Inbound marketing has been quite a buzzword over the past two years. Everyone seems to be creating content, talking about conversion paths and creating marketing that is personalised to customers. Most startups get the inbound methodology, it makes sense. But then there is the content fear...how can a startup with no marketing team create the content needed to fuel inbound marketing?
It starts before content
The single biggest reason why startups shy away from inbound marketing is the fear of having to create valuable content on a regular basis. Especially if you don’t have a natural writer on board, this is a genuine fear. But, it shouldn’t stop you from starting. While content is a cornerstone of inbound, it’s certainly not the only thing to focus on.
You think you know your potential target market? Let’s look at that. If you are looking at enterprise businesses with 500+ employees, or females aged 25-45, you simply don’t know your target market. You cast your net so wide, that your message doesn’t fit. Think about it, a multinational software enterprise business with 500+ employees is likely to have very different needs from an oil refinery business with 500+ employees out of the Gulf. A 25 year old woman has very different pain points to a 45 year old woman.
Your first step is to narrow down your target marketing into specific personas. Really get to know your perfect buyer. Understand their pain points.
Why will personas make inbound work for startups? Personas bring focus. This focus allows you to go back to your MVP (minimal viable product) or service to ensure there is a strong fit. They allow you to be critical of your efforts and ensure that you truly build with your customer in mind.
Without going into every Google Ranking factor out there (there are hundreds), here’s what you need to understand: if your online assets (website, social media accounts) are not geared towards a specific persona, you will not rank. Google looks at engagement. This very simply means, can you be found and if you are, do your website visitors engage with your site.
Your persona development allows you to understand what your potential customers really care about. Therefore, you have generated your keywords and can work your website copy and social media to match these. This will help you get found by the right people who will engage with you and in turn will power your Google Ranking.
Terms & Conditions: As mentioned, this is not the only ranking factor and quite simplified. But, if you have no other knowledge of SEO, this is your best starting point for getting found.
Why will Google Ranking make inbound work for startups? You get found online. Simple.
When we build up on personas and ranking we naturally come to the point where you need to think about conversion paths. What this means is simply finding ways on your website for people to give you their contact details.
Most startups will have a “Contact Us”. This is a good start for potential customers ready to buy. What about those who are not? Consider other options such as newsletter sign ups, blog subscriptions, video subscriptions, offers for free consultations etc. Most of these work without creating a large amount of content. If you do have content, think about gating some of these resources behind a form so you can gather some intel and stay in touch with your potential customers.
Why will conversion paths make inbound work for startups? A large part of inbound marketing is guiding a potential buyer from being a stranger to your business to becoming a lead and eventually a customer. Conversion paths are what allow you to define those stages and guide people on their journey.
Punch above your weight
Startups need to punch above their weight. You need to stand out amongst other startups and even some of the big boys who you are disrupting with your solution. Inbound marketing allows you to do this by focussing on the right buyer persona, getting not only found on Google but achieving engagement online as well as bringing potential buyers to your conversion paths.
With the addition of a content strategy the principles of inbound will be complete. But, if you have the content creation fear, you can still get started and we hope you do!