Content Marketing – What??

A marketing initiative that can make a huge, positive impact on your brand awareness and credibility as part of your marketing mix is content marketing.

But what is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the act of using unique content as a way to boost your expertise with your target market through posting articles on a dynamic area of your website like a blog. This written form of content that you post on a regular basis helps your website rank in search engines as well as increases your authority…..if the content is valuable.

How do I get this content “out there?”
Social media is a great way to promote your content and create inbound links to your Blog as is having a facility that allows others to share it to their own platforms. Bath Marketing Consultancy often posts our content to our Facebook and Twitter pages so that our followers and friends can read our free marketing tips and integrate them into their own strategies. We may well post the article on Linkedin if it is aimed at the B2B market.

Any content you create can also take the form of a video, vlog or an infographic and all are perfect for sharing on social media platforms like Instagram, Vimeo and YouTube….which is now second inline as a search engine.

Which in turn, drives traffic to my website? 
Yes. Content marketing is a subtle approach with the idea that you inform visitors about your expert opinion, instead of pushing your products and services directly. Once trust is built, readers will want to buy your products and services.

Why Use It?
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods available as it creates long-term returns for websites. The new pages you create are ranked well in search engines and tend to leave a footprint for long periods of time.

In addition, you can target different search terms with these posts thus throwing your SEO net wider than just the core terms you may well have targeted with your website. For example, if you search for a “marketing consultancy” in the UK, the BMC website ranks top locally and nationally. But, having an area where we post regular content has allowed us to target smaller, more niche terms like “marketing advice in Bath” where we hold the first 5 positions in Google with our posts.

At the moment the trend is slightly against paid content so dedicate time and resources to deliver your content via articles and blog posts that relate to your products and services & then “market” these posts.

However, don’t plug them directly; demonstrate you know what you are talking about and give readers the opportunity to “read more” or “subscribe.” Potential customers want to be informed as on average people will consume over 11 pieces of content before deciding to part with their money. If you can’t provide this content, speak to someone who can as you may well miss out on prospects.

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Create a marketing plan for your start up business

When you start up your business, it is likely that marketing will play a key role in its success or failure. It is also likely that marketing is going to be another hat you try and wear along with accounts, client services; sales……….the list is endless.

It is therefore essential that you have some sort of plan with a loose budget so you what you should be doing; if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. You must consider elements like the potential market size, the competition, your pricing, where your prospects are, their buying habits etc.

You also need to try and outline what the ultimate goal of your marketing is – geographically, profits & margins, client size or even whether you are seeking an exit strategy.

The plan shouldn’t be just about the volume you want, but whether the brand and reach you are creating is achievable. Knowing these elements will dramatically help you construct your plan.
It is unlikely that, as a start up, you have a blank cheque to spend so getting value for any spend is vital. So, break your budget up into small chunks and identify the marketing needed to get you to each point on your journey.

So……do your research. Knowing exactly who your best customers are will enable you nail your marketing. You’ll also waste a lot less and convert a lot more suspects to prospects using targeted campaigns and the right messaging.

Then make sure you have conducted some thorough competitive analysis. Who are your competitors? How much do they charge? What is their customer service like? What are they doing well? Are they dropping the ball in key areas you can do better on?

This will enable you to craft an effective positioning statement, USP and brand.
After identifying your best prospective customers and the right branding, you will be able to better select the best fitting marketing and advertising channels.

We advocate creating a marketing tool kit containing all elements you might need – a website, SEO work, social media, business stationery etc. However, these elements will be a little different for every start up. Your kit may also include TV advertising, outdoor display advertising, print ads, email, popup shops or live events.

All of this requires budgeting and time. Even if you aren’t doing Google PPC ads, Facebook or other paid campaigns, marketing requires a budget and this budget should be viewed as an investment in the business.

You can never afford to stop marketing. When you stop marketing, you stop having a business. If the big brands like Coke and Apple are still doing it with all of their billions and high market positions, then you had better believe it!

But who is going to devise and implement all this marketing activity? You may be a genius at what you do and believe you have a creative eye, but no matter how good you are, there are many platforms and factors to master in marketing so do not shut the door on getting expert help from a reputable marketing organisation.

What is a marketing audit?

Whatever the market your business operates in, it is safe to say that it is likely to be highly unpredictable and competitive and, as such, business owners cannot leave any stone un-turned in their search for growth and development.

One element often overlooked due to time or budget constraints is a full marketing audit.
By pressing pause and taking a serious look at your position in terms of the offer, the target audience, the current route to market and the actual brand. An audit can be a vital instrument to help an organisation establish its position and to identify its possible “difference” in the market as well as what resources and capacities it has as its disposal.

Conducting a marketing audit is one of the best and most sensible investments a business can make for the future.

But, what exactly is a marketing audit?
The Marketing Audit refers to the comprehensive, systematic, analysis, evaluation and the interpretation of the business marketing environment, both internal and external, its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to ascertain the areas of problem and opportunities and to recommend a plan of action to enhance the firm’s marketing performance.

The outlined definition clearly confirms the strategic and operational relevance of conducting a marketing audit, making it an instrument where businesses can dissect, analyse and assess their situation.

About the audit process
Carrying out a marketing audit can be quite time consuming and is often hard to do without bias if done internally, but it should be done by externally based skilled, experienced, and specialised marketing professionals.

Asking the correct type of questions is key to conducting a successful marketing audit. Proper R&D and the right questions unlock a business’s creative instinct and serve to stimulate the thought processes. For example, what time are we dedicating to social media and what has been the ROI?
The marketing audit also provides the business with a clear picture of its marketing function and business environment. It will help him / her to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business.

I believe that the marketing audit process should encourage “out-of-the-box” thinking, since competitive advantage rarely comes from doing the same thing over and over. When businesses offer the same product and service to the same market by performing the same kind of marketing, no business will grow in the long run. In fact, it is likely that others will have conducted an audit and will be reaping the benefits, possibly from your pocket.