70% of upstart tech companies fail just shy of the two year mark.
Why does this happen? A deep dive into a collection of startup post-mortems revealed some common themes that explain this staggering statistic. 5 out of the top 10 reasons for failure had one thing in common – the customers. Or more accurately, the lack thereof.
The number one reason most companies failed was simple – “no market need”.
Think about that for a second. Think about how many hundreds of companies who may have had fantastic ideas faltered because the need for their product didn’t exist. I have a theory about this. It’s possible that many of these companies – who received an average of $1.3 million in funding – actually had great ideas that could have filled a market need.
It’s possible the real culprit was their messaging – they didn’t articulate how they were filling a need and didn’t communicate effectively with their target audience. In fact, several of the top 10 reasons for failure involved, “not listening to them (customers) or even ignoring them”.
Maybe they had gold, but it didn’t glitter. Tech companies need to invest time in listening to what consumers are saying, building their brand and brand awareness, and crafting a killer marketing platform to bring it all together. It’s all about how you listen and communicate.
In this article, we go over the best practices to jumpstart successful marketing for technology companies. By following these key steps – Building Your Brand and Brand Awareness, Content Marketing, and Generating Leads – you can build a robust marketing platform for any tech company today.
These tips help regardless of company size. You can benefit today from this insider marketing advice if you are an established company or if you are just starting out. Any company can improve by implementing these proven techniques to engage with their target audience and optimize their content marketing. Ultimately, these strategies lead to what really matters – generating leads.
Ask yourself the following questions: What specific need is my product/service addressing? What gap is there in my industry that my company is seeking to fill? What’s missing that I can provide? And who benefits the most from having that need met?
If you can answer those questions, you’re on the right track to identifying your target audience and developing a solid core messaging framework.
You need to figure out what your brand’s core messaging framework is, who you are talking to, and how to talk to them. All of your future content should reflect the answers to those questions. An effective core messaging framework accomplishes three things –
1) It clearly communicates what you do,
2) It highlights how you stand out from your competitors, and
3) It creates a holistic marketing platform when reflected across all of your content.
As an example, we like this company’s core messaging framework – Their mission statement on the homepage states that they were, “…founded on three core pillars that inform every project we take on: trust, integrity, and commitment.” Their homepage goes on to state that their purpose is to, “take the complexity out of Information Technology Environments by providing scalable, highly secure, and reliable fully-managed IT and Cybersecurity Services”.
This is an excellent core messaging framework. It clearly communicates the company’s purpose and indicates that they fill a commonly desired component people look for when hiring a tech company – making things easier. It tells their target audience that they understand their pain points and are able to address them. It reflects some thought about what keeps their target consumer up at night. That’s another question you need to answer in marketing for technology companies.
If you browse the website longer, you can see that the company’s description of their services, their blog posts, and other content all reflect this core message to some degree.
If you don’t have a core messaging framework, you need to think of one right now and promote it across your content. This is an invaluable cornerstone of any successful company.
There’s a scene in Mad Men where a marketer is trying to help a company sell a new pair of headphones. She’s completely stumped on how to come up with a good ad campaign for this product. She sits down in front of her typewriter and starts typing a letter, pretending to be someone else – a teenager who bought the headphones, loved them, and is now writing a letter recommending them to a close friend.
The character in this scene was creating what we now call a buyer persona. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. In Mad Men, our marketer pretended to be a buyer by using a lot of guesswork. Today, buyer personas are based on research and data (and maybe still a little bit of guesswork if we’re being honest). The goal is to obtain a deep understanding of your ideal buyer’s needs, motivations, hopes, dreams, and pain points.
This is absolutely critical. You need to understand how your ideal buyer persona thinks, what they are looking for, and the gap that they’re trying to fill with a new service or product. You want to think like this when figuring out how to effectively communicate with your ideal buyer. Really try to get inside their heads. If you can understand why they’re looking for a product, you can figure out how to better tailor your copywriting to their needs.
The research part of creating buyer personas is essential. It can’t all be based on best guesses and assumptions. To get a research-based understanding of your buyer persona, talk to the people at your company who are engaging directly with potential customers the most (probably your sales team). Get them to identify potential customers’ pain points, needs, and things that seem to work for them. You can also utilize your email database (which you should start building if you don’t have one yet!) and send out a survey asking people for information you might want to know (such as company size if you are doing B2B [Business-to-Business] marketing).
