Business Promotion with Thin Budget: The Content Way

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@rituraj15Rituraj Sengar

The Startup Guy with a Digital Marketing head.

Gazing at the audience there I was standing on the podium pitching to the auditorium full of investors. 1500 people (mostly investors and founders) were present in the stadium listening to startup founders like me. I needed just one of them to turn towards me and utter -
Hey, We found your idea very interesting. Would you care to
join us for a discussion about it in our office?
Well, that was my expectation once I am finished delivering my 4th unsuccessful pitch in the ongoing month. Not to be.
Pondering over the constant failures, I realized raising funds wasn't an easy go sassy thing. After all, there are present hundreds and thousands of founders but only a handful of investors. That's the point where startups die (or evolve).
You have a revolutionary idea and a life-changing game plan to execute, but how are you planning to avail it to people if you don't have a budget? Not all people are lucky enough to get investor funding for promoting their startup, and there are more chances than not, that you are too.
Definitely, you will need a list of traditional marketing techniques but are you sure you want to invest in conventional ways when you're thin on the pocket?
Now that's where content marketing trumps traditional marketing. Going by an article published in a leading business blog Content Marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising and generates 3 times as many leads!

What does this mean for Startup Founders?

In simple words, one should not shy away from promoting their idea if they fail to get the funds on board. Instead, one should start investing in Content Marketing for the initial part of the journey!
Here are a few things (Good & Bad), I got to know about promoting your business with Content Marketing:

1. Informative & Engaging at the same time

Every time a viewer sees an ad on your website, they are most likely to turn their backs, and you will be losing a possible lead. On the contrary, if they find content which is helpful and entertaining, they will stay and their money will stay with you. And if you want to gorge on it, your website must be like a friend to the prospects, who has the best possible solution to their problems.
People are fed up of slimy sales pitches and pressing in-your-face advertising, they are looking for authenticity and friendliness. This is one of the primary reasons why content marketing is thriving and generating some unbelievable numbers. Apart from delivering the message, it also educates your audience.
Direct marketing or advertising curtails a gap of companionship, which is filled with content marketing. For startups with innovative products, trust is of vital importance.
If this wasn’t convincing enough, here’s what the Infographic from Demandmetric says: Content Marketing generates, thrice the times of
leads than outbound marketing and costs 82% less.

2. Content builds Loyal Customers

For startups, SMB’s or even large corporate giants, each of them survive on their pack of loyal customers, customers who have invested blind faith into them.
Let us go through this quick data check before citing how content marketing helps you build loyal customers:
  • 80% of people prefer viewing content to receiving an interruptive ad.
  • 60% say that content provides them with vital information that influences their buying decisions.
  • 80% of consumers now search online for helpful information before deciding to buy a product or service.
And the list is never-ending…
If your content is convincing, there’s no way in the world you can’t turn your prospect to a quality lead, lead to a customer and finally to a daily-customer.
If people trust you, you are like a resource to them, which they like to come back to gather information and learn more. With content marketing, you are forming a community of people who revolve around your website looking for valuable content.
For example, Moz.com has an online marketing segment, Whiteboard Friday, that delivers content on a weekly basis. They film exclusive videos on their advanced knowledge of SEO, backed up with texts and upload them every Friday. Viewers from all over the world have been appreciated their work, gauging millions of views for Moz.com.
Source: Moz.com

3. Vital Contributor to SEO Success

Startups are always looking for new opportunities to reach out to people. In the digital market, recognition is directly proportional to the efficiency of your SEO game plan.
Content plays such a vital role in your SEO, that it’s almost impossible to separate the two. Everytime you publish a new blog, there’s another indexed page available for Google ranking. By leveraging guest posting, you share a piece of content on other blogs and incite engagement that leads to a boost in SEO.
Although, Skyword research says, best content marketers focus more on conversions than on traffic. But, you still need traffic for two broad reasons – first because higher traffic invites more people and second it increases the probability of conversions.

