They say it takes 6-12 months for content marketing and SEO to “start working.”

Does that seem like a long time for you? It does to me…

John Bonini and his team at Litmus took six months before his traffic started to climb:

content marketing roi

Marcus Sheridan was blogging on RiverPoolsandSpas.com and saw a traffic increase in six months

And that was by posting 2-3 times a week back in the SEO glory-days of years gone bye.

AND he was spending a crap-ton of money on PPC. 

(Do not confuse this with a metric ton. Or a butt-ton).

It later took Sheridan 20 months before The Sales Lion saw its tipping point:

According to Hubspot, 83.9% of companies that use inbound marketing see an increase in leads within 7 months:

content marketing roi

Not to mention, the stats and studies listed above happened in 2009, 2011, and 2013, respectively. 

The competition to get more traffic and leads through content marketing has only increased.

Be honest: do you want to wait 6-12 months and ONLY get more traffic or leads?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna wait half-a-year to start getting more organic traffic or inbound leads.

Nor do most startups I talk with.

In six months, startups want SALES.

You see, traffic is a vanity metric. And while leads are nice, it’s costly to chase after prospects which only clog your sales pipeline.

But more revenue means your marketing works.

I respect what Bonini and Sheridan did. But they had teams cranking out content, building links, and paying for ads like a retail store the day before Christmas. 

Don’t get me wrong. If you have those resources available, use ‘em to your advantage to get faster results.

All I’m sayin’ is there’s a more efficient path to get quick sales with content marketing.

Why content marketing is often a slower path to sales than it should be

The more efficient path I’m about to teach you helped me double a startup’s annualized revenue in 6 months.

This type of marketing is commonly called product marketing. Product marketing is the intersection of three fields: product, marketing and sales, and customer research. By understanding how these three fields work together, I understood how to get sales faster than content marketing by itself.

You see, while a content marketer is likely focusing on traffic, a product marketer needs to know what traffic converts into customers. We do this by talking to customers, positioning the product, determining the price, and launching the go-to-market strategy.

As a product marketer for early-stage startups, I’m relentlessly testing what gets customers faster for my clients. 

From my tests, I’ve found two areas content marketers often ignore, which leads to slower growth:

  1. Defining the startup’s positioning with a unique sales proposition.
  2. Knowing what content and keywords will generate sales sooner.

Content marketers often ignore positioning because it’s not easy to track how it leads to more traffic. Instead, they often “position” a startup by placing whatever keywords bring in more organic traffic on the homepage.

Because content marketers focus on getting more traffic, they also tend not to learn what keywords generates sales sooner. At best, they learn certain keywords have higher buyer intent. 

They often look at PPC click costs to estimate buyer intent because they lack a meaningful framework. This approach is flawed because cost-per-click only tells you what advertisers are willing to pay. It doesn’t tell you how likely customer is to convert.

I say this as a reformed content marketer. It wasn’t until I worked with early-stage startups that I realized product marketing with content marketing was a more efficient path.

Wanna learn the product marketing playbook I used to help Decibite double (+127%) their annualized revenue in 6 months? Then keep reading…

To understand the principles of product marketing playbook, we need to take a lesson from two of my favorite copywriters:

  1. Rosser Reeves, who taught me the importance of creating a unique sales proposition (USP).
  2. Eugene Schwartz, who taught me a framework to figure out what keywords will generate sales sooner. This framework also helped me to learn how the USP should improve the content strategy.

How Rosser Reeves taught me the importance of turning a weak-’n’-flabby value prop into a jacked unique sales proposition (USP)

Quiz time!

Which value prop do you think made Decibite more money?

Homepage value prop #1… Hosting with the Mosting: Managed Hosting

Or homepage value prop #2… Fast Web Hosting for Non-Technical Entrepreneurs, Founders, and Bloggers. Get 15% or faster web hosting by switching to Decibite, guaranteed.

If you guessed #2, then you’re a winner, winner, chicken dinner! 

