A Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses and Startups That Works
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Compound marketing gives you the time to properly invest in your small business and/or startup’s marketing strategy. When done consistently and done well, it has the same effect as compound interest: exceptional results over time. By creating the right kind of long-term inbound marketing strategy, you can enhance your budget and your results.
How Can You Achieve These Marketing Goals?
We say budget because it’s an alternative to a single upfront investment. It’s still going to require an investment, but you’re able to fully maximize it every month instead of prioritizing what you need right now. This slow climb is worth it, and we’re here to tell you why. (And how to take advantage of it for yourself.)
Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Strategy with Evergreen and Temporal Content
Evergreen content isn’t dated and is relevant beyond a certain time, while temporal content typically revolves around a season or holiday. An evergreen blog title for a painting company would be “How to Increase the Resale Value of Your Home”, while a temporal blog would be “The Best Summer Patio Décor for Your Home”.
We’ve seen the best results with a mix of evergreen and temporal content. The evergreen content helps outweigh the seasonality of needed temporal content that helps snag readers’ attention, but there’s still the potential virality of a seasonal post.
The Principles of Compound Marketing
Like compound interest, compound marketing is built on the idea that small improvements over time will ultimately make the biggest improvement. Would you rather have a penny that doubled every day for 30 days, or get $10,000 on the spot? Compounding means that in just one month that single penny will become $5.37 million. (We may be marketers and not mathematicians, but it checks out.)
Consistent work on an inbound marketing strategy builds momentum for your company and will ultimately help you reach more people and increase your revenue.
It just takes patience and dedication.
Let’s look at how Hubspot, one of the biggest authorities in inbound marketing, use this concept to their advantage. Their emphasis on creating both evergreen and temporal content paired with a consistent posting schedule has helped them steadily increase their momentum to become a go-to source for many marketers.
Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist, shared an illustration that succinctly explains why compound marketing pays off. These numbers may be theoretical, but the principle is solid. A total evergreen content marketing strategy, devoid of lapses in execution, will grow to more than 250,000 visitors per month. This takes post decay into consideration, which still isn’t enough to deter the long-term effect.
Even if each post generates around 150 views on the first day and 20 each day after, the compounding is evident.
Compare this to a blog that focuses only on temporal content with a much greater decay. One year later, the traffic tops out around 70,000 visitors and only around one view per day on each blog post. Once a post is published, there’s a limited amount of time viewers will find it helpful.
If you’re looking for the top Christmas gift of 2018, you’re not going to click on a post about 2017’s greatest gifts.
While this blog is in a vacuum with perfect planning, budget, and execution, it’s still a valuable example of why focusing on the long-term goal is beneficial for companies. Focusing on evergreen content with some temporal posts will keep your content engaging and value-providing in the months to come.
Content is the Foundation of Compound Marketing
Compound marketing revolves around content, and you’ll need a lot of it. How much is best? It depends, because ultimately, consistency is more important than the amount. We would rather see a company put out three great blogs a month consistently than six one month and two the next because of time or budget constraints.
Local businesses fare well with keeping a local spin on all content. This could include local events, favorite restaurants or bars, and outdoor adventures. Consider what your audience is searching for, and what they would find valuable. Cater to that, and your content will be a success.
In a way, startups have a tougher time with content. They can’t focus on locality to drive virality, so they need to focus on their industry. If you’re interrupting an industry for the first time, then most of your content in the early days needs to focus on customer education.
These questions can help you build out your content marketing strategy:
- How is your product better?
- How does your company operate? (This is relevant in regulated industries like healthcare and finance.)
- Is my data safe? (Again, important for healthcare and financial startups.)
- Why do you need X in order to complete my order?
Use your company’s FAQs, mentions, and customer emails to determine the most important questions to answer first, then build out related content as time goes on. If there’s an important industry update, don’t hesitate to bump a blog post back in order to take advantage of the buzz. This virality is one of the best ways to bump your compound marketing forward.
Creating a Compound Marketing Strategy from Scratch
Creating a marketing strategy from nothing can be overwhelming, so it helps to break it down by type of content. Focus on what you’re best at, then add in other types of content later as time and budget allow.
While every company can benefit from regular video production, the costs add up and it may not be feasible. Instead of stressing about what you could do if you have a Fortune 500-level marketing budget, focus on what you can do well. Oftentimes, this is blogging. A great blog still takes skill but is typically quicker and cheaper than full-scale video production.
