The tech marketing world is a fast-paced one.
We get it. Your team has project deadlines, another million lines of code to write, and all the day-to-day details that bog down any business.
So, where do you find time to boost your marketing?
The Importance of Marketing
I guess the first question here is whether or not you see the value in marketing in the first place. There’s a prevailing attitude—especially potent in Silicon Valley—that marketing is a bit of an afterthought. The logic being: If your product is good enough, no marketing is needed. It’ll simply catch on with a few early adopters and will spread like wildfire from there.
This idea, of course, is patently false. And also dumb. On the rare occasion that this strategy works, there’s a mountain of failed (and probably better!) apps and APIs that no one has ever heard of towering on the horizon behind it.
Marketing is simply a strategic way to tell people how your product or service is going to benefit them. It’s as simple as that.
And people aren’t going to know about you product unless you tell them about it.
You can make marketing as complicated as you’d like. But here are six steps that will get your campaigns up and running in as short a time as possible.
1. Who are You Selling to?
This seems like a no-brainer. You know who your customers are, right?
You’d be surprised at how many tech/SaaS companies we work with that have no idea who their ideal client or customer is.
But it’s vital for your business to know who this person is. Without this information, you’re flying blind.
So, here’s how to do it:
Think about what your product or service is. Then imagine one person who could benefit directly from your offering. Why do they need it? How is it going to help them? What’s their job? What sort of challenges do they face on a daily basis? How much money do they make annually? What’s their family situation like? Etc…
It’s important to just focus on ONE PERSON. This is going to be what we in the marketing world call your Buyer Persona. It’s a shorthand way to target your ideal prospect, with the knowledge that there are probably a million of that person out there on the web.
Give that Buyer Persona a name. Something catchy but descriptive. Techy Ted, maybe. Or Business Bonnie. Now, every time you are crafting a message to your prospects, you are going to speak directly to that one single person.
2. What Are You Selling?
I’m not talking about your product or service here. I’m talking about the end result—the benefits.
Open up a doc in Word or Pages (or MS Paint, whatever, you do you, I don’t care) and start listing all the ways your product or service helps your customer. But write it from your prospect’s perspective.
The idea here is that you can spec-vomit over people all day long, but they’re not going to buy in unless they understand how it will help them.
Focusing on what it does FOR THEM gives you a unique insight as to how effective your current messaging is.
Plus, it sets the stage for refining that tech marketing message going forward.
Which is a nice segue into…
3. What’s Your Simple, Clear, Direct Message to Your Buyer Persona?
This is probably the most labor-intensive step, but it’s also vital to your tech marketing success.
In old moldy business books, this is called the “elevator pitch.” What is the simplest way you can describe the benefits of your product to someone who needs them?
People, generally speaking, respond better to positive messages… they’re much more likely to run towards the “fun” as opposed to try to escape the “pain.” So, the question is: What are some irresistible benefits that your product or service provides? What’s going to grab their attention and draw them toward you? What’s going to make them want to pick up what you’re putting down?
Spend some time on this. There’s the old Woodrow Wilson story about being asked how long it takes him to prepare a speech. If he had an hour, it would take him ten minutes. A half hour speech would take a few days. Five minutes? A whole dang week.
So, this may take some time. It takes a while to boil a whole pot of sugar water down into syrup.
But once you have this basic message distilled down to its essence, you’re way ahead of the game. And the next two steps are a lot of fun.
4. Let’s Give Some Stuff Away!
At the heart of Inbound marketing is the idea that you give your prospects relevant, valuable stuff for free. Then you do it again. And again. And again.
Eventually, that person will buy from you because you’ve become a vital part of their education and productivity.
It sounds a little old fashioned and goody-goody, I know. But it works. It’s how all effective tech marketing works these days now that we’re all biologically linked our smartphones.
Here’s what we’re after: We’re going to give away something great in exchange for an email address. That way, when we have that address, we can keep giving away great stuff until your Buyer Persona realizes the benefits of purchasing from you and pulls the trigger.
So, take your Buyer Persona and your basic marketing message and brainstorm what you can make to give away. It could be something as big as an ebook, or as small as a simple checklist. A blog post isn’t going to do it, probably, only because most people won’t be willing to give you something as valuable as an email address for something they can probably get for free at a million other sites.
So, make something neat. It doesn’t have to be huge. It just needs to get the job done.
5. Write Five Simple Emails
You write emails all day long. What’s five more?
So, here’s what we’re after in this step. For the people who opt in—they give you their email address in exchange for the rad shiz you gave them from Step 4—you now have their permission to talk to them directly. This is NOT a license to SPAM them. What it is, however, is license to do the following five things (which correspond directly to the five emails you are going to write):
- Thank them. (You are a human. They are human. Be mannerly.)
- Introduce yourself. (It’s only polite to tell them who you are, what you do, why you do what you do, and how what you do could potentially benefit them.)
- Give them something nice. (This doesn’t have to be big deal. A blog post you wrote. A customer testimony. A little snippet of inspiration that might brighten their day. Whatever. Just give it to them.)
- Give them something else. (See number 3. Same deal. Only now you’re going to give them some more benefits of how your product or service, and ask them to check it out. This is called a Call to Action. Which sounds like something Hannibal and Face from the A-Team might yell in unison, yes. But it’s basically asking a person to do what you want them to do. You’d be surprised how many campaigns running out there right now don’t ask for the sale.)
- Give them one more something else, along with a stronger Call to Action. (This is the last email you are going to send unless they buy or re-opt-in. Be nice. Give them something cool. And then ask them to buy again.)
The fancy name for this is called a Nurturing Campaign. Basically, it’s like having five dates to get that person into an ongoing relationship. So, be nice. Be helpful. Pull out their chair. Open the car door for them. Send flowers.
And when the time is right, ask for the sale.
Your campaign is now almost ready. You have everything set up on your end. Now you just need to figure out how you’re going to get your Buyer Persona back to your loving arms.
6. What are Your Channels?
There are a lot of channels that you can utilize to draw people back to your homestead (website). The best means are powerful marketing platforms. But you don’t need to get that complicated at the beginning.
The easiest way to build out your channels is to set up a simple landing page where you can capture email addresses in exchange for something relevant and valuable to your Buyer Persona. (For those keeping score, this is what you created in Step 4). Then, find a basic email marketing platform (Mailchimp is pretty good, if super basic) where you can build out a simple nurturing campaign. Next, figure out where your Buyer Persona happens to be hanging out. Facebook is a good place to start. Throw together a few ads targeted at that Persona offering that relevant and valuable information from Step 4 for FREE. Make it eye-catching, but not provocative. It just needs to catch their attention between all the fake news stories running through their feed. (Just kidding. Sorta.)
Launch the campaign. Let it run for a few days without messing with it. Then look at how it’s performing. If it’s doing well, awesome. If not, create another ad, tweaking a few things that might be affecting the first ad’s performance. Let that run simultaneously with the other one. Continue to tweak things until you’re getting a good result.
Set it up. Let it run. Tweak where you need to tweak. (But not in a methy sorta way. Don’t do drugs. Or, at least not the teeth-melting ones.)
But you are set, as far as your first full-fledged tech marketing campaign is concerned.
Once you get the hang of it, you can find other tech marketing channels, other Buyer Personas, more and more content, etc.
The key is to get started.
And if you follow these six steps, it won’t take nearly as much time as you think!