5 easy content marketing wins for digital beginners
This blog post was written by Vanessa Green, Owner, Greenlight Content
If you think you’re the only business out there without a digital presence, think again. Research from the Ontario government reveals 40% of small businesses in the province do not have a website.
You read that right – forty percent! That’s a shocking stat.
So now that you know you’re not alone, how can you improve your company’s digital profile? While the world of digital marketing can often feel overwhelming, there are actually a number of amazingly easy – and cost-effective – ways you can start (or improve) your content marketing efforts.
I’ve given a quick run down of five easy ways that digital novices can get started with content marketing right now.
1. Create a blog
A lot of business owners fear the blog. What do I write about?
The answer is pretty simple: you write about what you know.
What are the biggest pain points your customers have? What are some trends in your industry right now? What are the biggest mistakes customers make when purchasing your product or service?
Famed business speaker and writer Ann Handley has a book called ‘Everybody Writes’ and she says it best here:
If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means we are all writers.
As a business owner you have the unique ability to see your business from the top down, to see challenges your customers face and also what inspires them. So, write about it! Most websites have a blog function built-in, so all you have to do is start typing!
Do you own a retail store? Write a top 10 list of your favourite store picks for the holidays. Are you a salon owner? Talk about the hottest new hairstyles for 2021. Run a physio clinic? Talk about simple desk exercises and stretches people can do to reduce lower-back pain.
You have all the content in your head – you just need to get it onto paper (or a screen). If you need help coming with titles, try HubSpot’s awesome blog idea generator.
2. Start a newsletter
There are a number of inexpensive email marketing options out there. Try MailChimp for as little as $10/month. Shopify has also recently released an email marketing platform as well. Choose one of their existing templates, add your brand colours and logos – and you’re all set!
Once you’re ready to send your email, what do you include? Easy, just add links to your blog posts (above), relevant and interesting news you’ve seen elsewhere (you can link to other people’s content), company updates, funny memes, etc. If you’re keeping your subscribers informed and inspired (and you’re not spamming them every day) then you’re doing a great job! Get more tips on creating an email newsletter with this handy checklist from HubSpot.
3. Create buyer personas
Your customers are your best promotional tool. So, ask for feedback and get quick, positive soundbites you can use in your marketing. One easy place to get these reviews is on your Google Business Page.
Better yet, conduct persona interviews to build a profile of your ideal customer. This means asking questions like ‘What need did my product or service fill? What other providers did you consider? What publication do you tend to read to stay informed and inspired?’ Once you’ve done a few of these interviews, you’ll begin to see patterns forming around different types of customers. Use these insights to create persona profiles. You can then tailor your content (like blog posts) to target those specific buyers.
Need help? Hootsuite offers a great free buyer persona template.
4. Create a killer offer
People love a bargain – they love feeling like they getting the best possible price on their purchase. Especially if they’re trying something for the first time. So why not offer a 10% off discount to new members? You can offer it as part of the deal when they sign up to your newsletter as an incentive. Or consider a refer a friend discount where people receive a percentage off their next order when a friend subscribes to your mailing list.
If you need help designing a discount offer, why not try these free coupon templates from Canva?
5. Build up your backlink profile
Backlinks are exactly what they sound like – links on other sites that ‘link back’ to your site. Search engines put a lot of value on these links because it shows them that that other sites vouch for your content.
So how do you get these backlinks? Try and get listed in local business directories like Yellowpages.ca,Yelp.ca, Canadian One, Profile Canada, and directories related specifically to your industry.
These directories are a good starting point, but the real value comes from guest blogging on other sites – here’s a great list of publications by industry currently accepting guest blog posts.
Another great way is to become a source for reporters is ‘Help A Reporter Out’ or HARO. HARO is a great service that allows you to sign up for alerts, based on your industry, when reporters are looking for sources or quotes. A link in your local or national newspapers website would be an invaluable backlink.
Other places to get backlinks are membership organizations you’re a part of, like BIAs, Chambers of Commerce, and alumni networks like college or university or event your high school.
If you still need more help, feel free to ask the professionals. Check out Digital Main Street’s list of accredited vendors to help you put your plan into action.