Are you an early-stage startup, looking to hire a content marketing agency?

Most content marketing agencies take longer than they should to produce the results you need. Scroll down to learn why.

Jason Quey
Aug 5, 2020

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 the Litmus team took six months before his traffic started to climb. [1]

why content marketing is slow

Marcus Sheridan was blogging on and saw a traffic increase in six months. [2] And that was by blogging 2-3 times a week back in the SEO glory-days of 2009. 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. [3]

why content marketing is slow

To add insult-to-injury, the stats and studies above happened in 2009 and 2011. The competition to get your customer’s attention has only increased, growing up-and-to-the-right. Yesterday’s standard of excellence is today’s table stakes to get more traffic and leads from content marketing.

Why is it harder to get customers from content marketing?

In 2010, the average startup raised $1.3 million in their first round. [4] Eight years later, the average seed round was 4.3x higher. And it looks like it will continue to grow. More money to invest means more competition.

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

I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna wait half-a-year to start getting more organic traffic or inbound leads. Neither do the startup founders I’ve talked with.

In six months, startups want SALES.

You see, traffic is a vanity metric. And while more traffic can mean more revenue, it isn’t a 1-for-1 correlation. I’ve talked to content marketers at later-stage startups who admit they get a ton of traffic. Unfortunately, very few visitors start a free trial, much less become a paying customer.

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 them to your advantage to get faster results.

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

"Why do most content marketing agencies take a slower path to increasing revenue?"

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.

product marketing

You see, while a content marketing agency 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.

If content marketing agencies can bring in traffic, why is that traffic less likely to convert?

In 1966, Eugene Schwartz identified the 5 stages of customer awareness in his book, "Breakthrough Advertising." Each stage of awareness changes what you write to make a sale.

What are the 5 stages of customer awareness?

The five accepted stages of awareness that your prospects find themselves in are:

  1. Most Aware: Your customer knows your product better than the back of his hand, and he’s ready to buy. Now it’s your job to give him the best reasons to buy now. This includes stating the expected outcome of using your product and providing relevant testimonials.
  2. Product-Aware: Your customer knows what products will provide the outcomes she wants. She often knows what you sell and 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. This helps a product-aware customer understand why your product is the best to get the job done.
  3. Solution-Aware: Your customer knows the result he wants. But he may not know of your product, or that it provides the results he’s looking for. As such, he’s looking to understand more information about your product’s category and your product’s features.
  4. Problem-Aware: Your customer senses she has a problem. But she doesn’t know what’s the right solution. Quality content at this stage helps her learn how you solve her problem.
  5. Unaware: Your customer does not know of his 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.

Some content marketing agencies and experts do not focus on anything besides churning out articles. These agencies are easy to weed out. Simply ask them for the results their content produced. 

But some of the top content marketing agencies focus on getting you more traffic.

Of the best content marketing agencies that focus on getting you more traffic, most target problem-aware customers. This is why content marketing by itself takes a longer time to convert...

Think about the buyer journey for a product-aware prospect. It takes four major decisions to buy your product:

  1. A problem-aware customer needs education about the potential solution to solve her problem.
  2. Then she is looking to understand what solutions will solve her problem.
  3. Next, she is comparing your product to other products. Her goal is to figure out which offer will provide the most value for her money.
  4. Finally, she’s ready to buy your product.

These decisions take time.

Furthermore, if a content marketing agency does not help her in each stage of the journey, she will go to another website to find her answers. 

For your sake, I hope your prospects don’t go to your competitor’s website and buy their product.

It’s bad enough your bigger competitors are better funded than you are.

But if the content marketing agency you hire isn’t creating content for every stage of the buyer journey, you’re leaving a lot to chance that your competitor doesn’t make the sale.

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.

Compare the last buyer journey to targeting product-aware prospects first.

Instead of making four major decisions, a buyer needs to only make two decisions:

  1. A product-aware customer is comparing your product to other products. His goal is to figure out which offer will provide the most value for his money.
  2. He’s ready to buy your product.

Much easier, right?

And by starting with the last two stages of the buyer journey, it’s a lot easier to create the necessary content to make a sale.

As a result, it’s less likely potential buyers will go to your competitors. And that’s the goal: we’ll help your website do the job potential customers came to do.

"How will a product marketing agency help me get customers faster than a content marketing agency?"

