As a result of the proliferation of online marketing, small business and franchise owners have a leg up on their predecessors who were forced to rely on word-of-mouth buzz and ads in local papers. Providing outstanding service experiences that customers will want to share is still elemental to success and purchasing space in community publications remains an effective way to drum up sales, but these efforts might not be enough to compete in today's ever-connected sales space. 

Owners shouldn't be intimidated by the content marketing efforts of major corporate brands like Coca-Cola, American Express or Nike, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. These enterprises have massive budgets to hire full-time digital advertising teams and launch large-scale efforts, but smaller competitors shouldn't shy away for fear they can't compete. There are a number of ways to establish an online presence that will generate sales, attract new customers and engage established clients. 

1. Use the best materials for the best outcome
In the IT industry, there is a phrase that justifies the importance of using only materials of the highest quality to achieve promising results - garbage in, garbage out every time. The same idea applies to content marketing. Businesses should not put blog posts, videos or photos on their websites that they would not be able to stand by. 

While the internet genre is still maturing, it might be best for companies to hire professionals, Entrepreneur explains. Rather than asking an intern or a marketing employee to create content when they run out of things to do, firms should assign these duties to a person as his or her full-time duties. This will allow him or her to fully understand which ideas, formats and advertisements are trending with customers so the brand can deliver exactly what consumers want. 

2. Build a local following 
Sites like Amazon and Netflix have fostered the expectation that web-based experiences be personalized. That is, patrons only want to see listings or ads for businesses that are within their communities and cater to their specific needs. Small businesses and franchise owners can capitalize on these trends by using Google Places for location-based content marketing. Optimizing articles, blog posts and news to specific communities can help businesses target local customers and attract new prospects, according to Inc. Magazine.

3. When it starts to feel tired, try something new
If businesses already have a content marketing strategy, but have found that it's no longer generating the results they want, they might want to try some new tactics, according to Business 2 Community. The field of internet marketing is consistently widening, which enables brands to explore new strategies that might prove a hit with the existing customer base or engage their prospects more effectively. 

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