“I kept thinking it felt like an unnecessarily lost opportunity.”
That’s Jordan Gal, co-founder of Carthook, talking about the company’s initial lack of content marketing.
Carthook offers cart abandonment and Shopify checkout solutions for e-commerce businesses, and it was leaving content marketing opportunities abandoned in the proverbial marketing cart.
Says Gal of Carthook’s early content days: “Our email list wasn’t big enough and we never communicated with our list. So what did we expect? Of course the customers are less engaged and our prospects don’t know us. And on top of that, I thought of the SEO opportunities and lead generation.”
Carthook’s and Gal’s challenges aren’t rare for startups and their founders. It’s hard to do a lot of necessary marketing activities when you don’t have the traffic.
Carthook is bootstrapped (you can catch Gal and Audience Ops founder, Brian, on their podcast Bootstrapped Web), so it needs to generate new demand and new leads consistently to move forward and grow.
We recently talked to Gal about why content marketing is a major driver of traffic for Carthook, how he uses that traffic to generate leads and what’s on the horizon for Carthook as it launches exciting new products to help e-commerce businesses be successful.
The Challenge of Startup Marketing: You Need Traffic to Actually Do Anything
Gal’s take on marketing is to think of site traffic like raw material – you need that raw material before you can start creating building blocks and marketing processes.
“For instance,” he says, “If you pay for ads and generate traffic, now you have raw material that you can use to actually work on your marketing. You can experiment with headlines, offers and opt-ins, but without that ‘raw material’ traffic, you have nothing to work with.”
For Carthook, content marketing represents the raw material Gal and his team use to build retargeting processes and paid advertising systems.
When considering how to generate the kind of traffic that his team could build with, Gal knew he had plenty of ideas to share, but no time to do his own content writing while also running the company.
Gal decided to work with Audience Ops to kickstart his content marketing and maintain a steady stream of quality content to build his marketing around.
“It doesn’t make sense to me to just hire writers,” Gal says of choosing to go with a “done for you” content service over managing freelance writers. “Content is only a part of content marketing. It’s relatively easy to get someone to write it for you, but to get it into your blog, send it out to your list and promote it? That’s where it doesn’t make sense to me to hire just writers.”
Powering Retargeting Campaigns with High-Quality Content
Carthook uses Audience Ops’ email course as a lead magnet and content upgrades on each high-quality post to add subscribers to its list, but Carthook also uses content marketing to drive powerful retargeting campaigns.
Imagine you’re on Facebook (and if you’re like 70% of American Facebook users, you’re on the site daily, so you don’t even have to imagine!). Which scenario seems more likely to result in a click?
Scenario 1: A company you’ve never heard of puts an ad in your newsfeed that says “Sign up for our webinar! Learn about e-commerce strategies from industry-leading experts!” …or…
Scenario 2: A company whose content you’ve already read in various places online, whose cofounder’s podcast you’ve listened to, pops up in your newsfeed asking you to check out their latest article on a topic highly relevant to you…and sign up for a webinar on the same topic if you’re interested?
We’d bet the latter scenario sounds way more likely to result in a “Sure, I’ll check it out!” than a random company’s ad sprouting up in your newsfeed.
For example, Carthook did this specifically with webinars in the leadup to the Checkout launch. Gal and his team worked with Audience Ops to create super-targeted, highly relevant blog posts on topics related to Shopify-based e-commerce.
From there, people who read those particular posts could be included in a retargeting audience and would be shown ads on Facebook inviting them to an informational webinar about the Checkout product.
Since they’d already expressed interest in Shopify-related e-commerce topics by visiting the blog post, the chances they’d convert and sign up for the webinar are higher than just blasting the Facebook ad out to a less-specific group.
Says Gal, “[Content marketing] is an asset that I get to leverage. If I know we’re going to start doing ads for a webinar in a few weeks and we need to build that retargeting list, then I can come to Audience Ops and say, ‘Let’s start writing content that’s targeting these people.’ Then we have real content to promote instead of just offers.”
The Ambitious Road Ahead: What’s Next for CartHook
CartHook plans to continue an already-ambitious year that saw the launch of Shopify Checkout.
Its cart abandonment and Shopify solutions currently e-commerce businesses recover between 10-15% of carts, boosting overall revenue 8% on average (which is some serious revenue not being left in the bag), and Gal is laser-focused on growing those numbers and the company’s overall growth metrics as well.
“We’re going big,” he says, describing his desire to see Carthook grow exponentially and not linearly. “We’re releasing products. We’re biting off more than we can chew. We’re going all out.”
In terms of his content marketing, Gal expects to continue working with Audience Ops to grow his list and his traffic. “My relationship with Audience Ops is the ideal relationship with a contracted part of the business,” he says. “It runs on its own and asks you for input, but it never stops if you don’t provide the input. It’s a great business relationship.”
If you’d like to learn more about how content marketing can grow your traffic and help power your paid advertising efforts, talk to us!