Whenever a client first embarks on content marketing with us, we talk about the importance of making content useful for their audience. Our favorite suggestion is, find out what questions people are asking and create content to answer those questions. You can take it a step further by finding out your customer’s pain points and offering solutions in your content. See that? Useful content, the stuff people will want to stop and read. With recent uncertainties and many small businesses struggling as a result, helpful content marketing is now more important than ever.

First and foremost, please don’t stop marketing

don't stop marketingWe’ve talked about this in a more recent blog post, the concept that you should not stop marketing during tough times even though that’s what a lot of companies do. Sure, be smart about your marketing spend, and make sure you can see an ROI from your efforts, but don’t stop! Why? There’s a lot of historical data that shows how companies who not only forged ahead with marketing during tough times but even doubled down on marketing, came out well ahead of the pack when things got better again. Those business owners savvy enough to think long-term will continue marketing, making their marketing message stand out and remain top of mind when consumers are ready to spend again. Another reason to keep marketing efforts intact is the affordability of marketing during an economic downturn. Ad costs go down when demand goes down. Inventory for ad space in print and online become more readily available and may be priced right to sell. This same concept may apply to almost any kind of advertising: magazines, newspapers, billboards, radio, TV, etc. Small business marketers would be well-served to take advantage of these opportunities while their competitors sit on the sidelines.

What kind of content can you provide your customers right now?

Chances are your customers are feeling the economic pain as much as you might be, as are your vendors. Dig deep and think of how your content could help them. What kind of ideas, tips, or solutions can you provide to help your customers or vendors get through this? One company that partners with restaurants has started helping promote specials, carryout services, and special menus to help their restaurant partners. You can bet they’re thankful for the additional exposure to potential customers during this time. Or perhaps you can get creative with your current offerings and partner with one or more of your customers for a packaged solution that can help your customers and their customers.

Become a facilitator of word-of-mouth advertising

communicationWant to be helpful to your customers or vendors? Now more than ever, referrals are the gold standard of marketing. Perhaps it’s time to introduce a vendor to one of your clients (or vice versa). Maybe you’re an interior design firm, and you’ve worked with a custom home builder in the past. Do you have other vendors they may find useful, like a custom glass installer, a wood floor installation specialist, or a wine cellar professional? You might even create a content piece that each can use for their own social channels; now, your company name is in front of even more eyeballs! We regularly introduce our clients to each other to see if there is any synergy there; you never know what might work, and your customers look at you as someone who just helped bring in more potential business. They’ll remember it down the road, and perhaps you’re the company that is top of mind when someone they know is looking for a service or product.

Get innovative with new products and services

Been sitting on a potential product or service concept? This might just be the time to dust off that idea and start putting it to work. Innovation during hard times can pull small businesses through while others hunker down, and hope business keeps chugging along. You can even document the creative process in a series of blog posts to give potential customers the inside scoop as appropriate.

Find other ways to leverage your content marketing

ideaNow is the perfect chance to try and reach people in a new way. If you’ve been waiting to open a new social media channel, start a podcast, or otherwise find a new way to reach your customers with good content, this is the time to do it. Experiment and find your groove in new ways. Step beyond blogging and try these new outlets for your helpful content!

Tough times can paralyze small business owners, but look at this as an opportunity to shine! Need some help brainstorming? Strategic Marketing Services provides intelligent marketing for small businesses. We’d be happy to chat with how your small business can weather this storm and come out ahead of the game. Get started on creating your helpful content marketing now!

Patty Hughes
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