2020 Content Hacks for Startups
It’s a brand new year and a brand new decade. As a startup founder, you’ve probably already taken some time to sit down and plot out your goals for 2020. (Nice one!)
Maybe you want to grow your customer base, maybe you want to increase your engagement with your existing customers. Whatever your goals are for the year ahead, a sure-fire way to help you get there is with great content.
With that in mind, we’ve thrown together some of the top content marketing strategies bound to help your startup achieve your goals and make 2020 your best year yet.
Let’s get into it.
Dive into Content Marketing
Now, it may sound rudimentary, but for every business that has discovered the benefits of a good content marketing strategy, there’s loads more out there stuck in the dark ages. For that reason, let’s get back to basics and take a quick look at what content marketing is and how you can use it for the good of your business.
What is Content Marketing?
In a nutshell, content marketing aims to attract and engage with your audience by giving them value-adding content – think blogs, white-papers, and case studies. By providing your audience with content that will help them, rather than making your marketing all about the hard sell, you can position your business as experts in your field, while also gaining their trust in the process.
In short, if you can help your audience solve a small problem for free, they are likely to take advantage of your services and become customers. Sounds good, right? Here are some of the ways you can use content to crush your business goals.
- Building Trust
Using content marketing in favour of a more dated, hard sell approach won’t just boost engagement with your audience, it will also build trust.
Think about it this way, when you go out to buy bananas, are you going to want to go to the supermarket with pushy sales staff, or the one with people on hand to help you pick ripe ones, and tell you the best things to do with them after you buy?
Yeah, we thought so. And your customers are exactly the same. As we mentioned above, if you can solve a simple problem for your audience for free with your content marketing, more often than not, that customer is yours.
- Nurturing Leads
Now, depending on your industry and the time it takes you to get a prospect from lead to customer, you may find yourself needing to do some nurture marketing. This is the name we give to the process where you and your (prospective) customers get to know each other before they pull the trigger and commit to buy.
What’s the best way to help these leads get to know you and your business? Content marketing!
Whatever content you decide to provide to your audience while they are in this stage of the sales process, it’s been proven time and time again that good content helps convert.
- Keep Visitors on your Website for Longer
If you’ve ever dived into Google Analytics and drilled down into the behaviour of people visiting your website, you’ve probably noticed a little metric called your bounce rate. This is essentially the percentage of people that land on your website and immediately leave without navigating to another page or taking any action. (Brutal, right?)
While what exactly is considered a good bounce rate depends on lots of factors, like your industry, anywhere been 40-55% is average.
So what should you do if your bounce rate is sitting above that? Well, lucky for you there are lots of reasons for a higher than average bounce rate, and many ways to combat it. A great way to get started is by launching a blog.
Blogs have been proven time and time again to capture a readers’ attention, and keep visitors on your website for longer.
It’s time to face facts: the age of crafting one message to your entire audience and customer base is over. These days, customers have gotten savvier in the face of a seemingly endless flood of marketing messages from businesses of all shapes and sizes. The best way to combat this? Personalise your communications!
To help you do this, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways you can segment your audience.
Choosing to segment your audience by demographics is a smart strategy for a couple of reasons. First, depending on the information you collect from your leads, you are likely to already have most of their demographic information on hand. Even if you don’t, some helpful statistics like location can be provided by tools like Google Analytics.
Secondly, drilling down into your demographics can tell you a lot about your audience. If you’ve never taken the time to look at your audience demographics at a granular level, you may be missing out on some serious patterns. If, for example you discover that 50% of your leads are females aged between 30-45, you can make that group your focus and save time you would have spent talking to another group of people.
If you are new to audience segmentation, grouping by demographics is a great place to start that is sure to bump up your engagement.
Another way to group your audience is by the stage they are at in the sales funnel. By breaking out your database based on this, not only will you have greater clarity over your success rate at moving leads through your funnel towards purchase, you will also be able to provide ultra-targeted communications to each of your groups.
Picture this: you’ve run a campaign that has added loads of new contacts to your email database. By segmenting your list and only targeting those that are newly subscribed, you can serve them a piece of content (like a blog) introducing your startup and your product offering, giving these new faces a chance to get to know what you’re all about.
Rather than spamming your existing leads or customers with information they probably already know, you can instead send them some fresh new content that will keep them engaged. It’s a win-win!
Similar to timeliness, another proven way to slice up your database is based on certain behaviours. Maybe your leads have recently signed up for your mailing list, visited a specific landing page, abandoned their cart or made any number of other actions on your website – drilling down into your database at this level can help your business strike while the iron is hot.
Once you have your audience grouped, it’s time to get creative.
Using the specific action the group has taken, dive into that group’s state of mind and use that intel in your communications to really get them over the line.
Re-invent your Content
We’re going to let you in on a little secret… Sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing at all. Let’s say you have an old blog on your website that continues to perform well. Even though it was first published a year or so ago, it continues to rank on Google and drive traffic.
Rather than trying to one-up yourself and create something bigger and better, make any necessary tweaks and let the blog live.
Every year or so, give your older content pieces a once over, updating any facts or figures that immediately date it, and then let it be.
You know what they say, if it ain’t broke…
Upgrade your Landing Pages
You can have killer marketing strategies driving a tonne of traffic to your website, but if your visitors are landing on an underwhelming, or worse – poorly performing landing page, they’re unlikely to stick around long enough to convert.
We get it, switching up the design of your landing pages can be overwhelming. There are people whose sole job is designing landing pages, after all. Having said that, there are a few quick things you can do to improve even the worst landing pages without driving yourself mad in the process.
- UX is your Friend
UX could be the thing standing between your business and your customers. Even if you’re not familiar with it, changes are you notice it when you visit a website. UX, or user experience, is used to describe a way of designing websites (and lots of other things, for that matter) with the end user in mind.
Let’s say your startup sells a type of SaaS. If you know that a large proportion of the people visiting your website are doing so to see a demo of your software, would you hide a link to the demo on some hidden, secondary page of your site?
Of course not! Because doing so would be bad UX.
There’s a tonne of resources out there to help simplify this concept and help you bump up the UX of your website, but often, a good place to start is looking at the pages on your site that get the most traffic, and ensuring that it’s as simple and intuitive as possible to navigate to them.
- Copy is Everything
When it comes to landing pages – particularly the ones driving real action from your leads, you can’t overestimate the power of great content. If you think your landing pages could be performing better, it may be time to rethink your copy.
While successful landing page copy is dependant on factors like your industry and your customers, it’s generally best practice to keep it short and sweet to avoid making your leads hunt for the information they’re looking for.