You will often come across the phrase: “Content is the king”.
Why? Because today consumers have access to all kinds of information which they can go through. For chief marketing officers (CMOs) working in high-tech startups, this means they cannot rely on mass media advertising campaigns any longer for creating brand awareness and marketing.
They are now adapting to the new digital landscape by focusing on creating customer loyalty, retention and advocacy through content.
Today, marketing isn’t seen as something that will sell but something that helps in creating buyer journeys. The days of using push marketing and applying price incentives are long gone as consumers are constantly online, finding information that helps them in their decision process.
Tech companies and startups must be active 24/7.
They must ensure they engage consumers at all stages of their buyer journey. And with competitors out there vying for consumers’ attention, CMOs must face the challenge on how to differentiate themselves with the rest.Blog post titles with 6-13 words get the most traffic. – HubSpot Click To Tweet
CMOs realize that their priority is to create credibility. They need to make sure that their target audiences see their brands as credible providers of information and utility. It is through this trust they can create better awareness, increase conversion and create a strong brand.
And they must rely on content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing can be described as an approach where a brand creates and distributes content that is relevant, valuable and consistent to engage and convert their target audiences. Help in creating profitable action by the consumers.
One thing CMO often miss is the buying cycle their customer take. What kind of content do you use and in what time for the buyer journey? Most folks (lazy ones) think the buyer journey is linear. Guess what it’s not!
Content marketing is being used by almost every brand out there. Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Coca Cola and many others are creating valuable great content to engage their audiences and then convert them by helping them solve their problems.
So how does it help a CMO of a high-tech startup? Here are five ways it can do so:
One: It helps in creating brand equity and trust:
High-tech startups are competing with companies that have been in the market for years. Giants like Apple, Dropbox or Microsoft not only have loyal customers but also command trust and credibility in the market.
For a new startup’s CMO, the biggest challenge is to carve out trust and brand equity for their new brand. And they can do it with content marketing.
By creating content like “use cases”, “white papers” or case studies, tech startups can share educational content that can help their customers decide whether they should invest or not.
Customers today want to learn about the product they want to spend money on and it’s no different for high-tech startups. They are now offering products and services that can be downloaded anywhere. Meaning they cannot always engage their customers.
Having downloadable content available on their website helps in keeping potential customers and engaging them later through their emails or other contact information they leave behind.
Some CMOs are reluctant to do this as they don’t want to release too much of their product or service information online. But today, almost everything is available online. Customers leave reviews, talk about their experience and leave ratings.
So, it’s pretty much easy to know what the product is or what are its best and worse features.
Having content that explains the product empowers customers. That way they learn about the startup before they decide whether or not to invest.
Here’s how Siemens is using content marketing to create new leads:
Notice how they are using non-sales language to convince their target audience to download the white paper. Do you know that as soon as you click on the “Sign Up” button it will prompt you to share your contact details?
And people respond to this. For CMOs, this is great as it allows them to create leads for their budding startup that still needs to be recognized by its customers.
Two: Helps you stand out – cost-effectively:
It’s hard to compete with a tech giant when they have been serving your customers for years and have excelled in it.
Consider starting your own cloud service to compete with Dropbox.com or worse, starting your own search engine when Google and DuckDuckGo exist. For CMO’s leading marketing effort of a new high-tech startup, things can be hard, and this is where content marketing helps.
When we talk about startup marketing, CMO’s must realize that it’s about creating a strong brand. The market is full of sales reps and paid marketing campaigns vying for your target customer attention. This means your name would be easily missed or forgotten.
While CMOs can invest in paid marketing campaigns, the cost factor inhibits them.
Your budget will not allow you to invest as much as you want.
However, well written and creative content can do that.
Take Close.io, a sales SaaS program that helps close leads. Their content marketing is impressive as they have created a whole library of content that is useful and informative to their target audience.
This is a two-pronged strategy.
First, they are talking about the things their target audience is interested in. An email sales course will help a sales newbie to learn about how to leverage emails to generate a lead.
Second, their content is helping them get a better rank on search engines. Content that is written for audiences benefit and not just to create leads helps you get more shares on social networks and can generate better numbers like low bounce rate and more time on site.
For CMO’s of startups that must work with a limited marketing budget, content marketing offers them an avenue through which they can create organic traffic and solidify their startup as a thought leader.
CMO’s working with high-tech startups know that they must promote a product that is unique or new to the market.
What this means is that it’s difficult for them to stand out in the competition and they must work extra hard to get people to search for them online.
