The first rule of technology marketing? Don’t make it sound like marketing.
This is something we’ve learned in our years of marketing software-as-a-service (SaaS) to highly technical audiences, but it’s honestly a good reminder of how marketing should be regardless of your industry. It shouldn’t feel or sound like marketing at all.
But when you’re trying to promote products or services to a specific niche within the tech industry, some of the tried-and-true marketing tactics that succeed with other audiences just won’t work.
The SaaS buyer’s journey starts like any other: with your target audience becoming aware of a challenge and reaching out to others in their community to find solutions.
They typically come with a mental checklist of a few key factors that are critical before they’ll go further.
First (like any buyer), they want to know how your product solves their problem. They want to see which other companies are using it. Then, they typically need to validate the solution with their IT team, especially if it’s an enterprise software solution.
This is where the sale can stall.
IT leaders have their own mental checklist.
First, they need to know how your solution integrates with their existing technology stack. They need to ensure it meets their enterprise security standards. Finally, they want to know how much it costs. Then, if your product checks all their boxes, they’re ready to try it for themselves.
This evaluation stage is critical. If they can’t get satisfactory answers about security or the free trial doesn’t offer a good experience, they aren’t likely to come back.
During this stage, it’s important to provide resources and support to help them understand the value and ease their concerns.
Once you have them on board, IT leaders can become some of your best ambassadors. They’ll be eager to recommend your solution to others. And, if it complements other technologies, you might even be able to partner with resellers.
Marketing copy for any industry should be clear and concise, but when you’re marketing to a highly technical audience, I can’t emphasize this enough.
One of our clients, Indeni, recently revamped their homepage to make it clear that they now offer two main products. I proposed a few sentences that I thought summed up both offerings clearly, with a call-to-action for each. After a few revisions, we ultimately landed on this.
Again, this isn’t just a lesson for technology marketing, but it’s particularly important here.
You might think you’ve done a good job of summarizing what your solution does, but if you’re seeing high bounce rates and low conversions, chances are, you haven’t been specific enough.
Within seconds of visiting your homepage, prospects should understand:
The Slack homepage makes it immediately clear what teams can do with its software — share files, connect on a call and collaborate with partners.
It also shows the benefits of Slack’s integrations.
Knowing where to find your audience is half the battle of technology marketing.
This is why buyer personas are essential. Whether you interview current customers, look at existing data, conduct a survey or focus group, or use audience research tools like SparkToro, you need to know where your audience spends their time online.
You might need to think beyond the traditional social media channels to find the best opportunities.
For instance, StackOverflow allows you to place ads where developers and highly technical people are asking specific questions. Reddit operates in a similar way, giving you access to searches about highly targeted topics.
Don’t forget about conferences, too. While almost everything has been virtual this past year, some in-person technology marketing conferences are making a comeback.
A free trial is a given for most technology buyers, so you need to make yours extremely easy to navigate.
The form should include as few fields as possible to remove any barriers to getting started. Consider giving users several options to try it.
App container solution Docker gives users three ways to get started.
Whether your technology marketing is reaching buyers who are just becoming aware of your solution, actively evaluating it or using it regularly, they’re hungry for more information.
This is the time to:
Visual Code Studio has an extensive user guide that covers everything from basic editing to using extensions, debugging, working with GitHub, and more.
While highly technical audiences may resist marketing that is obviously promotional, they’re all about sharing information when it benefits the greater good.
There are plenty of opportunities to get your company’s name out while contributing to the community — often without paying anything.
There’s a podcast for just about every niche, whether it’s digital transformation, cloud security, coding, or something else. Many of the podcast hosts are looking for guests.
Some companies have user groups or forums you can join to get a better sense of questions or challenges your audience is experiencing. For instance, AWS has discussion forums for startups, developers, security and other topics.
The key is to be helpful, not promotional when contributing to them. This is not the place to post your latest blog or your new product announcement.
Social media monitoring tools are another helpful way to add to the discussion. If your product is for a niche topic, you can use HubSpot’s social media monitoring to receive notifications each time someone mentions it so you can decide if it makes sense to respond.
Security has always been important, but it has become an even bigger focus in light of the pandemic.
Nearly 60% of organizations have experienced a data breach resulting from a third-party provider, according to a survey by the Ponemon Institute.
That means IT leaders will be undergoing a stringent evaluation process as they consider your software. You’ll need to ensure you’ve done your due diligence with your security team and have the documentation to support it.
Be prepared to answer questions such as:
While your marketing team may think of security as a standard and not a differentiator, don’t underestimate its importance in the SaaS sales process. Make sure you’ve addressed your security features and policies on your company’s website and your sales team has the support they need to handle tough questions.
Technology marketing comes with unique challenges. Finding your audience is often the hardest part, but once you understand who they are, what they’re looking for, and where they spend their time, you can get their attention.
And once you have their attention and you’ve proven your product or service is useful, you can build up a loyal community that will help you amplify your message.
Partnering with a digital marketing agency can help you find the right audience and ensure you provide them with the most relevant messages and information. Kuno Creative has more than 20 years of experience successfully attracting, converting and closing deals with highly technical audiences. Our team can help you plan an effective technology marketing strategy that includes a compelling website, content resources, SEO, paid advertising and lead nurturing so you can attract buyers you may be struggling to reach.
To learn more about our technology marketing solutions, request a consultation today.