A Blogging Strategy that Works
There are four key components to creating a blogging strategy that works. And what do we mean by “works”? It brings in visitors, relates to your products or service and your industry, adds value, and is unique.
The four components are:
Nothing is more hotly contested in the inbound marketing space than keywords. While we believe in tangential content more than keywords, you still need relevant words in every blog post. Think about how your ideal reader would Google a topic and craft those words into the blog post.
When you write with your reader in mind, rather than a search engine, the keywords will naturally appear throughout the blog post. No need to stuff “home painting company in YOUR CITY” into every single paragraph. Use it where it’s logical, and let the topic-based algorithms do their work.
Localization is another piece of choosing your keywords for blog posts. If you’re focused on a specific geographical area, make sure to include that in the introduction and conclusion. No need to add more than that.
The length of your blogs posts is important because you want to provide enough value without becoming repetitive or fluffy. Fluff is the enemy of a great blog post! Make sure every sentence drives your point forward. If it doesn’t then cut it out.
Typical blog posts run anywhere from 600 to 1,200 words. You can use a combination of lengths, as well. If you do three blog posts a month, two could be 600 words long and one can be a more in-depth post at 1,200 words.
This is simply a guideline, though. Some websites regularly publish 2,000 words or longer posts and see great success with it. If you choose to write longer posts, make sure you have the content to make it engaging so your visitors will read to the very end.
As we briefly touched on above, frequency can be the success or the downfall of your company’s blog. You want to post frequently enough to bring in visitors regularly, but you don’t want to sign up for too much and crash and burn.
Let’s find a middle ground, shall we?
We typically recommend three to four blog posts a month, which is around one per week. This is enough to post regular updates on social media and to keep the website updated, but not too much that it’s difficult to create compelling blog posts.
We’ve save the most important for last. Your topics will determine the success of your compound marketing strategy. The key is to write specific enough blogs that you have continuous, intriguing content, but not too much as to drown your visitors in specificity.
Plan out at least 90 days in advance, so you can create a good flow with your posts. If you introduce a topic the first month, make sure there’s a related blog post the next, and link between them. This will help bring all related topics up in organic search.
Using Video Content for Engagement
Engaging videos capture attention. But they can also get expensive, leading many companies with limited budgets to ignore the value. One way to maximize your budget is to invest in one day of filming with your team and shoot as much content as possible. This could be your profile video, what makes your company special, and a few insights into your industry.
Then, cut these into both a long-form video for your website and short 15-20 second clips for social media. This mix provides in depth content for viewers that are ready to buy, as well as top of the funnel information for those just discovering your company.
Social Media Drives Website Traffic
Social media is like the glue within your compound marketing strategy. We recommend every company have an active social media presence, because it’s one of the primary ways to drive traffic to your website.
The same frequency rules apply here as well. If you can’t commit to five high-quality and engaging posts per week, then drop it to three per week and use those to share content your audience would find valuable. It takes three to six months to truly begin seeing a difference, so hang in there. Compound marketing is about many small actions becoming part of the whole, and each Instagram or Facebook post is a part of that.
Have fun with it, too! This is the time to share your brand voice. While not every company can follow Wendy’s footsteps, it’s a good example of how brands can take advantage of the informality.
Paid Ads are Important, Even with Small Budgets
Gone are the days of excellent organic reach on social for company pages. Social media is a pay to play platform, though it is an affordable one. Even if you can only commit $500 each month to paid ads, it can still benefit your overall online presence.
We don’t recommend boosting posts, though. Instead, create ads specific to your goal. This could be lead generation, brand awareness, or selling ticket to an event. The goal you set when creating your Facebook ad ensures that the right people will see it. (Within the targeting you set, of course.)
If you’re a local business, make sure you target those within the direct vicinity of your location. If you’re travel-focused, you can select those who are visiting, but if your customers are residents, select only those who live or have recently moved.
Compound marketing for a local business or a startup commits to the slow climb for a better payoff. This long-term view on inbound marketing is made up of many pieces, and when executed well has the same results of compound interest: your company experiences growth and attention that lasts, instead of being the next flash in the pan. By fully utilizing every type of content from blogs to videos to social media posts, you too can experience this consistent growth.
Let Compound Marketing Work for You
We can help you take advantage of compound marketing. Our team of digital marketing strategists, professional writers, and designers have the knowledge and hands-on experience with local businesses and startups to make your marketing strategy a success. Shoot us an email to get started.
By Marc Apple
Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.
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