Decibite needed a strong, unique selling proposition before improving sales. (Or USP for short.)

Why should you consider creating a strong USP before engaging in content marketing? (Or any marketing, for that matter).

Once upon a time, a unique sales proposition tripled Anacin’s revenue from $18 million to $54 million in 18 months. Courtesy of Rosser Reeves.

Once you’ve got a strong USP, you can then apply it to every part of your messaging.

Reeves was one of the greatest copywriting executives very few people know about today, which is a shame.

In addition to popularizing the power of a USP, Reeves’s career highlights include creating:

  1. M&M’s “melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
  2. Colgate toothpaste’s “cleans your breath while it cleans your teeth.”
  3. Consider Dwight Eisenhower’s presidential ads for the 1952 election. Reeve’s TV ads helped President Eisenhower beat Adlai Stevenson 442 to 89 in the electoral vote.

Marketing legend David Ogilvy spoke highly of his mentor Reeves, saying: 

“Reeves taught me more about advertising than anybody I’ve ever known.”

Reeves isn’t the only marketer who believes in the power of a strong value prop.

Copyhackers founder Joanna Wiebe wrote a whole book on ‘em, based on a year of value proposition testing she did.

And Peep Laja, the founder of conversion optimization agency ConversionXL, also believes in the power of a USP, saying this:

“If I could give you only one piece of conversion optimization advice, ‘test your value proposition’ would be it.”

To clarify: a unique selling proposition is a value proposition. But not every value proposition is a unique selling proposition. (I’ll explain more in a moment…)

How to come up with a unique selling proposition (based on how the greats have done it)

To create your unique sales prop, consider how the brand messaging hierarchy flows into a USP. Here’s a diagram courtesy of my agency, Growth Ramp:

I’m gonna make that whole diagram clearer as we go. But let’s start with the quick essentials. 

How exactly do you come up with a USP that will work with your brand messaging and speak to your audience about something that’s unique to you? It comes down to five steps. 

The 5 steps of creating a unique sales proposition

  1. Talk to your customers.
  2. Survey the market.
  3. Identify your positioning.
  4. Turn that positioning into a value proposition.
  5. Turn your value prop into a USP.

Let’s dig into each of those five steps. 

Step 1: Talk to your customers.

You are not in the business of selling a product or a service. You are in the business of providing a solution to someone’s problem. As such…

Your goal is to gain insights on what customers say they’ve done in the past or are currently doing. You should also focus mainly on open-ended questions to get more in-depth responses too.

voice of the customer

Do this by talking to them. The Copyhackers blog has many techniques on how to talk to your customers:

You wanna find out what they say because this language will fuel your copy. 

Understanding what previous customers have said, done, and thought, you can predict what future customers will say, do, and think. That is, as long as your future customers are similar to your past ones (which I’ve found are often easier to acquire).

By talking to your customers, you can find out why your customers choose to do business with you rather than with your competitors.

This isn’t a post on interviewing your customers. (You can get a full tutorial on that for free here on Copyhackers.) That said, here are some questions I prefer to ask during customer interviews.

What questions should you ask your customers when developing a USP?

  1. Think back to the days before you started using our product/service. What was your life/work like before us?
  2. If you can recall, what made you start looking for our product?
  3. Since starting to use our product/service, what would you say is the can’t-live-without-it improvement it’s made to your work/life?
  4. If you were to run our company, what is ONE thing you would do differently?
  5. If you can recall what competitors have you used in the past, or are you using alongside our product now?
    1. What did you like most about them?
    2. What was your biggest complaint? Was that the reason you left them?
  6. Imagine you were to talk to a friend/coworker about our product/service. What would you say about us that you’d be unlikely to say about any other solution like ours that you’ve used?

Once you ask a question, stop talking. Your job is to listen, as Copyhackers teaches in detail here.

You will want to document what the customer is saying. For best results, you should consider just listening and taking notes on what you want to follow up on during the interview. 

