Marketing is no longer ignored, it’s in fact baked into a startup's process and product too. However, a startup's marketing plan is replete with paid media strategies or shows a complete lack of sales and marketing focus. Our big idea to grow your business? Use blogging to market and sell. Slowly but surely, consistent blogging is more likely to keep you competitive than quick wins.
Simple effort done consistently, can change the course of marketing your product or service. It's surprising isn't it - that what you care about is something that you can write about. By being found online for the search terms that are important to your buyers, you can occupy the shelf on Google search. Startup marketing, with a robust content strategy, can be an easy way to keep your competition at bay.
53% of marketers think that blogging is their top inbound marketing priority.
Source: HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound
As a startup founder or manager, you must have goals to get more people to the website or app and increase sales. Though it maybe slow, blogging is a consistent effort that brings about lasting results. Though as they say, slow and steady wins the race. It's because blogging helps businesses to attract new visitors and convert those visitors into leads. The leads are also more qualified as they've been through a well-mapped out journey.
Blogging is just another marketing channel, just like direct marketing, social media or email marketing that support the growth of your startup business. In our case, along with social media followers and website visits, blogging performance is one of the key metrics we are looking at for customer acquisition.
Blogging attracts new visitors
Think about a typical user journey when searching for information online: they’ve got questions or problems and they're looking for solutions. As fans of the Inbound Marketing Methodology, blogging sits in the 'Attract' phase.
Visitors might find your blog posts through keywords they type in to search engines and with conversion-focused blog posts, these visitors could turn into leads for your startup. Moreover, each time you publish a blog post online, you’re increasing your chances of ranking on search engine and garnering social mentions. All of these drive traffic to your website!
Blogging converts new visitors into leads
Once people visit your blog posts and find the content is useful, they might be interested in subscribing your blog or download an eBook. On submitting a form, visitors are converted into leads. You can strategically promote your offers: free eBooks, consultations or workshops in your blog posts. The more blogposts you publish about your industry, the more people will look at you as a reliable source of information. This is all about building trust with your prospects to ensure that they become loyal customers. This is the “Convert” stage of the Inbound Methodology.
(Image source: HubSpot)
5 Steps To Get Started With Blogging
Step 1. Choose your topic and pick a title
As experienced inbound marketers, we'd like to reiterate that Customer is the key! Do your persona research, understand the problems your personas need to solve, identify the search terms your persona would search for. In one sentence, put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas. Remember, your content serves as a solution for your persona's problem, so ensure that it's educational and helpful.
A quick tip is to brainstorm a list of specific topics that you could blog about based on your persona research and highlighting solutions in ways that your competitors aren't.
Step 2. Optimise the blog post for search engines
To help search engines understand your blog content, you’ll need to optimise the page around a long-tail keyword, placing it in the blogpost title, URL, image alt-text and the strategically into headers and the body of the blogpost as well.
Step 3. Promote your offers
This step is all about lead generation. To nurture the blog readers into marketing qualified leads (MQLs), you want to know who they are and direct them to downloadable content that's gated, asking them for bits of information like company or contact information. Calls-to-action (CTAs) helps to promote your offer and help you track clickthroughs from blog to landing pages. Design persona-specific CTAs and place the button one per each blogpost based on the topic and what's relevant to the reader consuming that content.
Step 4. Promote your blogs
Link your blogpost content to other content that's been previously posted on your website. Include a link to relevant blogposts at the end of the blog if that's the journey that you'd like to take your reader on. Besides posting on your own website, you can also promote the blog on your social media channels and send them by email. At Connect Labs, we use HubSpot’s blog tool to write and promote blog posts. HubSpot’s marketing automation system syncs the publishing process on website, social media channels and even email marketing making blog promotion even easier.
Step 5. Performance analytics
Last but not least, always analyse the performance and gather insights so you can improve on your content strategy or conversion path. Some of the key performance indicators are views for each blog post, number of clicks on the CTA associated with particular blog posts and social mentions. There's also attribution reports that can tell you if a blogpost assisted with a conversion on your website.
At the end of the day, it is important to provide useful content to your personas in a consistent and frequent pattern. The more often you blog, the more likely you are to get found. The more often you post quality content, the more you will see the business grow.
We've got our small group sessions designed to make an impact on sales and marketing efforts for your business. For only $50 per session, we'll ensure that you walk away with more than just learning but with practical application too!