As a business owner, you’ve probably already heard about the immense power of content marketing. That said, unless there’s proof, it can be difficult for a small businesses (SMB) to come up with the resources to invest in content marketing. SMBs typically have smaller marketing budgets in general, and other areas of the business often take precedence, especially when it has getting by with tried-and-true marketing strategies that have worked for years—and perhaps decades.
The truth is, however, if your business doesn’t get on board with content marketing, you’ll get lost in a sea of has-beens, especially as younger customers grow into your primary customers. If they can’t find you on the web—or their mobile devices—they won’t find you at all.
So, let’s take a look at 3 case studies of small businesses across the country that have taken content marketing seriously, with serious results to show for it.
Case Study #1: Take the “dive”
Dive Rite, a small business with 18 employees that sells diving equipment, had just one marketing employee. The SMB faced a unique challenge: their primary buying persona was tech-savvy, but the business was not.
The company tackled the challenge of acquiring these tech-savvy buyers who weren’t even awa
re of their products’ quality and value by developing a content strategy. The strategy laid a foundation for tangible, measurable outcomes. The plan—which included a revamped website, content that featured stories, online and offline opportunities for customer engagement, and a social media component—got results.
Dive Rite was able to increase referral rates, saw site traffic grow by 65 percent, and created a business model that can now withstand an economic downturn.
Brick and mortar success
This case study shows how content marketing effectively saved a brick and mortar business from going under. Today’s brick and mor
tar-based businesses need a solid digital marketing strategy to survive, and in this case, content marketing became swimming pool company owner Marcus Sheridan’s business-saver.
Sheridan saw thewriting on the wall back in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. Not many consumers were looking to invest in an in-ground pool at that time. Now the industry’s highest performer in terms of traffic, River Pools and Spas began a content marketing strategy fueled by passion and desperation.
The content strategy included a multi-pronged approach. The company blog served as a comprehensive answer site to consumer questions about pools. The strategy expanded to include other content products like ebooks that served as give-aways or free reports, as well as videos and podcasts. Today, Sheridan’s success with content marketing has led to the creation of a second business: successful marketing consultant.
Leading the way
A provider of courses on petroleum, Reynolds Training Services employed a content marketing strategy to boost SEO, and the results led to a 200 percent increase in qualified leads—less than a year later.
The company website now ranks on the first page of a (Google) search engine search for the phrase (try it!), and the strategy also incorporated a social media component. SMBs can learn two things from Reynolds Training Services’ outcomes: a highly strategic, targeted campaign based on a continual supply of fresh, relevant content that feeds the needs of the primary buyer persona drives success.Prior to the campaign, the SMBwasn’t generating any leads from its website. With a plan to (1) generate content that would lead managers in the petroleum industry to the website, (2) optimize content to one specific, key phrase (petroleum training courses), and (3) develop content that was useful and relevant, Reynolds achieved impressive results.
Leading experts in the field of content marketing are positive about its potential to drive SMBs. Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing World believes that SMBs have an advantage with content marketing over big business because they “can move faster, [with] less red tape, and fewer silos.” On the other hand, Piluzzi also says the biggest challenge for SMBs continues to be consistency in content marketing strategies.
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Businesses that are convinced of its power and ready to endure for the long haul will ultimately ensure success.