Globally, 90% of startups fail. Inability to reach your audience can lead to the early failure of a startup. The approach of “if you build it they will come” is false. Getting the marketing right is one of the biggest challenges a founder faces, with the possibilities for trial and error endless. Whilst nothing in business (or marketing for that matter!) is guaranteed, there’s one approach that certainly helps: Brand Affinity.
What is Brand Affinity And How Can My Startup Do it?
Let’s begin with what Brand Affinity is: A consumer’s brand preference given a product category, and their positive feelings towards your brand over others. It’s a love of how your brand makes them feel and what they think represents.
Brand affinity is built through user experience, a companies content (blogs and social media posts), or even buying their product.
Burger King has achieved great brand affinity over time, with not only hilarious advertising poking fun at McDonald’s (see here), but aligning with people’s commitment to ending animal cruelty and preventing climate change:
The cheekiness towards McDonald’s (who doesn’t love it when the underdog teases the market leader?!) and its commitment towards noble causes, builds Burger King’s brand affinity effectively with those who relate to both.
Another strong example is Harley Davidson motorcycles. The brand represents authenticity, independence, and freedom, which draws in customers who want to be identified as such and/or who relate to them.
Build Brand Affinity Using Content Marketing
A great way for you to build brand affinity for your startup is through content marketing; ensuring that you educate and entertain your audience with your material.
You want your content to generate strong recommendations: people sharing your brand’s information via word of mouth so you don’t have to.
Educate Your Audience For Increased Revenue
Research informs us that brands who provide value to their customers via educational content experience a 131% increase in the chance of potential transactions.
Let’s say you’re running a health and wellness centre. You could educate your customers (and potential customers) with content around how they can boost their health and fitness: nutrition advice, workout plans, the latest in evidence based fat loss research, etc.
Ask yourself, what would they find valuable? What important piece of information do I want them to know, that they will then naturally associate with my brand?
You’re building trust with current customers, and potential finding new ones.
People are full of questions, that might even be what’s stopping them from buying from you in the first place!
So, give them enough critical answers and you will build positive sentiment and good reputation towards your brand.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Wistia founder Chris Savage, a company that has grown to over $32 million in revenue per year (you can listen to that podcast here).
Wistia helps brands with their content via a strong focus on video.
Chris told us how entertaining and educating content is our opportunity to “move up the funnel.” Instead of trying to interact with people who already have buying intent or who are close to having it, this style of content engages people BEFORE they know they need your product.
A critical component here is to succeed in getting people to share your content for you, by creating truly valuable, meaningful, and entertaining material.
Marketing to Connect with Consumers: Get Your Content Shared By Others
Because of our internet culture, “a huge percentage of the media we consume is not created by the studios,” Chris said.
“And we expect that you can go find a subReddit that is on any topic that you care about. It doesn’t matter how niche it is, it’s probably out there,” he added.
The challenge for us is to impress these people in those subreddits, so they do your marketing and distribution for you.
“What ends up happening is if there’s content that’s made for those groups, it gets spread within those groups very quickly,” Chris shared.
Your content then gets shared where people can’t see it: Slack channels, iMessage, WhatsApp, even email.
“It’s actually these worlds that you can’t even advertise on, right? So the only way to get a message that resonates with that group is to give them something that is truly valuable or entertaining or inspiring,” Chris said.
And the only way to do that is to know who that group is, and to really focus on what their challenges are and what their opportunities are.
Retaining an Audience With Your Content Marketing
Retaining an audience is very important.
The best way to do this is to take an existing audience and delight them, teach them, and inspire them and give them something that they can’t get somewhere else. Or, give them the courage they need to take a risk at work or somewhere else.
“The audience you build, if you can retain them successfully, they will actually help you grow their size. They will inherently do that, and I think it’s critical,” Chris added.
Marketing Tips: Building and Keeping Your Audience via a Repeatable Format
Chris says the repeatable format is the way to build and retain your audience. “One of the best ways to do that is to actually make a show, something like this podcast where you have a repeatable format.”
Over time, you’re learning what is actually resonating with your audience and you can make the content better. And as the audience grows, you get a faster loop to making the content better, giving you the ability to grow the audience faster.
You may not have the budget for a TV commercial during the Superbowl, or for multiple billboards at the airport. But what you do have is the ability to connect with future buyers using the power of brand affinity in your content marketing!
By inspiring, entertaining and educating an audience, you’ll be utilising one of the best marketing strategies for increased revenue there is.