If you document what the customer is saying as she’s saying it, you may notice some gaps afterward. Instead, be sure to record every interview with your customer’s permission. Alternatively, you can bring in a second interviewer to take thorough notes.

Also, avoid the feeling you need to reach statistical significance with these interviews. There is an art and a science to writing a unique sales proposition. The goal is to squeeze a lil’ more science into the process than art.

Now it’s time to make sure the market agrees with what you’ve learned.

Step 2: Ask the market to validate brand messaging.

If we refer to the Growth Ramp diagram I mentioned earlier, we’re now at the second step:

brand messaging

After interviewing your customers, I recommend you survey your market. This will give you more data to compare to what you learned from your customer interviews.

Your goal is to avoid only confirming what you’ve learned. (AKA, you’re avoiding confirmation bias). Instead, the goal of market research is to help you validate or invalidate what you’ve found.

Here are 3 ways to survey the market

  1. Mine product reviews.
  2. Listen to social media. (Reddit is my favorite channel to do market research).
  3. Use a tool like Pollfish, SurveyMonkey Research, or Google Surveys to run an actual survey. It costs money, but I find you’ll get better and more recent data.

The tricky thing about surveying people is that you can never be sure you’re surveying someone who’s actually a match of your future customer. This is an added danger of mining product reviews and social media eavesdropping.

Even customer surveys may not allow you to segment the market that will or should buy what you offer.

So take everything with a grain of salt. 

You’re looking to triangulate data, not arrive at a guarantee of messaging success.

Step 3: Use the brand messaging to start figuring out your brand’s positioning.

First, let’s define brand positioning.

Brand positioning is where your brand sits in the hearts and minds of customers, particularly in relation to your competitors.

Basically, your positioning is what separates you from the pack. 

Before you land on your positioning, you first need to know how your competitors position themselves in the market. Also known as gathering competitive intelligence.

brand positioning

To gather this competitive intelligence:

  1. Start by listing all your competitors.
  2. Look at how each competitor positioned their company.

Step 3.1: Start by listing all your competitors.

It’s likely you already know a handful of your competitors. Do a quick 3-minute brainstorm and list every competitor you can think of off-the-top of your noggin’.

Next, find out what competitors your customers compare you to, including solutions that may not be direct competitors. You should have landed this info doing your customer interviews. If you didn’t (or need more data), you can use Google auto-suggest to help you find even more competitors:

  1. Type in the name of your biggest competitor and add “vs.” afterward. 
  2. Then go through each letter of the alphabet. 

Step 3.2: Look at how each competitor positions their company.

With your competitor list in hand, you’re ready to determine how each competitor positions their company in the market.

A simple way to see how each competitor positions their company is to write down:

  1. What each competitor lists on their homepage title tag.
  2. What each competitor has as their main header on the homepage (typically their H1).

For example…

With a quick trip to Google, you’ll find Hootsuite’s homepage title tag as “Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard.”

The main header on Hootsuite’s homepage is, “Manage all your social media in one place.”

Thus with this 80/20 trick, you learn that Hootsuite wants to help you manage all your social media.

Perhaps you’re now asking:

“How is Hootsuite different than Buffer, Sprout Social, and the 50-some odd other social media management tools out there?”

Creating that distinction is what you’ll learn in the next step…

Step 4: Express your brand’s positioning with a clear value proposition (pre-USP).

Although you may conflate value propositions and unique sales propositions, I’d like to encourage you not to. Let me show you how, in my years as a marketer, I’ve seen a distinction between value props and USPs. 

For starters…

A value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to your customers.

Allow me to illustrate.

While competing in The Amazing Race, Blake Mycoskie took an eye-opening trip to Argentina. 

Four years later, Mycoskie revisited Argentina on vacation. There he met a woman who was volunteering to deliver shoes to shoeless children. The experience fueled his desire to start a footwear company to help more children in need. His goal was to donate one pair of shoes for every pair someone bought.

You may have heard of this famous footwear company. It’s called TOMS.