Without understanding your buyer persona, everything from your website copy to your sales pitches will be vague instead of custom-tailored to your specific audience. Don’t market into the void – carefully craft your copywriting and sales pitches to align with your buyer persona. You can also engage in social listening to get a sense of your buyer persona. Listen to what people are saying about your industry and the types of services you offer on social media. This brings us right into our next tip –
Don’t overlook the power of social media in marketing for technology companies. There are many platforms out there with a built-in audience your brand can interact with to create brand awareness (and drive more traffic to your site). If you can do it well, interacting with people on a variety of platforms will generate awareness about your brand and establish your brand as an expert in your industry. This creates trust between your company and your target audience, which becomes critical when someone is ready to take the next step in their buyer’s journey.
Here are several platforms we’ve found to be indispensable tools in our experience marketing for technology companies:
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is the premier B2B platform. We recommend that you send customized connection requests to people in your target audience. For instance, if you are a cybersecurity software company selling to healthcare companies, aim to connect with high-level Healthcare and Healthcare IT executives. By doing this you gain two advantages:
Firstly, every time you post to LinkedIn your target audience will be seeing and consuming your message. This is critical. Write and post blogs that solve the problems of your target audience. This allows you to attract visitors to your website, improve brand recognition and even collect email addresses through gated content.
Secondly, this strategy creates a large group of potential prospects that you can message for free later on down the road. It’s best to wait a few weeks or months first, and let them familiarize themselves with your brand and content before attempting to sell them. Most people, particularly corporate executives, will be unlikely to purchase from you without having some comfort level and trust in your brand and company.
Quora – This one’s often overlooked! Quora can be a fantastic platform for amplifying your company’s online voice. Here’s the bottomline with Quora:
You can find out what questions people are asking about your industry, and have those questions directly sent to you every day. That’s right – Quora has a feature you can enable to be automatically alerted each time a user asks a relevant question. Talk about some real social listening! You can be the first to hear what your target audience is talking about. Given this powerful feature, we’re surprised that more tech marketers aren’t on Quora.
You can also search for questions people have about your industry so you can swoop in and provide the best answer. If your answer gets enough traction, it will be displayed every time someone clicks on that question. Try to answer questions quickly, as you are more likely to get upvoted to the top if your answer appears first. Another way to interact with people on Quora is to ask questions yourself – this is a great way to get a sense of what’s on people’s minds. You can also publish content on Quora such as blog posts.
Facebook – Facebook can be an excellent place to find groups of business professionals in your target market and answer their questions. Answering people’s questions can be an effective way to drive engagement with your brand and build authority.
Facebook has a unique feature called “groups” where you can find professionals asking questions and posting valuable resources related to their occupation. We recommend making a list of Facebook groups that relate directly to your business. Make sure not to spam them – instead, answer people’s questions directly and link to your content when it makes sense. You’ll be surprised how many leads you can generate with this approach.
Reddit – Reddit is a unique platform and requires a specific strategy for marketing for technology companies. Reddit as a community does not like shameless self-promotion. For instance:
Your posts will get instantly flagged and removed if you don’t adhere to a subreddit’s guidelines. Use Reddit to answer people’s questions about your industry, post questions yourself to gain traction and start conversations, and showcase your brand’s “personality”. Don’t use it to simply post links to your latest blog posts, as those types of posts will get you flagged in most communities. You can sometimes include a link to your content, as long as you supplement it with helpful information that directly illustrates the purpose of including your content as a resource.
Reddit is helpful for engaging with your target audience because each subreddit comes with a built-in audience. For instance, if your company provides cybersecurity services, you should consider being active on the r/cybersecurity subreddit. It’s another channel you can leverage to establish your brand as an expert in your industry and interact directly with your target audience where they are already active online.
Google Alerts – How would you like to be the first to know when an article relevant to your industry is published online? You can use Google Alerts to notify you the second a relevant piece of content is published and immediately see what people are saying, keep up with current trends, and be the first person to comment on the post.
For example, if you are a SaaS company that offers HIPAA compliant scheduling software to healthcare companies, you could set up Google Alerts to notify you when someone posts an article about “HIPAA compliance”, “healthcare appointment scheduling”, etc. This is a great way to engage with your audience across many different online platforms as the feature will alert you about articles on many platforms.
I rarely see Google alerts suggested as a marketing tool, but it’s a powerful method for social listening and engaging with your target audience. You can enable Google alerts here.
Once you’ve built your brand and started generating some brand awareness, the next step is optimizing your content marketing strategy by using the following tips –
“Chaos is a ladder”, – or, competing for a spot on the first page of Google without SEO tools.
