10 tips for SMEs on how online content can drive new business

What makes your small business different? How do you reach new customers? How do you stay in touch with your current customers?

Using content cleverly on your website and in social media can help you reach more people more quickly and convince them to contact you, rather than your competitors.

Online content – copy, pictures, video, audio – is the key to better results on search engines, external links and convinces site visitors to get in touch. It’s also crucial to making the most of social media – an empty facebook page, blog or twitter feed is a poor advertisement for your business.

Small business owners can gain a huge advantage by thinking like a publisher and planning their online content strategy carefully. Here are ten tips for using online content to attract enquiries and build new business:

1. Think niche

The more targeted your audience and your product or service, the better. General topics are well served, but specialist knowledge is highly valued. Carefully define your ideal customer and what you can do for them.

2. Be useful

What is your customer’s problem and how can you help them solve it? Practical content – how to, buyers guides, case studies – helps people and positions your business as an expert.

3. Focus on keywords

If you want to gain enquiries from search engines then choose your keywords carefully – focus on your niche and use the language of your customers, not your own jargon. Keep these keywords in mind when planning all your content.

4. Be personal

Small businesses bring a personal touch, and win business through referrals. Make sure your staff feature prominently on your site, and you have plenty of testimonials from happy clients.

5. Become an expert

You surely have some specialist knowledge – make sure this is communicated online. Consider writing for other publications or speaking at conferences to build a reputation.

6. Find a wordsmith

Copywriting is an art. If you have someone in your team who can take on this task, congratulations. If not, then build a relationship with a freelance writer who understands your market.

7. Plan a publishing schedule

Once your core website content and reference articles are complete, you’ll need to create a plan to add content regularly. Search engines reward regular updates and it’s essential for social media. Think like a specialist publisher and build a schedule.

8. Build relationships

First time visitors don’t become customers overnight. If you can provide a regular source of useful information, via an email newsletter or a twitter feed, you’re reminding them of your credentials and they’ll contact you when they are ready to buy.

9. Encourage feedback

Ask your visitors to comment on your blog, review your products, write testimonials, take part in surveys or polls. It’s scary to start with but if your product is good, they’ll be your best advocates.

10. Become social

Social media eats content, so have your publishing plan in place before you launch a dozen profiles. Be selective, focus on platforms where your

audience is likely to be. Publish in many places online and your network will start to market on your behalf.

About the author: Carolyn Morgan has a background in specialist magazine publishing, across print, live events and the web, providing a unique

insight into creating compelling content for niche audiences. She now advises media businesses on digital strategy, and also runs workshops for

SMEs on online content strategy. Find out more at www.penmaen.media or call 07887 625229.

Learn more about how to create a content strategy for your business that generates new leads in a one-day workshop. Dates 29 Sept, 14 Oct, 20 Oct, at Stoke Rochford nr Grantham, £60 plus VAT inc refreshments, lunch and notes.

Call 01476 531009 or email joanne.moscrop@nwes.org.uk to book a place. More details on the content workshops.