My teammates and I have built a 2 crore+ revenue B2B company, Stagephod, from scratch in a span of 32 months (Stagephod.com being an online marketplace for companies/ organizations to get digital videos to accomplish their business goals).
It was lot of hardwork and learnings along the way. Given that the space in which we were operating is driven by traditional business development and relationship management, we realised very early that cracking digital marketing is a must to get our clients onboard.
But, we were an early stage startup with zero budget for digital marketing and client acquisition.
So, how did we do it ?
For starters, we went deep into every activity we did – be it content writing, sending emails, social media, SEO, and more. Along the way we had learnt a lot about digital marketing and in this article I would like to share my learnings with you so that you could also benefit from it.
#1. Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life
Good Content is the cheapest and quickest way to get cash registers rolling.
Ok, so have I told you the obvious? When I started, everyone out there was asking me to write high quality content and they were/ are absolutely right.
Content is the best way we can get attention of our audience especially for a B2B startup and more importantly when you do not have money.
So if you are like me who shy away from writing, bad news is that we have to sit and write but the good news is that we do not have to write technical stuff, we can start with writing our experience, our journey and our learnings (like I am doing in this article)
Our learning: Just like, a CEO should be the best salesman of the company; in digital marketing era, CEO or founding team should be the best content creator (not exactly the writer) of the company. Once you have cracked what works for you in content, you can hire a talent and scale your content.
Mistakes to avoid are writing usual and cliche technical stuff. Hiring a content writer in initial days and rely completely on him/ her to generate content.
You can check out one such post where I shared my content marketing story
#2 – PR is lot more effective than a front page Ad
PR is just not for getting those facebook likes or for boasting in front of our friends and family. PR if done properly and correctly can give us the momentum we require in early stage that too for no money.
What a good PR gives us:
- Immediate Leads
- Awareness (later leads)
If we do not get anything from above 4 points, its not a good PR but a wastage of time and energy. For ex – Economic Times covered us in the beginning. It did not give us any lead and backlink but we used this coverage to build trust among our initial set of users. The best coverage for us was Yourstory. It gave us all four things we were looking for.
So, we should plan our PR in such a way that we could get atleast one thing out of these 4.
Here’s the great coverage of Stagephod on YourStory
#3 – Adwords is the best sales executive you can hire
While the first 2 methods are almost free of cost, Adwords require money but it has given us best ROI when it comes to paid marketing – offline or online.
Having said that, Adwords only work when you work.
- Adwords is not a one time setup activity. You have to continuously monitor and optimize it.
- Create specific Ad for specific keywords. Do not just create single ad for all the keywords.
- Check Google Opportunities regularly but apply common sense before applying them
- Just do not follow what other industries are following. For ex – Adwords strategy for E-commerce would be very different from a B2B company
#4 – Email marketing is not dead and will never be
Email marketing used to be the best form of marketing around 5 years back and then marketers started sending lots of spam, gmail made those tabs and email marketing got screwed up.
Some people declared it to be dead.
But in my opinion email marketing is like Love stories. They were here hundreds of years ago and they will be here as long as humans will survive. Only thing is that they change and find relevance with evolving time.
So the point I am trying to convey is that we have to stay relevant, should not spam, when it comes to email marketing
- Do not spam or look like spam ie do not just send bulk emails to save time and effort. Personalise your conversation.
- Quickly grab audience attention, convey your value proposition
- The best way to grab attention is to mention some recent news/ happenings. For ex – latest award she got, her latest blog post, latest funding etc
- Sending an informative content from your side by which she can know more about your industry/ best practices/ company story would definitely be effective
- Send these emails in non-office hours and best time would be 10pm to 8am
- Last but not the least respect other person’s personal space.
#5 – You just cannot ignore LinkedIn Marketing as a B2B company
LinkedIn means B2B or B2B means LinkedIn. I hope you got the gist, So, as a B2B business, we just had to crack LinkedIn.
Our learning – We started with usual activity of adding connection and then sending them cold messages. Though it worked for us to some extent and gave us few leads to start with but somehow I was not entirely satisfied with this approach.
And then LinkedIn changed and became like Facebook. The good part unearthed was that we can now reach 1st degree connections of all the people who either like or comment on our status. So it became more of content game.
What we realised is that LinkedIn is one of the better mediums to generate leads. It did not give us results in short term but in medium run, it started generating leads for us.
So key learning is – we have to be patient with LinkedIn and stick to it for atleast for 3-6 months.
#6 – Social Media is not to hard sell but a distribution channel for your content
As per our experience, social media marketing is nothing but just a distribution platform for your content.
We executed this strategy by sharing the content in relevant facebook groups and we did get some website visitors but frankly we could not crack it and still not aware how a B2B company can generate leads from Facebook, Twitter etc.
We tried facebook paid campaigns but to our disappointment, response is very random. Although we have targeted very specific people, we got likes and response from random people who were no where close to our target audience.
If you as a B2B marketer have cracked Social media marketing, I would be happy to learn from you. Please share your contact no. and I will reach out to you.
#7 – SEO is unpredictable and a long term game
Last but not the least – Search Engine Optimization. You must be wondering, how SEO can be at last when SEO is the best digital marketing activity with almost zero expense.
The reason I kept at last is because its unpredictable. We do not have complete control over it. We can follow the best SEO practice, write best content in our capability, can get backlinks to improve Domain authority/ Page authority and still not rank in google.
Though SEO is considered to be the best buddy of a bootstrapped startup, when it comes to get short term or medium term results. In my opinion, it’s a long term game where we have to do as best as we could and then wait for miracle to happen.
The best part of entrepreneurship is that it teaches you many things which you feel are not your cup of tea. I had never written anything since my school days (since writing those essays in exams) and used to think I can not write but survival of business forced me to write and somehow I started enjoying that as well.
Thanks for reading the article till end and if you are into marketing or runs a company and looking to create video content for your company, Get in touch with one of our experts right away or drop me a mail at ntayal(at)stagephod.com
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