Does Content Marketing Really Work?

Internet marketers understand that trends come and go about as frequently as politicians issue statements claiming to "hold the line" on taxes. Yet one Internet marketing trend has become a mainstay for small businesses. According to eMarketer, 73 percent of businesses depend on in-house created content and 41 percent businesses integrate user-produced content to form the foundation for their content marketing programs. A recent Google Analytics chart demonstrates why a growing number of businesses implement content marketing strategies. Over the course of 12 months, a small business garnered over a 700 percent increase in visits, unique visitors, and page views over the previous year. This increase is having a direct positive affect on the business's bottom line.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Despite the success of myriad content marketing programs, some small business operators remain skeptical to the potency of the online marketing strategy. The skeptics ask, "Does content marketing really work?" As the Google analytics chart shows, content marketing can significantly increase website metrics, which typically leads to increase sales. However, many business operators who implement content strategies do not understand why sales increase because of compelling online content.

Personal Connection

Although online interactions provide people with quick and convenient ways to retrieve information, the virtual world still lacks the personal touch. Content marketing represents the best way for businesses to "touch" customer prospects. According to research conducted by the Custom Content Council, nearly two-thirds of respondents prefer customized content because it matches their interests and acumen. Over 50 percent of respondents stated they are more likely to buy from a competitor that provides the personal touch via customized content. The personal touch can include funny business stories, customer photographs (yes, video is considered content), and news about community events.

Enhanced Visibility

Google rewards websites that continuously upload fresh, relevant content that incorporate the keywords potential customers use to find businesses. Several Internet studies have demonstrated that a vast majority of online searchers rarely go beyond the first five search results to find the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Powerful content also produces more back links to your business, which represents another metric that Google uses to determine search engine rankings. To land in one of the first five Google search results, you regularly write and update your business blog, write articles for online industry publications that include back links, and publish a free weekly or monthly newsletter

Build Credibility

What do you need that motivates potential customers to visit your website? If you said "trust," then take your place at the front of the class. You build trust by helping customer prospects solve problems or introduce them to new ideas. Once you establish trust among a few potential customers that turns them into lifelong patrons of your business, watch as word of mouth advertising creates high demand for your products and services. One of the best ways to build trust via content marketing involves producing "How to …" YouTube videos.

Content marketing does not involve slapping a few pages of words together and hoping that the words stick to potential customers. In involves thoughtful, quality content. In addition, avoid spammy content that makes every page of your small business website appear to be sales pages. Look at content marketing as helpful information that builds enough trust to close the deal.