Many small to mid-size technology companies have been slow to adopt a digital marketing strategy. They’ve tended to rely on their technical expertise, trade show attendance and word-of-mouth referrals to grow their business. Now, many of these companies are recognizing the benefits of building a strong online brand and leveraging their online channels to reach new customers
Moving beyond the hype, they are realizing that they can effectively use digital marketing tools to educate potential buyers, build strong relationships with followers, and position themselves as knowledgeable and trusted industry leaders.
With an integrated approach to digital marketing that goes beyond having a website and a social media profile, technology companies can reap the benefits of a strong digital presence to demonstrate their industry knowledge and help prospects make an intelligent buying decision.
Traditional marketing is still very important in many technology industries, but in most markets, digital marketing must take a leading role. Given the long buying cycle for many technology products, companies need to be attentive to customers in each stage of the buying cycle. Customers research products online, listen to opinions from their peers, and spend a good amount of time doing their homework before making a purchase decision.
A combination of traditional and digital marketing techniques will help these companies reach the widest possible audience and provide buyers with the information they need at every point in the buying cycle.
Technology companies should optimize these digital marketing components to round out their marketing mix.
Why is your website so important? Because customers expect one!
Your website is the hub of all your online marketing activities. A professional website gives your business credibility, helps educates potential customers, and can be a good source for generating new sales leads.
Add effective calls to action (e.g. – free consultations, eBook downloads, newsletter subscriptions, etc.) to generate leads.
Add social media follow buttons to with links to your social media sites so visitors can connect with you. Add social media share buttons for visitors to like and share your content with their followers and expand the reach of your content.
You website must be mobile friendly, where page layout adapts to device size (desktop computer to tablet to mobile phone) and screen size. The most flexible way to design a website for desktop or mobile viewing is to use a responsive web design.
Content marketing (creating and sharing content in order to acquire leads) provides customers with the information they need to make smart buying decisions. It’s great for creating awareness, educating buyers, and filling the pipeline with leads.
Having a website and publishing content is not enough. Before it can be effective, you need to let customers know about it. Promote your content through social media and e-mail marketing, as well as with paid search and sponsored posts.
Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that helps prospects make an intelligent buying decision. The belief that if we valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Search Engine Optimization (organic search) and paid search are both used to drive prospects to relevant landing pages on your website. The key is to identify the right keywords that potential buyers will be using in their search. Start with Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends or similar services to show the popularity of search terms and help select the best ones to use.
SEO can take time to deliver new visitors, but the benefits of paid search (Google Ad Words) can be almost immediate. SEO is free; paid search costs money, but can drive traffic to your website more quickly.
Download our SEO vs. PPC presentation to learn more.
Social media channels are used to move content out to customers and prospects, get their feedback, and create an interactive community. To be effective in social media, it’s important to post about topics that interest your followers. Content must be more about industry-related news and events, and less about company-specific news.
- Create or curate content and post using the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rules states that for every 5 posts, 4 should be informational, about an industry related topic or event, and the 5th should be about your product or business. This will keep your posts valuable to followers without a constant sales pitch.
- Use software to automate the posts to multiple social media channels. HootSuite is one of the best tools for handling multiple channels, and is also great for monitoring competitive news and posts.
- Check social media channels daily, and respond quickly to comments and questions.
E-mail is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels to communicate with customers and bring in new business. It can be free or low cost – depending on number of contacts and number of emails sent per month.
Use it to stay top-of-mind with customers. Typical content includes newsletters, product releases, best practices, customer education, and more.
Measure results of online activities to determine the effectiveness of your marketing, email, and social media programs to ensure that you are getting the desired results.
Three types of analytics are important:
- Social media analytics measure social engagement (clicks, Likes, follows, comments, shares, etc.), and impressions (reach) – how many people see your promotion.
- E-mail analytics (open and click-through rates, unsubscribes, and bounce rates) measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns.
While these are important, they don’t measure the effects of social media and e-mail marketing campaigns with your website, nor the effects these campaigns have on your business. To do that, you’ll need to use a web analytics tool, such as Google Analytics.
- Website analytics measure website traffic:
- Who is visiting your website: new vs. repeat, location, age …
- How are visitors finding you: organic search, ads, social media …
- What are visitors doing when they get to you site?
- Conversions – Are you getting the desired behavior?
One of the best things that local businesses can do to improve their online visibility is to register their business with Google at www.google.com/business/. Google My Business is a free tool to manage a business’s online presence with Google Search and Google Maps. Among other things, it helps local businesses get their listings on page 1, in the Google Local Pack, and on the Google Knowledge Graph card. Bing and Yahoo offer similar services.
Like everything else in business, digital marketing requires commitment. You have to allocate resources to develop great content, which is essential to any online strategy, promote that content to your target audience, and spend the time engaging with your customers. When done properly, digital marketing has proven to be both cost effective and highly successful.