As much as investors love beefy sales and marketing budgets for their startups (hopefully you’ve caught my sarcasm), nothing makes me more excited than seeing entrepreneurs who know how to be creative and get results from their – typically lean – marketing efforts. Bidding on keywords for display marketing may have worked a few years ago, but for the most part, these channels have become too crowded and costly to be effective. There are a host of technology solutions out there that enable more mature companies to effectively engage with their customers, but it’s a bit tougher for entrepreneurs of smaller, growing companies to effectively generate ROI from their marketing efforts.
For companies like these, utilizing inbound marketing can be incredibly impactful. A startup’s social presence and creative brain power can go much further in generating quality leads than some of the more traditional methods of sales and marketing, while ultimately helping to create brand affinity and loyalty with prospective customers. Folks like Gary Vaynerchuk and HubSpot co-founder Brian Halligan have long praised a healthy blend of content and context to maximize inbound marketing efforts, and while context can be greatly enhanced through software tools, startups still need to focus on developing great content to draw in potential leads. Here are three tips to create great content for startups looking to get noticed.
Creativity is one of the greatest strengths of an emerging startup, so it makes sense for your team to play to these strengths for its marketing function. While formulaic content such as top 10 lists has worked immensely well for publishers like Buzzfeed and BusinessInsider, startups are best off when they express themselves through their marketing. In the early days of HubSpot, the company’s Alanis Morisette inbound marketing parody YouTube video generated over 120k views. Those at HubSpot would argue that videos like this have been equally important in generating traffic as they have to define the company’s culture, and finding a productive and creative outlet for your team is a great way to simultaneously impact your company’s culture and its top line.
Speaking of culture, content lovers appreciate the opportunity to see what’s behind the product (i.e. the team). Customers like doing business with “good people” and the more you can share on your company’s values and ethos (within reason), the more opportunities there are to establish a personal connection that can lead to a potential business relationship. Don’t be afraid to open the kimono and let your customers know how your company thinks about its people and the future of the business. At the end of the day, people are buying you (not just your product) and providing a vision for being an even greater company down the road can help tip the scales on their purchasing decision.
Remove friction from the process and make your content contagious. All too often, I find great content generated by a company and I have to jump through hoops to share it. Why? Companies have spent billions to minimize the clicks to purchase in eCommerce and streamlining the process for advocates to share your content should be no different. Having your content organized effectively with the appropriate meta tags for search and making share options readily accessible can play a major role in determining whether one of your customers is going to share your content across their social networks. At the end of the day, the reach of your customers will be greater than your own, and enabling them to be advocates for your content (and your company) is one of the best ways to amplify Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).