In the competitive realm of marketing for technology companies, you need a proven SEO strategy. There are so many tech companies out there vying for the top seat on Google. If you want to dethrone some of the top ranking sites and replace them with your brand’s presence, you need to follow the best SEO practices to even be a contender.
he fact is that most people don’t scroll past the first page of Google (92% to be exact).
If you want your content to be seen, you need to get it there. It takes some really high-quality content and a lot of time, but you can start by optimizing your SEO approach right now. Use these proven SEO tips to increase your chance of climbing your way to the top of the search engine ladder. Also, be sure to audit all of your older content to ensure it meets SEO standards. When you have your SEO bases covered across all of your content, your company will be on its way to a higher spot on the search engine ladder.
How to Boost Your SEO
Publish blog posts regularly that are objectively 2x – 5x better than anything else out there on the same topic. Yes, this will take time and effort. Yes, you will need to spend hours proofreading your writing and optimizing your post. You can use this free tool to find valuable keywords. Once you’ve found a suitable keyword, make sure that it appears in the title of your blog post, the meta-description, the first paragraph of your blog post, and in at least one H2 in your blog post. Also ensure that your keyword makes up 0.5% – 2% of your article’s word count.
But it’s not enough to just find a valuable keyword and sprinkle it throughout your article.
You also need to write well. Don’t ever add fluff to hit the minimum 1,200 word suggestion for SEO. Proofread your writing closely. Make sure that every word and every sentence serves a purpose. Use an active voice instead of passive, use bold to drive home your key points, start your post with a compelling hook to lure readers in, always run your article through Grammarly, and don’t write paragraphs longer than 4-5 lines.
Also think about your buyer persona when writing a blog post. Write for them. What type of content will they find useful, actionable, and engaging? How would they react to every single sentence in your post? If a sentence isn’t serving a clear purpose for your target audience, remove it.
If you follow these tips religiously and consistently blog (ideally at least twice per week), you’ll start ranking on search engines. But bear in mind that it does take time (3-4 months if you are posting high-quality content twice per week). You need to be patient and strategic. Play the long game with SEO to win.
You need backlinks to increase your website’s domain authority and direct more traffic to your website. A constellation of backlinks scattered throughout the internet, linking back to your website, connects the dots between your content and your audience.
A website that just started out and has no backlinks is like an undiscovered island – possibly beautiful, but isolated, disconnected, and lacking a path for people to find it. Backlinks create pathways to your website, constructing routes to carry your target audience to your content.
So, how do you get backlinks?
First of all, your blog! If your content is great, people will share it. Just another reason why the content quality on your blog is so important.
You can also add a backlink to your site on all of your company’s social media pages including your LinkedIn page. You can also create an account on Medium to generate more traffic to your site. Medium is a helpful avenue to redirect traffic to your site, and it already has a built-in audience. Medium has a feature where you can directly upload a blog post from your website. This is helpful and includes a built-in “this post was originally published here” link, but it does require tweaking the formatting a bit. And it’s important to note that cross-posting your post on Medium could result in the Medium article outranking the article on your website on Google. We therefore suggest using this platform for some of your articles to gain some referral traffic to your website (in particular if it’s a very new site), but not for all of your posts.
Creating a podcast also helps with backlink building. If someone likes your episode, they might link to it across their social media.
Another clever strategy for backlink building is to ask people for quotes. People love to be quoted in articles. Contact an expert in your industry and ask if they’d like to be quoted in your next article. They may link to your article on their website, social media, and LinkedIn because it lends them credibility to have been quoted.
Host a quarterly or monthly webinar. Regular webinars are an excellent way to build a captive audience, improve your brand’s reach, and drive customers. Webinars help your target audience familiarize themselves with your offerings while simultaneously providing them valuable information. And of course each webinar attendee will be signing up using an email address, allowing you to add them to your email list and newsletters.
Don’t see webinars as an opportunity to sell, instead see them as an integral part of the buyer’s journey. The higher the cost of your products, the longer the sales cycle will be. By adding webinars to your marketing arsenal you can build trust and credibility with people who may be on the fence about buying your product.
If I could pick one thing that people who are marketing for technology companies should do immediately, it would be creating high-quality video content. Investing in video content for your website is becoming increasingly important. Video has become the most commonly used format in content marketing, surpassing blog posts and infographics. Having a video featured on your website can be a compelling line of communication between you and your potential customers.
In fact, 87% of video marketers say that videos have increased traffic to their website, and 80% say that videos have increased sales. But a lot of technology companies haven’t kept pace with this shift. Get your company on board today with this increasingly important form of content.
We wrote about the importance of video content in a previous blog post where we list some specific tools you can easily use to create high-quality videos. We use these tools ourselves in our content marketing!
