If you are in the process of creating a new tech start up, hats off to you, that is no small feat! From developing your idea to raising funds, team building, coding and testing, it has no doubt been a long journey to get to where you are today. No matter what stage of the process you are at, it is time to get the word out there and start creating awareness about your brand’s offering. When it comes to start ups, it is never too early to start developing content to market your brand and begin building your target audience.
As a B2B tech start up, you are entering a vast space that is constantly growing. Merchant Savvy has found it the most competitive industry in Britain in the professional, scientific and technical field, with almost 86,000 new companies emerging every year. They also note that the biggest challenge for these newcomers is attracting customers.
Each new business is fighting for visibility to grow their customer base. In such a competitive and crowded market, it is easy for a new organisation to get lost in the shuffle. That is where content marketing comes in to make your brand stand a little taller.
According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 97% more inbound links than those that do not. We also know that people tend to consume between three and five pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. So, these initial stages are your chance to make an impact for potential customers. Content marketing aims to educate and answer questions your potential customers may have. The goal is to establish your business as a reliable expert thought leader in the space, so that people come to you for the answers they seek. This will eventually lead to establishing a foundation of trust and driving sales.
When developing your content marketing strategy, there are a few important things that you need to consider and establish before you embark down this avenue. In this article, we will cover establishing goals, getting to know your customers, budgeting and whether to go it alone or enlist help.
Establish your overall goals
When you set out to develop your content marketing strategy, it is important to define a crystal-clear set of goals that you will seek to hit with your endeavours. The goals that you set for your content should meet “The SMART” criteria. This means that they are:
- Specific – for objective comparisons of your data
- Measurable – via your analytics platforms
- Achievable – within reach for your team
- Relevant – to your brand’s mission
- Time-specific so they can be analysed on a regular basis.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 85% of marketers say that lead generation is one of their most critical business goals. This is certainly top of the list for a tech start up, as you want to see those generated leads turn into sales so that you can start making money instead of spending it. But in addition to leads, you should also weigh up brand awareness and audience engagement heavily, as they are often equally vital goals that will help you greatly in the long run.
After your goals are set, you will need to determine how you will track and measure the success you are achieving in pursuit of those goals. A simple example for brand awareness is to track website visits. For audience engagement, you can track the shares and comments on your blog posts and associated social channels. Of course, there are many other ways to set up metrics and oversee your progress towards your goals. Seeking out the right content marketing agency to advise you here is a good idea, or you can set your sights on research to dig deeper into these topics yourself before enlisting external help.
Get to know your customers
Something we constantly talk about in content marketing is buyer personas. Briefly, a buyer persona is a detailed description of what your ideal customer looks like – it should include as much information as you can gather:
- Demographic information
- Career background
- Pain points
- Content formats your readers prefer
By creating buyer personas, you can clearly define your target customers and develop key marketing messages that will resonate with them. Your goal is to craft informative content that answers the questions your audience is requesting, in a format they want, at the right time in their buying journey.
Set your budget
So, you have set your goals, you know who your customers are and what they want to hear. Now it is time to think about budget. This spend will depend on how quickly you are trying to reach your goals, aligned with your overall company budgets.
You will, of course, need a website in place with a blog to start. You will also need to set up the social media profiles for your business – Twitter and LinkedIn are always a good place to start. After those are in place, you are ready to get started on writing the content that you will share with your readers via these outlets.
This article is not going to supply the monetary sum that your budget should amount to, but rather the various elements you will need to assign to that budget. It is key that you allocate funds to your website developer/ designer, domain name purchase and hosting. You will need to factor in funds for content writing, whether you decide to hire someone in house or outsource (we will dive deeper into this in the next section). These costs will be recurring monthly/ yearly – remember, this is a marathon not a sprint.
Since you operate in the ever-changing technology sector, you may need a deeper stream of content to stand out than you would in an industry that does not constantly shift and evolve. As trends emerge, you will want to cover them through in-depth blog posts, case studies, infographics and white papers, dependant on your audience. Remember to allocate funds to promote the content that has been created. Someone will need to share on social media to drive traffic to the content on your site, and you may consider ad buys on those social platforms to increase visibility.
So that leads us to the next question – do you go it alone or hire an outside team to accomplish your goals?
Agency or in-house?
While you are just starting up and are probably wearing the CTO, CMO – and a whole string of other lettered hats – it is a wise move to outsource to a content marketing agency right off the bat. A successful B2B tech content marketing strategy relies on developing relevant and insightful content that engages your audience. Specifically, for businesses in the technology sector, creating that content without detracting from operations poses a challenge. You have an amazing group of talented people working on the day-to-day of your business, but in many cases, tech companies do not have dedicated writers on staff.
Employing specialists who can identify your target audiences, their online habits and pain points, and craft tailored content to those people, will yield results at a much faster rate than going it alone. Hiring the right content agency can help you hit the ground running. We recently wrote a post about that and you can read it here.
Whether you choose to develop your content marketing plan and produce materials in house or outsource to a company that will handle that part of your business, it is important to check in with that plan regularly. Make sure you are staying current and have a handle on how that plan is progressing. Content marketing is an ongoing process and you must be diligent if you want to accomplish your goals.
We hope you found this overview of content marketing for tech start-ups informative. There is a lot to learn, so if you want to explore these topics further or want help setting up your plan get in touch at [email protected].