You may not know this, but Pittsburgh is a city full of startups. Part of the rebranding of the Steel City has been to attract and nurture new companies – especially in the tech sector. Many times, these companies have very little cash to help them get off the ground, so they don’t invest very much in their website content. The site become part of a “to do” list that will get tackled when the VC money starts flowing in.
But when the VC money comes, unfortunately, the website is still neglected.
Your website should support your efforts to grow your business. But if you aren’t nurturing it, it won’t do you much good. If you’re a new company looking to use your website to generate new clients, there are some specific content marketing tips that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but can help you generate an audience and develop your sales funnel.
Nobody Knows Who You Are
The biggest issue with being the new kid in the marketplace is nobody knows who you are. If you’re fighting with big-brand loyalty, you’re going to be rowing upstream for quite a while. Customers want to know that you understand them and care about their problems. It can be very tempting to want to toot your own horn – talk about only what you do, develop lengthy bios of your principals to prove you’ve got the chops to compete. But if nobody knows who you are, they aren’t going to care about these things.
Traditional marketers will tell you to start taking out ads. You could do this. Or you could open the window of your loft and dump some money out the window with likely the same result. Consumers and businesses would rather read about companies than learn about them from ads.
You should develop a PR strategy to get your startup covered in local tech journals and publications, but that will take some time. Your PR strategy should go hand in hand with your on-site content marketing strategy so that each branch can build off of the other. Your customers will be checking out your website and comparing it to others. And journalists will also be checking out your site to see if you’re really worth covering. You need to make sure that when these folks arrive, you’re ready to wow them.
What Are Your Goals?
Any strategy will fail if you don’t set goals from the outset. Most startups have the same goal: Increase revenue by X percent by Y time period. When you know what that specific goal is, you can develop objectives, which are the actions that get you to that desired goal.
When you know your goals, you can develop an editorial statement. This statement should drive you to your goal of generating that magic number of increased revenue. If you are targeting the healthcare industry, don’t publish pieces directed at manufacturing. Keep a laser focus on your targets at all times.
Know And Understand Your Ideal Customer
In order to produce content that will resonate with potential clients, you have to know as much about them as you possibly can. When you create any type of content you must ask yourself, “Will this resonate with my clients?”
In order to get to know your audience, start with your current customer base. Even if you have only one customer, you can still gain valuable insights. Create a brief survey and ask your customers why they bought from you. What specific problems did they have that motivated them to seek you out? What specific solution did you offer that made them choose you?
Understanding your customers’ problems is the key to unlocking your content marketing strategy. When you position yourself as the only solution to someone’s most burning issue, you’ll attract more prospective clients.
Know Where Your Customers Hang Out Online
Part of knowing your audience is knowing where to reach them. Are there industry trade publications that are a must-read for anyone in your niche? Are there major authority blogs your targets read? Are there forums and message boards? Online communities of any kind? Develop a comprehensive list of the places your customers frequent on the interwebs. This will help you create an outreach strategy to get your name and products in front of your prospects.
If trade publications and blogs are big in your niche, guest posting can be a great way to put your name in front of customers. When authority blogs publish your articles, you’ll be establishing yourself as an expert. If there are online forums and communities that your customers frequent, visit them often. Answer questions and provide useful, actionable advice, again establishing yourself as an expert.
And don’t neglect social media. Your customers are people. And most people have some sort of social media profile and presence. Your brand should come out strong on social media. And you might want to consider advertising in these areas. LinkedIn can be great for B2B startups, but if you can’t afford it, consider Facebook. You can segment and target your audience. Hitting your prospects in their spare time can be just as effective as hitting them from 9- 5.
Create Relevant Content
As you’re conducting your research and outreach, keep track of trending topics and common questions that pop up among your target audience. Use this information to develop strong titles for blog posts and white papers. When you’ve got a comprehensive list, turn it into an editorial calendar. In the early days of your startup it can be easy to neglect your blog. But you should shot for at least one relevant post per week in the early days. That way you’re constantly cranking out relevant new articles that you can not only share across your networks, but that organic search visitors can find when researching products and services like yours.
Always keep your customer in mind when creating this content. If you think like your customer base, you’ll establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and you’ll soon see your sales funnel begin to grow.
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