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Content marketing and social media for startups and non-profits.
Grow Your Business with Content Marketing

Build a Sales Pipeline
with Content Marketing

If you had the choice between cold calls to drum up new business, or blogging, which would you pursue? Content marketing can make a huge difference in the size of your sales pipeline, and we've put together a guide to convince you.

Watercolor - Start with Marketing Strategy

 

1.1 Start with Marketing Strategy

Let’s start by discussing how to use content marketing to grow your business. The word marketing often brings up anxiety in business owners. Many don’t have the budget. Others don’t have the knowledge or expertise.

It doesn’t matter if you start from scratch, or have been in business for years. Your business needs a marketing plan. Just think about it. If you need a documented plan for shipping, packaging, vendors, etc., it only makes sense to have a marketing plan in place.

Content marketing is an affordable and efficient way to market a growing business. It includes free and low cost marketing mediums like blogging, email and social media.

Here are a few things to consider when marketing your business:

  1. Who is your customer base, and where can you find them online?
  2. What is the unique value of your product or service offering?
  3. What are your own concerns or objections with marketing and how can you overcome or address them?

Without a marketing strategy, your business can only go so far. Here are a few blog posts to help you explore what content marketing has to offer.

Watercolor - Live and Breathe These Content Marketing Tips

 

1.2 Live and Breathe These Content Marketing Tips

Good content marketing seeks to understand and support your customer at each stage of the buying process. Consider this your sales funnel.

If you’re new to marketing, you may not understand what we mean when we say “sales funnel”. This phrase simply describes the mindset of your customer, when they engage with your brand.

Sales Funnel Transparent.png

Typically, the sales funnel has three stages:

  1. Awareness: making customers aware of your business
  2. Consideration: helping customers as they consider your business
  3. Purchase / Decision: supporting your customer during the buying and decision-making process

Every customer finds your business at a unique stage of the sales funnel. For example, someone who is new to subscription boxes might not understand how subscription models work. FAQs and crafty product descriptions would be essential for this customer.

 

Then, there’s the decision-making stage of the funnel.

These buyers are ready to become automatic customers. In this case, all you really need to do is remind them to buy. When you approach content creation with the goal of supporting each stage of the sales funnel, you can feel confident that you’re meeting the needs of every potential customer in your marketing strategy.

Here are a few content marketing tips to build a thriving sales pipeline:

  1. Build anticipation for your business, prior to launch, or with each new release. A large part of what makes any business so attractive is the experience you create for customers. Instagram or Facebook stories are a great way to create both anticipation and urgency. You might also consider hosting live videos to announce new products or speciality campaigns, as well as drive interest and sales.
  2. Optimize your website for search engines by blogging. For most business owners, blogging not only feels time consuming, it seems unnecessary. However, blogging can significantly increase your credibility in your industry and help drive traffic to your business website. Blogging is also a great way to express your brand personality.
  3. Partner with bloggers and influencers. Word of mouth is still one of the best forms of marketing out there. If your content marketing strategy includes partnerships with bloggers and influencers, you can leverage the web and social content they create, to keep your own marketing channels up-to-date.
A good content marketing strategy gives customers the feeling of inclusion.

Here are a few ways to make sure customers feel like a part of your tribe.

 Don't have time to browse? Download the Get Your Content Together Guidebook for exercises and worksheets to create a 12 month content marketing plan.

Snag Your Content Planning Worksheet

Simplify your content planning process, by thinking about content based on themes and goals. You'll also receive a bonus worksheet to organize your thoughts, actions and intentions.

Watercolor - Everyone Wins with User Generated Content

 

1.3 Everyone Wins with User Generated Content

Most startups find it time-consuming and overwhelming to run effective content marketing programs. User-generated content can help change that, and all you have to do is ask. 

Email your existing customer base, and ask them to go live when they get their product in the mail. Include inserts in your packaging that remind customers to tag you business in social posts. The golden rule of user-generated content is give to get. Check on branded hashtags, mentions and tagged posts frequently, to recognize and thank customers who share. 

The golden rule of user-generated content is give to get.

If you’d like to start working with influencers, the same advice goes, ASK! Queue up a DM to your favorite influencers. Take a look at who’s following and commenting on those influencer posts, and reach out to them too.