With nothing more than 200 pairs of shoes and a strong value proposition, Mycoskie began to pitch journalists.

Finally, the Los Angeles Times picked up his story. To his surprise, Mycoskie generated $88,000 in orders over the weekend. Eight years later, in 2014, TOMS valuation was $625 million.

A value proposition is the value you promise to deliver to your customers.

The better you communicate the value you promise (AKA, your value prop), the more sales you’re likely to make. That is, as long as there’s a market to hear and love that promise, which I’ll dive into discussing in a moment. 

This brings us to this stage in the process of writing a value proposition:

A strong value proposition should be:

  1. Relevant to your customers’ acute pain. It’s written in the language of your customer, so your customers’ know it addresses their ongoing problems.
  2. Clear about the value you offer and how it will improve their lives. A customer should be able to read and understand your value prop in five seconds (or less). There should be no hype or business jargon.
  3. Specific about the benefits you offer. There is a concrete result a customer will get from buying from your product.
  4. Different or significantly better than what your competition offers.

To create a strong value prop, you’ll want to find out what benefit your customers receive when using your product.

The questions I recommended you ask your customers earlier in this article will give you the data to create your value prop. 

But here’s where things get tricky…

Your competitors can easily copy most value propositions. For example, I’ve found over 30 companies using the one-for-one model (source, source, sourrce)

Your competitors will often offer a similar value prop as you. Perhaps they will phrase it a bit differently. But it’s almost an exact copy in the eyes of your customers.

So how do you write a powerful value prop that makes sales… and is nigh impossible for your competition to steal?

By turning your value prop into a USP.

Step 5: Add specificity to turn your value prop into a unique sales proposition. 

Here are some examples of unique sales propositions. 

Domino’s: “Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.”

FedEx: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”

GEICO: 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance.

Can you see what each USP has in common?

Each of these company’s USPs has two characteristics:

  1. A benefit that their customer finds valuable. This alone is valuable, but it would only be a strong value proposition, not a USP. “Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door” could apply to Domino’s or any pizza joint. Further, the customer takes on the risk if the company fails to deliver on the value proposition.
  2. A specific claim that a customer can test to see if it is true. “…in 30 minutes or less or it’s free” becomes a guarantee where Domino’s takes on the risk. Yes, using a specific claim could influence a competitor to steal it. Yet, a USP often requires a change to the product or the company’s operations.

How to turn a value proposition into a unique sales proposition

To turn a value prop into a USP, I recommend you create a specific claim.

Let’s go back to Decibite to help you see how I create USPs.

Decibite is positioning itself in the web hosting market. Web hosts typically focus on one of four benefits:

  1. Security
  2. Scalability
  3. Speed
  4. Service

Known as a point of parity, every web host needs to offer these four benefits. Decibite needs to offer all four benefits to be a worthy web host. That’s the baseline. 

The emphasis a web host chooses to put on one of these benefits shapes its position in the market. 

To find out which benefit Decibite should focus on, I looked at…

  • What customers liked about Decibite,
  • What the market research revealed and 
  • What the founders specialized in.

After examining the research, I identified “speed” as the benefit Decibite should focus on. Decibite customized their servers to increase their customers’ server speed. Good. The product had the unique sales prop baked inside it. 

Even better, the co-founders love learning how to improve server and site speed too. This obsession, experience, and personality are good signs of founder-market fit. In simple terms, founder-market fit is a signal how founders have the gifts and skills to best serve this market.

My job was to create a customer-facing unique sales prop out of the data.

To turn a benefit into a USP, you have two options, as I see it:

  1. You can either find a USP already in your product and create a specific promise. 
  2. Or you can create a USP and change your product to match the USP.

To create Decibite’s specific claim, I looked at my USP swipe file and tweaked Geico’s USP to fit. 

So “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance” became “Get 15% or faster web hosting by switching to Decibite, guaranteed.”

I hypothesized that it would be a strong USP to test in the market.

But I didn’t stop there. And you shouldn’t either. 

