4 Examples of Effective Content Strategies for Small Businesses

It is becoming increasingly tough to stand out among emerging businesses and startups offering practically similar products. In a well-saturated business landscape, how does one get noticed? Across Fortune 500 companies and rookie businesses, there is one tool that seems to work flawlessly and consistently: unique content.

It’s easier said than done. An effective content strategy takes time to perfect and needs plenty of research and meetings to produce. As a small business, your goal is to leverage as much of today’s technology as possible and capture the attention of your customers with the best tools available. This is important because you’re also working with a small multi-tasking team, and you can’t get the job done on your own.

Of course, there are several marketing principles that have stood the test of time. Whether during the time of the door-to-door salesman or now in the thick of ecommerce, these principles remain  relevant:

  • Building strong customer relationships
  • Establishing credibility in your niche and market
  • Developing your strategy with the end in mind
  • Maintaining agility amidst changes

Unique content can help you stay true to these principles in the most cost-effective way. With unique content, you can demonstrate that your business may be similar to others, but that you are a notch higher with better customer service or with a product that offers more.

We looked at several emails from some of the brands with the most effective email content strategies and came up with a list that you can refer to. Most of our examples are on email, but you can use the same elements in other platforms like social media and online advertising.


Video marketing

More than 8 in 10 marketers believe video is the name of the marketing game. The popularity of stories and social media has led to the rise of video as a major communication tool—and marketers are leveraging video in their digital marketing strategies more than ever before.

Your small business can definitely benefit from a video marketing strategy that takes advantage of information such as online memes, news, and the latest causes. Don’t forget that while it is important to be relevant to your customers today, you can maximize costs spent on videos by ensuring that they have a long shelf life. This means that whether you choose to use the video now or next month, your customers will find it fresh and relatable either way. 

Check out this holiday email from rentalcars.com, which includes a video that subscribers can watch on the email:

Source: Really Good Emails

Good design

Many people equate content with design, which is why it’s important for your business to identify a consistent and compelling design concept across all your promotional and marketing collaterals. This is crucial for maintaining your brand identity, regardless of the platform that reaches your target audience.

A poor, slow, and clunky design will discourage subscribers from reading your email, so make sure that it loads fast, is readable, and  is visually pleasing to the eyes. Not only that, businesses that are design-focused deliver 32% higher revenue growth and 56% higher shareholder return, on average.

To learn about good design, try creating your newsletter and asking your colleagues to provide their inputs. A newsletter will help you master the different elements of an email or promotional material, and will point you to the right design principles to make your material more appealing.

Most of the time, designs don’t have to be complex. Check out this minimalist email from Reserve, which features high-resolution food photography:

Source: Really Good Emails

Personalized infographics

Beyond beautiful photographs and great layouts, customers are also attracted to well-organized data. If you think your market analysis and research are useful in many areas of your business, not just with decision-making. 

Crunch numbers for your customers—who can use a little education on your business stats and what it means for them. The second part is extremely important because only then will they will take an interest in the numbers you present to them.

As you know, infographics are a great way to illustrate business relevance. Many companies leverage customer data they’ve collected over time to build greater brand awareness and loyalty. Here’s a snippet from an email sent by Vimeo to its subscribers:

Source: Really Good Emails

Interactive content

From chatbots to polls, surveys, podcasts, and webinars, companies have discovered several tools to make their emails come alive. Interactive content will distinguish your brand from the usual marketing that people see and will make a lasting impression on them if used effectively.

For example, on your website, you can install a  24/7 chatbot that will help customers navigate and explore your products and services. You can provide a name and a face for this chatbot, who will answer frequently asked questions from your customers and lead them to a sales representative should they have a very specific question. As you collect more data, you can update the chatbot and eventually automate most of the customer service aspect of your business.

Penguin Random House  sent this gamified email experience to their subscribers:

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

This year saw many content marketing trends that helped small businesses grow, but marketers are also looking forward to trends in 2020 that will propel further growth and utilize emerging technologies in new ways. Remember the timeless marketing principles mentioned above, integrate them into your content strategy, add a dash of technology, and watch your business fly.

At the end of the day, it’s about using all the marketing tools available to you. Regardless of the platforms, you use to promote your brand’s content, just keep in mind that email is one of the most effective channels you can use to reach audiences and build meaningful relationships with them.

A vast majority of small businesses use email more than any other channel because it provides them with the highest returns. By adding automation into the mix, automation, email can become the most valuable tool for a budding business.

Ash Salleh is the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor, where he works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimization. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.


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