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90% of SMEs say web content boosts business profile
Published: 19th December 2014.
A local business survey shows that many SMEs in Cambridgeshire are reaping the benefits of applying their more creative skills to marketing. Almost all survey respondents claim that online content such as video, white papers, blogs and infographics raises their profile among their customers.
Web content also generates more opportunities to engage with customers and increase inbound enquiries.
Launched by Red Ruby Copywriting and Cambridge Business Lounge in November, the survey attracted more than 30 responses, providing an initial snapshot of whether local organisations are keeping up with marketing trends.
With so much creative talent in and around Cambridge, it seems that SMEs of all kinds are making the most of their resources to build a web presence to catch the eye of customers.
An array of content
Around 80% of survey participants use blogs and social media content. For example posting articles on LinkedIn is ideal for demonstrating knowledge, especially if it is written with the web in mind. Sharing it on social media enables others to comment and pass it on.
Half of respondents use case studies, news stories on their websites, e-newsletters and photography. 40% of organisations are using video online, indicating that businesses do not need a big budget for film.
One in five businesses say they use infographics; these striking visuals bring data to life, making information easy to read and social media-friendly.
Other business content includes webinars and white papers – both are ideal for collecting customer data and, in return, giving customers practical information.
Cambridgeshire businesses use the below web content
Sourcing the raw material
Web content is not only influential, but unlike many other forms of marketing, it is also affordable. When it comes to sourcing the raw material, the survey shows that organisations are being very resourceful.
Most (85%) take inspiration from industry news, while two in three source information from networking events. 60% ask colleagues to contribute, one in 10 work with freelancers, and one organisation invites guests to write blogs.
When it comes to producing the content, a variety of people are responsible for it, ranging from marketing and PR staff, to freelancers and managing directors.
Return on investment
The survey results confirm that web content brings real benefits:
- Nine out of ten businesses say it enhances their profile among customers and industry.
- 70% see increased opportunities to engage with customers.
- Just over 40% claim that content increases inbound enquiries.
- Around one third say content boosts conversion of sales.
- A quarter of respondents think in creating content they are able to engage staff.
How does content benefit SMEs?
Even if the best content needs to be promoted once it goes online. Our survey participants’ top five methods are Twitter, LinkedIn, email, Facebook and Google+ (in that order). Some promote content in meetings, at events and in printed materials. One theatre organisation even plugs it on a converted touring horsebox. There are no rules it seems!
Stone carver crafts own content
Despite being a small enterprise, Cambridge stone carver Lucy Churchill, creates her own web content to attract custom, although this did mean taking on a few new challenges.
She says: “My work as a stone carver involves hands-on tool skills, so learning to use online media to promote my work was a huge mind-shift. But a commission for a sculpture for a London junior changed that. The children could not visit my workshop, so I made regular video posts showing the progress from clay model to finished sculpture. I made these publicly available, and they proved very popular with online viewers.
“At first I felt that much of online networking was egotistical hype - I felt uncomfortable about 'blowing my own trumpet' and that my work should be able to speak for itself. Now I think there is no point making something (other than the sheer joy of making it, of course) if no one knows about it.
“Online marketing is brilliant for reaching people interested in specific topics. By using Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and YouTube, I can show my work to people who are interested in sculpture, and let them know exactly what I can offer them.”
Branding guru uses the power of personality
Mainda Kiwelu, owner of Adnaim House, a digital asset management and marketing agency, writes a blog. But she does not stick to content that directly promotes her business. As a brand and IP expert she thinks more people should think about content that enhances their brand’s personality and value, without directly connecting to it.
“People should spend more time listening before putting out content,” says Mainda. “There is a lot of re-hashed content out there, and people need to be bolder and express an authentic voice. As with other areas of brand-building, businesses need to find their quarter and own it, and focus on substance and consistency in the long term, instead of just getting stuff online. People need to invest in their content, as they would their whole brand.”
Red Ruby Copywriting and Cambridge Business Lounge would like to thank everyone who took part in the survey. Other respondents include:
- Pure Resourcing Solutions, a leading regional recruitment consultancy
- Jon Torrens, communication coach
- Rubber Cheese, graphic design agency (partly based in Cambridgeshire)
- lewis andersen, brand consultancy
- Insitu Theatre, an environmental theatre company
For more information on Red Ruby, please visit: Red Ruby Copywriting
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