How should you use a USP to craft your content strategy?

Here’s how I applied Eugene Schwartz’s 5 stages of awareness to a USP to double (+127%) a startup’s annualized revenue in 6 months

Eugene Schwartz identified The 5 Stages of Customer Awareness in “Breakthrough Advertising.” Each stage of awareness will change what you write to make a sale.

What are the 5 stages of awareness?

As discussed in detail here and in a ton of other Copyhackers content, these are the five accepted stages of awareness that your prospects find themselves in:

  1. Most Aware: Prospect is in an excellent position to decide to buy your offer. 
  2. Product Aware: Prospect is learning about your solution.
  3. Solution Aware: Prospecting is reviewing solutions.
  4. Problem Aware: Prospecting is experiencing pain.
  5. Unaware: Prospect is pre-pain.

In greater detail, those 5 stages of awareness are:

  1. Most Aware: Your customer knows your product, and he’s ready to buy. Now it’s your job to give him the best reasons to buy now – like time-limited offers and the most relevant testimonials. 
  2. Product-Aware: Your customer knows what you sell and often what the competition sells. But she isn’t sure it’s right for her. At this stage, you need to position your product against the competition.
  3. Solution-Aware: Your customer knows the result they want. But they may not know of your product, or that it provides the results they’re looking for.
  4. Problem-Aware: Your customer senses she has a problem. But she doesn’t know what’s the right solution.
  5. Unaware: Your customer does not know of their pain, even though he has this problem. These prospects don’t realize they have a problem. Think of this audience like someone who has cancer, but a doctor has not diagnosed the issue.

Most copywriters use this to explain how long copy should be. Which is smart.

As a product marketer, I used these 5 stages to create content for each stage of the buyer journey.

Sure, targeting certain SEO keywords will influence where a customer is when they first land on your website. (I’ll cover how you can target the right keywords in a moment). But unless you have a magic wand to direct them through your website, they’ll skip around your pages.

By targeting the 5 customer stages with different content, you’ll make it easier for customers to buy from you.

That means it’s not just about mapping stages of awareness to pages like so:

  1. Most Aware: Short offer-focused page.
  2. Product Aware: Product-detail page.
  3. Solution Aware: Long-form sales page, home page. 
  4. Problem Aware: Home page, blog post. 
  5. Unaware: Blog post. 

Instead, let’s look at how to create content for each of the 5 stages of awareness.

How can you create content for customers who are ready to buy (most aware)?

Most-aware customers are often looong-time fans. 

He or she is almost certainly on your email list. Heck, he may have even bought another product from you. All you need to do is to give him a buy button, and he’s ready to sign up.

As an early-stage startup, a customer who’s most aware is a luxury.

It’s *possible* you might have a few of these customers on your list. More than likely, different pages on your website will help these customers move down the sales funnel.

“Okay Jason, why the heck did you write all that, only to tell me you don’t need to create content for these customers?!”

For one simple reason.

I’ve seen waaay too many home pages, sales pages, and every-other-pages with a call-to-action button buried 10-feet deep.

After talking to customers, I’ve had some folks say to me:

I keep expecting to see a BUY NOW type of button…”

“The endless promo page was doing exactly what you said [the product] would defeat. Sounding like everyone else promising stuff and going so overboard that I was oversold

Now I’m so far at the other end of the decision scale I’m delirious.”

That’s why when I create content for product-aware customers (the next stage of awareness), almost every. single. page. has a buy button at the top.

Speaking of product-aware customers…

Here’s how to create content for product-aware customers

Do you remember the “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” ads?

A month after they began the “Get-a-Mac” campaign, Apple saw an increase of 200,000 Macs sold. 

By July of 2006, Apple announced it had sold 1.3 million Macs

That was a 12% increase from the previous year.

Comparison ads like “Get a Mac” are perfect for product-aware customers. 

Why? 

Product-aware customers are aware of their pain. They’re aware of solutions to that pain. And they know some of your competitors too.