A product marketing agency should help you by:

  1. Find the most profitable customers you should target.
  2. Find the right messaging you should use to get more of those customers.
  3. Understand who your competitors are and what you need to do to dominate the market.
  4. Know how to differentiate your product so that you’re not like every other competitor out there.
  5. Know what you should price your product at to increase customer lifetime value, decrease sales resistance, and decrease churn.
  6. Know what marketing channels are best to invest your time and money and get new customers at scale.
  7. Know whether you should focus on your current niche or a new niche.
  8. Know what features add value to customers rather than distract.
  9. Understand the use-cases of your product.
  10. Know how to increase word of mouth by improving your product strategy.

As a product marketing agency, Growth Ramp’s goal is to help you get 1,000 paying customers in a year.

It’s impossible to tell you what separates Growth Ramp from every content marketing agency on the planet. But using a broad brush stroke, here are some key differences:

Growth Ramp Content Marketing Agencies
Bottom-of-Funnel and Middle-of-Funnel Content Yes Sometimes Likely,
Sometimes Not Likely
Brand Positioning Yes Not Likely
Competitor Intelligence Yes Not Likely
Copywriting Yes Sometimes Likely,
Sometimes Not Likely
Customer Interviews Yes Very Unlikely
Market Research Yes Not Likely
Price Analysis and Strategy Yes Very Unlikely
Product Strategy Yes Sometimes Likely,
Sometimes Not Likely
SEO Yes Yes
Go-To-Market Strategy Yes Likely
Growth Ramp Other SEO Agencies
Top-of-Funnel Articles No* Likely
International SEO No** Likely
Local SEO No* Likely
SEO A/B Testing No* Sometimes Likely,
Sometimes Not Likely
Technical SEO Audits No* Likely
Video SEO No* Sometimes Likely,
Sometimes Not Likely

* Occasionally these services are used with the other service to get 1,000 customers in a year. But this is not our main focus.

** Growth Ramp brings in international customers. However, we do not do more typical international SEO growth plays, such as  creating multi-language pages.

"How will Growth Ramp help me get an extra 1,000 paying customers in a year?"

It’s elementary, my dear Watson. You get 1,000 customers by working backward to find the minimum effective dose.

To get 1,000 customers, the formula would be "Traffic X Conversion Rate = 1,000 Customers."

Let’s assume you can get a conversion rate of 1.5%. 

To figure out how much traffic you need, you divide 1,000 by 1.5%. So (1,000 / 1.5% = 66,667 visitors). For simplicity’s sake, let’s round this number to 67,000 visitors.

To get 1,000 paying customers, you would need 67,000 visitors and a conversion rate of 1.5%.

This leaves us with two questions:

  1. How do you get 67,000 of the right people to your website?
  2. How do you get an average site-wide conversion rate of 1.5%?

To get 67,000 people to your website to become 1,000 customers, you need the right go-to-market strategy

It’s relatively easy to get 67,000 people to your website. You could dump thousands of dollars into advertising. Eventually, you’ll get the people you need.

Growth Ramp helps you do this in a more efficient, cost-effective path. We do this by talking to your customers and mapping out the buyer journey. Once complete, we get to work implementing our go-to-market strategy to get 67,000 people who have the problem that your product solves.

Specifically, we do this by targeting product-aware and solution-aware prospects.

How do you get that assumed conversion rate of 1.5%? You need the right messaging, pricing, and positioning strategy

I’ve already mentioned using content to target bottom-of-the-funnel customers will improve your conversions. But there’s more Growth Ramp does to help you get 1,000 paying customers in a year.

First, you need the right messaging.

Savvy copywriters will tell you the 80-20 of conversion-driven content is to talk to your customers. Growth Ramp starts here to learn the exact words to put on your website. Then we continue the conversation to optimize your pricing and positioning strategy.

Second, you need to optimize your pricing.

Most SaaS founders guess the price of their product. The wrong price will reduce your conversion rate, increase churn, and decrease your customer lifetime value.

You likely know pricing your product too high increases sales objections. But if you price your product too low, you also increase your sales resistance. 

Imagine I were to sell you a Tesla for $1,000. What would you say to that offer? More than likely, "What’s wrong with the car?" Now I would need to justify the price to you. The same conversation happens in your customers’ head when you price your product too low.

Furthermore, your pricing changes the customer you target. With the wrong product, it will increase your churn.

Yes, a Rolex and a Timex both tell time. But the price changes who they target and the expectations that customer has about their product. Timex customers who get a Rolex to only tell time will return it.

