Well-planned content can help SMEs extend reach

    154

    by Deriq T. Bernard

    NINE out of 10 Internet users in the Philippines search online for a product or service to buy. As consumers increasingly research products and services online before making a purchase, it is critical for small businesses to have well-planned and engaging digital content on their websites.

    Businesses that effectively integrate an implement a good content marketing strategy into their websites and other online assets have increased chances of growing their business and enhancing their brand reputation.

    Content marketing is the use of various digital tools; videos, blogs, and social media posts to engage an audience—is crucial to building brand loyalty as well. A recent study called “Digital 2019” by social media metrics research firm We Are Social, revealed that 60 percent of consumers use emotional language to describe products or brands they love. This is the same vocabulary used for family and friends.

    Only 3 percent of people would lean towards purchasing from a brand based on their values or corporate responsibility. This authentic relationship building, for the most part, is built by engaging customers through relatable content.

    “Good content is developed with a lot of thinking. Considering what your audience wants and listening to their feedback over time. When you start creating good content, either internally produced content, or featuring well written articles or even press releases, you are doing a great service to your audience. Engaging content is also stimulating content,” Stephen Daryl, content manager of techsauceph.com said. The website is hosted on a GoDaddy server and is built using a premium Website Builder account.

    Developing and implementing a content strategy is not a cookie-cutter exercise—what works for an investment company might not work for a steel manufacturer. GoDaddy, a company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs around the world, recommends that brands define their audience clearly to help determine the right online channels in which to engage them.

    “While there are a variety of online platforms available today to promote brands, it can be helpful for small businesses to start with one or two platforms to deliver your content to your desired audiences, and monitor them to see what is working,” Tina Shieh, Director of Marketing for Asia at GoDaddy stressed.

    It can be helpful to involve internal staff in developing the business’ content strategy especially if their knowledge of the brand is in-depth. But it is not necessary. Many small businesses, operating on a one or two man staff can still produce good content, by borrowing, reposting or sharing content.

    “With GoDaddy Website Builder, social platforms can be easily integrated into a business website for ease of consistency and management,” Shieh added.

    If internal knowledge is still growing, then a small business owner might consider engaging a content expert who can help advise on how to make the brand story more appealing for a wider audience. There can also be increased pride of ownership by staff when they have active involvement in promoting where they work along with products and services.

    Content needs time to build traction. This is important for business owners to realize.

    Unlike direct door-to-door marketing, where there is face-to-face engagement (or rejection) online content marketing takes time to yield results. Experts suggest businesses should give online content marketing from 6 to 12 months to make an impact before switching to another strategy. This allows some time to help a business identify which online channels are more effective than others, and which ones require more development.

    Customer stories as content on a business website can also showcase a venture to its potential target market. These anecdotes are credible examples of how the business treats its customers. And can be added to an online portal over time as these remain evergreen.

    Since there’s really no one size fits all content strategy, it must keep evolving to suit what the target audience is looking for. Recently, much of content marketing has shifted towards video streaming. It is important that businesses know the right length, type, and the right channel to post their videos to help reach their intended audience. But it can’t all be just watchable content either. Useful videos with advice and suggestions, coupled with data-driven info-graphs, can also help engage audiences as they visit a small business website.

    Whatever content is chosen, an important element for small businesses to understand is that their content has to be relevant and appeal to and connect with their intended customers.

    “Content can be a direct and authentic way for brands to interact with their audience. This interaction builds a strong bond that can ultimately lead to positive and more enduring business results while building affinity with customers,” Shieh concluded.