But they’re just not sure if the product you offer is right for them. That’s why you want to create a comparison for these folks. Since product-aware customers are comparing you to your competitors, why not educate ‘em on why your product is the perfect choice?

Here is where comparison pages come in handy.

With a comparison page, you are educating customers on the difference between your product and your competitor’s product.

And since you created a list of competitors to position your product, you’re already half-way done!

Perhaps you are wondering if there are legal issues running comparison ads.

First, I’m not a lawyer.

Second, while what’s legally allowed for comparison ads will vary by country, the info you present should:

  1. Include accurate claims about your competitor’s product.
  2. Include a disclaimer that you are not affiliated with your competitor in any way.
  3. Not change or manipulate your competitor’s trademark or logo in any way.
  4. Not mislead or deceive customers.

Just like all marketing campaigns you run.

To ease any other fears you may have….

Ever since 1972, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began to encourage comparative advertising. Their goal was to increase educational advertising. They believed this would spark positive competition to increase sales. 

(Joanna Wiebe wrote about the use of actual competitor names in her classic “pick a fight” article.)

How should you compare your product to your competitor’s product?

Start by using your USP to pick a fight.

For Decibite, the battlelines fall around fast web hosting. Here’s the comparison I made between GoDaddy and Decibite:

If you don’t have a USP, you may find it easier to look at why each customer switched from a competitor to your product.

For example, some Teachable customers switch to Podia because they experience glitches and bugs. Here’s Podia’s comparison as a Teachable alternative:

Another direction you can take is to create review articles.

Grammar Gang reviews various grammar tools. 

Here’s a review article they did of Grammarly:

This approach works especially well if your SaaS tool has an affiliate program. 

But an affiliate program isn’t necessary to create review articles. 

For example, here’s a Slack review article Chanty did on their website:

One benefit to comparison pages is that unhappy customers are already searching for an alternative.

This means these landing pages can bring you free traffic from Google.

There are four keyword categories you can target in this step. These are:

  1. {{Competitor}} Alternative.
    Example: Slack Alternative.
  2. {{Competitor}} Pricing.
    Example: Slack Pricing.
  3. {{Competitor}} Review.
    Example: Slack Review.
  4. {{Competitor 1}} vs. {{Competitor 2}}.
    Example: Slack vs. Hipmunk.

Are you worried that Google will penalize you for duplicate content for each landing page? Keep in mind, you’re duplicating and “refurbishing” your own content, not your competitors. 

Google didn’t penalize me for refurbishing our own content. 

Check out my comparison of Decibite to Ionos (formerly 1&1) and Decibite vs Inmotion. It’s almost identical. Here are the traffic stats:

Again, these pages are about 70-80% the same. 

Yet traffic keeps growing.

After creating a comparison to your competitors, I recommend creating a comparison page for your startup. 

This way, it will be harder for a competitor to rank in Google for an alternative to your product. 

Here’s the comparison table I created for Decibite:

content comparative advertising

All done?

Let’s move one step down the funnel…

How to use Product Keywords to create content for people searching for solutions like yours (“solution aware”)

A customer who is solution-aware knows the solution they need. 

Unfortunately, these customers do not know your solution will solve their problem. Or they may not know you offer a relevant solution.

This is where product keywords come into play. 

Product keywords are keyword phrases related to your product that solve a problem your customer has.

For example, Podia allows creators to sell online courses, memberships, and downloads. 

A customer who is solution-aware would say to themselves, “I want to sell online courses.” 

So this customer might go to Google and look up “online course builder.”

Lo-and-behold, they come across this product keyword page on selling online courses:

Here’s another example.

Software company Intercom has a team inbox feature to speed up response time when doing sales or customer support.

Potential Intercom customers may want a team inbox. 

But perhaps they have never heard of Intercom. 

So Intercom created a product page about a team inbox.

You may find it valuable to create product pages on related products you offer too.

For example, while Decibite offers fast hosting, they also provide free SSL certificates. 

