If you are finding that navigating the waters of social media and other forms of online marketing is quite enough of a challenge for now, man the lifeboats because this post is all about measuring just how effective those efforts have been.
Many small business owners feel that jumping into the deep end and having to learn to swim with the social media sharks was worth a medal in itself.
But now it's time to get a return for that effort. You need to build an effective content marketing strategy that will serve as a raft to keep you afloat in the stormy seas of small business marketing.
The good news is that content marketing is not rocket science. It's all about listening to your customers so you can outperform your competitors by simply giving them what they want.
To make it work you always need a call to action so you can convert that lead into a customer. Which is, after all, what it's all about.
Think about when you Google for information. You have probably noticed that as you type your search query Google tries to help out by trying to predict what you are after and continuing to provide suggestions in the query box.
You can make the most of that by typing in the likely questions posed by your customers. Google will be predicting based on the most popular related questions asked in the past.
The way to capitalise on this is to prepare posts based on Google's predictions. By using those popular questions as subject matter (and juicy keywords) you are now able to provide solutions which is exactly what Google wants you to do.
It's simply a matter of making sure you are writing content for your target audience and not for your search engine. If you do it correctly you will find that the best quality traffic will be sent to your site in a natural way.
That also means, of course, that you should stop selling. Instead, look at engaging the customer in a conversation. Leave the selling to your sales team and focus on creating the dialogue that will help you to produce relevant content.
After all, your customers want to be informed - not sold to. If you focus on the selling rather than the helping, you will be on a hiding to nothing.
Just go with the flow and don't feel that the pressure is on to become the next great blogger.
Blogging is probably the most flexible, relevant and convertible way to deliver your content. You should really have a blogging section on your company website which is regularly updated.
Once you have created your content and published it on your preferred platform use your social media channels to direct customers and prospects toward it.
Seriously consider short videos and aesthetically pleasing infographics as a way of attracting attention and channelling your target audience to your site.
People absorb information in different ways so it's a dangerous strategy to hang your hat on a single format such as only using text.
It's also really important to monitor what's going on. I strongly recommend using Google analytics as a means of learning what is bringing people to your site and what they do when they get there.
Teaching new behaviours is the difference between a successful website that generates customers and one that just sits there, all nice and shiny.
And just like your brand, consistency is the key. Sporadic and random content will never achieve the people-following that you are after in order to determine your content marketing as effective.