Businesses that only market during special promotional periods have an increased risk of failure. And this is especially true for small businesses, as the stakes are high. Marketing consistently, in good times and in bad, is key to a steady growth pattern.

First things first — be true to your customers by creating content to build conversations. Launch a consistent, relevant content marketing strategy to improve brand awareness. In turn, your sales conversations will be based on respect for your business.

To fuel small business growth, create content that falls into three simple categories: relevant, indexable, and social.

1.  Create Relevant, Fresh Content

Reduce the inconsistent nature of small business growth by producing fresh content that maps directly to your SEO and social strategies. Your content must be interesting (i.e. relevant) to your target customers. Here are your SEO goals in a nutshell:

  • Drive Website Traffic. Prospects and customers respond to appealing content with website visits.
  • Maintain A Customer Focus. Fresh, relevant content demonstrates commitment to customers and their pain points.
  • Highlight Positive Content. A steady stream of high-quality content helps push down negative organic feedback.
  • Boost Visibility. New content improves SEO.

Q&A –> What content should I create?

2.  Play Nice for the Sake of Indexing

Relevant, optimized content not only provides customers with helpful information, it also allows search engines to index your business website on the results page (hopefully on the first page). Keep in mind:

  • Use Keywords Wisely. Don’t twist sentences out of shape to force in keywords. Instead, write content that flows easily when keywords are included.
  • Create Quality Content. When you write well and write about what you know, search engines and customers take note.
  • Develop Content To Be Indexed. Make sure posts are long enough (at least 300 words) to provide an accurate picture of your business for both search engines and customers.

Q&A –> What are the basics of SEO?

3.  Manage a Social Media Presence

Set your sights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Where are your competitors (the ones who are doing it right)? And where are your customers? For example, tech is on Twitter, manufacturing is on LinkedIn, non-profit is on Facebook, and design is on Pinterest. Chances are, your vertical lands within one or two channels. Put most of your social media marketing efforts toward your top two channels and develop a secondary presence on the others.

Encourage customers to follow your brand on social by posting highly shareable content. The more shares, the wider your net becomes — and with little effort from you. Before you post, ask yourself, “If I didn’t have a vested interest in my specific business, would I want to share this information with a peer?”

Q&A –> What content should I share on each of my social channels? (longer read)

Quick tips for staying relevant, engaging your customers, and maximizing your social media exposure:

  • Post frequently
  • Respond to all comments within 24 hours
  • Vary types of posts
  • Provide links to articles and information of interest to your customers
  • Write status updates and share photos that are customer-oriented (not merely self-serving)
  • Post content that is relevant to your industry (90% written by other sources)

Q&A –> What are the rules of social media?

So what’s the bottom line? To avoid the pitfalls of rapid and cyclical growth, every content channel you manage must showcase relevant, fresh, indexable and shareable content.

For more insights on small business growth, read “Tetris for Small Business: Stopping the Slow-Death Cycle.”