Hi everybody, this is Kimia. You may recognize me, Rahul, and Peter from the cover of a magazine!
In all seriousness, it is great seeing how far we have come. From working out of a coffee shop, to hustling our way to winning the Top 10 Companies to Watch for 2018 from Douglas Magazine.
We cannot tell you how proud we are of our team to have reached this point. It is undoubtedly a massive milestone for Ghostit, but now the questions are what do we do with this publicity and exposure to reach our next milestone?
For the third post in the Road to 100 Customers series, I want to define why we exist other than to create money. Why should people care about our company at all?
Intercom released their book called "Intercom on Marketing" where they outline many actionable marketing tips. I highly recommend you read it. The inspiration behind this post came from this book because one of the first things they talk about is defining your "why."
Why does Ghostit exist other than to make money?
These are examples of other businesses "Why" missions:
- Intercom: Making online business personal
- Stripe: Increasing the GDP of the internet
- Uber: Transportation as reliable as running water. Everywhere for everyone.
- Ghostit: Enabling businesses to easily share their message online with their audience.
Enabling businesses to easily share their message online with their audience is why we exist. And when I say message, I mean any type of content. A message can be a single piece of information or sequence of messages such as a product launch, email drip sequence, blog content distribution, and so on.
So why do we think this is important?
Right now, the tools and skills necessary for most businesses to share their content with their audience is segmented and also require a relatively high skill set. Great copy is hard to create, and in today's crowded market it's even harder to get people engaged with that content.
What I mean by that is the following:
Say you want to share information on how to help small businesses sell more, and your product is a CRM aimed at small businesses. This information can be shared through blog posts, email newsletters, social media posts, video, and a wide array of other content mediums.
To send out your email newsletters, you need an email service provider (ESP) - MailChimp, ConvertKit, or Constant Contact.
To publish your blog posts, you need a reliable website and time to edit and format each post. For simplicity, let's say it’s Squarespace, Wordpress, or Webflow.
To post all your social media posts, you need a social scheduling tool - Buffer, HootSuite, SproutSocial.
For all your other content planning, you need a product management tool - Basecamp, Asana, or Flow.
And after all that, you have to either create great content yourself or hire a great writer to do so. Doing so is either very time consuming, very expensive, or both.
Our mission at Ghostit is to integrate all these features into one easy to use marketing calendar. Whether that's sending your content directly through the platform, seamlessly connecting your Email Service Provider, and sending out an email with one click, or hitting the "publish button" on the platform and your blog publishes in your CMS without you having to spend time painstakingly formatting it.
It may sound like a lot, but our objective as a team is to make sharing your message easy which means a simple UI and intuitive workflows. Without Ghostit, sharing your content with your online audience is messy. At the core of our thinking, everything we do is backed by the four pillars of marketing.
As it currently stands, Ghostit addresses two and a half out of the four pillars as we are continually building out the platform.
Pillar 1 - Strategy
From the very beginning, we knew that this would shape the backbone of our content creation and be a competitive edge for our company. Google "content creation companies" and you will see an insane amount of on-demand, 24-hour turn around companies, that create content and they all ask you the same thing - "what do you want us to write?"
Most companies don't need people asking them what to write, they need a guide on what they should be putting out there to attract potential customers. So very early on, Ghostit has always created a content marketing strategy for customers who come onboard.
To name a few things that we include in our content strategy, we do keyword research, a competitive analysis, trending topic research, build buyer personas, and so much more.
Doing this takes a little more time than a 24-hour content creation process but it also pre-qualifies the companies that want to use Ghostit. These companies understand that great content will build a long-term audience and that content marketing is not an overnight process.
The strategy pillar of marketing also includes analytics. There is a delicate balance between flooding our customers with every number possible and showing them only what is essential to them. Too many companies drown their users in numbers that look fancy but detract value by confusing the end customer. Through our current reporting, we are working on a few different solutions for gauging what the customer cares about the most. Where we eventually want to end up offering is a built in, scalable attribution model.
