Small business owners have a lot of noise to compete with. Consumers are trying to cut through the clutter of advertising by using ad-blockers, subscribing to ad-free digital radio and constantly customizing their social feeds to minimize interruption.

One of the ways a business owner can avoid getting ignored is by crafting content their audience wants to see and read. When you provide something of value beyond a sales pitch you’re far more likely to get their attention and they’ll listen. It’s no longer an interruption. That’s what we call content marketing.

Content marketing means consistently generating and sharing information that provides value relevant to the people you want to do business with. Your goal is to educate, inform and entertain the individual so they are enticed to do business with you.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, content marketing can help you attract and retain customers. Here are some of the ways content marketing brings results to businesses like yours.

1. Your brand awareness gets a boost

Big companies spend millions of dollars each year on brand awareness campaigns. You can achieve the same thing without spending near as much by leveraging content marketing. Consistency is the key, so you need to publish fresh content on a regular basis. That creates opportunities for your target audience to see your company over and over as they’re looking for information online. Your brand becomes familiar and that puts you at the front of their mind the next time they need your product or service.

2. Trust grows with your brand

Content marketing builds serious trust with your target audience. If there are 10 landscaping companies in a town but only 1 of them is pushing out weekly information on lawn care tips, gardening tips, how to improve curb appeal, general maintenance tips for lawn equipment, etc then that brand is guaranteed to stand out as the expert.

By doing this, that company demonstrates expertise, so prospective customers don’t need to question their know-how or research whether or not the company knows what they’re doing.  They earn a reputation for being trustworthy.

3. Content marketing encourages action

When a customer needs something it’s natural for them to take their time researching the decision. It’s even common for them to put it off for a while to ensure they’re ready to make the purchase. Once they get clear answers to their questions, or they hear a story that relates to their situation, then they’re far more likely to make the jump.

Producing content that guides them through the buyer’s journey (from awareness to evaluation and then the purchase) results in higher conversion rates and more sales.

4. Shared content generates new business

Creating a steady flow of new information through content marketing, on a variety of topics,creates a number of channels through which new traffic comes to your website. You’ll be driving traffic from search, social media, press, video and more all which results in more calls, orders and foot traffic into your business.

Paid marketing tactics like PPC ads, banner ads and remarketing, PR outreach and even social media and SEO don’t really work without content to support them. These tactics need something to talk about or link to.

New content gives people a reason to click on it, link to it, talk about it and share it. This all goes back to increasing your rank in the search results, making it more likely that potential customers will find you first over a competitor.

5. Keep your brand presence fresh

More and more customers rely on the web to find information they need, typically a solution to some kind of problem or answer to a question. A website is the customer’s first impression of your business. If it hasn’t been updated, and the blog is empty, they’re more likely to leave and find another source for answers.

Consumers also tend to visit and information source and social account more than once when trying to make a purchase decision. If you’re updating your website regularly and they return to find new information it just might be the one thing that tips them over the edge into a purchase decision.