The ABCs of Savvy Startup Marketing
Authority, blogging and content spells online marketing success for your business.
Let’s cut right to the chase. If the plan to market your new venture isn’t based on the way people make choices today, every day that follows will be an exercise in futility.
It’s 2013, my friend. Every meaningful connection you have or hope to make—from prospects, to partners, to the press, and all points between—will learn about your company and form opinions regarding its credibility and value via online channels.
Does that mean traditional media such as broadcast, trade magazines, and direct mail are dead? No. It means if your company doesn’t have a plan to make its mark in online media, you are.
You must think “inbound.”
Traditional “outbound” marketing tactics that dominated the pre-Google world are now alarmingly ineffective. As consumers, we possess the power to filter out advertising and we’re not afraid to use it.
The fact is the Internet is where the masses go to gather information. Fact: it’s fast. Fact: it’s easy. Fact: it’s free.
Given the many powerful tools new media puts at the end of the shopper’s fingertips, the chances he finds what he’s looking for are quite high.
The question is: Will he find you?
To be an effective marketer, you have to do a complete 180 and practice inbound marketing. The strategy is to pull people to your website with magnetic content.
And then there’s this fact, which comes from HubSpot, the company that coined the phrase and wrote the book on inbound marketing:
New media, new game plan.
I’ve read countless books and articles on the subject of online marketing. I’ve attended the top conferences and interviewed the industry’s leaders. I’ve collected a heap of presentations about new media marketing and archived the lessons in my non-volatile memory. Most importantly, I’ve practiced this stuff.
To save you some serious time and share the most important concepts with you, I created a short eBook, “The Plan to Accelerate Your Success with Online Marketing.” [The eBook is offered free here at MyVenturePad.]
Today, to abbreviate the story even further, I give you the ABCs, a starter set of three of the most important concepts in online marketing: authority, blogging, and content.
A is for Authority.
Whether you speak for your personal brand, a company, or any type of entity, your path to success traces to your ability to establish and build authority in your field. The broader your field, the more competition you’ll find. For this reason, you’ll gain more traction, more quickly by focusing on a specific niche.
In “Trust Agents,” best-selling authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith write, “The process of becoming an authority should be a practice not only of building a network that listens, but also being the best resource available.“
Brogan and Smith profess people seek social proof across the web including of course, your profiles, communities, and contributions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, additional social media and relevant sites.
As you probably know, your authority level affects your search engine rankings, and conversely, your search engine rankings affect (1) how people perceive your authority and (2) traffic to your website. It’s a cycle.
The tactics you use to pursue authority can vary greatly. For instance, you may or may not aim to become a professional speaker. You could produce videos, conduct seminars, sell information products… The list is long.
However, in one way or another, you’ll need to produce and publish content. Yes, to influence prospective customers as a reputable source of expertise in your field, you must become a publisher.
B is for Blog.
Creating a company blog is one of the most effective, and almost always, the most practical method to establish authority. Additionally, blogging is enormously beneficial because it can:
- Provide prospects and customers a way to engage with your company.
- Educate readers to better qualify them in the sales process.
- Increase your exposure to other bloggers, publishers, and influencers.
- Dramatically improve your search engine rankings.
- Help increase your knowledge, authority, and leadership skills.
An award-winner blogger and friend, Heidi Cohen, offered these tips for creating a successful blog:
- Publish content consistently.
- Create an editorial calendar and archive ideas as they come to you.
- Interact with your community and stay active in online communities via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
- Align your blog and businesswith the strategic use of keywords and search optimization tactics.
- Conclude your posts with call to actions and offers.
- Be creative in promoting your blog across a variety of channels.
- Track results to learn which topics and articles appeal to your audience and how your posts perform via search.
C is for Content.
Content is the main ingredient of your online marketing program. And though your blog is the first matter of business for content creation, your options are many and include audio, video and various types images and graphics.
Each piece of content you create can expand your page count and therefore foster greater opportunities to appear in search results and garner traffic to your website.
In addition to creating timely and topical content that tracks to trends in your industry, you should also strive to produce “evergreen” content. That is, content which will remain relevant for a long time to come. Evergreen content will act like an annuity delivering a return on investment for the long-term.
A savvy content creation strategy recognizes and addresses a metaphorical sales funnel. With a funnel model in mind, you should aim to create content that maps to the concerns and information needs of each phase in the sales cycle, from initial interest (the top of the funnel), to the learning and qualification phases you hope prospects will enter (middle of the funnel), and to the buying phase where prospects become customers (the bottom of the funnel).
Smart marketers also continue feeding existing customers a steady stream of content via blogs, websites, subscriptions, email programs, offers, and even customer service and support initiatives.
The idea here, of course, is to promote upsell opportunities and customer loyalty, but even more importantly, to foster referral business. With online marketing, the all-powerful word-of-mouth can quickly transform into “word-of-mouse” marketing, creating the viral effect that can be the ultimate payday for a company aiming to capitalize on the power of online marketing.
Gain more insights about online marketing by downloading a free copy of “The Plan to Accelerate Your Success with Online Marketing.”
Barry Feldman is president of Feldman Creative. He creates compelling content by telling stories. He's a content marketing strategist, copywriter, creative director, speaker and author. He specializes in creating websites, eBooks and integrated online marketing programs. Barry recently published "The Plan to Grow Your Business with Effective Online Marketing" a free eBook and would like you ...