With the introduction of the Internet revolution, traditional marketing has become less effective. Customers have become so adept at online surfing that it makes offline marketing activities like radio jingles or magazine advertisements redundant. Today, either the traditional marketing is turning off the consumers or the consumers are turning them off. At the same time, the virtual world has moved over SEO to another level called content marketing.
Content marketing is an approach which focuses on creating, distributing and engaging the target audience through valuable, relevant and consistent content, in return driving profitable customer actions.
Content marketing generates more leads and returns for marketers than paid search and also increases the website conversion by almost six folds. It is advantageous for start ups who usually have low budgets and resources for marketing as compared to larger companies. However compared to larger companies, since start ups have an agile and flexible approach, they create content strategy faster giving them effective results. In quite a few cases entrepreneurs have started their business with ‘content first’. This is a simple strategy which helps start ups identify a content niche, build a loyal audience around the niche and then develop the products to sell. Following are examples of a few start ups that have successfully launched and executed content marketing strategies for their business.
This start up has developed a software product for companies to conduct inbound marketing. It is now a pioneer in crafting high-quality content and developing tools for online marketing. Hubspot launched a free tool called Website Grader, which has analyzed over 2 million websites. They also created a record of world’s largest online marketing webinar in 2011. Hubspot has experimented with almost every kind of content. The company was launched in 2006 with three customers and scaled to over 10500 customers by 2013. 75% of their leads come from inbound marketing which includes content marketing. Their marketing blog alone has over 5,50,000 subscribers and also has a separate content marketing division. This company has followed four interesting content marketing strategies. One, create lead magnets on a variety of subjects and ensure relevant downloadable resources for the users. Next, create a persona for every segment of the audience to generate white papers and landing pages. Third, experiment with the diverse type of content to address customers’ concerns at different stages of the funnel. And fourth, measure how content production is affecting their bottom line using various marketing metrics.
Leadpages is an automated software which helps organizations to develop custom landing pages. This company focuses on one tool for its content marketing strategy – email marketing. Focusing on emails alone helped this company gain over 15,000 customers in the first 12 months. They hit a $3.5 million run rate in the first 9 months of their operations. Leadpages uses emails to build its marketing strategy by attracting traffic which they have successfully achieved by blogging. Besides blogs and emails, they publish tips on creating better landing pages along with marketing tips. This strategy has helped the startup to advertise its products, strengthen relationships with the customers, and to add social proof. This company uses creative solutions to convert subscribers and nurture them. They offer content upgrades, free templates, run webinars, and create a follow-up sequence that nurture leads for weeks and months. The company is also known notoriously for its giveaways, where they give a license to few, which attract hundreds of comments in which their prospective customers talk about how much they want to win it. This results in high engagement with the users and conversion of leads.
This is an online retailer for beauty products, but that’s not how this company started. Emily Weiss started a beauty blog called ‘Into the Gloss’ in 2010, and as the blog gained momentum, it became profitable. In fact, this company is a perfect example of moving from content to commerce. Emily’s interactions through her social media pages resulted in her own beauty products company in 2014. The content became extremely valuable to her customers. Emily is committed to her readers, and she ensures customized and prompt communication with each one of them. The feedback from her audience helped her to build the brand in real-time. Even today the brand relies on the Gloss blog audience and social media channels for what customers they want next. The customers love to interact with Emily and her team because of their authentic voice and credibility. They have been able to create trust successfully among their users while communicating in a friend-to-friend manner, via their quality content. Currently, the brand has over 400k blog followers and over 150k Instagram followers.
This startup is in the business of offering personal financial management services. In early 2007 when the blog was being used only by a handful of companies, Mint team saw an opportunity in using this tool and launched its blog MintLife. The team was blogging extensively as compared to other competitors with personal finance tips, videos, infographics, etc. The content produced by them went viral and had regular hits on platforms like Reddit and Digg, establishing it as a trustworthy brand in its category. The readers soon started converting into customers and brand advocates for the start up. Along with the internal team, Mint also brought many freelancers and specialists to write for them and placed the guest blog prominently on the site. The company, overall, undertook a content-oriented strategy and reduced their customer acquisition cost to under $1. They also created an online badge ‘I want Mint’ and asked users to embed it on their blogs and social media pages. In the very initial stage, this strategy helped them receive free advertising on over 600+ blogs while users actually competed for access. In 2009, this startup was bought by Intuit for $170 million.
This startup offers tools to help increase a website’s traffic. In the very first year of its launch, this site had reached over 1 billion people. What played an important role for this company was its content marketing strategy. It consisted of publishing case studies, email courses, and running various online workshops. The site has several case studies displaying the benefits of the tool. The best part is that these case studies have been written by the users of the website. It also contains various blog posts, again written by users themselves. The marketing team at SumoMe knew about the importance of building a mailer list but, unlike promotion email, these mailers offered courses to the readers, like Email1K and Traffic1M. These courses were offered by entrepreneurs and top marketers, sharing free tips. The courses benefited the instructors as they received exposure through them by advertising on each mailer. They also ran online workshops which were co-hosted by experts and guests. Some of these workshops were accessible to all users, but few such workshops were hosted for their customers exclusively.
As seen above, content has become a part of all forms of marketing. It comes before social media marketing. Good PR strategies address issues that readers care about. Content is also key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
With the help of content marketing many startups, large and small, have scaled their businesses successfully and surpassed their competitors by becoming market leaders. By using content marketing, a startup can add value, build its audience, and scale the company successfully and much faster. In fact, regardless of what strategy a company uses, quality content is an essential part of all forms of marketing. But, simply creating great content does not suffice as it should also be promoted as mentioned in the above examples. Content marketing requires a lot of commitment, and there are no shortcuts to the same. It requires start ups to be consistent in generating quality content for their users, and to engage with them.
The future of content marketing for start ups is to incorporate it as a part of their marketing mix and use analytics to understand the audience better and create engaging content which will drive customers sales. Content marketing helps in reaching the people an organization wants to reach, faster and effectively.
About this platform
YellowBulbs is a marketplace that connects start ups, SMEs and brands with marketing specialists. We have put together Content Writers & Content Marketing specialists (both agencies and freelancers) who can work with you to help you achieve your marketing goals. Sign Up now as a Marketer and post a Brief for your requirement.
We also understand that many start ups don’t have years of marketing experience and the entire business of marketing may look very subjective to them. Hence, we offer ready to use packages called Brand Boxes which come with standardized pricing and fixed deliverables. You can buy one of our Brand Boxes to kickstart your marketing projects on an immediate basis.
If you are a content writer or a content marketing specialist who is looking to source more business, Sign Up as a Solution Partner and Bid for the live Briefs. We also recommend you to upload your own Brand Boxes.
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