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Word-of-Mouth Is Not a Launch Strategy

 

Launch Strategy

Your marketing launch is the most important element of startup success these days—to get customer attention in this world of information overload. Yet it is the one element that too many entrepreneurs focus on only as an afterthought. Everyone assumes their product or service is so great that word-of-mouth will carry the day for them.

Even great products need great marketing content to fuel the ascent of their online message. A couple of years ago I came across a modern-day primer on the key elements of great online content called “Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition,” by Michael Stelzner, founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com.

Stelzner delivers field-tested guidance on how to create the core elements of great content for your announcement, webinars, blog posts, Facebook contests, newsletters, Internet TV and other initiatives. It’s all about content that will bring the masses to your business.

1.  Highly relevant
To get to the core of what’s relevant to customers, you need to know them well. Use your content as a way to make a connection between your business and things that matter to potential customers. The more frequently you can deliver content that meets the needs and desires of your customers, the more relevant you will become to them.

2.  Educational

Helping customers discover new ways to solve common problems can quickly build you a loyal following. Your content must continue to deliver new ideas. In simple terms, this is where you share your knowledge, as well as the guidance from other experts, for free.

3.  Easy to digest
A conversational tone should be the basis for all of your content. Highly relevant and educational content is irrelevant if you can’t make it easy for people to understand. Common approaches include the use of metaphors, storytelling and making sure to always stay on topic.

4.  Visually appealing
The eye is just as important as the mind when it comes to customers. The old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is still alive and relevant. Make sure your paragraphs are short. Use callouts and bullets to help the reader speed through your content.

5.  Conversation-inviting
Great content is conversational. If you want to connect with customers, put aside your writing formalities. Your language doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s pretty simple to do. Simply speak out loud. Then write it down. The message should spark a side conversation between friends and a follow-up comment to you.

6.  Lacks a sales angle
Great content shouldn’t have any obvious marketing messages or sales pitches embedded inside of it. If your content is about your specific product or service, that’s not great content; it’s marketing collateral. People won’t flock to marketing materials.

Creating these core elements is a lot easier if you can team with outside experts to help you. They have what your readers seek: important, worthwhile knowledge. Plus, some experts already have a large following of their own. They are a shortcut that can put you far ahead of your competition.

Some experts are so instrumental that they are called “fire starters.” These are people who have so much influence that their endorsement can ignite your efforts nearly overnight. The best potential fire starters have the eyes and ears of people who closely match your ideal base. Nurture these relationships and provide generous value to them in return.

Every marketer throws around the word “content,” but few have mastered the art and science of creating useful, thought-provoking and viral content. Great content doesn’t happen by accident. Start planning early, build your own skills or find the best expertise you can afford. There is nothing more devastating than a good business that fails to launch.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Steven Depolo

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About the author: Martin Zwilling

Martin is the CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc., a consultancy focused on assisting entrepreneurs with mentoring, business strategy and planning, and networking.

Martin for years has provided entrepreneurs with first-hand advice, mentoring and business plan assistance as a startup consultant. He has a unique combination of business and high-tech experience, and executive mentoring and connecting startups with potential investors, board members, and service providers.

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