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4 Dos and Don'ts to Improve Your Content Marketing

Suppliers' content marketing strategies have produced mixed reviews from small business owners; some simple rules will help

Over a third of the marketing teams that target small business customers say they will make content marketing a priority over the next year. This makes sense, given that 58% of small business owners now consume general business information from suppliers.

But although the will is there, the skills and experience often aren’t. Marketers are rarely clear on how to craft a good editorial plan for their content, and a haphazard content strategy – or just plain bad content – can often do more damage than not investing in any content marketing at all.

Right now, small business owners are divided about the content that’s aimed at them. CEB data show that, while 36% of small business owners feel their suppliers’ content is too “salesy,” 34% say they find it helpful.

Owners tend to consume supplier content to learn more about a topic or a way to overcome a business challenge (an accounting problem, or how to improve their marketing, for example), and can become frustrated if they feel they are being pressured to buy something. And, if they get frustrated, they may stop considering that supplier all together.

Four Dos and Don’ts of Content Marketing

Marketers should make their content appear less “salesy” by primarily aiming to make it improve brand awareness – and using measures such as how much of the content was viewed or how engaged people were with the content – as opposed to using it to try to sell products and services (and the more straightforward financial goals that come with that). There are four simple dos and don’ts involved in getting content marketing right.

  • Four dos of content marketing to small business:

    1. Produce content based on specific interests of small business owners.

    2. Source or repurpose information from those that influence small business owners.

    3. Produce bite-size or “skimmable” content but that still has enough weight to be informative.

    4. Focus on ways to help readers, viewers, etc share your content.

  • Four don’ts of content marketing geared to small business:

    1. Produce content that talks about your specific products and services.

    2. Produce content on topics where you lack expertise (to use an egregious example: such as a printer manufacturer producing content on who this month’s 10 most popular celebrities are).

    3. Produce long-form content, unless you can add something substantial and unique to an interesting topic (an original, simple, and cheap way for small business owners to protect their customer data that doesn’t involve buying the supplier’s products, say).

    4. Focus on selling via content.

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