Tag Archive: HubSpot

Attention Startups! Content Marketing is easier than it looks

by Stephanie Goodman

As with every job, there is no end to learning. As Mark always says to me, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” In light of this, I make a conscious effort to visit a webinar, read a new blog or talk to a new expert in the industry once a week. Last week I visited my trusted source for marketing info: Hubspot. While we are currently revamping our website, I found it most appropriate to attend a webinar on content marketing. The webinar, hosted by Mike Stelzner from Social Media Examiner, described how marketing should not be used to sell to our customers, rather, it should be used to educate them.

Mike stated, like space, nothing remains still and everything is in orbit. Our startups, growing organizations and their strategies fall under this metaphor. What does stay constant in our marketing process is that we are always engaging with people. So how do we provide relevant, valuable content in an ever changing environment? Below are some of the webinar highlights that I believe will help you get your content marketing strategies started or back on track.

Marketers are treating their customers like children. Instead of walking alongside of our customers, many of us are forcing them to comply to our will. Your service may be beneficial to your customers, but do they know that they need you? (Again, you don’t know what you don’t know). In saying this, speak to your customers needs, do not speak about your products. In our case, our prospects may not know their startup needs sales or marketing assistance. By providing blogs, whitepapers and newsletters with tips on how to grow a startup, we are speaking to their needs and incorporating strategies and tactics deemed helpful in order to get them to where they want to be.

Are your gifts really marketing messages in disguise? When you give someone a gift for their birthday, do you give them a picture of yourself (let’s take parents/grandparents out of this equation)? I hope you don’t. You give them something that is valuable to them or something that will bring them happiness. Same goes for content marketing. If you’re writing about yourself/your company all the time rather than writing for your audience, you are committing the crime of giving them a picture of yourself on their birthday.

I’m a startup and I don’t have money for marketing, let alone content marketing. The great thing about content marketing is that you can do it in a way that only cost your time, not your paycheque. If you don’t have a blog, develop a strategy to start one (link to previous blog). If you don’t have whitepapers, develop a strategy to write your first one and post it. The whole idea is a shift from buying ad space to providing great quality content, experience and to gather valuable information within a community that can use it. Here are some ways to come up with great content:

  • Think of your last meeting with a prospect. What kinds of business pains did they have? What questions did they ask? What preconceived notions did they share?
  • Attend webinars, read others blogs and accept a few newsletters. Summarize the points you think your audience will find useful and write about them; you can also write opinion pieces on why you perhaps disagree but remember to back up your claims.
  • Attend startup events in your area. Because they are for startups, majority of the events will be free (the only cost is your time). Gather points about the presentations or see if you can interview one of the presenters at a later date if you think they could provide valuable insight that you can turn into valuable content.

I really liked Mike’s phrase “Caging Marketing.” Don’t’ go for the kill just because you can see it. Your prospects need to trust you in order to approach you. As a startup, it may seem difficult to build a reputation as trustworthy because the majority of people still don’t know who you are or where you came from. Build off that. This is your clean slate to show your audience what you’re made of and how well you know what you know. Don’t be afraid to admit your shortcomings and ask for advice; people love to give their opinion and share their expertise. While you build your company, build your network by sharing, interacting and listening to what your prospects, customers and partners are saying.

If you want to discuss content marketing further or you have any particular questions pertaining to getting started, feel free to visit our website and reach out to Stephanie Goodman.

 

Pinterest for B2B: What to know and how to start

Many small businesses ask themselves the same question when deciding whether or not they should embark in the newest social media platform: Is it worth my time? I recently read an ebook by Hubspot on Pinterest for B2B. For those who are unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a social platform that relies on the sharing of visuals images. On the surface, it is easy to see how Pinterest benefits B2C companies, but how may it helped B2B organizations?

Below are is a list of various questions you may be asking yourself about Pinterest. I have provided a few points that may help you make a decision about fitting Pinterest into your marketing strategy:

What is Pinterest?

  • Visual social media platform where users share, like, comment and follow people and boards to pass along information in the form of images and videos.
  • How popular is it? Pinterest saw 155% growth in one month, beating out Linkedin and Google+

How does Pinterest fit into the marketing strategy of B2B organizations?

  • What kind of businesses should be considering it? Businesses that highly utilize videos and images in their core messaging. Keep in mind that you want to be where your customers are. Do some research beforehand to see if your current customers and prospects are using the platform.
  • Pinterest provides connectivity to Facebook and Twitter. Users can sign up using their Facebook or Twitter account, therefore, posting their Pinterest activity to these separate social networks as well

I set up a profile, what now?

  • Optimize your profile: Include your company name, logo, brief description, links, keep the setting ‘hide your Pinterest profile from search engines’ checked OFF
  • Want to be successful? Avoid blatant self-promotion. Even a sales person will tell you that no one likes to be ‘sold to.’ Keep your content educational and informative.
  • Start by creating pinboards in order to build a reach and network. A pinboard is like a Twitter list; it is a tool used to consolidate information pertaining to one particular topic of interest. Remember to utilize your company’s keywords in the title of pinboards for SEO purposes and to clearly communicate what your board is for.

I’ve set up a profile. Is there anything else I should know?

  • There are 2 kinds of follows:
    • 1) Follow a board: Users will receive all information posted on a particular pinboard. It’s similar to following a list on Twitter.
    • 2) Follow a user: Users will receive updates every time your company posts an update. It’s similar to following someone’s Twitter handle.
    • When developing your pinboards, remember some of these great tips:
      • Feature visual content; Pinterest is a visual social network
      • Create pinboards about your company so users can see the people behind the brand. Example: Executive Managament board with headshots of your team.
      • Utilize strong visuals from blog articles to promote your blogs
      • Create a user generated pinboard; allow other Pinterest users to add to your boards
      • Utilize hashtags; Pinterest supports the use of hashtags.
      • Measure, Measure, Measure! Remember to measure your efforts by using a tool such as Google Analytics. Identify how many users are coming to your website from Pinterest and set goals for inbound traffic. For example, increase your Pinterest inbound traffic by 20% per month. Also use analytics to understand what works and what doesn’t; are people visiting your blogs from Pinterest and not your newsletter page?

Hubspot has a lot of great resources if you’re looking to brush up on your marketing knowledge, or if you’re interested in learning something new. Give us a shout if you need assistance putting your thoughts into action and want to start executing a strong marketing strategy. To get weekly tips, sign up for our RSS feed and take a look at our blogs on sales, marketing and social media.

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