Are you searching the web for ways to increase awareness and sales for your startup? Perhaps you’ve tried running some digital ads and that didn’t work, and maybe now you’re thinking about running a tv or radio commercial but have found that’s too expensive for your lean budget.
What’s an entrepreneur to do? Content marketing!
It’s no surprise that your digital ad campaign didn’t work. As of August 2015 200 million people worldwide have ad blockers installed. You can run banner ads until your heart’s content but many people will choose to opt out of seeing them.
Content marketing is immune to ad blocking software, and even better great content is something that consumers want to engage with!
According to marketing genius Neil Patel, companies that generate high quality content experience 8X more website traffic than companies who don’t. Additionally, content marketing costs about 62% less than outbound marketing but generates 3X as many conversions!
By now hopefully you’re at least a little bit intrigued by the possibilities of content marketing, so let’s dive into how it can actually work to generate awareness and sales for your startup!
1. Build Awareness Without Being Pushy
Content marketing allows you to reach your target audience with blog posts, videos, memes, podcast episodes, infographics and other material that’s very relevant to their interests without presenting them with a sales pitch right up front.
By sharing content with your potential customers that incorporates a common interest you build a bond with your audience before you try to sell them anything. This makes them more inclined to say “yes” when you ask, “would you like to buy my widget?”
We all like to buy from companies that have shared values and who stand for things that we believe in or that we’re very interested in.
Think of your own favorite brands. Maybe you are an animal advocate and only buy cruelty free products, or perhaps preserving the environment is a top concern for you so you only buy from eco-friendly brands. If the companies you buy from didn’t tell you in advance that they shared the same values as you, then when you were out shopping you would view them as just another product on the shelf.
Instead, perhaps you found one of your favorite brands because you were browsing Pinterest for recycling tips and clicked through to a blog post by an eco-friendly brand. Content marketing in this scenario helped you to discover a brand that shares your same values and interests while also providing you relevant and interesting information. That’s a win-win scenario for the consumer and the brand!
2. Nudge People Down the Funnel
Let’s jump back into the scenario in which you were looking for recycling tips and ended up on an eco-friendly company’s blog. From there you might share the blog post link on Twitter or Facebook to share the tips with your friends.
Even if you don’t do that, there is a good chance you’ll Like the company’s page on Facebook or Follow the company on Twitter for more valuable earth friendly tips and information.
While the probability that you’ll place an order on Day 1 isn’t 100%, if the brand continues sharing useful, relevant, informative and/or entertaining content with you on social media while once in awhile encouraging you to buy a product, there is a good chance that you will at some point.
According to a DigitasLBi Connected study, 52% of online and offline purchases were influenced by Facebook posts.
If you keep producing high quality content that can be shared on social media if will be rewarded with high engagement levels, increased brand awareness and sales! All important things every startup needs to attain.
3. Increase Your Average Order Value
Obtaining your first sale from content marketing efforts is exciting, but how about taking it to the next level and increasing the value of that first sale above your average order value.
To do this, consider creating a special offer for your social media followers where they can obtain a small discount if they spend a certain amount of dollars.
Example: Save 10% off your order if you spend $100 or more with code FACEBOOK.
If you’re in the services business rather than the e-commerce business you could alternately offer something like “Free e-book if you order the advanced social media training service today with code FACEBOOK!”
In this case the advanced social media training would be more expensive than the regular social media training, but you incentivize social followers to move into the higher price tier by offering something for free with it!
4. Increase the Average Lifecycle of a Customer
Finally, after you obtain the first sale from your content marketing efforts, your goal is to get those engaged customers to buy from you again and again.
Just the same way content marketing helped customers to become aware of your startup in the first place, content marketing can help you stay top-of-mind so those same consumers think of you when they need to re-order or need something else that your company offers.
All you need to do to earn repeat purchases is to ensure you are pushing out consistent, on-brand and information/entertaining content. You should do this through multiple content marketing touchpoints such as emails, blog posts, podcasts, Facebok posts, videos, tweets and any other way that makes sense for your brand.
In the book, Foundr V1.0, Tom Bilyeu the founder of Quest Nutrition bars says:
“We put a ton of energy and resources behind not just creating good content, but creating a wide variety of content we think will be super supportive to all the people in the Quest community. That’s everything from Facebook live, to live cooking shows, to Inside Quest podcast, which is bringing on incredible thought-leaders, and getting them to come on and tell their story. It just makes a lot of sense to us.
According to the Aberdeen Group, companies that invest in content marketing see conversion rates 6X higher than their competitors who do not engage in content marketing. Quest Nutrition is proof that content marketing works. Without it the small and scrappy nutritional bars company wouldn’t have grown into the beloved empire it is today!
Now that you can visualize how content marketing will not only help your startup get in front of new customers, but also generate healthy sales from them, it’s time to get started!
Take at least 60 minutes each day to research and create a shareable social media graphics, write an email, put together a helpful blog post and publish informative/entertaining posts on social media sites.
If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer!