April 12, 2018 / Leave a Comment
A startup business is facing one main challenge: to get people to know about their business and clearly understand what it does. On top of that, your budget is limited and you want to make the best use of your money.
So what do you do?
If you target your audience by using buyer personas and the buyer’s journey, you can use your own channels to draw the right people to you, at the right time. This way you naturally reach out to people who are already interested in what you’re doing.
For a startup, inbound marketing can result in two things: more time and more money.
Inbound marketing fundamentals
Buyer personas – understand WHO you are talking to
Buyer personas are basically fictional personas that represent your ideal customers. By creating buyer personas, you create a purpose for your content.
Your ideal customers more or less share the same lifestyle, values, needs and even characteristics.
By describing your buyer persona, it will become much easier for you to understand who you are writing for and why.
These buyer personas, however, may not necessarily have the same needs at the same time.
You want to make sure that you create content that matches your personas for where they are in the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
The buyer’s Journey – timing is crucial
Before purchasing any product or service, a potential customer goes through three stages that we call the Buyer’s Journey. The three stages are: Awareness, Consideration and Decision stage. This means that far from all buyer personas are ready to buy your product or service right away. Some of them need some warming up.
Here’s how to understand the different stages in the Buyer’s Journey:
A person who’s in the awareness stage clearly has different needs than a person in the decision stage. A person in the awareness stage is looking for a solution to something and they are seeking information to find out what solution could be the best fit. By providing this person with educational and informative content, you can help them identify what solution best matches their needs. This will naturally lead them to the next step in the buyer’s journey, the Consideration Stage.
Now when someone’s in the Consideration Stage they have realized what solution they need for the problem or opportunity they’re facing. At this stage, they are looking for resources and more in-depth content that can broaden their knowledge and understanding of their specific problem or opportunity. They actively search through the resources online to learn more about different solutions. They are looking for content that helps them compare and evaluate their choice. Here, the impression they get from different websites and companies becomes very important, and the overall user experience.
The type of content they are happy to consume at this stage may be webcasts, podcasts or videos, infographics, e-books, and checklists. Thanks to the valuable knowledge you’re providing them, they will feel confident to naturally move on to the final stage in the buyer’s journey, the Decision Stage.
In the decision stage, the person is convinced and knows exactly what type of product or service they need. At this stage, The person is happy to try different options to see what best matches their needs. Case studies, trial downloads, and live demos are great pieces of content for this stage in the Buyer’s Journey. The content you provide will help the prospect to come to a final decision about what product or service to purchase.
This stage is very important for startups that are dealing with high-touch sales. If someone is looking for content at this level, they may be very close to making a purchase. Having your sales team reaching out at this stage will most probably result in a new customer.
In inbound marketing, we use the buyer’s journey to create valuable content that matches the prospect’s needs. By creating content that matches the buyer’s journey, you not only get a greater engagement, you also increase your chances of conversions.
It’s natural that the amount of people will decrease at each stage in the buyer’s journey, but this is actually good for your startup business because it lets you allocate the right resources to more qualified leads.
By narrowing down your audience to the Decision Stage you can be sure that you make the best use of your time, money and effort.
So, how do you reach these audiences at each stage of the buyer’s journey using inbound marketing?
It can come down to what channels to use for your content publishing and promotion.
Inbound marketing channels – seduce but don’t be pushy
By now we know that inbound marketing is all about providing your audience with valuable content so that they naturally get drawn to your business.
If we compare this to traditional marketing we can spot several differences. In traditional marketing, advertisers push out content whenever they want to. This results in pop-up ads, banners, cold emails and cold phone calls.
Inbound marketing does the opposite– it focuses on the customers’ needs instead of the needs of the marketer. You use your own channels in your marketing to attract the customer to come to you.
Inbound marketing channels
In today’s modern world we want to be the ones deciding what type of content we want to see and when. This trend is very clear when looking at Facebook and Instagram feeds for example. The algorithms have changed so you only see more of the content you’ve actually interacted with. Nowadays, most of us get annoyed when we get interrupted by content we didn’t “approve”.
Instead of pushing out content, inbound marketing is drawing the right audience to your startup business, at the right time. Simply by creating valuable content that’s accessible whenever they need it.
At the awareness stage, you can use SEO tactics so that users searching Google for answers to questions or solutions to problems may come across your content. Optimization helps them to see what is relevant to them at the right time.
Once a user is in the consideration stage, you can use your own on-site content management system to host landing pages and middle-of-the-funnel pieces of content to help drive further engagement and generate leads.
By using your on-site content to promote solutions and build your brand as being authentic and credible within your industry, your leads and site visitors may be more likely to enter into the decision stage when they see what kind of value you are offering to them even before they commit to making a purchase.
To sum it up, here’s what inbound marketing is all about:
- You identify your target audience and find out who they are and what they need
- You use your own channels to create content for each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision stage
- You collect leads to nurture the relationship and to naturally transfer the person from the awareness stage to the final decision stage in the buyer’s journey</li
Making your startup business seen by people is important but making your business seen by your ideal customers is even better. By using inbound marketing, you make sure to have a plan and strategy for your marketing. When you fully understand the needs of your buyer personas, your content creation will be much easier and also much more likely to succeed.
Are you curious to find out how inbound marketing can boost your startup business? Send us a message – we’re happy to have a talk.