Different industries have different styles of start-ups. What they all have in common, however, is that they start from a position of relative anonymity and need to build a customer base – fast. No matter the industry, all start-ups have to find a way to communicate with potential buyers. They need to show that they are credible and trustworthy, and establish themselves in the market in a sustainable manner. In most cases, a start-up is based on an innovative idea that solves a problem or provides a new service through digitisation. So what is the best way for a start-up to encourage online traffic and make a name for itself? Short answer: A well-planned digital marketing strategy. A digital – or content – marketing strategy generates leads and conversions, transforming pure contact into action, not just reach.
It’s an ideal way to make a start-up and its products or services known to customers and successfully win their loyalty. With an efficient content marketing strategy, a start-up can communicate cost-effectively. Happily, it doesn’t have to involve commissioning a high-priced advertising campaign. But whatever the budget, it should offer informative and high-quality content – specifically targeted to the desired audience – that will have an associated impact on independent inquiries. Rather than calling or emailing a question, customers will have increased satisfaction through transparent information provision, while the start-up can reduce its customer service expenditure. Two birds; one stone. Read on to learn, step by step, how a start-up can plan, source and schedule content creation to support a successful digital marketing strategy.
Start with an extensive content analysis
There is no way to avoid the need for digital marketing for start-ups, unless the target group of the products is weighted towards a demographic of 70 years-of-age and older. But before launching any content marketing strategy, you should start with a thorough content analysis; with the right content, the right target groups can be reached – even with a small budget. However, it is not only a matter of achieving short-term reach, but also of turning the target group into active customers. Buying content to encourage traffic is a good digital marketing strategy, but must be framed by professional planning. The entire customer journey,considering all touchpoints between the potential customer and the start-up, must be covered in the plan. Not only that, but if visitors to the start-up website regularly jump off at a certain point, it is important to understand why. In short, poor navigation or incomprehensible texts can be improved – or avoided – through content analysis at all stages of a content marketing strategy.
Can the search engines find you?
In all content marketing activities, you must include the search engines as a target group. The majority of traffic on the Internet comes via the search engines, and even if the user already knows a website or blog, it is often more convenient to enter the company name in the search engine than to go directly to the page. If the content is relevant and up-to-date and offers the reader added value, Google & Co and its customers will both be equally satisfied.
Additionally, few Internet users look at more than the first page of search results when they type a question or keyword into Google. With professional search engine optimisation (SEO), a start-up becomes visible in the search results. In the context of good SEO for start-ups, attention should be paid to loading time, mobile optimisation, navigation, the right search terms and well-thought-out linking. Ultimately, good SEO content for start-ups always contains the correct and common terms used by customers and visitors to the website.
Sustainable digital marketing through analysis and strategy
The first step towards a target-oriented digital marketing strategy is the analysis of all targets and target groups. In the case of a start-up, the first goal will usually be to achieve a high degree of awareness, , followed by image and reputation. This is linked to the question of who the company should be known to. If the target group can be defined according to age, gender or interests, it is easier to ask the right questions.
What questions or problems do these potential customers have and how can the start-up help with the answer or solution? Who would buy the product and for what purpose? Even if the long-term goal is to sell products or services, the first thing a start-up needs to do is get attention through its content. Instead of just bluntly advertising the product, it should offer the potential customers tips and advice, or consider entertainment as a route to encouraging visitors. Depending on the topic, blog posts with a longer background story, clearly arranged infographics, photo galleries, short videos or checklists can be very useful.
Why is it importantto have “householder” rights?
As a so-called content hub, on which a company exercises and retains “householder” rights for total control, a blog is an ideal supplement to a website. Start-ups and blogs are a perfect match, as they offer a flexible platform to provide up-to-date content at any time.
As part of a start-up digital marketing strategy, blogs are ideal – any kind of content can be put there without impacting the main website’s aesthetic. Contributions remain for as long as you want them to, and you can increase reach by distributing them individually via your social media channels. You can thoroughly examine a topic with a long text, or make a short article eye-catching with appealing photos or videos. Alternatively, you can publish a crisp infographic for a short, sharp attention-grabber. When launching a content marketing strategy, in the beginning, it is a good idea to work with different contribution formats. Over time, it will be easier to decide which content will be particularly well received by customers. For example, if the target group is reading-adverse, high-quality texts – no matter how well formulated they are – will not lead to the desired result, so videos will be a better vehicle for your message.
From classic advertising to content marketing: AKA from push to pull
In the past, advertising was expensive because it required broadcasting time on radio or television, or your ad had to be published in newspapers or magazines. On the Internet, although advertising is less costly, your target market can no longer be reached through this type of pre-existing audience.Placing advertising on your own blog or social media platforms is largely free of charge, although costs do exist. To create high-quality content, you either need to spend time and resources internally or assign a budget for external specialists. You need error-free texts, appealing photographs and professional videos as publishing content with poor images or sound quality will have a negative effect. On the Internet, the competition is just a click away so visitors will not waste time on amateurish presentations. Not only that but, once disappointed, these visitors are unlikely to return. This does not mean that you have to personally own expensive equipment, but you do need to accept that some investment is necessary, and a third-party can often be the most cost-effective route for a start-up.
