferences: Localizing your keywords based on customer data – as the store owner’s daughter did – allows you to identify which products will trigger a purchase or another conversion.
A simple change in spelling, such as using “donut” instead of “doughnut,” as well as using words that locals use to describe the taste, helped her capture locals’ business.
She also encourages employees to engage with customers. In the process of those interactions, she discovered their favorite products and the why behind their preferences. Then, she promotes those products with tantalizing words and targeted SEO-optimized content.
(PS – we have a local real estate client who ranks #1 for a real estate agent in [her city] all thanks to our annual content plan and twice-weekly articles about local restaurants, schools, neighborhoods, and home buying tips!)
Optimize for mobile: Optimizing for mobile is a must to get the lion’s share of local businesses. Today’s customers don’t often turn to the telephone book, the local paper, or even a desktop search. They simply head off in their cars and look for what they want on their mobile devices once they get into town. Having a robust mobile presence also helps them find your business and steers them to your door – so keep your contact information current.
Highly Technical Niches
Several factors drive buying decisions: customer experience, authority, expertise, trust, awareness, and emotion. Most tech- and science-oriented businesses nail the authority and expertise ends.
However, building awareness about how they help their target customers — let alone trust – can be a challenge. Experts in these fields often lapse into techie-speak or industry jargon when explaining what they do, leading to confusion rather than awareness and understanding.
With the help of a blog writing agency or an in-house content team, companies in this space can explain what they have to offer in easy-to-understand language. In fact, putting a gifted storyteller on your team can even trigger the emotional aspects of buying decisions, such as user experience and the kind of emotional connection that builds trust.
All you have to do is create a hero’s journey around your brand. Putting your prospects in the role of the hero, positioning you as the wise helper that guides the hero, and introducing your product as the weapon the hero brandishes against the villain can forge the kind of emotion that drives purchases.
Since studies show that 95 percent of all purchasing decisions come from the subconscious mind, it pays to evoke emotion – even when you’re selling something as complex as a newly developed COVID-19 vaccine.
So it was with the marketing geniuses at Pfizer, who capitalized on the heartwarming story of the Turkish couple whose research expertise brought the company’s new vaccine to market in less than a year’s time – an incredible feat.
Their modest lifestyle (they don’t even own a car, according to the Washington Post), as well as their devotion to each other and their life’s work, pulled at the heartstrings of people all over the world, building trust in a brand-new, poorly understood technology. It’s no wonder that the Pfizer vaccine is the one most used throughout the world. (Disclosure: I bought Pfizer stock after getting their vaccine!)
Small Businesses and Startups
If I could have a dime for every small business that’s rejected content marketing as “too costly,” I’d be rich beyond my wildest dreams. All too many of them slap a brand logo on a Facebook page, post their hours, and call it a day.
Then they head off to their local paper and buy an ad. Maybe they even get on Google and take out a couple of paid search ads. A couple of times a year, they might even buy time on a radio or TV station.
What they don’t know is that most of their target customers won’t even see or hear the ads they’ve posted. Over 615 million devices employ adblockers to keep out the noise. And as for space in the local paper or media outlets, people simply ignore them, fast-forward through them, or use the time to go out to the kitchen for a snack.
The truth is, research shows that content marketing produces three times the leads of traditional methods, yet costs your business 41 percent less than paid search alone, let alone those costly newspaper, TV, and radio ads. And, if you use email in your content marketing strategy and target your audience segments properly, you can earn up to 42 dollars for each dollar you spend.
Those numbers are hard to argue with. It doesn’t hurt to give content marketing a try. After all, it looks like there’s a lot to gain.
If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.