We worked with 212 west to target micro-influencers (accounts with 1,500 – 10k followers), for a brand awareness campaign. This campaign secured lasting influencer relationships for the brand and has allowed customers get to know the company and products, through the eyes of the influencer.


Content Marketing Success Story

Click the image for more details.

  PROJECT GOALS   Increase brand awareness and social media following for 212west.com, as well as the average dollar amount per sale.   OUR SOLUTION   We worked with 212 west to develop and execute an integrated content marketing strategy that included, email marketing, social media management, content creation, SEO and influencer marketing.   RESULTS   We worked with 212 west to create an ideal conversion path from social media and email traffic, as well as craft SEO optimized web content and product descriptions. Overall, we increased social media following by 14 - 18% each month and helped increase total monthly sales by 47%. We also helped 212 west develop key relationships with mid-west lifestyle and beauty bloggers that are still in place today.

PROJECT GOALS

Increase brand awareness and social media following for 212west.com, as well as the average dollar amount per sale.

OUR SOLUTION

We worked with 212 west to develop and execute an integrated content marketing strategy that included, email marketing, social media management, content creation, SEO and influencer marketing.

RESULTS

We worked with 212 west to create an ideal conversion path from social media and email traffic, as well as craft SEO optimized web content and product descriptions. Overall, we increased social media following by 14 - 18% each month and helped increase total monthly sales by 47%. We also helped 212 west develop key relationships with mid-west lifestyle and beauty bloggers that are still in place today.

If you're looking to venture into influencer marketing, this comprehensive guide on micro-influencer marketing is just what you need to get started. If you have a marketing budget, you can also check out GrowSumo or Tapfluence, to find the best influencers for your content marketing strategy.

If you aren’t quite ready to ask for help from customers and influencers, build your confidence muscle, by creating video and interactive content for yourself. Go live to talk about your product or service each month, or created video snippets of your behind the scenes and product development activities.  

Watercolor - Other Creative Ways to Market a Startup Business

 

1.4 Other Creative Ways to Market a Startup Business

  • Collaborate with other startups. Cross promotion can be a great way to reach other audiences, and joint marketing campaigns can go a long way. Consider running an email marketing campaign, where you offer a percentage off your product to your partner’s customer base (and vice versa). Use a special code to track the effectiveness of your efforts.

  • Start a Facebook group. If you’re in an industry like beauty, fashion, healthcare, real estate, luxury goods, etc., you can easily start a Facebook group around that topic. Provide a forum for people with like interests to connect and share peer-to-peer advice. As the moderator, you’ll be able to build trust among a highly engaged audience, with the potential to convert group members into customers.
  • Join a comment pod on Instagram. Comment pods are on the rise on Instagram. A pod is typically a group of 5-10 users with similar audiences, who comment on each other’s posts. The idea behind a comment pod is to have group members leave comments, so regular followers will be more likely to leave comments too. Genius right?
  • Offer a discount. You don’t want to get in the habit of being a discount company, especially when the margins can be slim for startup businesses. Consider offering a discount off the first purchase. You might also consider creating a permanent discount code for select groups like students, military or teachers. Amplify your efforts by submitting your coupon code to sites like coupons.com, retailmenotcom, couponchief.com, etc.
  • Run paid social media ads. Paid ads can be scary, especially if you’re struggling to get your first few online customers. When done well, paid ads can reduce the anxiety commonly associated with customer acquisition. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips on how to make Facebook ads more successful.
  • Recruit family and friends to promote your business. Chances are you’re running your startup business with as little operational costs as possible. You've bootstrapped office space and found the least expensive way to produce a quality product. Why not recruit family and friends to help with marketing? These are the people who will make up your first orders, so be sure to arm them with amazing discount codes or referral incentives to spread the word among their network.
  • Guest blog. Share your knowledge and expertise by guest blogging on platforms that you know your audience reads. You may even consider reaching out to podcasts to see if they’re accepting guests. 


 Don't have time to browse? Download the Get Your Content Together Guidebook for exercises and worksheets to create a 12 month content marketing plan.

Grow Your Captive Audience with Content Marketing 

Don't have time to browse? Download the Get Your Content Together Guidebook for exercises and worksheets to create a 12 month content marketing plan.