4. Content Marketing is Highly Inexpensive

As discussed earlier, content marketing is comparatively cost-effective. Well, that doesn’t imply the results are slim too; in fact, it is quite the contrary, the results are even better than traditional marketing.
While traditional marketing costs increase year after year, content marketing, within 5 months, reduces customer acquisition costs by 80%. If you keep the consistency unshaken, costs decline for up to 24 months. This is why content marketing has been a root cause of the extraordinary growth of so many startups.

5. Content Marketing generates leads

The one digital marketing goal that is common in each one of our lists is lead generation. Businesses, especially startups, need new leads who are interested in buying their product/service and in the process earn profits.
Content marketing has proved to be a great tool for lead generation considering their ‘not selling’ strategy. Well, people are tired of the on-face advertising and the ‘Please buy me’ requests.
After all, there’s a reason why 1 in 4 US residents have installed ad-blocking software in either of their devices.
People want to be educated not sold. They will sell themselves if you just commit to educating. - Patric McFadden
Content marketing does exactly that!

How to begin with your rock-solid content marketing strategy?

Now that you are fully convinced why content marketing is certainly one of the BEST marketing art form that can help you reach your audience in practically $0. Let’s get on to ‘how you can begin with rock-solid content marketing strategy?’
Data check: Despite the importance of a content marketing strategy, a recent study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs shows that 63% of businesses do not have a documented one. However, in the same study, 64% said that content marketing is the most important educational need for businessmen right now.
I am sure you don’t want to be a part of the 63% and later regret. The reason why I will guide you through a few basic steps to kick start your content marketing:

Step 1: Set goals and identify your target audience

The next thing to do is to conduct research. Identify the groups that your products or services are most relevant to. Set these groups as a target audience for your content and segment it further for a more targeting approach.
The elementary thing about finalizing a business strategy is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve.
Remember, whatever content you create must be relevant to your target audience; otherwise, it will disrupt their thinking procedure, ultimately bouncing off from your website. Make sure that you develop content that caters to the preferences of your audience. This will help them develop an affinity for your business.
Source: Google Images

Step 2: Select the best content channel

Once you have determined your target audience, identify the places where they spend most of their time (online). Use analytical tools to determine where your content will reach the maximum people. Based on the results, select the channels where your content must be visible.

Step 3: Decide the type of content

Most successful content marketing strategies rely on having a central core of the content published on your own websites. This content can be shared on various other platforms.
You can choose from a wide range of content to upload- blogs, videos, podcasts, etc. Blogs are most common for Content marketing. Video marketing and podcasts are comparatively modern forms of marketing but they are quite impactful.
Whatever type of content you decide to create, make sure that it is top-notch and relatable to your audience.

Step 4: Resource Allocation

Once you have come up with a clear vision for the content you want to create, you need to identify and allocate your resources. This does not include only money. It involves asking questions like - who will create the content? Or what should be the time period between two posts, etc?
Allocate employees that are well versed in the field to accomplish these tasks. Develop a proper calendar to ensure the consistency of your posts. After you have decided upon this, move on to create content.

Step 5: Distribution and Marketing

The key part after the creation of your content is to distribute it so that it reaches as many people as possible. Your content marketing strategy will not be successful unless you manage to pull this off correctly.
You can pay social media influencers to promote your content on their posts. Ask them to share links. This will increase the traffic on your website. Try to add social media buttons with the content on your website. This will enable people to share the content directly on their personal accounts.
You can also send out emails to potential customers to make them aware of your business and attract them to your website.

To Sum up:

Investor Funding plays a significant role in the success of any Startup idea. But it doesn't imply that startups can't survive without it. Content Marketing is one of the marketing strategies we can implement to initiate business promotion with a limited budget. But, remember it’s more of an art than science. Thus, don’t stop experimenting! 
You never know what can turn into the next ‘golden egg’!

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