The best Internet marketing strategy on a small business budget
"Are you looking for the most effective way to spend a small business Internet marketing budget?"
Creating high quality content is arguably the single most effective Internet marketing strategy that any small business can use.
Great content can drive valuable organic search traffic, build social influence, and generate a long term, stable return on investment.
This article highlights why content is so effective as a strategy and examines the ROI (Return On Investment) of content in comparison to other types of online marketing.
Content is the best
The difference between content and virtually any other type of strategy is that content has a long term, cumulative effect, that is far more stable and predictable than other forms of online marketing.
Content is for long term growth
For the sake of argument, let's assume that your budget is $1000 and that, via a Google Ads PPC campaign, you bid $1 per click (depending on your niche industry, this can be as high as $30, or more).
It's not hard to work out that you will get 1000 visitors to your website. But, once that $1000 is gone, the traffic dries up.
If you haven't managed to convert a sufficient number of visitors into paying customers, you're left with a negative ROI.
Now assume that paying a highly skilled and proven blogger to generate content for you results in 10 excellent articles, that are highly relevant to your target audience.
With a bit of social sharing, and some patience, it is likely that these high quality articles will begin to drive organic search traffic via the selected SEO keywords targeted in those articles.
Over the course of a few years those ten articles will likely drive far more traffic than 1000 visits.
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Check out How to make a blog profitable, which analyzes the return SME Pals generates from a single blog post - it will definitely get you excited at the earning potential of good content.
Content generates authority and trust
Not only will content generate more traffic overall, but the bounce rate will be lower because people are arriving at something that is valuable and interesting to them. This builds trust and authority, which makes readers more likely to convert - either immediately, or down the line.
Content improves page rankings
The presence of high quality content on a small business website will also improve its overall page rankings and this leads to benefits across the board - meaning that other pages will likely begin ranking better too.
Content is a platform for engagement
By creating great content you also create the opportunity to engage with other influencers and potential contacts within a niche.
Content is the voice of your business online. Without good content to back you up, social interactions grow the authority and influence of the social networks themselves - not necessarily your business.
Content is a way to draw traffic out of the social media sphere and onto your business website.
Be smart; use content to build up social influence, and a following in social media. This can be used as a powerful marketing tool, in its own right, down the line.
Read Talking about other people is the most powerful way to get more traffic for more on how to do this.
What is high quality content?
In order to fully harness the marketing potential of content, it's really important to understand the distinction between content and high quality content.
Let's take a quick look...
Content vs. high quality content
In Internet marketing terms, high quality content is focused on a target audience, well written, informative, engaging, useful, and valuable in some way or another to that audience.
Competition for organic search traffic is fierce, and there are likely hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pages that are going to compete with your content.
Unless the content you generate is more valuable to a specific group of people (your target audience), it's simply not going to have sufficient impact to warrant high page rankings and appear at the top of search results.
As a strategy, it is better to do nothing than waste time and effort creating mediocre content - the results of both strategies will be the same. No traffic.
Read how to blog for more.
Content based Internet marketing
Regardless of whether you are creating content in-house, or using a top SEO consultant, there will always be expenses that need to be budgeted for.
If you're going to go with a content based strategy then it is important to get some SEO guidance and/or in-house SEO knowledge.
Read 5 reasons why hiring a top SEO consultant is crucial for small business to find out why this is so important.
If you are just starting out then it is vital that your website has fantastic SEO features built-in, in order to give your business a fighting chance of ranking well in organic search.
Check out Which website builder tool is the best for SEO? for more on website design and SEO.
As time goes by and your business builds up more content, and therefore more traffic, it becomes more important to analyze and refine tactics and SEO.
It's not always easy to do this manually, so you will need to explore and use some decent quality SEO services. Check out The top five SEO services for small business, 2012 for a list of the best SEO services available online.
By choosing a content based Internet marketing strategy it is possible to make the most out of your precious budget. Plenty of good quality content offers a sustainable, long term strategy for generating targeted, valuable search traffic.
Where are you planning on spending the business' marketing budget in 2013 and beyond?
Share your thoughts and tips in the comments.
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