Content Marketing & Small Business
Small businesses are shut out of big media
How did content marketing become such a big deal in the 21st century? It can all be traced back to how last century’s outbound marketing invaded people’s lives too much and didn’t do enough for small business. Outbound marketing is usually interruptive in the form of visual or audio advertising. The main problem with outbound marketing was that you had to do a lot of it to make any kind of impact.
Small businesses simply do not have the budgets to gamble with expensive advertising that may not work. Television, radio and newspaper advertising each require repetition to be effective. But to gain visibility and brand awareness through this type of mass media, it can take several months of advertising to see results, which may not be the best return on investment. Big companies can afford saturating their markets with continuous advertising that can run several thousand dollars per month, but small companies cannot afford constant advertising.
Another problem with traditional media marketing was that it only gave you small snippets of information about the product. It was impossible to learn much about a product just from a newspaper ad or radio commercial. Part of the problem was that the advertiser was only given so much time or space to deliver a message. Last century’s marketing messages encompassed vague slogans designed to be one size fits all solutions.
One of the biggest weaknesses of traditional media advertising was that the target market was not always clear. You could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on reaching big markets, but there was no guarantee that the advertising would generate sales. The broadcast industries blurred the picture further by using questionable ratings research as evidence that people pay attention to commercials. The fact is that media advertising can work, but does not always work.
The internet opened doors for marketers who were trying to get away from last century’s marketing approach that was expensive and invasive. In many cases, advertising was full of exaggeration. A more consumer-friendly approach has developed on the internet that allows marketers and consumers to connect when it’s right for both of them.
Instead of interrupting content with commercials, content marketing provides the information people are already searching for, presented in a digestible way.By designing a series of online messages through blogs and articles, you can educate customers about products much faster than in the past. You can even get some customers to speed up their purchases.
Content marketing avoids hard sell language and concentrates on giving readers the most important product information and then funnels toward web pages devoted to deeper details. By creating thorough web pages about products, pages are indexed by search engines, which can potentially equate to vast amounts of free advertising.
Alternatives to Mainstream Media
The rise of content marketing may not have happened if small business had not been shut out of mainstream media. Expensive advertising led to big business having a heavy presence on local television, newspapers and radio as small companies were overshadowed. Thanks to Google’s AdWords pay per click program small businesses finally found low cost ways to reach their target markets.Google and other search engines have also contributed to customers finding the businesses they are looking for faster.
Take the lead in content marketing by building a website full of content that people are searching for. If you build a small business site full of unique information that cannot be found elsewhere, it’s possible for search engines to create your core market and for content marketing to nurture your market.
Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.
OTR Web is a Certified Partner with HubSpot and Google.
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