Content marketing is one of the hottest ways to find new customers and cement relationships with returning customers. If you own or run a small business, content marketing is an opportunity to drive new customers to your website or into your brick and mortar business that you should take advantage of. However, content marketing is not about blasting your customers with loads of information. Content marketing in today’s marketplace is a way to provide the answers to your customers’ questions, engage them and fulfill their needs in order to establish a relationship that will continue over time.

Provide excellent content

Prospects and customers can be spammed any number of places. It is your job as a content marketer to provide them with content that fulfills their needs. The best content will help them in some fashion such as answer a question, provide additional instructions, offer how-to information or engage them in an enjoyable interaction.

While content can be written, video, image or audio, it does rely on written information to be found in search engines. This search mechanism is provided through a process called search engine optimization or SEO.

Using SEO techniques

Search engine optimization is the method of providing clues to the search engine technology that will allow the search engine to understand what your content is about. Clues are the title, description, tags, and other information that you enter related to your content. Well-executed SEO will match the search query with the right content consistently in order to give customers the results they desire.

SEO techniques start with the choice of topic, continue with the way a piece of content is developed and end with on-page SEO–how the page is set up to present the information to the reader and the search engine. Additionally, pages need to be written for actual human readers which means that the information must be easy to read and meaningful. Understanding the continuing changes in SEO is important if you want to make it work for you.

Related topics and linking

Since the goal is to funnel customers to your door, linking content that is related together is helpful both to give the search engines information about your company, and to draw the reader in. Proper linking includes putting like topics together though links, and sending people to additional pages via links. Linking should be well-thought out and not just haphazardly applied. The search engines will not help promote your website if they find you committing link fraud.

Pleasing the customer

If you look at the end goal of converting a prospect into a customer, then think of the content marketing as part of your customer service package, you can put yourself in the proper frame of mind. Many customers search the Internet to find information before they are ready to buy; therefore your content marketing has the purpose of attracting their attention when they are in the discovery phase of the transaction. Their research and discovery may be completed before you ever connect with them, giving your content marketing the job of providing the prospect with answers that lead to a purchase from your company.