The technology sector has evolved substantially over the past decade — and I’m not just referring to the many innovations in AI, VR, cloud computing, and ever-shrinking computer chips. Buyers have also changed, and so have the ways they research products and make purchasing decisions. The entire buyer’s journey can now happen online, and more millennials (and older Gen-Z members) have moved into decision-making and decision-influencing roles.
So, if you’re still relying on years-old digital marketing strategies, there’s a good chance you’re not generating the results you’d like.
Successful digital marketing is now essential to revenue growth in any technology company. But what does this look like in 2022, and how can you continue to stand out in an increasingly competitive market?
Today, we’re walking through a few things you can do to get digital marketing right.
What are your goals and objectives? What do you expect to achieve by investing your time and other limited resources in various digital marketing efforts like social media, email marketing, ads, and content published on your site (and elsewhere)?
If you’re like most technology companies, you’re probably hoping to achieve three things:
Digital marketing will help you accomplish all three if you’re pulling the right levers. It’s Standard Marketing 101: publish the right messages, in the right places, to the right people, at the right time.
The catch is knowing where to invest your time, energy, and budget (which we’ll cover in a moment) — but once you’re clear about your objectives and distill them into measurable goals, everything else will be much easier.
You know who your buyers are — but are you reaching the right audience? In other words, while you may be targeting the senior decision-maker, have you also considered the people who influence those decisions? Are you reaching the people who will act as internal champions for your solution before and after the sale?
In many cases, organizations make tech purchasing decisions by committee or rely on procurement professionals to source vendors. And even if you’re targeting smaller organizations where a C-level executive solely makes the final call, there’s likely someone in a management position who can make a case for new tech.
For example, a product or marketing director may be the one to highlight the need for collaboration software. And a sales manager or group of reps may raise their hand about investing in an updated CRM before someone takes the request to the C-suite.
Take time to understand who is involved in the decision at every stage, and make sure you’re targeting them with appropriate messages that acknowledge their pain points.
In addition to understanding who to target with your digital marketing efforts, it’s also crucial you know what the buyer’s journey looks like from the prospect’s perspective.
Map the process from the moment they recognize they need a solution to the moment they sign the dotted line. And then identify what happens after the sale, throughout implementation and beyond, to ensure you’re keeping them engaged long-term. By understanding the intricacies of the purchase path, you will be able to tailor your digital marketing to each stage (awareness, consideration, and decision).
Getting leads is easy. There are a gazillion lead generation vendors who can quickly fill your CRM with contacts who may or may not turn into meetings. But getting highly qualified leads that are in-market for a solution and open to meeting with your sales reps? That’s a bit harder.
Current technology buyers are seeking vendors and partners they can trust. So, instead of focusing on hard selling and marketing hacks, concentrate your energy on building genuine, meaningful relationships with prospects and existing customers.
Be open and candid from the first interaction, set realistic expectations, and find ways to prove value before they’ve committed to a purchase. For example, create helpful videos, articles, and whitepapers that help them solve real problems. (For a cybersecurity company, this might be a breakdown of best practices for passwords or tips on avoiding the latest ransomware ploy.)
Use empathy in your email and social media messages, show prospects you understand their pain points, and ask for their input and feedback often.
How do prospective buyers find you? If you want to tighten up your efforts and ensure you’re spending budget in the right places, it’s helpful to get a clear idea of the platforms where they engage with you most. Additionally, identify where they go when they visit your website and how much they interact with various resources — like live events and recorded webinars, blog posts, and downloadable content.
Be sure to leverage tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot to collect and translate marketing data. In many cases, this data can help illuminate the buyer’s journey and give you insights into what moves prospects towards conversion.
While your brand should be consistent across all spaces — including voice, tone, and visual brand — it’s also essential to consider the medium when crafting each message. For example, on Instagram, you’d want to focus heavily on visuals and brief, compelling, consumable content. In emails, you want to be direct and include a clear call-to-action. On your blog, focus on storytelling and delivering critical takeaways.
Every piece of content you create should be developed with an audience segment and medium in mind, or you’ll risk your message looking forced and out-of-touch.
There’s no shortage of tools you can use to track your digital marketing campaigns, and each social media and advertising platform has its own back-end manager where you can pull data and run reports. But, if possible, strive to bring this information into one central location. The fewer data silos and disparate systems you have to manage, the easier it will be to keep your arms around all of your various efforts.
Finally, don’t shy away from trying something new. Digital marketing platforms constantly change their algorithms, and audiences regularly shift their habits. The tech companies that are willing to experiment and evolve their digital strategies are most likely to earn the highest engagement.
As a marketer for a technology company, you understand the value of staying current, agile, and keeping ahead of trends. In the same way that late adopters of influential tech often fall behind their competitors, businesses that fail to develop effective digital marketing strategies also miss out on broad swaths of the market. By following these suggestions, you can ensure you’re doing digital marketing right.