Developing a successful small business content marketing strategy requires juggling a lot of balls, with each one representing a key component in determining how your strategy pays off.
If we keep in mind that only 30 percent of B2B marketers report that their organizations have an effective content marketing strategy, it’s worth the time to reflect on whether your strategy is really providing you the return on investment you expect. That reflection should begin with what is arguably the most important part of any small business content marketing strategy – the bottom of the funnel.
To clarify: You can view your content marketing as taking place in 1 of 3 places. What funnels in at the top is content such as articles you submit to other blogs and websites to grow exposure for your brand. The middle of the funnel is content that you produce for your own website and social media channels. While each of these two areas can have a significant impact on how successful your content marketing strategy, they don’t have quite the same impact as the bottom.
Bottom funnel content actually helps to capture the most qualified leads and bring you far closer to converting visitors to your website into customers. That’s because this type of content is generally only available to visitors willing to provide personal information like an email address to gain access – which is why what is produced in this area is often referred to as “gated content.” Gated content can range from eBooks and white paper to infographics and templates. However, for this type of content to actually provide the results your business needs, it has got to be worth downloading. So, how do you make it worth the effort?
Producing Gated Content That Has Value
Consider what a visitor to your website has to give up in order to receive gated content. A personal email address, company name, details about their position and the company they work for are all generally on the table. Convincing someone to give up this type of info is incredibly challenging. Once you succeed, you must reward the audience with high value content.
Rather than just repackaging content found on your blog or on social media channels, your most valuable gated content needs to possess the following qualities:
Once you’ve received value from your audience, such as an email address, you need to provide value in return that only your business possesses. Content isn’t worth gating if anyone can find the same information by doing a quick Google search. This is where you need to reveal the secret sauce. If you developed an algorithm to calculate a specific metric or conducted original research that will help your target audience, include this type of information in your gated content.
For example, let’s say that Local Fresh develops a marketing strategy that helps dental practices dramatically reduce the number of appointment cancelations they receive. Since the results of this type of strategy would be important to many of our current and future clients in dentistry, we could gate it on our site. This would help to improve our content funnel by helping to convince prospective dental clients to extend a point of contact so they could obtain such valuable information.
An In-Depth Examination
As attention spans continue to grow shorter, the majority of blog posts and content boosted on social media doesn’t really have the chance to do a deep dive on any particular topic. While a blog post may be limited to between 600 to 1,500 words, your gated content has the opportunity to really shine a spotlight on a particular topic.
This works for two reasons. One, you’ve already captured the audience’s attention and they are actively seeking out more information by providing you with personal information. Presenting them with in-depth information about a topic they’ve expressed interest in means that the idea of reading a 2,000, 3,000 or even 4,000-word article won’t be a turn off, but actually a selling point.
Two, unlike blog posts and social media content that is produced rather quickly in order to generate traffic, it actually pays to take your time when developing more in-depth content. Ideally, whatever subject you decide to go deep on will still have the same relevancy six months or a year from now as it does today or tomorrow. So while it might not make sense to spend hours carefully crafting each blog post you publish, there’s real value spending a lot of time developing this type of gated content.
Make it Easy to Understand
Before you place your deep dive analysis or secret sauce behind a gate, make sure that it’s easy for readers to process, understand, and use the information immediately. If you’ve conducted a study, share the takeaways and key findings – not just the raw data. If you’ve created a template designed to improve workflow for clients, provide instructions on how to use it. This is the final stage in providing value and a great opportunity to show potential new customers or clients just how much your business is capable of doing for them.
Local Fresh Can Help
Gated content ranks as one of the most important aspects of any small business content marketing strategy. As part of your closing technique, the content you produce must have enough value that readers feel it’s worth giving up personal information to obtain what you have to offer.
Local Fresh can help your small business give its audience the tools they need to quickly and easily use your gated content. From content creation to identifying the most effective platforms for improving the size of your audience, our content marketing specialists can help your small business realize its goals.