A no bullsh*t guide to growing your small business through content.
So you’ve signed on the dotted line, registered your fancy .com, set up your WordPress with a lead capture form, came up with some cool product descriptions & even hacked together a badass logo.
So… where are all the customers?
Your customers are off playing hackey sack with your competitors, blissfully unaware you even exist. Have you ever heard the saying “build it and they will come?”
Well it’s stupid. Build it and it’ll sit there gathering dust while you burn away money on your Shopify or WordPress subscription fees.
Growing your business online is simple: find an affordable way to get in front of your target customers.
Sounds simple right? The tricky part is figuring out where your target customer actually hangs out.
Let’s say you’re selling lampshades to golf players in Denver — where do these guys/gals hang out?
Well, Denver, probably. And in lamp stores — or golf courses?
So you’re probably thinking, “Alright, great, so I should travel to every golf course in Denver, right?”
Wrong, internet stranger.
Ultimately, it’s about being efficient — yes, you can go to the physical place your customers are in and maybe run into half a dozen potential customers a week. Or, you can go to an online forum dedicated to your target customer (golfingenthusiastslookingforlampshadesindenver.com?) — there, you might be exposed to 50 or even 100 possible customers a week.
That’s still not much. So where do thousands and thousands of your target demographic hang out?
Well — the internet.
Alright, I’m being cheeky here, but really: Google. No matter what your business is, Google is probably the place where most of your competitors hang out a decent % of the time.
How to sell on Google
So now you’re thinking, “Great”, I’ve wasted 3 minutes of my life reading about this magical place I can find my target customer, only to find out it’s “google”. Just wonderful.
Well, how do you actually sell on Google?
You have two options:
- Naturally show up on search engines when your target customers search
- Artifically show up through ads
That’s it. Those are your only 2 ways of selling to customers on Google — start showing up on search terms, or pay to start showing up on search terms.
Pay-per-click is saturating
If you’re a small business owner, paying for adwords can be a massive sunk cost. For starters, it takes a long time for your ads to start becoming affordable- they have to optimize and take a ton of babysitting to get right.
Second, CPC costs have been dramatically increasing across platforms for the last decade. It gets increasingly expensive over time to advertise on Google, which means you have to find smarter ways to reduce your ad spend to compensate.
Paid ads are not a reliable way for small businesses to sell on Google.
So what’s left? Well — showing up on Google organically.
Enter, content marketing
Alright, most likely you knew a lot of this stuff already and I just wasted a bunch of your time. But hey, you’re still here! Which means either you hate yourself or I’m doing something right. Or both — you are a business owner after all.
I’ll be more concise from here on out.
Here’s how you grow your small business using content marketing to rank on Google.
- Write often. Twice a week, 800–1000 words. That’s the sweet spot.
- Share everywhere. On LinkedIn. On Facebook. on Twitter. On FB Groups. On Forums. Anywhere you can find eyes, post it. The incremental sharing here and there will compound over time.
- Don’t worry too much about keywords. One of the biggest mistakes new founders make is obsessing over keywords for their content. This is because of the next point…
- Write on topics that are useful to your target customer.
That last point is the most important one. Stop worrying about keywords — just write. Write content that your target customers want to read. Stop with the buzzwords.
Sounds a bit short for a “guide”? That’s the point — content marketing is not hard. It’s like compound interest — if you add a little bit into the pot, week by week, the shares, views & SEO rankings will gradually increase. If you write regularly, and write honestly, you are guaranteed to grow your web traffic.
Just write. Write often.
(Or, *cough*, just use ContentFly)