How the Folly Theater is Shaking Things Up for the Audience
Back in 2013, Folly Theater partnered with digital agency VML and New Century Follies to bring Kansas City a truly one of a kind event. The “Center Screen” experience was a mobile app that let audience members interact with the cast members. So, rather than turning their phones off, the actors asked the audience to keep their phones on and become part of the show. Audience members impacted the performance, learned about what’s took place on stage, and enjoyed a night like never before. Last week, Inc. magazine writer, Sujan Patel wrote this article: (Thanks Mr. Patel!) We will be bringing you more interactive opportunities and unique theater experiences so please stay tuned.
Inc. MagazineMay 10, 2016 STRATEGY How 10 Small Businesses Used Content Marketing to Drive Sales Sometimes the best way to understand how to get more ROI from content marketing is to learn from others. Use these case studies to boost sales and growth at your small business. BY SUJAN PATEL Co-founder of ContentMarketer.io @sujanpatel Americans absolutely love small businesses. And that's not just because we have an annual support day for local businesses, or because so many Americans have an entrepreneurial spirit. There's legitimate data to back up the statement. According to a 2014 survey conducted by UPS: 94% of respondents believe it's important to support local businesses first over national brands. There is a strong perception that small businesses offer higher-quality products and services compared to larger competitors. Respondents believe that supporting small businesses has a positive impact on the local economy. 41% of respondents fully support small businesses over larger brands, even if it means paying more. If you're a small business owner, this is a huge benefit because it means that many Americans prefer to do business with you and will bypass a competitor to reach you, even if that competing major brand has lower prices. The difficulty comes in being seen. You have to do something to stand out so that you're visible. Thankfully, you don't need to have a bloated marketing budget to win customers' trust and gain visibility over your competitors. You don't even have to spread yourself thin by marketing to a ton of channels online. You just need to invest in content marketing. As Marcus Sheridan once said, content marketing is the "weapon Davids use to slay Goliaths every day." Your business can see amazing reach through content marketing, and through targetedcontent promotion once it's published, with tools likeNotifier. If you're not sure what that looks like, let me give you a few examples of small businesses that have done amazing things with content marketing on limited budgets. 1. Riverside Foods Riverside Foods in Riverside, Illinois has a terrific newsletter that, for the most part, is standard stuff that includes new product announcements, sales, and promotions. Where they excel with that continued engagement is by regularly including recipe ideas that use ingredients and products directly from their store. Customers love how that kind of content helps make the task of shopping lists and menu planning that much easier. 2. Folly Theater In most theaters, you're asked to leave your phone turned off, but at some shows at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Missouri, you're asked to leave your phone on so you can engage with the performance. One particular showing used a mobile app that allowed audience members to interact with the cast of a live show, drawing the audience in to make them part of the performance. It's a great way to crowdsource content and boost interest and engagement among fans. 3. Mint.com Mint is now a property of Intuit, but it was once a small, independent startup standing against major banks. When it launched in 2006, founder Aaron Patzer grew the company to over 2 million users in a few short years through creative use of blogs, infographics, slideshows, and videos. 4. GoodGreens.com Did you ever think content marketing could boost your revenue by 50% in just four short months? That's exactly what Keith Pabley, founder of Good Greens, did. With a limited marketing budget, he used blogger outreach to increase mentions and reviews of his new nutrition bar. Even for a consumer packaged good from a small independent startup, content marketing can make big waves. 5. RepairClinic.com Repair Clinic thrives on the idea of making fixing things easy. This single-unit retailer of parts for appliances and consumer electronics/hardware drives significant traffic to its online store through content marketing. Co-founder Chris Hall and his team produce a massive database of DIY articles and instructional videos hosted on the site and on YouTube, which teach customers how to repair specific makes and models of various appliances. 6. Yale Appliance Along the same vein as Repair Clinic, Yale Appliance in Massachusetts uses a well-rounded content marketing strategy including blogs, service guides, and videos to educate customers. And like Repair Clinic, that content marketing has paid off, as Yale Appliance saw a 40% lift in revenue as a result. 7. Magnolia Even before the internet was a thing, small companies were killing it with content marketing. Magnolia was photography store in Seattle that transitioned into an audio specialty store. With virtually no advertising budget, its owners created an 8-page printed buyer's guide that was given to customers and placed within newspapers. The resulting growth was tremendous, and that single store grew to four retail units around Seattle. In 2000, the family business was sold to Best Buy for a whopping $87 million. Now there are more than 350 Magnolia Home Theater locations in Best Buys throughout the U.S. 8. Airbnb.com When Joe Gebbia co-founded Airbnb in 2008, it certainly wasn't the go-to resource for vacation rental properties that we know today. Since its founding date, the site has grown to more than 2 million listings in 34,000 cities in over 190 countries. Much of that growth is due to content marketing, focused around a well-designed blog that provides helpful content for travelers to make their trips easier and more enjoyable. The site also produces neighborhood guides that serve as local travel guides for people around the world. 9. DollarShaveClub.com When Michael Dubin and Mark Levine launched Dollar Shave Club in 2011, they were tired of paying too much for replacement blades for razors. Instead of pinching pennies, or spending a ton of money on traditional media buys, they sunk $4,500 into a single video along with a video promotion that put Dubin center screen. It went viral, and in just 2 days they gained 23,000 Twitter followers, 76,000 Facebook fans, garnered 9.5 million video views, and 12,000 new customers. That is how content marketing is done. Could that success just be a lucky fluke thanks to good timing? Not likely. Read on... 10. DollarBeardClub.com In 2015, founder Chris Stoikos launched Dollar Beard Club to counter Dollar Shave Club and cater to men who wanted to grow and care for their facial hair. Using a similar approach to content marketing with a video featuring Stoikos, the company quickly gained 1.3 million YouTube views shortly after the video launch, and 25,000 new monthly subscribers to their service. Content marketing isn't just for the big brand players. Small businesses can and should leverage this affordable method for engaging an audience and gaining significant market share. When used properly as part of a documented marketing strategy, content marketing can bring you results similar to the companies I've listed here--or better. What kind of success has your business seen from content marketing? Share in the comments below: The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com. PUBLISHED ON: MAY 10, 2016 Looking to grow your business? Join Inc. and more than 600 like-minded entrepreneurs at GrowCo, where you’ll spark ideas, learn new strategies, and come away with an action plan to supercharge growth.