That’s why with content marketing, CMO’s can use general queries related to their product to create inbound traffic. And by adding relevant content to help solve these queries, they can engage visitors and convert them into leads.
For instance, here’s what pops up on Google when one writes “Cloud Solution for Office files”
Notice how Microsoft Office is using general queries here. By just using the keywords “cloud”, “office” and “files”, Microsoft has ensured that the search results show its services for cloud, OneDrive.
Using SEO, a CMO can achieve their sales target and create a strong brand by creating content around the problems their product is solving. It’s cost-effective and offers better ROI compared to anything else.
Three: Using content to humanize your brand:
Here are two sentences that will explain what is meant by the phrase “humanizing your brand”:
We are offering a solution that uses machine learning to create a database of your customers and then shares custom messages to each of your customers according to their geographical solution.
Our smart program helps you reach your customers wherever they are without the need to do it! Everything happens automatically with machine learning and smart computing.
Which sentence do you prefer? Second, right? That’s what content marketing does for a brand. It helps you to explain your product or service easily without using buzzwords or technical jargon.
Did you know that potential customers look up content on your product or service before buying? In fact, HubSpot says that at least 47 percent of customers will see three out of five pieces of content before they engage you.
CMO’s need to consider this. With strategic content marketing, they can create content full of emotion and is relatable to their target audience. It should be the voice of the brand so that when a customer is reading it, they should feel joy talking to the brand.
How to do this?
First, create content that talks to customers and their problems. If a startup is selling a social media tool that allows scheduling and content publishing, then the content should talk about moments where social media marketers need such a tool. It’s about being in the customer shoes.
For high-tech startups, this is imperative as they must build use cases where they can share how their product is helping customers. Take Mokanix, a new startup that offers programmable SIM’s to developers to create solutions like fleet tracking or workforce management systems.
They have listed a couple of use cases for their potential customers to understand what they are looking for.
Four: Everlasting and ongoing promotion:
Startups are cash strapped and unless they secure healthy financing, their CMO’s must work with a limited amount of capital.
However, when they use content marketing, they can create content that can last forever and keep getting customers for their startup.
Here’s one of the best examples – the Dropbox explainer video content.
They made it with a budget of $50,000 but reached a whopping two million and created $50 million in revenue.
When a startup creates a piece of content, it can help it bridge the gap between customer and their USP. Customers can read the content, download and even share it with their bosses and colleagues. And there is no need for someone to explain it to them. The content does the talking.
This means that a good piece of content can save you costs in terms of salespeople, cold calls and more.
For CMO’s looking for a better ROI, content marketing can help them out.
Five: Access to raw customer data:
The biggest concern for any new startup is finding the right customer.
Knowing who your customer is can help a business create marketing messages that appeal to them. For CMO’s, this is something very important.
If content that is created is conversational, it can help the CMO generate data about their customers. How?
When potential customers react to a startup content online, they share their feedback with people who are running it. This can be through comments under the blog posts, their reactions to a post on social media, even their shares can let you know who is interested.
This kind of insight allows CMO’s to create the customer personas and today, without these marketing campaigns fail.
CMO’s of startups use this raw feedback from their customers and use it to create new content that creates leads.
And reading customer comments also allows them to pass information to other departments that can offer insights about new features, introduce new products and even help in solving recurring problems. This then creates a competitive edge for the startup!
CMO’s can position their startup as a company that listens to its customers and likes to jump in whenever they need help.
Today customers don’t want to hear advertising jargons and marketing jingles. They are interested in information that helps in deciding. CMOs that want to grow and help their startups succeed need to adopt this.
Wrap up on content marketing
To sum up, CMOs need to rely on content marketing to create content that should focus on customers not on creating sales. It should be educational and full of information that is relevant and authentic. The tone and voice should be friendly, human and approachable.
The content should help in solving problems and encourage readers to share their ideas and thoughts on it. Above all else, it shouldn’t drown the information in complex words.
It’s crucial to not forget marketing goals and make sure it is optimized for search engines. Focus on creating content that builds trust and relationships – it should be able to bridge the gap between potential customers looking for a solution and a startups product. Remember, don’t pinch your budget, rather invest to earn big.
Petra Sestak is an internet marketing specialist at Point Visible, a digital marketing agency providing custom blogger outreach services. In her free time, you can find her on a tatami trying to improve her aikido techniques or in the local pub with her friends. Also, she’s a coffee & chocolate addict.