The technology industry is rapidly evolving with each and every passing year. The needs of the customers are always changing, and so their behaviors. We should also consider the fact that there will always be new influx of competitors.
So, there is not one single marketing tactic that can fit every situation, and most likely you will need to experiment with all the different ones.
However, here we will discuss five of the most effective marketing tactics for technology companies in 2018. All of them are relatively future-proof, and can act as a good foundation for the years to come.
Without further ado, let us begin.
1. Inbound Marketing
While inbound marketing is extremely effective for virtually any businesses, it is arguably even more important for technology companies. A lot of key players in the industry have a strong inbound marketing game, HubSpot, KissMetrics, and Moz being just a few of the examples: all three have a strong inbound marketing them establishing themselves as the perceived thought leaders/experts of the industry.
Since you are not selling a physical product, gaining customers’ trusts can be more difficult compared to other businesses, and this is why establishing credibility through inbound marketing (and content marketing in general) is extremely important.
While inbound marketing can be a very broad subject on its own, generally we can divide it into two big aspects: content marketing and SEO. Here are some key strategies in implementing inbound marketing:
Keyword Analysis, Topic Design
As we have mentioned, half of inbound marketing is essentially SEO, where we optimize our content according to the target keyword(s). So, the first thing we should do is find these target keywords that are relevant to your business, have enough search volume, and manageable enough competition-wise.
We can use various keyword analytics tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or even the free Google Keyword Planner to assist you in this aspect. Research the keywords your top competitors are targeting, and see if you can find opportunities.
After you’ve found your target keyword(s), do a quick Google search and check out the top-ranked content pieces. Analyze the content types, how many words are included, and whether they are using other media like videos or podcasts among other factors. Aim to create a better content than these competitors.
It is also wise to keep an editorial calendar listing your topics, the target keywords, and when you will publish these content pieces. A 12-month calendar is ideal, but you can start with a 3-month worth of calendar.
Aim for Longer, In-Depth Content
Remember that your main goal here is to establish yourself as the expert of your industry, so a lazy 500-word content simply won’t cut it.
Aim to create a high-quality, in-depth content with unique ideas that are valuable for human readers. How long should you aim? According to Backlinko, top ranking results on Google averaged at 1,890 words per content.
Also, using other media forms like videos and podcasts in the middle of your textual content pieces can help keeping your prospects engaged, as well as adding value to your content. Dwell time is now a ranking signal thanks to the Google RankBrain.
Consistency is also a key factor here: you will need to keep publishing in-depth content pieces regularly to build a reputation. This is where a content calendar can also help you, as have mentioned on the previous point.
Promote Your Content
Content development is just one part of content marketing (and inbound marketing). No matter how good your content pieces are, they won’t bring any value to your business if your audience can’t find them. This is where the importance of content promotion comes in.
There can be many different approaches in promoting your content, and this guide by Moz can be a good starting point. Arguably,however, SEO is the most effective tactic to promote your content, but it will require a long-term consistency and investment.
For a short-term gain, there are two main tactics you can utilize: social media and influencers. Paid social media advertising is a good approach to promote your content to a wider audience, and the key here is to maintain cost efficiency.
You also want to schedule promotional posts every time you publish new content pieces. You would want to find the right frequency and timing here: promoting your content when the users are most active will ensure more people actually consuming it.
For influencer marketing, the key is to find the right influencers of your industry. While there are many tools that can assist you in this process, the hard part is to build relationships with the right influencers, persuading them to actually want to promote your content.
2. Influencer Marketing
While we have briefly discussed how influencer marketing can be effective in promoting your content, the benefits don’t end there. Influencer marketing is also very effective in promoting your product or service in the various stages of marketing funnel.
In this saturated technology marketplace, it is extremely hard to get your voice heard by audience. This is where utilizing influencers can benefit your business: they already have their loyal followings that trust their voices.
As mentioned, the key to a successful influencer marketing is finding the right influencers according to your niche or industry. We should also consider the fact that even after you’ve found the proper influencers, not all of them are willing to promote your brand.
There can be many factors causing this, but as long as you have a similar audience as theirs, the key is in building relationships. Here are the common tactics you can try:
- Approach them personally, sometimes a personalized email is all it takes
- Join the conversations in their channels (blog comments, social media channels, etc.) Ask relevant questions and if possible, provide valuable answers
- Link their content within yours, and send them a link to that specific content
- You might want to offer incentives, but be sure to follow the rules to avoid problems in the future
- Aim to get their trust first before attempting to get backlinks or promotions
- Keep in mind that there are other options than celebrity influencers and major ones with millions of followers. Utilizing micro-influencers can be just as, if not even more effective.
Another important factor in getting the right influencers to work with you is your own credibility. So, the inbound marketing strategy discussed above will work hand-in-hand with influencer marketing. Also, make the full use of various influencer outreach and research tools.
3. Video and Podcasts
Content marketing is slowly shifting from textual content pieces to videos and podcasts, and we can expect them to get bigger in the years to come.
