Content Marketers Can Deliver Great Information Products to a Targeted Customer Base
Fortune 500 companies have long had the technological resources and investment capital required to build sophisticated content marketing solutions—and to manage huge amounts of demographic data relating to their prospects and customer bases. Many of these firms, such as Best Buy, Proctor & Gamble, Microsoft, and Amazon.com, probably know more about us than some of our relatives do. They also do a terrific job of delivering relevant and compelling content to different segments of their prospect bases.
Smaller companies, however, have had to rely on media companies to deliver their message to their targeted buyers . This has certainly been true with print publications and, until recently, online as well. Affordable technology is now changing all of the rules.
Just a few years ago, it would have been laughable to imagine that a very small organization could create and maintain a Web site that could be updated daily—and that would allow visitors to interact and even buy products and services. Today, this is not only possible but pervasive. In fact, a 10-person company may be able to outmarket a 10,000-person company in a carefully chosen niche.
There are four core components underlying the shift in the technological balance of power away from media giants and toward companies of all sizes:
- The ability to create sophisticated online publications such as Web sites, digital magazines, and e-newsletters
- The ability to manage huge amounts of data relating to current and future customers
- The ability to leverage social media to engage targeted customers
- The ability to do each of these simply and inexpensively
A sophisticated Web site that would have cost $500,000 in 2001 can be replicated today for $5,000. Even solopreneurs with a modest amount of talent and training can put WordPress to use to build a blog-powered website. Ann Porter with KitchAnn Style : Unique Design for Distinctive Living delivers a simple but image rich website/blog that illustrates her design knowledge and visual sense. She did this on her own at no cost.
The same is true with the online equivalent of circulation development and management. Print publications must still invest enormous amounts of money in acquiring and retaining subscribers. But, online, mailing list and eNewsletter software that integrates with social media costs less than $100/month even for a sizeable mailing list of 10,000 or more. Constant Contact powers the NextBus monthly newsletter which reaches 1000s of transportation executives at a cost of less than $50/month. This technology powerhouse delivers sophisticated transit solutions that benefit millions of bus and rail passengers. And, their small staff and modest marketing budget can achieve results that outshine much larger organizations. They also use WordPress to power their news site.
Social media may be the ultimate leveling force as small company content marketers can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to build an interactive community of customers and prospects. Often, as with George Bowers Grocery in Staunton, VA, they can outcompete Kroger on Facebook in the local market. Click here to read more about their creative approach to social media. In fact, they have increased their Facebook fans/likes by almost 40% since we first wrote about them in January 2011.
Low-cost, easy-to-use Web technology and the emergence of business-friendly social media solutions now enables medium-sized manufacturers, small companies, or one-person service firms to build online content solutions that are more sophisticated than what most media companies were putting online just a few years ago.
In fact, with focus, creativity, and a little outside help, these smaller organizations often do a better job of providing targeted content that fully engages their best customers than do some of their billion-dollar competitors.