Internet users find a company’s content by searching for answers and solutions. Speaking your target group’s language by using their terms and phrases allows your responses to be found. From there, you can establish yourself as an expert on certain topics, leading to more visibility.
Particularly for textual content, this doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. Instead, you can hire content creators at reasonable prices via a content platform like Textbroker.
Through a well-thought-out social media presence, your content marketing can receive even more attention and become accessible to other target groups. But choosing which social media platforms you want to represent your start-up depends on which specific platforms your target group is active on. For very young potential customers, for example, a start-up should invest more time and money on Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube than on Facebook or LinkedIn. Quality always comes before quantity, so a digital marketing strategy should plan to carefully and regularly play to an audience with platform-relevant content. To be represented everywhere, but with little depth, is not recommended. Instead, use a scalpel rather than a scattergun when planning your social media marketing strategy.
The next step is to outwit the algorithms of the major social media platforms. The organic reach on Facebook, for example, is much smaller today than it was a few years ago. Even with relevant and up-to-date content, you can only reach some of your potential customers. Placing banners via affiliates in a display network is one possible solution. Facebook offers helpful criteria which identify who it will select to see the advertisements and, in addition to demographic data, the interests of its users are also taken into account. So plan an additional budget for ads in order to systematically and sustainably increase the reach on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter.
Spread content further with email marketing
As part of our digital marketing strategy, we have already talked about a blog being integrated into a start-up’s online presence. As well as using social media platforms to spread your content, you can also use email marketing. By using a well-maintained email distribution list for a regular newsletter – making sure to comply with data protection laws – your content can be spread even further. Even if Twitter disappears from the market tomorrow, Facebook changes its rules and Instagram blocks new company accounts, you can still reach your fans through planned email marketing. The trick to email marketing is a a catchy subject line, which will increase opening rates.
But how does the start-up get to the email addresses?
By providing exclusive materials such as a whitepaper on your website, you can collect email addresses. Users receive the whitepaper free of charge, but have to pay for it with their data or by signing up to a newsletter subscription. With a double-opt-in, visitors can agree to receive the newsletter in the future. Not everyone will do that, but those who are really interested in your topics will happily provide you with a way to contact them.
In content marketing everyone pulls in the same direction
Especially in a start-up with a manageable number of employees, content marketing should be a consideration for everyone. For interesting content, the short path to the office door next is often sufficient inspiration. For example, an employee called Robert is an expert on a topic that interests customers. Robert, therefore, explains in a short video about how he invented a new product. Then his colleague Louise, who has an engaging manner and entertaining delivery style, presents the start-up and its philosophy in an interview. Between them, they have created a valuable piece of marketing content.By using software like Slack as a convenient collection point, other employees can make their own suggestions. In contrast to a hierarchical large company, start-ups are flexible and agile. This makes the coordination between the responsible persons and the departments is usually quick and uncomplicated. This also has an effect on the content, which – in a start-up – does not necessarily have to be approved by several people and numerous hierarchical levels. This makes real-time communication possible as there can be a timely exchange and reaction to comments and criticism. Content marketing is not a one-way street, but is best served by an open exchange of views.
Therefore, a start-up content marketing strategy should apportion both time and budget to not only undertake regular content analysis but also interaction. Comments and questions on the blog or social media platforms should be answered in a timely fashion, but this doesn’t mean you have to set up a costly 24/7 channel support service. Instead, define response times in terms of business hours so that no one is upset if there no interaction in the evenings or over the weekend.
Recommended sources for good content
Consumers are very interested in the history of a company and the people behind the products they buy. Therefore, as many employees as possible should show themselves, especially the start-up management. Ultimately, almost every employee is a potential supplier of content. The logistics manager has interesting stories to tell about transport to distant countries, but then so does the intern with their fresh view of the company from outside the management hierarchy. Private topics can also contribute useful content for the company. If an employee has a particularly unusual hobby or is involved in voluntary work, this is also worth documenting as a content contribution.
Also, don’t be afraid to check what stories the competition is publishing. If you have a successful competitor in your industry, take a close look at how often and where the company publishes on what topics. The tonality and frequency of comments will tell you if their topics have met with interest, and this will guide you when planning your next piece of content marketing.
The intelligent integration of external content into your own content marketing
In the long run, it is not easy to consistently produce high-quality, relevant and entertaining content. So right from the start, you should plan to regularly share and recommend the content of others. In addition to pure redistribution, it is also advisable to comment on content or supplement it with your own perspective and additional information. This „content curation“ has several advantages, primary of which is that those you have recommended often feel obligated to return the favour.
