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We're a new startup focused on the commercial cleaning industry. Our focus has been in two key areas, Search and Content. Search is effective, but lacks the volume we need to hit our goals. Content has been effective but we are always looking for new ways to connect with our audience. "Anna" —our core buyer persona — is a small business owner with only a few employees. She's new to the cleaning industry and wants to grow her business. She's ambitious, but lacks formal business education around sales, marketing and managing people. Our content strategy has been focused on her from an education standpoint.

We've created assets like: https://www.sweptworks.com/challenge - Sales support http://www.cleaningjobs.co - Free tool to help her hire more effectively https://www.sweptworks.com/quickestimate - A free tool to help her estimate her jobs https://www.sweptworks.com/reframeonline - A collection of webinars designed to help

Our focus is to help educate new and established business owners in the industry that the crazy turnover issue (75% - 375% annually) doesn't need to be their reality. We know because we actually started as a cleaning company.

Our challenge centres around targeting people in the industry that don't yet know they have a problems. Can anyone share any tactics/strategies that have worked for a B2B industry where the customer requires education around realizing the have a problem? We are constantly experimenting and would appreciate any ideas and experiences the community has to help us grow.

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    Courtney Chuang

    12 months ago #

    Hi, Sarah!

    First, I think you've created some fantastic tools that provide real value to your target audience. It sounds like you've spent quite a bit of time experimenting with search and content - and have some great assets to show for it. But creating content is really only 20% of the battle (to use Derek Halpern's 20/80 rule). The other 80% is promoting that content.

    It sounds like you might need to spend some time thinking about your distribution strategy. And that means figuring out where small business owners are spending their time. For example, do they spend most of their time on the web and, if so, what websites/forums/community discussions do they frequent? What are their customer acquisition strategies, and how can you target them with personalized content where they already work?

    In our case, we're a B2B SaaS startup targeting sales and marketing, and our audience spends the vast majority of their time online during the workday. Specifically, they spend their time reading specialized industry pubs (incl. growthhackers!) and building relationships (or marketing their product) on LinkedIn.

    It might also be helpful to take a step back and think about the problems that your audience is already aware of. What pain points do they worry about (e.g. unpredictable monthly revenue), and how can you use that as a jumping off point to introduce your product? You may need to help them connect the dots between high churn, employee management, and contracts won/lost.

    Lastly, it's important to use the language that your prospects are using. For example, do they think about contracts as leads? Or as clients? For us, the language we use to talk to each vertical is specific to that vertical. Media and software companies (two of our target markets) use different language to talk about sales and marketing - and how we pitch them requires us to understand how they conceptualize the problem our product solves.

    Hope that's helpful!

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    Geoff Pickering

    12 months ago #

    My comment is a possible option but it's based on the premise that there is indeed a problem and that problem has prospects that work inside companies with serious pain in search of a solution.

    Position: Problem Aware is always required prior to any interest in a Solution. Push marketing is not effective anymore, there are too many options for everything today. You need to cut through all of the noise and create a scenario where your efforts are an engaging utility. If you can do this, you've created something your prospective customers will interact with and learn from without feeling like they are being "sold something".

    I have found an effective strategy to be exploring the problem with your target audience. You've identified your persona, create look-a-like target opportunities and engage them with utilitarian context such as quizzes or surveys. As they work through either, they begin to create earned knowledge around the problem. They start to understand the problem, they start to apply possible solutions to the problem. Because you are knowledgeable in the space, it only seems logical to reach out to the provider of such great content. Your selling by involvement. You've created an engaging utility.

    Hope this helps

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