How To Grow Your Small Business with Content Marketing

How To Grow Your Small Business with Content Marketing

Service-based small businesses are unique in that they revolve around client scheduling and appointments. One of the newest forms of marketing, content marketing, can be applied to service businesses, but it doesn’t get a lot of airtime connected to this type of business. We think it’s time for service businesses to get their own guide to content marketing.

Here are our top tips for how to grow a service business through content marketing.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is any kind of marketing based in the creation of useful informational content. So, that could be a blog like this one, a podcast, videos on Youtube, or even events that you host with a focus of dispersing useful information. The key to great content marketing for small businesses is to create content that your potential clients are already looking for, and that sets you up as an expert or generous community member in your field. Content marketing is a form of marketing because it draws in people who will be interested in your services, but it’s not a direct sales pitch. Good content marketing is focused on helping people with information, and is an indirect sales method.

What Does Content Marketing Look Like for Service Businesses?

So, content marketing for service businesses would focus on information people might be looking for about services you offer. If you’re a chiropractor with an unusual technique, write a blog or host free informational meetings about how your services work.

If you run a landscaping business, instead of accidentally turning a blog about landscaping into a pitch for your services, remember to focus on the useful information first. Try a blog about how to take care of your lawn through the four seasons, or about how to buffer your property against climate change. The call to action should be subtle, maybe located at the end of a blog post or just located on your website where you host the blog. The information should be something your clients can use before or after they hire you.

Service businesses are uniquely positioned to use content marketing because they’re all about service, and good service is all about communicating value. That’s where content becomes your calling card. Content marketing isn’t about convincing people to hire you right now: it’s about showing why you would be the best choice when they’re ready to hire someone because you offer the most expertise on the subject. If you have ever liked a salesperson, you might notice that they’re using a similar sales technique. They’re offering genuine help and information and value up front, and cultivating a relationship so that you think of them when you’re ready to buy, rather than pressuring you.

How To Do Content Marketing for Small Businesses

Say you run a marketing mentorship service for professionals in the real estate industry. You could use content marketing by creating a video series to reach new clients by showing them an overview of how to handle marketing in the industry. If they hire you, they know they’ll get more in-depth content as well as interaction with you. But it doesn’t have to stop there. What if you also used your videos to teach them how to do content or other forms of marketing for their business?

Content marketing works best when it’s targeted to a niche. Here’s how to get started:

  • Do some Google searches on what people are searching for in your industry. Is it marketing tips? Ways to network? If you look online at other industry blogs and videos, some trends will emerge.
  • Ask around. Would people find a blog on a certain topic you’re an expert in valuable? Often if you ask questions of colleagues or clients, you’ll find the answer is just slightly different than your initial idea.
  • Try a blog or a simple video series on Youtube. Link your content to your social media pages. See what is popular, and do more of that. Don’t expect it to result in direct sales like advertising. Use it as your calling card, your way to engage with people in conversation. Content marketing is like your online business card. People will remember you by what you put out there, and it helps you stand out from the other people in your field.
  • Be sure to track blog traffic and social media engagement to see which topics people respond to, as well. That can make or break your efforts, and show you what people are looking for.
  • Don’t be shy: branch out. Once you have a blog you can keep up with posting to and maybe a static video series of information about your services, offer to speak at local events or on the radio to talk about subject areas where you have expertise. Don’t want to speak live? Create guest posts for media, or host an event where you invite others in your industry to speak. You’ll still be establishing yourself as an important industry player, and you won’t be hogging the spotlight.
  • If you can’t keep up with all this, don’t worry. Content marketing is something you can have a marketing manager or content marketing agency handle for you. As you grow, you can delegate it to others. Just be sure they understand how to write to your brand, speak in a tone your customers connect with, and understand your industry as well as you do.

Laura Cowan

Laura Cowan

Laura K. Cowan is a tech editor and journalist whose work has focused on promoting sustainability initiatives for automotive, green tech and conscious living media outlets. A deep study of narrative journalism, storytelling and sustainable technology allows Ms. Cowan to draw out the meaningful stories of best practices from diverse professionals in an exploration of the culture and trends in emerging industries. She is currently Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Midwest tech news blog, Cronicle Press. Ms. Cowan’s writing and speaking have appeared with Automobile Quarterly, Writer Unboxed, Inhabitat, CNBC, The Ann Arbor Observer and The National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

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