So I created a product page about free SSL certificates.

I recommend creating a page for each of your product’s features. Then with each page, you will educate the customer on how your feature relates to your USP.

Ready to create content for problem-aware customers?

How to use USPs in your content for prospects who are experiencing a pain (“problem aware”)

Problem-aware customers feel intense pain. But they do not know your product exists. Nor do they know your product (or your competitor’s product) will cure them of their pain. 

All this customer knows is that she has a problem, but she’s not sure there’s a solution.

Typically, you’ll find these customers when they hit a transition in their life.

She may have changed jobs, started a startup, or tried out a new hobby. With this new adventure comes questions she wants answered. Sometimes it’s an event she’s been doing for years which triggers a problem, like planning her social campaigns for black friday.

With this new adventure comes questions she wants answered. So she surfs the web until she finds her answers, such as this Black Friday article.

The “problem aware” stage of awareness is where traditional content marketing shines.

By traditional content marketing, I mean writing articles, creating videos, webinars, and the like.

There are several types of content you can use at this stage: 

  • case studies, 
  • calculators, 
  • listicles,
  • teardowns, 
  • how-to posts… 

The list goes on and on.

My recommendation is to start by publishing original research, and here’s why.

In a 2015 survey by BuzzSumo and Moz, the team found research-backed articles get a lot of traffic and links.

This is how Orbit Media got over 430 links in six months. (If you’re new to SEO, more quality links = more traffic from Google). As a result of getting more links, all the content you created for the other customer stages will rank higher in Google too.

This strategy is at the core of Copyhackers’s content’s success too. If you’ve read any articles on the Copyhackers’s blog, you’ve likely noticed several case studies:

  1. I used cold emails to 14x my freelance copywriting business. Here’s how. (Includes templates.)
  2. How I turned my wedding into an email marketing case study (with a slightly epic mistake)
  3. SEO Agency Case Study: Why Should Prospects Choose You?

Case studies, in effect, is a form of original research.

Now, what should you do about addressing customers in the final stage of awareness: totally unaware.

What content should you create for unaware prospects? 

In general, “completely unaware” prospects need a lot of work to convert. 

They haven’t felt any pain yet. So they aren’t motivated to pay attention to your content. 

It’s like a person before they have their first child. They’re watching TV, and a diaper commercial comes on. They don’t care. But once they find out they’re expecting, suddenly they start to pay attention. 

Unaware prospects are still prospects. 

They’re just… not ready for you yet.

The content which works best here are ones marketers hope will “go viral.” The goal is to take a seemingly unrelated topic and tie it into the product.

LucidChart does a fantastic job showing their product in action while “explaining the Internet”:

All-in-all, I recommend AGAINST creating content for unaware prospects unless:

  1. You have a product that has a broad use-case (ideally with a free trial or freemium plan). Or,
  2. You have a huge budget and can actually do some mass advertising.

Instead, focus more on people in problem aware, solution aware, product aware, and most aware stages. 

Search engine optimized content is a long-term investment. But it doesn’t need to take 6-12 months for content marketing or SEO to “start working” either.

No matter your product marketing strategy, whether you use SEO, PPC, or some other three-letter acronym, there’s always a faster path.

What I’ve shared with you is the product marketing strategy I used to help Decibite:

  1. Double their annualized revenue (+127%).
  2. Triple their monthly traffic (+241%).
  3. Quadruple their organic traffic (+331%).

All in six months.

If you start by creating your USP, you’ll have a clear and compelling reason for customers to convert.

You can then use this messaging as your content helps customers at each stage in your funnel. (Or any part of your go-to-market strategy, for that matter).

Perhaps as you apply this marketing strategy to your startup, you’ll grow even faster than Decibite did.

~jason

PS – If you found this guide insightful, I created this free 14-day product marketing email course.  I think you’ll enjoy it because it goes deeper into all the product marketing strategies and tactics I wrote in this article.

Special thanks to Jared Macdonald for reading and critiquing this essay.