You can watch the talk here.
David presented his talk in Wayra as a part of the Prague’s Entrepreneurs Group series. The topic of the night was content marketing – how to build a strategy for your product or startup, how to attract people and how to measure the results. With such a long experience as a successful startup CEO, sales & marketing expert and raised angel, David offers a different and beneficial point of view on this precious topic.
What is a content marketing strategy? It is a plan you use to achieve your marketing goals. Most of the startups have to deal with a big problem: how can they attract people with no budget and no sales team. The solution is to build content that is interesting for the audience, start conversation, build a community, learn more about their needs, nurture the leads and convert them to sales. And don’t forget that tracking the effectiveness of the strategy is a priority.
At minimum, you should track these:
ARR or MRR derived from content
Conversion rates ( visitor to MQL, to SQL, to customer)
Lead Momentum and Lead Velocity
ASP – Average Selling Price
Churn (lost customers)
Preparation before creating the actual plan
Before creating the plan you should always ask yourself about the target. Who is your audience? How much you know about these people and can you categorize them? Try to build target personas and to understand the buyers journey. You should find people that fit this persona and give them questions.
Describe them (who you think this person is), find LinkedIn profiles (real people) that match this description, find authorities (person who influences and makes the purchase decision), find the problem this person wants to solve and topics this person is interested in (what keywords are they searching for) and find where you find this persona most often (blogs, different groups…).
For this person, what type of content does he need? How to move him to the next stage? How much content he likely wants to consume? What type of content is he interested in? How to push the person through? What time is he usually available or active? Who influences him?
Three stages of the buyers journey:
Unidentified need — awareness stage
Defined Pain — consideration stage
BANT — decision stage
What content should you create for each stage of the Buyer’s journey?
Think about the people that are involved in the decision making at your customer’s company and write down questions that each of them is likely to ask you. Then create a post where are you going to answer all these questions. Post this article somewhere those people are likely to read it. Create a summary of this content and turn it into an ebook and don’t forget – if somebody wants to download it – he has to provide you with his name and email address.
How to deal with more personas?
Create a couple of landing pages, different types of content and explain it to different people. Different personas can be even within one organization. In the future we are going to see much more content that is going to be personalized. Websites can track you as a visitor, save cookies, see posts you read or books you downloaded. Next time they are able to give you related posts to those things.
In first months you can create content that fits with the stage of the buyer’s journey and choose one main topic you will be focused on. Choose your content mix – in the beginning it can be maybe an e-book on the website. Talk to people on Twitter, before you actually ask them to do something for you. Get a couple people blogging, start getting some awareness, define personas, experiment, learn and focus on analytical and digital research.
5-steps of the content strategy plan:
Analyze your audience and your offering
Assess your team and its structure
Design a Framework and build your Plan inside it
Choose your 1 and 2 goals – it can be brand awareness, customer conversion, customer service, retention, loyalty, upsell or new subscribers. If you don’t have enough content on your site people would look at, viral marketing can be really important. So the world knows. You should have a software for measuring all the sources (not development or investment but website, social media and emails). Hubspot is one of them, but there are less expensive tools and they can do something similar.
In the early days we didn’t have a house design because we believed our audience is more interested in text. We were wrong. After getting a designer the click rate increased. We started creating e-books, visualizations. People started sharing it. Work with someone who has design skills, it is a description of the quality of your work. Get somebody as soon as possible.
Q & A
How was the work with the developers?
After they tried the product, they decided mostly to buy it. It is a very long decision process to choose who to target in the company. It is better to implement a sales and marketing team – and call the people. We found out that the person who was maybe the manager was most likely to process the decision. We were seeing even 10 sales in the same company. Try to call the small sales teams first. One team at the time. Make sure you know somebody at the team and ask them if he doesn’t know anybody else who might be interested.
People tend to listen to group of people and if one of them seems to be more authoritative – he will win. If there are people targeting the same audience, going to places where marketers are, you will find another vendors.
You are talking about passive contact. I think what is more interesting is to engage customer in a conversation. Why not to start a conversation as soon as possible?
Absolutely. Most people has made decision before they found the content. Yes, you want to start the conversation, you want to know who are they and what are they looking for so you can use it. One thing I see is that company tries to call every single person – but if you have a smaller number of people, it can work.
Which tools are you using to collect the information?
David: On our website we have forms to collect it, the largest is for trials. If they are looking only for content (e-books) – we are asking for name, surname and email. For trial it is a phone number. We are using SalesForce and we are tracking number of the minutes we spent on the phone.
How you turn a cold call into a conversation?
That’s tough. We buy a phone list and we just call random people. I try to build solution to solve this. It is good to look at LinkedIn connections you are sharing and say: “Hey, I know your friend…. do you have 30 seconds to talk about this…? And find people who are naturally good in doing this to hire them.
How to bring somebody to your website?
Create content with problems they are related and interested in.
How to take your business to the next level?
You’ve got customers and these people are already talking to you on Twitter. You can connect with them, thank them, give them feel you are listening and you are there for them. Create custom offers. Tell them that you value their loyalty and because they’ve already talked about you, you will give them a special sale for some other people they know and might be interested. Make these offers trackable and you will see if they did it. And you can give them an extra more discount later.
Is blogging useful?
It is highly effective mainly in the long term perspective. In short term – if you are unknown, you are going to have only a small audience. With time people will come and you can just share again the old content, it will slowly grow. It is always a long term strategy.
How to get 20 000 visitors in a month?
We went to an event in San Francisco where we collected plenty of cards from a tradeshow. We added them to the emails we got the year before and said we will send a report informing about something they were interested in. You can put a survey on your website that takes them somewhere else as well. Or use Reddit. We pulled all the info together and created a document from that. We made it publicly available and wrote an email to all the people from the tradeshow. They came to the website, shared it with friends, it became popular and we had 20 000 views within months. Later we updated it (you can always fill it, we want to have the survey accurate) and it created lot of buzz about us in the industry with one million potential users.
What is the best strategy for engaging people?
- reports on the industry (you can divide it into more posts)
- comment as an early commenter, people can see it (old things doesn’t matter)
- become a known person
- get involved with communities
- post content your audience likes
Find the whole article about content marketing here. (we highly recommend to read it!) or you can follow @DavidBooth on Twitter for more daily updates on the topic.