Content Marketing for Startups

As a startup your marketing budget is pretty limited.  You don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in sophisticated marketing technologies or extra cash laying around to run large scale search campaigns on Google.  But even if you did, why would people click your shit?  In a online world where everyone fights tirelessly over ever-shrinking attention spans, what value will someone receive by landing on your website?

Content marketing is customer foreplay

This is where “content marketing” begins.  Side note – the term content marketing is a snoozer.  I prefer “conversation building”.  Well, that sucks too.  How about “customer foreplay”? That’s better.

A few weeks ago I read a post by Marcus Sheridan. I enjoyed his definition of “content marketing”:  A business’ ability to be the most helpful and effective teachers in the world at what they do.

Yes!  That sounds awesome!  But…so what?  Why should you invest time teaching your customers when you would prefer them to stop talking and start buying?

  1. Having something worth sharing will give people a reason to visit, and continue visiting your website, posts, social profiles, whatever.
  2. People frequently decide to buy [and from whom they will buy] before they speak with a sales person.  You want to be a part of that conversation ahead of time.  See?  Customer foreplay.
  3. Valuable content builds trust, which builds credibility, which builds word-of-mouth, which builds leads.

Startups can get tons of mileage from these “content marketing” tactics.  In the next few posts, we’ll dig into each.

  1. Webinars
  2. Surveys
  3. Blog posts
  4. Whitepapers
  5. Articles for industry sources

If you’re smart about it, one topic can provide content for each of these.  One example:

At my previous startup we sold digital coupon books as school fundraisers. We were fortunate to build a relationship with the North Carolina PTA over time.  As the next school year approached, we pitched them the idea of webinar for PTA leaders across the state, sharing fundraising best practices.  They loved the idea, and the webinar was incredibly successful.  We then used that webinar’s content, turned it into a whitepaper, created blog posts from it, and shared it in every sales outreach we possibly could.

Startups usually build their audience and list of leads slowly over time.  Don’t let the small numbers prevent you from setting goals for each campaign and tracking the results.  This discipline will serve you well as your business scales up.

Keep this goal setting simple:

  • We won’t stop until we get 50 webinar registrants.
  • Let’s compare the last 6 customer foreplay campaigns we ran and see which generated the most leads, appointments, and sales.

Next up will be an in-depth look at how to conduct a webinar on a skinny jeans tight budget, along with another case study.

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