Here at CapitalPitch, we’ve worked with thousands of startups, all facing similar issues time and time again. To help identify common issues and best work out how to help, we recently sent a survey out to over 22,000 entrepreneurs from around the country, and over 30% of them ranked sales and marketing as the number one issue they faced with their business.
So, to help founders out, we’ve decided to create a complete free guide to formulate a content marketing strategy for your startup, compiling 7 expert tips guaranteed to supercharge your sales & marketing efforts. You can find this resource HERE.
To get you started, and show you exactly how inbound marketing can re-energise your business, here’s a little crash course on the 7 content marketing secrets every startup founder should know.
Overview: What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing aims to generate valuable, relevant content to a clearly-defined audience, and ultimately convert leads into sales. By promoting itself through blog posts, podcasts, videos, eBooks, social media and organic SEO optimisation, a business can effectively attract customers for a fraction of the cost of traditional “push” marketing.
By curating content that appeals to your customers, such as providing a blog post response to a commonly asked (or Googled!) question about your business, content marketing aims to bring customers to you, instead of forcing you to chase them.
Step 1: Segmenting Your Audience
Successful content marketing is all about identifying a niche in your target audience, and then engaging with them directly and consistently to nurture a customer relationship. With that in mind, learning how to identify and segment your audience is the most important step to your content marketing strategy.
For example, at CapitalPitch, we engage with startups and founders, as well as investors and advisors. By curating content specifically for each party, as well as providing resources which appeal to both groups simultaneously, we are able to foster more unique, genuine relationships with our clients, which has seen a 23% increase in our conversion rates over the last 3 months.
Step 2: Creating the Right Content
When first setting out your content marketing strategy, your email database is probably the best place to start. Firstly, brainstorm the most common issues your clients and customers are facing, and how you think you could help solve their issues.
Then, curate an email marketing campaign encouraging your loyal subscribers to read, watch, or listen to the content you’ve produced about the issue you’ve seen pop up time and time again. We’ve found the best way to create meaningful, engaging and shareable content is to consider what it is your audience is searching for.
So be the mentor you always wished you had, the coach you always wanted: focus on what hurdles your audience face with their business, and give a personal account on how best to overcome them.
It is that first hand experience and practical, real life problem solving that will bring readers flocking to your content.
Step 3: Varying Your Platforms
While websites such as HubSpot and WordPress have made blogging an immediate go-to for inbound marketing (with 45% of marketers saying blogging is their #1 most important content strategy), successful content marketing strategies will engage their target audience across a wide range of mediums.
The best startup marketing strategies, whilst still relying on blog posts for the majority of their content marketing, will include LinkedIn articles, Facebook status updates, tweets, YouTube videos, webinars and eBooks in their campaigns, designed to cater to specific target markets and keep their audience engaged.
Part 4: Taking a Holistic Approach
As a startup begins to grow and find success with a marketing strategy, carving out a niche in their sector, they often get bogged down and neglect to look beyond the realm of their segment.
The easiest way to remedy this phenomenon is to look for content and topic ideas outside of your marketing department (whether that be the two founders writing articles in their spare time, or an entire team dedicated to sales & marketing strategies)! The more opinions and ideas you can generate and reflect on, the better chance you have of keeping your content fresh, interesting, and most of all, in demand.
Part 5: Curating Your Digital Presence
An online presence for your business is essential to a complete content marketing strategy. More and more we are seeing digital technology becoming ingrained into daily life - take a look around on your next commute to work and note the number of people glued to their phones, browsing social media, reading the news or checking their LinkedIn for opportunities.
According to Social Media Examiner, "81%+ of marketers found that increased traffic to their website occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing."
Part 6: Maintaining Ongoing Conversations
Content marketing is all about engaging your audience on a more personal level than traditional outbound marketing strategies.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Sales & Marketing is made easy with inbound techniques, because your lead generation and customer curation feels like an ongoing conversation between two friends.
What’s most important for developing this sentimentality is that all the content you produce across a range of mediums should be actionable. What this means is that you’re constantly prompting readers to respond via a share or comment, or provide their own insight on the topic - this in turn will create a dialogue on your post.
Simply by being proactive and engaging with our commenters on LinkedIn, CapitalPitch was able to triple the views, clicks and form submissions on a number of our blog posts without spending a cent on copywriters or paid promotions.
Part 7: Appealing to Your Database
At the end of the day, content marketing is about keeping your readers engaged with valuable pieces of content that assist them on their own entrepreneurial journey.
With this in mind, it’s important to always remember to keep appealing to your entire database, between attracting potential new leads, nurturing existing relationships, pushing readers further down the sales funnel, and ultimately, converting sales and executing deals; it’s easy to get lost and end up neglecting a segment.
While you may want to focus on urging your actively engaged customers across the sales line, neglecting to continuously curate potential leads and subscribers could see a decrease in audience engagement and lower your overall marketing success.
Remember, this crash course is only a very small glimpse at the importance and power of a content marketing strategy campaign to your startup, and we strongly recommend after digesting this information that you download our free eBook to supplement your understanding and assist in supercharging your sales & marketing funnel.