If you do not share content indiscriminately, but check it for relevance and quality, you will establish yourself as an excellent source of information for your topic. Visitors to your blog or website know that they will always find up-to-date and relevant content on your site, even if it is from outside sources. If you run a blog, you can upload guest posts or create a blog parade, which is where you start by posting on a topic, then other bloggers contribute by writing their own opinion – all with the appropriate links, of course.
Build a community by contacting the right influencers
As well as product-specific content, you can offer content that is part of a wider conversation about your topic. For example, if your start-up sells a new piece of kitchen equipment, there will be a variety of related subjects that you can use for content creation. For example, you can publish recipes that can be made with your kit and document the processes with a photo gallery or a video. Or you can have a competition where you call on your fans and customers to send in or link to their favourite recipes. In this way, the pool of recipes grows and you can benefit from the extended reach an exchange on your topic can inspire.
In this context, you can also consider working with suitable micro-influencers. A start-up budget probably can’t afford far-reaching and well-known influencers like Huda Kattan or Zach King, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Studies have clearly shown that micro-influencers have a more credible effect and that their fan base communicates more intensively with them. These micro-influencers can, therefore, interactively help to reach a top target group with more inherent control. Some micro-influencers are still satisfied with free products and invitations to events, while others demand financial remuneration. The latter shouldn’t put you off, as it usually shows a higher level of professionalism. It also makes it easier to define what you expect from the influencer. That doesn’t mean that you can tell them what to do; it’s not just inadvisable, but it also won’t work. You could, however, reliably determine how many postings you could expect on which platform.
Influencers for small budgets
There are several ways to find suitable (micro-)influencers. A specialist agency is an expensive option and is therefore not very attractive for start-ups with a small budget. Established placement platforms are another high-quality variant that are also usually subject to a fee.
Alternatively, you could choose a free, but somewhat time-consuming, method by personally identifying exactly those micro-influencers who are interested in your topics and products. You do this by checking the interaction rates of your posts and see which followers and fans comment most frequently or share your posts. You then get in touch with those micro-influencers and offer them exclusive content in advance or invite them to special events to get to know the start-up. If you’re just starting and your social media channels show little interaction, you can also search for influencers in the competition feeds. Maybe you’ll discover a suitable influencer in their early stages, develop a relationship, then snatch them away from the competition.
Control your success through successful control
Even with the best analysis and planning, you will still have to monitor your content marketing activities on a regular basis in order to make any necessary improvements. When you first launch, you don’t need expensive software as you can use the tools provided by the social media platforms. These include, for example, Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insights, which offer you comprehensive information about the visitors to your Twitter account or Facebook page. Your blog software also makes it easy for you to evaluate your page visitors and Google Analytics is free.
By seeing when your target group is active and which content is most popular, you can fine-tune your content and delivery time to ensure an optimal impact. Through analysis, assessment and control, you can turn the provision of content into an interactive process, which will be consistently improved by monitoring your success.
Structure your strategy with a simple editorial plan
An editorial plan is an indispensable tool for a well-structured digital marketing strategy. It does not necessarily require sophisticated software; a simple Excel spreadsheet is sufficient. In whatever form it takes, your editorial plan documents a list of future content contributions and assigns a responsible person. Ideally, you should always plan two to three months in advance. Although you may need to respond to current events and cover unplanned topics, you do need to work within a structure. There’s nothing worse than a blog that gets off to an enthusiastic start, atrophies after a short while, and then only publishes new posts at irregular intervals.
There should always be pre-defined – and achievable – posting schedule in an editorial plan. For example, a weekly blog post can be planned for every Thursday. Of course, two or three weekly posts – or even daily contributions – are also possible, but you need to consider whether your internal creative capacity and budget can accommodate such a busy schedule. To avoid the negative impact of limited capacities and budgets, plan for longer intervals from the start. It is also important that the schedule takes into account special dates such as trade fairs, product launches or holidays. In addition, it is advisable to produce some start-up content to be held “in hand”. In this way, you can not only ensure that you can reliably meet the rigours of your posting schedule, but also have access to a timeless piece of content that can be used in place of the planned content should an unforeseen event – illness or emergency, for example – mean that the scheduled post is not completed in time.
How does Textbroker help with content marketing?
Now you have a content marketing goal in mind, you need high-quality and relevant content for your start-up. At Textbroker, thousands of copywriters are waiting for your order to deliver target-orientated texts for your website or blog. You can use the author profiles to select suitable freelancers with know-how on your topics, while the order process itself is via the user-friendly and intuitive online platform. Within a short time, you will receive high-quality, error-free content that has been run through Textbroker’s plagiarism software to make sure that your texts are truly unique. If you are not satisfied with a text, you can return it and receive a revised version within 24 hours.
Additionally, with Textbroker, you can place a standing order and accept the orders yourself or choose to leave it to the Textbroker team. Not only that, but you can get in direct contact with selected copywriters or access a larger number of writers via a team.