This is the part that really matters – what’s the point of everything else if it doesn’t ultimately enhance your lead generation? Building your brand and having fantastic content is the backbone of your marketing strategy. This final step – lead generation – is where you start to see your efforts pay off!
Building an SEO strategy, hosting webinars, and producing video content all serve a direct purpose in your actual sales funnel – building an email list. If you can accumulate a large email database of people who were interested enough in your content to provide their email address, you will have an available audience you can communicate with at any time.
This is where the inevitable cliche, “content is king” comes in – if people find your blog posts, webinars, and video content useful and actionable, they will be more likely to give you their email address. It’s an exchange of information – you give someone free high-quality content, and they give you their email address.
This little quid pro quo is the cornerstone of your email marketing strategy. Here are some additional tips for email marketing for technology companies:
Give visitors to your website an opportunity to receive gated content they desire. Refer back to your buyer personas for this. If you’re a cybersecurity company and your buyer persona is a small business owner, offer a piece of content that they will actually want and be able to use (perhaps an eBook such as, “Everything Small Businesses Need to Know About Cybersecurity Compliance”).
Most website traffic happens on your homepage, and 86% of visitors to a website’s homepage want relevant information right off the bat – so make sure you have a way for visitors to engage in an informational exchange somewhere on your homepage. They get your awesome eBook, you get their email to add to your growing database.
Use a site like Typeform (a tool we highly recommend) to create a survey or a quiz that asks for the user’s email address. Promote your survey across all of your social media platforms, and perhaps add a link to it in your most recent blog post. Think of some fun quiz ideas related to your company. To harken back to the cybersecurity company example, a quiz could be something like, “How Cybersecure Are You Today?”, and ask users questions about the basic security measures they have in place.
If you’re an EdTech company trying to recruit adult learners, you could create an e-learning survey about what people find works best for them in online learning environments and their study habits. Regardless of the type of tech company you are, there are plenty of ideas you can think of for this.
And of course, have a standard opt-in form on your website. This should definitely be somewhere on your homepage, but you can also place it on other pages across your website.
Start a Weekly Newsletter.
Out of sight, out of mind.
This concept is painfully true in marketing for technology companies – if your brand isn’t entering your audience’s minds once in a while, they’ll forget about you and move on to the next thing that captures their attention. A great way to keep your brand on people’s minds is to send out a weekly newsletter.
Here are some items a weekly newsletter might contain:
A brief description of your latest blog post (along with a link to it)
Helpful infographics showing new trends in your industry
Information about current events and news related to your industry
Articles from other high-quality sources that offer interesting information
Tips to grow their business
A special offer for your subscribers to take advantage of (such as a helpful piece of content you haven’t posted anywhere else yet, or maybe even a discount on a service exclusive to your email subscribers)
In general, provide helpful content and make your subscribers feel special for being on your email list!
In order to generate leads when marketing for technology companies, you need to prominently insert your brand’s presence across effective advertising platforms. The type of platform you choose to advertise on obviously depends on your company’s target buyer persona. However, we’ve found that in marketing for technology companies, using these platforms is a sure-fire way to increase leads:
Facebook – Facebook is widely considered to be the king of digital advertising. In fact the majority of money spent on digital advertising is spent on Facebook. Many regard it as a pure B2C play (Business-to-Consumer). However, B2B companies can reap tremendous benefits at extremely low costs due to Facebook’s efficient targeting. One way to utilize this effectively is by creating a lookalike audience – either of your customers or of a custom generated audience on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is an excellent route for B2B ads. Unfortunately it can also be prohibitively expensive. So much so that many companies find themselves spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars per lead even with highly optimized ads. That being said, LinkedIn also offers Sales Navigator for $80 which enables you to reach out to your ideal prospects on a budget.
Google – Google AdWords is a staple in the advertising industry. PPC (Pay Per Click) is a popular way for companies to begin advertising. By appearing at the top of Google Search Results, companies can begin accruing high-intent website visits, and converting those visitors into clients.
Reddit – Reddit allows companies to target specific demographics via subreddits. For example, if you are a channel company you should consider targeting Managed Service Providers on the MSP subreddit. There’s a subreddit out there for almost anything you can think of! Find some that fit your niche.
The Vale Creative proven method to improve marketing for technology companies –
Build your brand and brand awareness, invest in content marketing, and generate leads. Because what ultimately matters is revenue.
We hope this guide provided you with useful and actionable information. If you have any further questions about marketing for technology companies, contact us today to speak to one of our in-house CMO’s. We’d be happy to chat.