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Content marketing refers to publishing articles, videos and other content (e.g. guides) to target a particular audience – especially online. As social media, smartphones and internet access has pervaded the world over the last ten years, this has become increasingly popular as a form of marketing. Yet is it suitable for startups – businesses which might lack a large marketing budget to produce content at scale, and which are seeing rapid growth?
In this article, our team here at Bure Valley Group offers an argument in favour of using content marketing to help grow a startup. We hope you find this content helpful. Find out more about our EIS and other investment opportunities by visiting our portfolio page here. To enquire regarding our latest projects and funding, you can reach us via:
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The forms & uses of content marketing for startups
Why should a startup bother at all with content marketing? One of the main reasons is that, in the 2020s, customers expect to see it. If a customer is interested in a business’s products or services, then most audiences want to educate themselves about them first. This might take the form of checking product reviews on an online marketplace (e.g. Amazon), or researching what others are saying on the company’s Facebook page. If these types of content resources are not readily available to the audience from the company, then it quickly looks suspicious.
As such, content marketing is a crucial marketing foundation for startups – providing that initial layer of trust which audiences need to engage further. Yet it has other uses as well. First of all, it’s a great way for a business to “correct the record”. A good example of this is Signal; a rival to messaging service WhatsApp, that has been steadily growing. In December 2020, the BBC had misleadingly reported that Cellebrite (a digital intelligence company) had found a way to break the encryption on Signal. In response, Signal used content marketing to publish a blog which set out why this was incorrect; a piece that was then picked up by major media outlets, thus further extending Signal’s brand exposure.
Secondly, content marketing is a powerful way for startups to generate more leads. Imagine, for a moment, that you are a customer browsing online, and you stumble across a Google Ad in the sidebar of a website for a startup – one offering a new CRM solution (customer relationship management). You have been looking for a CRM for your own business recently, so you click on the ad to find out more. Upon arriving at the website, however, you find only minimal information about the business, the product it is selling and how it works.
Yet suppose, instead, you found a compelling explainer video on the CRM as soon as you came to the website. This neatly outlines the unique selling points (USPs) of the product, why it beats alternatives on the marketplace and why the customer’s potential objections can be addressed easily, quickly and without risk. Further down the page, you can find a free downloadable guide on “How to get the most out of our CRM” and a range of favourable customer reviews. At this point, you have been sufficiently intrigued to accept the call to action – “Sign up and start a free 7-day trial”. Looking back at what happened, the content marketing assets along the customer’s journey proved crucial in helping turn them into a lead.
Why startups need content marketing
The nature of most startups is that they are newly-born and relatively unknown by the market. This puts them at a disadvantage to established players with many years behind them, which has given time to build brand awareness and trust amongst the target audience. These bigger players, as such, can lean more heavily on their brand to convince customers to buy from them. Most startups cannot do this, and must put in hard work to educate their audience about what their business does, why they do it and how it meets their needs better than the existing options available to them in the marketplace. Content marketing is the perfect tool to achieve this.
It is tempting for startups to believe that simply “throwing money” at marketing problems can fix them (e.g. spending £10,000s on ill-conceived Google Ads campaigns or email marketing lists, in an attemp to generate high volumes of leads quickly). Yet modern consumers are smart, and expect to be presented with great content from businesses which answer their questions and provide great value – often with little commitment. It helps very little, for instance, to “gate” every article, guide or video you publish behind a pay-wall or email signup form. Startups should offer valuable content which generates a thirst for more amongst the audience. At the right moment, when suficient interest is created from a prospect, it is reasonable to ask a bit more commitment from them to get more content value – such as signing up to your newsletter.
Conclusion & invitation
Interested in finding out more about the exciting startup projects we have on offer to investors here at Bure Valley Group? Get in touch today to start a conversation with our team and discuss some of the great investment memorandums we have available here:
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