Finally, you need to position your startup.

What sets you apart from every competitor fighting tooth-and-nail for your customer’s attention and wallet?

Is it your…

  1. Price?
  2. Features?
  3. Tech stack?
  4. Patents?
  5. Money-back guarantee?

Those are all valuable to improve. But your better-funded competitors can replicate, imitate, and knock off ALL those qualities with ease.

What you need to improve your positioning is a unique sales proposition (USP). One which is nigh impossible to steal and will accelerate revenue.

Why will a USP will accelerate your growth? A USP helped:

  1. Anacin, a headache medicine for fast relief, increased their sales in 18 months from $18 million to $54 million. [5]
  2. GEICO experienced the fastest market share growth of all auto insurers from 2000-2018. [6]
  3. Domino’s growth high and outpacing Pizza Hut and Papa John’s growth from 2013-2018. [7]

To create your USP, Growth Ramp will help you:

  1. Learn what the market and your customers feel about competing products.
  2. Discover how your product uniquely solves that problem better than the competition.
  3. Express that value in one bold and concise statement.

In summary...

To get 67,000 visitors, you need pages which focus on keywords that product-aware customers are looking up in Google. This will get you the quality traffic you need to get 1,000 customers in a year. Specifically, I estimate you’ll need at least 48 pages.

To get a 1.5% conversion rate, you need to the right messaging, pricing, positioning, product, and go-to-market strategy. This will help you turn more of your traffic into paying customers.

Growth Ramp is a product marketing agency helping early-stage startups get 1,000 customers in a year

"Why should I consider hiring Growth Ramp?"

Before focusing on early-stage startups, I made money for later-stage startups like Yotpo,, and Inman News. Working with these startups gave me the opportunity to understand what your better funded competitors are doing now to help you grow faster.

Since I first started, Growth Ramp now exclusively serves early-stage companies.

Here’s what a couple early-stage founders have said about working with Growth Ramp:

Decibite, an early-stage web hosting startup

Ben Leavitt, CEO and co-founder of Decibite

"Marketing has been a frustrating process. Before I started, I had no idea who our target customers were and how to approach our growth goals."

"Growth Ramp interviewed our customers, did market research, showed us where we were, and who I wanted to help. You then helped execute the strategy to capitalize and appeal to that market. This was a huge game-changer. You did everything that we were wanting to do. This was a huge weight off my shoulders and helped me avoid burnout."

Decibite's Results After Hiring Growth Ramp:

  1. 2.3x their annualized revenue (+127%).
  2. 3.4x monthly traffic (+ 241%).
  3. 4.3x monthly search traffic (+ 331%).

All in 6 months.

KlientBoost, an early-stage PPC agency

Johnathan Dane, CEO and founder of Klientboost

"I didn't believe Jason at first, but after allowing him to handle our content promotion, we saw an increase in over 20% of inbound client leads that have LTVs of $25,000+. If you're not promoting what you sweat to create, then you won't get as far as you can."

KlientBoost's Results After Hiring Growth Ramp:

  1. Over 20% of inbound client leads with LTVs worth $25,000+. 
  2. 2.9x their social traffic (+190.8%).
  3. Increased total traffic by +88.9%.

All in 3 months.

Here are a few more reasons why you should consider hiring Growth Ramp over a content marketing agency:

  1. Growth Ramp specializes in early-stage startups with the goal to help founders get 1,000 paying customers in a year.
  2. Before Growth Ramp, we made money for later-stage startups. This helped us understand what your better-funded competitors are focusing on to help you grow faster.
  3. Growth Ramp takes a customer-first approach to product-led growth. We do this by “getting outside the building” and talking to your customers and creating your product growth strategy to get an extra 1,000 customers in a year.

Growth Ramp is a product marketing agency helping early-stage startups get 1,000 customers in a year

Looking for more social proof that we can get you 1,000 customers in a year?

"Okay, I'm confident enough to see if I qualify. What should I do next?"

What I’ve told you on this page is easier said than done. After all, “If information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” [8]

The world of technology is fast-paced and rapidly changing. So too is the competition who are competing for your customers.

This is why we treat our agency as a startup. Yes, we have a system to create predictable growth. We also are constantly testing and fine-tuning our system to help you get faster results.

If you're ready to see if you qualify, fill out an application. We'll get in touch if you are a fit.

Growth Ramp is a product marketing agency helping early-stage startups get 1,000 customers in a year