Back in the day, farm equipment manufacturer John Deere cottoned on to how using content – packaged into an appealing, interesting magazine – could help them educate farmers and, by-the-by, turn them into dedicated John Deere customers. Their content strategy worked, and then some. Read all about that case study – and what content marketing actually isover here.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Hmmm, producing a thick, glossy customer magazine sounds pricey. The good news is that the digital age offers up a multitude of ways in which eager entrepreneurs can engage with potential customers through content, on a budget. Here are five creative, cost-effective ways in which you can use content marketing to drive business growth:

  1. Start a Blog – regularly publishing high quality articles of interest to your target audience on a blog is one of the very best ways to drive traffic to your website and keep readers informed about your company, products and services.  All it costs you is a little time and effort. Get started for free at Google Blogger or WordPress (or you can hire a copywriter to write for you!). 
  2. Have an HTML Newsletter – Email newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your existing customer base and to win over potential customers who’ve signed up to receive it (have a subscription form on your website). Including links to your blog articles in your newsletter is another way of upping traffic to your site. Use a free tool like Mailchimp to create and manage your newsletter (or ask us to do it for you).
  3. Use Twitter – You can use this microblogging platform to post useful product or service-related images and videos and links to your web pages and blog articles, both to inform and to drive traffic. But that’s not all – Twitter can also be used to connect and engage with other people in your industry, and to deal with customer compliments and complaints (for more ideas on how to use Twitter in your business, here’s a link to an article I wrote for Franchise Finder).  
  4. Use Pinterest – Move over, crafty moms! This social media site is being used more and more by business people and is proving extremely effective in driving traffic back to websites and blogs (industry experts claim it’s now driving more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined - something we've certainly noticed ourselves!). Include a pretty picture in your blog post, then pin it (along with a link back to that blog article) and watch web traffic soar!
  5. Produce How-To Videos – Think of all the things we search for on YouTube…how to change a lightbulbhow to cook lasagnehow to fix a lawnmowerhow to apply eyeshadow...Sometimes, an instructional video is just what the doctor ordered.  No matter what business you’re in, you can use the power of video to educate, inform and engage. Just make sure it’s well-scripted (use a copywriter!) and well-produced.
For an overview of how to use content marketing to boost your business, check out the infographic below. Note: search engine optimisation and using web analytics are the foundation upon which a solid content marketing strategy depends!

Grow Your Business Using Content Marketing
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