There is one main benefit of audio and video contents over textual ones which is TIME. When consuming a written content, we have to dedicate our time solely to read the content. On the other hand, we can listen to podcasts while driving or commuting, and we can consume videos while working out on the gym or other activities. In this world where time is becoming more valuable than ever, no wonder these content types are now prefered.
When producing valuable audio and/or video content in a technology company environment, here are some key principles to focus on:
It’s all about great stories
As humans, we are all addicted to stories. This is why we enjoyed movies and novels, and also why we love gossips. No matter how advanced and machine-like our software is, we can always write great, compelling stories about it.
For example, we can tell a story of how a customer achieved progress and results with your software, how your company started from the very beginning, or even a behind-the-scenes stories about your team. You can also develop a video tutorial with compelling storytelling elements.
The main idea here is to engage your audience with interesting, easy to understand stories. You can fill up the details and specifics later on during sales calls or other activities.
Informational, Educative Content
Your podcasts and videos should work together with your overall inbound marketing activities to provide valuable information and solutions. Usually this comes in the form of video tutorials, demos, “how-to” videos, and webinars.
You might also want to develop a dedicated webinar campaign, which can be effective for lead generation purposes. You can invite people to join your webinars in exchange of their email addresses or other contact information. This way, you can grow your email database quickly.
Just because you are a technology company in a B2B environment, doesn’t necessarily mean your videos and contents should always be technical and serious.
In fact, publishing videos and podcasts that are humorous and entertaining can help you stand out from your competitors, even more when these fun contents went viral.
Testimonials and User Stories
As mentioned, one of the hardest aspects of the software business is gaining credibility, and there are few things more powerful than user testimonies in projecting trusts.
When an existing user shared their experience about how your software help in their successes, new prospects might wonder whether the same solution will also work for their problems.
You might want to check out this article by HubSpot on successful user testimonial examples.
4. Marketing Automation
The sales cycle of a technology company can be very short to very long depending on product complexity, customer behaviors, and especially, price.
If your product costs $50 a month, obviously the sales cycle will be faster compared to a software costing $10,000 a year. This is even more true if you are a B2B software company: the more expensive and complex your product is, the more stakeholders and decision makers will be involved in the purchase process, which can lengthen the sales cycle significantly.
Both slow and fast sales cycles have their own issue: in a fast sales cycle, if you are putting too much attention on the wrong prospects, it is easy to miss out on the qualified ones. On the other hand, the lead qualification process (link) of a slow sales cycle can be time-consuming and often expensive.
This is where having a marketing automation tool can help, among other benefits. A proper marketing automation tool (link) can significantly help in the lead nurturing process.
Also, some advanced marketing automation tools like HubSpot, InfusionSoft, and ActiveCampaign offer an integrated all-in-one tool including CRM system. This way, you can monitor various marketing channels and campaigns in just one dashboard, so you can monitor and control the various channels easily.
Last but not least, you can use the marketing automation tool to start a drip campaign (automated email campaign), which can be very effective in various stages of the marketing funnel.
Choose the right marketing automation tool according to your business model, marketing activities, and your overall business needs.
Remarketing (or often known as retargeting) is showing your advertising to those who have visited your site, or have triggered certain actions (searched a particular keyword, visited your competitors’ sites, etc.).
As you can see, remarketing can be very effective because the promotion is targeted to audience who have taken interest to your brand or at least your niche.
Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads offer quite advanced remarketing features. Commonly, the remarketing campaign involves putting a snippet code generated by the platform on your site, which then the code will capture the user data and will display your ad.
While remarketing is generally more affordable than traditional display advertising, it can still be quite expensive if you are not careful. So, the key here is to maintain your cost efficiency, and here are some key tactics you should consider:
Refine Audience Targeting
The more specific your targeting is, the more cost-efficient your remarketing campaign will be.
Generally, you should target the audience with the highest chance of conversion, and you can combine the common remarketing targeting method with other methods like demographic and behavior targeting.
So, the key here is a better understanding of your audience.
Maintaining the proper frequency is not solely for cost-efficiency purpose. Showing your ads too frequently might annoy your audience, and yet too little frequency and you might not get enough exposure.
Finding the delicate balance here can be quite difficult, and you might need to do some trial and error. Generally however, two impressions a day is quite ideal.
Optimize Your Landing Page
Ideally, you should have one landing page for each of your remarketing campaign, where you might want to have separate campaigns for different purposes.
For example, you might want to have one remarketing campaign directed towards upsells, and another one to engage those who have viewed your product listing page but didn’t make any purchases.
Optimize your landing page(s) with the proper content, and make sure they are mobile-responsive with proper loading speed.
As mentioned, the technology industry landscape is fast-paced and always evolving.
While these five tactics we have shared above are relatively future-proof, you will always need to stay updated to the changes, especially regarding your customers’ changes in needs and behaviors.
The key to a successful marketing, not only for technology companies but for any businesses, is to constantly monitor your progress. Measure the right metrics, have the right benchmarks, and adjust your strategy when it’s necessary.