Artificial intelligence has not spared digital marketing either. Most of us still devote much time to routine tasks, and the use of AI technologies helps automate work and focus on more important things.
Today, in our blog, we talk about a successful startup. It’s Co-owners know everything about using AI in running your socials, getting expertise in online marketing and visibility.
What is the secret of the successful digital marketing startup, and why relationships with customers are paramount? Let’s find out the answers to all these questions.
+ Bonus: 5 tips for young entrepreneurs
A quote from Henry Ford
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.”Henry Ford
That’s the quote shared by 34-year-old Nick Larson, Co-owner of the startup Contento, when we asked him why now is the best time for their company to exist. In an interview, Nick told us a story of his company and gave some valuable advice for young entrepreneurs. Let’s find out the details.
Ultimate social media solution for small business
Contento is a company that offers its clients the most relevant and practical solutions in the marketing sphere, expert opinion, and professional help in managing your social media networks.
Here’s how Nick explained to us the key idea and purpose of their startup, “Contento is digital marketing for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Having social media and appearing on Google takes a lot of money, time, and expertise, so we take that process and make it simpler by using AI (artificial intelligence) and HI (human intelligence).”
Visibility for everyone
It is worth mentioning that this is not the first business that Nick Larson has successfully brought to the market, but startup number six. After the first question, we wanted to learn more about why Nick chose digital marketing and social media for his startup and the advantages of their technology. “What is interesting about marketing – everybody must have visibility, as visibility creates opportunity. However, it’s expensive. Traditionally, if you want to be visible online, you need 10-15 thousand dollars to get the results you want. That is not in a budget for many small businesses, and it takes a lot of time and expertise. We figured out that we could create accessibility for small and medium-sized businesses by using artificial intelligence. This way, we help them get their message out because the content is the fuel. Everybody needs exposure.” Co-founder of Contento continued, “Especially now, when the offline world is 100% offline. Being visible online is important, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time or money to do that. So, that’s why we use our AI to drive leads and growth of the social community.”
What does pizza have in common with success on social media?
To better understand the reason for the popularity of their platform and services, Contento’s Co-founder has drawn an unusual comparison. “If you think of pizza, you don’t want to have all cheese and vegetables in, but the idea is if you have a mix between it two, it is a lot more compelling. So success on social media – clicks, and followers (and that’s what you want to get your visibility), comes down to two things – consistency and engagement. So, if most of the time you are posting to educate, empower, and entertain your specific customers, well, they are going to click on that, and with this, we can help.”
Nick also shared with us another advantage of working with their company and using digital solutions for SMEs, “That is my favorite thing about what we are building with Contento. Yes, we help you have a daily amount of unique content; we have impressive AI hacks to engage new followers. But from another perspective, because these channels are the way for you to be a resource for knowledge and expertise, it is a great way to tell your story.”
The way to a successful startup
The path to the top of the business Olympus is always tricky, and to accomplish it, change the way of thinking. “If you are a new entrepreneur, there are many opportunities to share what you are building, and some are better than others,” Nick shared with us some of his insightful thoughts.
When it goes about funding, set your expectations correctly
We know how young entrepreneurs are interested in funding and first clients, so we asked Nick’s opinion. “Relationships are everything. So getting the first few customers is less complicated than many people think – just set correct expectations.”
So what’s the secret of Contento’s first clients? “We had some early investors, people in our network that knew we were about to create value for our customers. We had some initial support, which helped us get into a place where we could raise with Google.”
Contento’s client network today
Today, the company’s clients’ geography is impressive! “50% of our customers are in the USA, another 50% are in Europe, some are in New Zealand, and a couple in Africa,” stated Contento’s Co-founder.
We also asked Nick about the primary target audience that Contento has chosen. “About 60-70% of our customers are B2B, but if you think about it, if we can increase traffic back to the website, that is still important for the consumer’s product,” added our interviewee.
What about the team?
What makes a startup successful is funding and clients, the company’s strategy, but what about the team? “There are twelve of us; six are in Belgium, another six are in the USA. It sounds like a cliche, but the team is everything! If you have a common goal and you trust each other, then the things you can do are just magnificent.”
Success depends on your approach to clients
“A business devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large,” Henry Ford.
Contento is a successful startup, no doubt. We asked Nick how he measures their business’s success and if he has specific metrics. “In Contento, we measure success qualitatively but also quantitatively. I would love to have about 30% growth in every quarter, and we are hitting our goals.”
The right approach to customers ensures not only long-term relationships but an excellent base of potential clients. Do relationships matter? “From a qualitative perspective, it’s always good to be customer-centric. When a customer has a wonderful experience, he is going to refer you to other individuals.”
Expectations vs. Threats
It is always interesting to ask our interviewees about their plans for the future. “I would love for us to double our ARR (annual recurring revenue). We are a little over five hundred thousand, and we expect to break the million mark at the end of the year.”
However, do not forget that business is a challenging game, and often, to succeed, you face l with many fears and threats. We asked Nick about the risks that any startup can expect on its path. “There are two major reasons companies fail – they are skilled too quickly, or they run out of money. We have got two hundred customers, and in a healthy space, we are booming, but I don’t want us to take the foot off the pedal.”
5 tips for young entrepreneurs
Throughout the interview, Nick Larson shared his valuable experience with us. We also asked him to give some advice to young entrepreneurs and got five great tips. We suggest you write them down:
- “Steep yourself in the startup community! People need to know about you and what you are doing; they need to trust you; they need to know you will follow true and be a good steward of their money. So be visible in your startup community!”
- “Bring something to the table! So if you are always asking ‘how can I be helpful,’ ‘who can I introduce you to,’ ‘let me know specifically about the introduction that I can make,’ that will be impactful. People will know that you are around for the long term, and you can be a trusted member of the community.”
- “Make a list of people you know and that you trust! For example, I’ve got a personal list of over 150 investors. When I meet somebody that I like and trust, I’ll add him to my CRM. So if I meet somebody from medical technology or Fintech, an accountant, or an attorney, I’ll put them down in this document. And maybe like in 6 months when somebody asks me, the only thing I need to do is to look up in my CRM, and I can make 3-4 powerful connections and introductions.”
- “Be careful with whom your team is! If you trust them, your heads are in the same direction, and you share the same values, then your startup is going to have a much stronger possibility of success.”
- “Get mentors you like and trust! I met Michael Ludwig about five years ago when I was pitching on stage for another company that I was building. We met after the event and became buddies. After four years, we started a company together.”
Two life-changing books
We love to ask our interviewees about books that have inspired them and perhaps even changed their lives. A small selection from Nick Larson, Co-founder of Contento:
- “Zero to One,” by Peter Thiel. “He talks about creating a product or a service that is ten times better than anything on the market because that’s how you can create a monopoly.”
- “The hard thing about hard things,” by Ben Horowitz. “He offers essential advice on building and running a startup.”
One last thing
An interview with the Co-owner of Contento reminded me of another famous quote:
“If there is any secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle and your own”Henry Ford
The secret of Contento’s success lies on the surface: it consists not only in a brilliant strategy, high-quality product, and service, a well-coordinated team of professionals but also in the ability to find an approach to each client – to understand his pains, to offer the best solution and meet expectations one hundred percent sure. So remember, as Nick Larson said, “Relationships are everything!”