Like so many businesses, ShortStack-software that businesses use to build social media marketing campaigns-had been pouring a lot of marketing resources into Google, Facebook and online ads.
That changed in 2013, when they replaced all their traditional digital tactics and began to focus on more organic ways of marketing--specifically, by using content, which more and more companies are beginning to adopt.
They re-branded their blog, positioned it as a hub for small businesses and agencies, and committed to posting every day-not an easy task, when it comes time to create a calendar and decide what subjects you'll be writing about. In 6 months, traffic increased from 3,300 a month to nearly 40,000.
But the company took its lumps, making a common mistake: They moved the re-branded blog to its own domain.
"We've definitely learned the value of hosting your own blog," says Sara Piccola, ShortStack's mistress of propaganda. "Because at one point our blog was receiving more traffic than our website, and that was all lost traffic we could have had if we'd hosted our blog."
Since they've moved the blog back to their website, visits have more than doubled, and, most importantly, readers can now navigate to other areas of the site and peruse product offerings. And they've found great success with a tactic that every business can benefit from: eBooks.
"We prefer to give all of our eBooks away for free," says Piccola, echoing a tactic that is highly recommended, in a "freemium" world, if one hopes to convert traffic to leads, and leads to customers--the foundation of an inbound strategy.
The company has created 8 social media marketing eBooks--their biggest source of conversion. Piccolo attributes $250,000 in revenue to this organic traffic.
Still, content marketing is a long game, won by those who recognize the gains are in building assets (turn 10 blog posts into an eBook, for example), that pay dividends over time.
"It takes time to develop relationships with media, and we've also learned that content marketing is only valuable to your product if it can directly relate back to your product," says Piccola. "We've written a lot of great content about social media marketing, but the real valuable articles are the ones that educate people on how to be better marketers and ShortStack users."
And that's when everybody wins.