5 steps to achieve marketing success for your tech startup

Google and CEB's The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing report shows that people get up to 60% of the way through a buying process before they’re ready to talk to anyone about making a purchase.

So how do you attract the right prospects and convert them into happy customers when you’re a startup with no brand awareness and no marketing in place?

Here are 5 steps to help any tech startup get their marketing activities up and running – even if you are bootstrapping.

1. Build your basic toolkit

Create foundational assets including:

  • Your company logo. Remember to create all relevant formats for use across different channels and applications.
  • Brand style guide. This can be simple, but it's crucial to help you establish brand awareness and ensure consistency across your brand and marketing activities - especially as your business grows.

Your brand style guide should include brand colour palette, font and Tone of Voice i.e. how you speak to your audience (formal, friendly etc.)

Your brand contributes to the seamless user experience you need to create for anyone who engages with you, regardless of which channels they use (there will likely be multiple).

2. Target audience and messaging

Before you can get going with this, you need to clearly define who you are as a company and what your objectives are. Don’t try to boil the ocean here. Start small and build from there.

Once you know who your target audience is:

  • Create buyer personas for each segment of your target audience.
  • Define messaging including your value proposition and messaging, tailored for each buyer persona in your target audience.
  • Don't forget to include company messaging i.e. why you are doing what you are doing and what your core values are.

This can be a differentiator, especially in an industry where so many product or service offerings are the same. This provides an opportunity to show how great it would be to work together and to help prospects choose your offering as it most closely aligns with their values.

3. Build your website and create your social channel presence

The tricky part. So many companies treat their website as a tick-in-the-box exercise. But, if you do that, you’re missing a great opportunity.

A well thought-through website, focused on your buyer personas (not you) and what they are trying to achieve (not you), can form the basis of your lead generation machine.

It’s definitely not an easy task, but there are some awesome companies out there (ahem), who can help you achieve this relatively painlessly.

A few things to consider:

  • When mapping out or wire-framing your website, make sure it reflects your buyer personas’ habits.
  • Create a website experience that exceeds your audience's expectations but mirrors their browsing and purchasing habits.
  • Focus on establishing a couple of social channels where your audience is most active initially, then broaden your social presence (if required), once you have these initial channels under control.

It can take time to build your own community, so research where your audience is most active and go to them. That’s not to say that building your own community isn’t worth it. It can be – but it typically takes a lot of time and effort and you have enough to focus on.

Marketing automation and CRM

Ok, you’re making great progress.

Now is a good time to think about implementing a marketing automation tool and getting those contacts out of that spreadsheet and into a CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

Your website, combined with a marketing automation tool, can boost your lead generation activities.

It is unlikely that people will view your website and buy from you / convert into a customer from that one view, so your marketing automation tool can help you to build nurture flows to keep them engaged.

It will also provide some meaningful analytics that will support your ”test and learn” strategy as you develop your marketing activities.

Checkpoint: Now that you have some basic assets and marketing foundations in place, consider including paid activities to supplement your organic growth.

This all comes down to balancing three things; your budget, your timeline to achieve results and your risk aversion.

Bonus Content: Tech Startup Marketing Cheat Sheet

4 Campaign and content creation

You’ll want to establish a healthy mix of evergreen content, (content that is relevant for a longer timeframe) together with more timely, transient content that relates to current hot topics etc.

Content is (still) queen, but only good quality content:

  • Research your target audience and consider what information they want to know, what topics are they interested in and what questions they have?
  • Research and establish email, content and social media strategies.
  • Build and implement a content calendar to deliver good quality content at a regular cadence. Remember to check your different channels are working in sync with regard to your communications.
  • Research and create a high value asset (e.g. an eBook or checklist) to use as a lead magnet to fill the top of your funnel.

5. Reporting and KPIs

Data analysis is essential and as a marketer it’s always exciting to delve into the detail behind your marketing activities.

However data, especially in these early days where you are still setting up your processes, should be used as a guide rather than absolute.

It is only with experience that you will learn to spot those marginal gains.

As you get started with reporting, keep it simple. Establish a few meaningful KPIs to track progress:

  • Keep your KPIs consistent as you want to build data over a sustained period for real insights.
  • While you may not report on the data from day one, it’s important to ensure you are tracking the data correctly from day one. All too often we see tracking set up incorrectly and that’s worse than useless. There will be a bedding-in time as your company and data set grows.
  • Check your data. If something doesn’t look right, investigate. It might be a technical issue or a broken tracking link.
  • Remember data isn’t always 100% accurate. There are always caveats behind the data so it’s important you are aware of what these are.

6. Optimise and repurpose content

Ok, I know I said there are five tips, so this is a bonus one.

Look for opportunities to optimise and repurpose content, especially if you notice a piece of content receives a lot of engagement. Perhaps create a follow-on piece or recreate it, tailored to a specific marketing channel.

Optimise your content once you have collected sufficient data to set benchmarks, as this will give you a better indication of what is or isn't working as well as it could.

This could be through using certain keywords or focusing on key topics that are outperforming others.

Bonus Content: Tech Startup Marketing Cheat Sheet

Do you have an issue with your funnel?

If you haven't got enough people visiting your website or viewing your content, then the problem is at the top of your funnel (TOFU).

If you have good traffic but people aren't converting into leads, review your workflows and the content you are using at each step throughout the funnel, Top, Middle and Bottom.

Is the content interesting or useful? Is it good quality? Test and revise your content to see if you can boost your engagement, to increase the number of leads generated.

Success!

Now your business is generating leads and converting them into customers, you need to do it all again for existing customers too. The hard work doesn’t stop here but it’s important to recognise just how much you’ve achieved to get to this point.

If you’re just getting started and need some help setting your objectives, try our lead calculator which will show you the impact of website traffic and conversion rates on your lead generation.

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