When was the last time you saw an email subject line that made you smile (they get me almost every time!) and then open it? When was the last time you discovered a blog post that spoke to your passions, values or beliefs - and read every word until the end? How about a website or Instagram account that made you LOL - and share with a friend? These small interactions with brands inspire an emotional connection and experience that can often lead to a powerful relationship with consumers.
So what does this mean for small businesses and marketers? Content can be an effective tool in your marketing toolkit - especially when you're a small business on a budget. You can use your digital content to create these emotional connections and cultivate engagement, brand recall, brand loyalty, and sales for your business.
Did you know that 82% of consumers feel more positive and 70% feel more confident about a brand after reading custom content? Clearly, if you aren’t leveraging content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
In this post we dive into the benefits of content marketing for small business and breakdown the steps you need to succeed.
The Emotional Connection: Content Marketing & Small Business
Research using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) shows that people primarily use feelings and experiences over information when they are evaluating brands.
Understanding your audience’s challenges, goals and mindset enables you to elicit the right emotions and create positive experiences for consumers. Doing this increases the chances of them remembering your brand - and inspires them to take action.
Use your content to get readers to feel an emotional connection FIRST and then share the details, steps, etc. of your offer or solution. An emotional connection stimulates the amygdala in our brain, causing our bodies to secrete adrenal - which in turn activates the hippocampus (center for memory function) and sharpens our memory for that experience with the brand or product.
Positive emotions enhance recall & loyalty
Specifically, we suggest you create your content to elicit positive emotions. Studies back the idea that positive emotions aid in enhanced recall of peripheral details. Research also shows that positive emotions towards a brand have an even greater influence on brand loyalty than trust and other judgments.
As businesses competing for the attention of consumers, we want to do everything within our power to secure ourselves the limited amount of ‘memory space’ available to us in consumers’ minds.
To get consumers to remember your brand and the information they consume, try creating content that makes them inspired, happy, joyous or appeals to their sense of humor. An effective way to do this is by writing your content (whether it’s for your blog, social media, or email) with relatable, authentic stories in the words and phrasing your consumers (Brand Soulmates) would use.
Showcase your brand personality through content marketing
Brand Personality is what ‘attracts’ consumers to your brand. We perceive the same type of personality traits in brands as we do in people.
Being authentic and true to your brand and values will help ensure you attract like-minded consumers who have a higher chance of remaining loyal to your brand because they’re also personally invested in your vision and what you represent.
The way you communicate your brand personality through your visual imagery and content, including messaging and word choice, will influence or strengthen those attractions.
Get them to take action
In response to experiencing an emotion, humans are compelled to do something. To ensure self-preservation, fear forces us to choose between fight or flight. Or, in social situations, insecurity or a desire to ‘fit in’ may cause us to make a specific purchase decision. We may also lean on brands to support our positive self-identity.
Once you’ve identified ways to infuse your content with more ‘human-ness’ to evoke emotion, make it very clear what you want the reader to do next. This action could be to share the content, read another related article, post a comment, or subscribe for more.
Tying it all together
While content marketing for small business isn’t necessarily a new tactic, there are still so many businesses who just aren’t getting it right. Following these strategies to evoke emotion, create a connection with consumers, and provide specific ‘next step’ actions, you can leverage your content marketing strategy to build a loyal fan base, increase engagement and start to see real results.
Interested in ways to grow your business on a budget? Download our Small Business Marketing Guide for the Scrappy Entrepreneur.