Technology is the hottest sector to be in right now and for the foreseeable future. But that also means fierce competition. For starters, no matter what your niche, you are bound to face competition from established businesses that have been there for much longer than you.
Add to that an ever-mushrooming crop of aspiring techpreneurs just like yourself. Then you’ll realize early on that having a great product simply isn’t enough. You need to get the word out to the right people through the right channels and position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.
There’s no dearth of good marketing strategies and tactics to get the word out and get people excited about your brand. However, before you start investing your time and resources in doing that, it’s crucial to get your foundation right.
It starts with your domain name. Today, with new domain extensions such as .tech, .space, .online, .site, and more, you can get a domain name that’s brandable and contextual.
With your tech startup, getting a .tech domain name would be perfect to help you establish a professional and trusted presence in your industry. Something as simple as www.name.tech, will help you stand out from the competition.
Once you’re done building a solid online foundation, follow these four steps effectively market your tech startup in a competitive industry.
Knowing who you are marketing to is essential to your strategy, especially if you are a bootstrapped tech startup. If you are marketing to people who don’t need or are not interested in your product, you will unnecessarily be draining your efforts and resources.
Creating a buyer persona helps you identify the key characteristics that define who is more likely to buy from you. When you know who they are, everything from your production to marketing to customer support works together like a well-oiled machine.
Write your buyer persona like you’re describing an actual person. Give it a name, a personality, and a story. The information you need to map your buyer persona will depend upon your business. But here are the core characteristics you should include:
As a tech company, your buyer persona could be of an individual or a company. Here’s an example of a buyer persona that describes a founder of a small company, while your startup is selling a project management app:
Twenty-seven-year-old Thomas McKay just quit his job as an advertising professional to start his own advertising agency. He has a small team of no more than 10 employees and currently outsources most of the content production work. He finds it challenging to follow up with so many freelancers while singlehandedly managing his company’s day-to-day affairs. He is looking for the following solutions: a platform from where he can access all the ongoing projects at once, see who is working on what, track progress, share content and communicate without the hassle of long-chain mails and follow timelines.
As a tech startup, you’re dealing with a tech-savvy bunch of consumers. They are looking for effective, state-of-the-art solutions for their needs from businesses that possess technical skills and know-how.
In a way, you’re not just marketing your product. You’re also marketing your expertise, much like you would in an investor meeting or a job interview. Content marketing is the way for you to meet both those goals — earn revenue and build credibility.
When doing content marketing, make sure to keep these important points in mind:
Focus on high-volume search keywords
Content marketing is all about identifying your consumers’ problems and providing real, actionable solutions for them.
Your first step then is to find the right content topics. Find out what people in your field are searching for the most. You can use Google’s related searches as well as apps such as Google Keyword Planner or Simple SEO to find high-volume search keywords in your domain.
Make it about your customers
Content marketing isn’t an excuse to blow your own trumpet and push your products on people. Such content can be highly counterproductive to your marketing efforts and may even ruin your reputation.
The idea is to create value for them, while your sales are the reward for that value. Once they know that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy, they will be more likely to invest in your product.
It’s all about spinning your content to make it more reader-centric. For instance, if you’re selling a mobile phone, don’t just create a blog post on why your phone is awesome. Instead, you could talk about things people should look for in a new phone, which shows people that you care about their needs.
Experiment with different formats
There are so many content types to explore and each has its own benefits. Long-form articles, for instance, allow you to target several keywords at once and are great for SEO. Images and infographics are easy to consume and work well for promoting on social media. So are videos, with a much higher engagement rate, but may also require some technical skills and production costs. Podcasts are also gaining popularity among a niche market, which may be exactly what you’re looking for.
You can use Google Analytics to see what topics and formats are high-performing and use the data to formulate your long-term strategy.
Social media is fun, impactful, and interactive. It is used by everyone from multinational corporates to individuals. Most importantly, it hardly costs anything.
As a startup, you can pump as much or as little money — or no money at all — in social media marketing as your budget permits. Moreover, there are so many creative ways you can use the platform to further your business, from awareness to brand-building and even sales.
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Here's how you can get started with your social media marketing:
Identify your platforms
While it helps to have an active presence on several channels, it can also be expensive and overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting. Instead, stick to a few channels and master them before you move on to the others. Every channel has its own advantages, popular content types, and user base.
For instance, while Facebook may have the largest user base, you may find that your niche audience is more active on LinkedIn or Twitter. Go back to your buyer persona to find out where most of your consumers are.
Choose the best posting schedule
Setting up business accounts on social media gives you access to the platform’s built-in analytics tools. These tools provide valuable insight into your audience’s behaviour and your content’s performance. They will, for instance, tell you when most of them are on the platform. Use this information to create a posting schedule that provides maximum engagement opportunities.
You can use apps such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social to schedule your posts in advance.
Reach out to influencers
Partnering with social media influencers, especially nano influencers, can help in connecting with the right audience and building your product’s credibility.
Tech influencers usually have a dedicated following of people who are passionate and even knowledgeable about technology. You get access to potential customers and a vote of confidence by a credible social media personality. In return, the influencer gets to build more trust among followers by vouching for a great product.
Have variety in your content
Social media is the best place to direct people towards your content marketing assets, so use it freely to promote your blog posts, videos, and podcasts. Mix that up with live Q&As, expert interviews, workshops demonstrating your product, posts from other accounts that your followers might like, and user-generated content.
Emails may seem a lot less glamorous compared to social media and YouTube videos, but it remains one of the most effective marketing tools. That’s because it gives you complete control over your communications. You get to deliver a personalised, professional, and secured message to your target audience which leads to stronger relationships.
Here’s a three-step guide to getting your email marketing strategy going:
Build your email list
For your emails to generate leads, they need to be sent to the right people. You may already have had some engagement with them, whether it’s at your store/office, your website, or your social media channels. If you send emails out randomly, they will most likely perish in people’s spam folders or may just come across as unwanted, intrusive, or spammy.
The way to build your mailing list is by introducing opt-in options on your platforms, such as a pop-up on your website, subscribe links on your social media pages, and options to sign up during customer service interactions. To encourage people to subscribe, you must show them the benefits of doing so, such as access to an ebook or online course, premium content, or members-only deals.
Choose the right tools
Fortunately, there is no dearth of email marketing tools that are not only budget-friendly but also loaded with features that can streamline your strategy. Most tools allow at least one month free trial, so you can experiment with a few and settle on one that works best for you. When deciding on the tools, here are a few things you could look for:
Based on these criteria, you could consider tools such as MailChimp, AWeber, and GetResponse.
Create value through emails
Now that you have convinced people to join your mailing list, you must deliver on the promise of value through well-designed informative emails.
If you are sending weekly or monthly newsletters, make sure that there is content other than that related to your company or product updates. Come up with themes for your newsletters that take into account your marketing campaigns as well as industry trends. Treat them like you would in your other content marketing assets that are aimed at informing and problem-solving, or you will risk getting deleted and unsubscribed.
Identifying channels and implementing strategies is just the beginning of successfully marketing your tech startup. There’s still a lot you need to do for them to deliver leads and become revenue-generating streams.
You must keep track of your ROI to ensure that it’s justifying your expenditure or you will risk draining your resources on unsatisfactory outcomes. Treat data as your ultimate guide. Let the findings from Google Analytics and social media insights inform your next steps. Stay on top of industry trends as well as new features of the tools and channels that you are using. Missing out on even a small detail can set you back.
Alisha is a Senior Content Marketing & Communication Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .ONLINE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.