Marketing Done Right
People love small businesses. And I’m not just saying that; the data backs up my claim.
A 2014 survey by UPS showed:
- 41% of people supported small businesses over large business (even if they had to pay more).
- People think small businesses have higher quality products than larger competitors.
- Respondents believe small businesses positively impact the local economy.
- 94% of people think it’s important to support local businesses.
When small businesses combine this likeability with great content marketing, amazing things happen. We’re seeing it time and time again with examples in various industries.
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You don’t need a huge marketing budget, and you don’t even need to invest in every area of content. It’s simply a matter of finding your niche and serving your audience. And that’s exactly what these small businesses have done ...
1. Old World Inn
The Old World Inn uses content to assist travelers on their own site, as well as on others. One of the best examples of their marketing approach is the way they use TripAdvisor to connect with travelers:
2. Riverside Foods
Riverside Foods uses its newsletter for the typical purposes, including new product announcements, weekly sales and special savings.
But it also goes a step further by including things like recipes that utilize ingredients you’ll find in the store and on product lists. It’s a great way to offer extra value to its local shoppers.
The Birchbox blog gets updated a couple of times a day with short, simple and straight to the point posts. Even though the articles are quick, they’re still useful — which just goes to show that content marketing doesn’t always have to mean 2,000-word posts.
4. Core Power
Good content marketing builds relationships — and Core Power does a great job of this. One example is the company’s #helpfulyogi campaign which engaged their audience by answering questions they had about yoga.
5. Folly Theater
Instead of turning their phones off, Folly Theater asked viewers to leave them on. Their interactive mobile app let the audience interact with cast members and impact the performance.
Mint.com isn’t small now, but when Aaron Patzer first launched the site in 2006, it was a small fish going up against an ocean of major banks.
Over the company’s first few years, Patzer used blogs, infographics, slideshows and videos to grow the site to 2 million users — all by being helpful and providing great information.
7. Good Greens
Founder of Good Greens, Keith Pabley, didn’t have a large marketing budget. Instead, he conducted blogger outreach to increase the mentions and reviews of his nutrition bar. His efforts paid off when his sales jumped 50% in four months.
8. Ozone Coffee
Ozone Coffee uses its content to reach a hyper-targeted audience of people with a passion for social responsibility. Their content educates on ethics, which has powered a strong brand story and a mission that people can love.
9. Plow & Hearth
Plow & Hearth, an online retail shop, uses guides to educate customers on different home and garden topics.
10. Yale Appliance
Yale Appliance uses a well-rounded content marketing strategy that relies on blog posts, guides and videos to educate their audience. It sounds simple, but the approach has resulted in a 40% revenue increase for the company.
Magnolia started as a small, family-owned photography store. After decades of no substantial growth, the company released a small buyer’s guide to hand out and include in newspapers. Several years later, they sold to Best Buy for $87 million.
12. Commonwealth Bank
Commonwealth Bank does a great job of publishing content with a blog that covers a wide variety of helpful topics:
Further demonstrating Commonwealth’s commitment to providing helpful content, the company has released all of the following developments of note:
13. Williams Sonoma
As you probably already know, Williams Sonoma sells high-quality cookware. But you might not be familiar with the company’s blog — Taste — which features an impressive selection of content in an effort to engage the right audience.
In addition to a beautifully designed blog, AirBnB uses content to help travelers understand exactly what to expect on their trips. Their incredibly useful Neighborhood Guides serve as local travel guides for top cities around the world.
15. Dumb Ways to Die
If you haven’t played the fun game, Dumb Ways to Die, you’re missing out. When you first start playing, you get a bit addicted to the silly challenges to avoid death.
Then, at some point, you click over to watch the hilarious video with the catchy tune:
At the end of the video, you finally realize: You’ve just encountered one of the most elaborate public service announcements you’ve ever seen. Good job, Metro.
16. Dive Rite
In an effort to regain lost market share, Dive Rite started approaching their content more strategically. As a result, they were able to construct a brand story that strengthened their image, while a comprehensive content audit showed gaps where they could introduce new, helpful content.
After implementing some basic tactics — like building the website on a CMS — they launched Dive Rite TV. This video series revolved around gear training, tips and how-tos, and has since increased the company’s web traffic by 65% without spending anything on advertising.
17. Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward
When the market started crashing in 2008 and 2009, it certainly wasn’t a great time to work in the real estate industry. But Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward didn’t let the bleak outlook stop them.
Instead of throwing in the towel, they launched a high-end magazine, Completely London, to set themselves apart from competitors. And it worked.
In the beginning, DollarShaveClub had no employees and a very small budget. Instead of pinching pennies and holding back, they invested in a video about the company.
After spending $4,500 on the video and its related advertising, the company gained 23,000 Twitter followers, 76,000 Facebook fans, 9.5 million views and 12,000 new customers.
That’s the power of a great piece of content.
Australia-based Upskilled provides certificates and diplomas covering a wide range of topics. The company use a combination of blogging, helpful guides and email marketing to build authority with their audience, including the company’s free “How to Land the Career of Your Dreams” report:
20. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Recent recall aside, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams serves as a great content marketing case study. The company’s sales were consistent, but owner Jeni Bauer needed more.
After nine years in business, she published a recipe book that landed on the New York Times bestseller list and has propelled her growth. She’s now one of the fastest growing ice cream brands in the US.
Which of these small businesses has inspired you most? Do you have any others you’d like to add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Header Image: Flickr. All other images are from the websites listed in the numbered sections in which they appear.