Online, content is the king. Strategies for SEO and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) rely on having good content and authoritative links to bring in new users.

But wait a second, you might be thinking: I’m running a business. I’m not here to entertain. I want people to come to my place to buy my products. I don’t have the budget for those glitzy campaigns either. How can content marketing help me with these simple, practical problems?

Content marketing is all about adding value to your product or brand. Ads try to get your name out there and entice people to buy, but this is about improving trust and repeat business. It also bypasses the cynicism most buyers have when confronted by the glut of promotional efforts over the internet. Sharing is caring, and having content that can be shared adds another vector that can lead additional customers to your storefront.

For a real-world practical example, let’s take a microwave oven. There are many competing brands. But if your new purchase comes with a book of recipes and other tips for microwave cooking, wouldn’t you later feel more trust towards that brand than another that just packs its appliance into a bare box? If this practice has already become the norm, wouldn’t you feel somewhat inconvenienced by doing without it? The brand is cheap, and that’s all you can really expect from it.

Add-ons are still content. Recipes on the labels of canned fruits? Content. Articles written about you in magazines? Content. Videos? Content. Participation in cross-media events? Also content. Learn about content marketing to improve how well and how many people may appreciate your business.

For a startup business, here’s a few quick ways to get exposure and a customer base early and inexpensively.

1) Add F.A.Q. section to your site
Frequently Asked Questions section on your website is a great way to inform your customers and solve problems before they happen. Make sure that it’s one of your prominent first page links and that it explains features of your website that your users might overlook. Even for store owners, having a FAQ section is a good idea to deal with questions about promos, sales, and protocol.

2) Use photo galleries
Visual impact is a strong motivator. Use images that show your products from different angles and in use. If you’re a restaurant or service provider, extensive examples of what you bring to the table really helps to make the sale.

Also Read: How to use Pinterest boards for customer research

3) Add video
Content marketing is about improving the brand and inspiring trust. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. Videos as a combination of sight, sound, and as a record of real people doing things, has much greater potential to inspire and inform users. Since it takes time and effort to make a video, most people have a subconscious respect for a site that offers video content.

Those who view videos are 144 per cent more likely to make a product purchase, while there is a measurable increase in conversion rates even for those users who do not watch. The simple existence of a video on the page is enough.

4) Send out email newsletters
No, it’s not email spam. If you gain permission from your network, site visitors and social media followers to sign up to your newsletter, and deliver word about updates and suggestions only about once a week, this actually helps to keep people interested in what you’re offering.

Also Read: Social media versus email: Hype versus reality?

5) Create and update your blog
It seems almost everyone has a blog these days. It will often prove to be your most important content marketing tool. Here’s why…

• Blogs are your property. Unlike other sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, all content in your blog remains your own, and you are not vulnerable to changing terms.
• Blogs are a form of social media. Sharing, commenting, and guest posting allows you to interact with your user base.
• Activity in your blog not only informs your users and clients, but adds to the relevance rating of your site when being searched. Users feel more at ease in a startup business that is constantly moving forward.
• It is a platform for presenting news, announcements, thoughts and policies; text, graphics, and videos. Blog content can be more compelling than most other forms of content.

The toughest part about content marketing is finding the time to do it. But hey, you’re a tenacious entrepreneur. You can do it.

The author is Director of Media Relations and Publicity of Australia-based Digital Habitat

The views expressed here are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them

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