For those of us old enough to remember life B.I. (Before Internet), tech marketing seemed much simpler then. If you wanted to sell a fax machine you’d create a glossy print ad, a radio ad, perhaps a nice billboard, some snazzy point of sale material and if you had the budget you might even do a TVC.
It was the era of Direct Mail and catalogues were something to be cherished.
If you told your audience that your fax machine was the biggest, the fastest, the best, there was a good chance they would believe you. It was like taking candy from a baby.
Fast forward 20 years to A.I. (After Internet), and the world has become a lot savvier.
The internet has created information hungry, bulls*^% savvy consumers. If you tell them your product is good, they won’t believe you.
Instead they’ll read reviews, blogs, whitepapers, ask questions in forums and educate themselves. They trust themselves, they trust their peers, they Do. Not. Trust. You.
And this is why the B2B tech marketing process can hurt so bad. Brands need to build trust, and that is not something that comes easily. It takes time.
This is where content marketing become the best tool in the tech marketer’s toolbox. Content marketing is not about ‘selling you’ to your target market, it’s about giving the market reassurance that:
- You provide the services they’re after
- You are well regarded in your field
- They can trust you because others say so
And for the content marketers who tough out the pain, you are generally rewarded with a client base that is far more loyal and vocal about your services than you have ever had before.
So how do you turn something painful into something sweet?
But content marketing is not for the faint hearted. It will take time. It may be 6 months before you see those numbers start to tick along and it may be 2 months before it really starts to kick. Nerves of steel are required to face that board report.
We have clients that after white knuckling through the initial months saw website traffic increase 93%. Others saw leads increase 300%.
Another client waited patiently for 6 months before seeing their most valued keywords jump from 100+ rank to in the top 5.
Become a stalker, see where you audience hangs out, build a customer journey map and figure out a way to get your content in front of them. Some of our best leads come from surprising sources like forums. Forums are full of people with questions and if you can help them answer those questions then your reputation gets a gold star and hopefully your website gets a valuable backlink.
Stop talking about yourself
This is a hard one. I mean, what’s the point of marketing if you can’t talk about yourself? Well… the point of marketing is to ultimately get people down the sales funnel to the cash register. Remember what I said earlier? No one wants to hear your opinion about yourself any more. Use consumer insights to find out what really matters to them and talk about that. The rest will follow.
Take a look at GoToMeeting’s blog. Their customers come in all different shapes and sizes but they share a common concern – productivity. GoTo has used this to create a fantastic blog that covers all sorts of productivity related issues. Their blog is continually updated with new ideas making it worth subscribing to and worth sharing.
As for mentions of their products? It’s there but very subtle and very occasional.
There is no set and forget in content marketing. If you want your SEO to soar, if you want your content to continue to pull in the leads, if you want your followers to interact then you need to work on your content constantly. There is no ‘having a week off’ in content marketing.
Content is evergreen
And if it’s not, it should be. New product announcements can pull in a quick flurry of leads but they won’t do the hard work for you in the long run. Create content around topics that will still be relevant in months and years to come. And don’t be afraid to repurpose pieces that you created months or years ago. Hubspot famously updates and republishes their old blog posts. This in itself has increased their organic traffic by 106%.
Join the Smarketing bandwagon
We’re a big fan of smarketing. All too often marketing process is created in a bubble without taking into consideration what happens when it hits the sales part of your funnel. Think about the whole process or you might find those beautifully created leads drying out on the vine.
Consider what happens when a visitor turns into a lead and what needs to happen to turn them into a customer. Marketing can support sales with workflows, sales-specific content and pitch presentations.
For those not buying the sugary analogy of this all, let me put it into financial terms. Toughing out the initial pain of B2B tech marketing in a content driven world is like compound interest. Initially you won’t see fast results but once it starts compounding again and again and again you will find yourself rich with results.