Attribution related to content is notoriously hard. Showing what the value of a piece of content is versus that same piece of content in a brand context is very important to our entire team, so we are planning the best possible way to implement that for our customers in a scalable manner.
On a final note, as we grow and improve as a company, our strategy will get more refined and baked into the platform.
Pillar 2 - Creation
This is the core of our business. Our strategy enables us to create great content, but our customers ultimately use Ghostit for content creation. Our team of writers create content based on monthly packages our customers sign up for. And usually the customer decides on a packages based on how quickly that customer is looking to see results.
The reason why creation is so important to our business is that there are so many types of software that help you schedule content, but what if you can't write that content to begin with? No amount of scheduling/posting software will let you schedule content if you haven't created it because, let’s face it, there is no content to post.
Many companies are looking for a reliable, scalable, and quality focused source of content creation to supplement what they are already doing or take over their creation process entirely. True to our mission, creating content for businesses gives them the easiest way to share their message online.
Pillar 3 - Distribution
When I say Ghostit executes effectively on two and a half out of four pillars of our marketing thesis, I say this because distribution is quite complicated. There are three main channels of distribution, each complex and continually changing.
There is owned channel distribution, which includes all the channels you own such as your various social media accounts, email lists, and blog audience. Currently, Ghostit fills this part of distribution very well. We work with any content management system (a fancier way to say your website and the backend of your blog), email provider, and almost all of your social media feeds. By doing so, our platform enables your assigned Ghostit writer to load all the content into the editorial calendar, and it will publish automatically without you having to go in and format it and continually post day after day.
There is paid distribution, which is mainly PPC (Pay Per Click). When I said two and a half earlier, this is the half point. We take an agency approach to the PPC until we build out the right solution for our audience. Ghostit does this for some of our customers but it is much more of an on-demand service before we build this into the platform. The reason why building it into the platform makes sense is because we have already created your content strategy which includes your buyer personas. The next step would be to extrapolate those buyer persona traits and place them into various paid networks and define audience profiles. This will allow us to easily create ads pointed towards your targeted audience.
And finally, there is earned distribution. This includes word of mouth shares and PR inquiries. Ghostit does not offer a lot of services for this distribution type yet, but we will eventually build out something that can satisfy this need.
Pillar 4 - Retention
Retention is where we have spent the least amount of time building out solutions. Namely because the other three pillars require so much focus and discipline to do well. Retention based distribution includes re-activation emails, feedback emails, and messages, to get people back to your site. We do this through email newsletters but have not built out a direct solution for retaining your audience other than creating great content where readers find value and continually come back to read your blog.
Our four-pillar thesis also acts as our roadmap. It guides us on our mission and helps us answer a simple question: Will this help our customers and prospective customers solve their pain points around our central mission or does it take us farther away from our north star?
Publicly outlining our "why" is important because it holds us accountable. At the end of the day, building something that does not add value to our customer's existence is a waste of our time, and the last thing we want to do is waste our customers’ time.
We have no new customers but no churn either so the number remains at 27. Being featured in the magazine has booked us a ton of meetings so next weeks blog post should show that number increasing from 27 customers.
We are testing out a new trial - Initial content marketing strategy and first blog post for one dollar. Yes, it's a lot of effort upfront but we have a 13.3% conversion rate after any trial so far, thus it is worth our time to get customers seeing what we can do for them instead of pushing directly for a paid customer.
I recently redesigned and relaunched the website which increased our conversions from 1.0% to 3.33% so things are moving in the right direction.
We are so close to launching V2 of our new product, so if you are looking for an advanced beta demo, let us know and we'll be happy to show you around the new platform.
The agency partnerships are still very viable, and we have talked to a few more digital agencies. We have found agencies are keen to acknowledge Ghostit would be very useful for them and they will "think about which customers could use Ghostit" and get back to us. This means there is some validity behind the original thesis of "can we be the content marketing automation company that powers digital agencies," but we need to refine our pitch specifically around increasing urgency.
On a final note, if you are enjoying this series sign up for our newsletters to get notified as soon as we publish a new post.
Until next time!