creative content marketing

Small Business Guides

An award winning campaign.

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Simply Business provide small business insurance. So they wanted to create content that would appeal to small business owners.

To kick things off, we wanted to know what content was already popular with this audience. So we took a list of small business blogs and put them through the Top Pages report of Open Site explorer to reveal the most-linked-to pages. Analysing the results, we noticed that posts about social media were often well shared.

This made sense. I know a lot of small business owners, and when they discover I work in marketing, they often ask me what they should be doing with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.

We wondered what social media guides already existed for small business owners. To our surprise, there wasn’t much. And the guides that did exist were pretty long – not something we could imagine the audience reading. One thing we know about small business owners is they’re short on time.

We wanted to make things easier.

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We created an interactive flowchart, curating the best information on social media from around the web. The chart gives a comprehensive overview of the whole process, so you can quickly see all the steps. And you don’t have to read anything you already know.

The first guide received links from over 400 sites. Buoyed by this success, we decided to do another:

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And another:

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The results kept coming, and we kept rolling them out:

  • Social Media guide (443 links)
  • Google AdWords guide (215 links)
  • WordPress guide (651 links)
  • Productivity guide (150 links)
  • Blogging guide (141 links)
  • Google Analytics guide (755 links)
  • Email Marketing guide (101 links)
  • Conversion Rate Optimisation guide (98 links)
  • Twitter guide (147 links)
  • Google+ guide (222 links)
  • Google My Business guide (101 links)
  • Linkedin guide (20 links)
  • Facebook guide (77 links)
  • Featured in The Next Web, VentureBeat, Business Insider, Adweek, Duct Tape Marketing, Entrepreneur, Hubspot, Lifehacker, PC Advisor, NBC, and the Evening Standard
  • Personally responsible for concept and creative direction

In the end, the campaign ran for 3 years, generating the following results for the client:

  • Number 1 rankings in organic search for their most important keywords
  • 45% increase in organic search traffic, and corresponding uplift in revenue
  • Winner of Best Use of Organic Search 2014 – The Drum Awards for Digital Industries
  • Shortlisted for Best Business to Business Campaign 2012 – New Media Age Awards
  • Winner of Marketing Campaign of the Year 2012 – The UK Broker Awards
“This campaign has given us a massive uplift in traffic and customers” – Jasper Martens, Head of Marketing and Communications, Simply Business
“Think it’s impossible to create content for a ‘boring’ industry like insurance? Marketing agency Distilled showed you can create awesome content for any industry” – HubSpot
“I love the layout, simplicity, and comprehensiveness of this little chart. It’s a great first step in tackling some of email’s more daunting challenges.” – PC Advisor
“A great concept” – Dr. Pete Meyers, Moz