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How To Market Your Tech Business

Every tech startup founder believes their product is unique and will change the world. You have to believe that in order to persevere against the seemingly insurmountable odds.

But beware! Even if you’re doing something disruptive and world-changing, don’t get fooled into believing the existing marketing rules don’t apply to you and simply disregard them. Many companies have died this way.

It turns out that tech marketing isn’t unique. The fundamentals of marketing hold true universally, even for innovative tech startups. You must understand those fundamentals to build a strong foundation.

Then you can be clever and creative about how to build on them in unique and different ways.

What marketing fundamentals do you need to understand for your tech startup?

Know your market to capture it

The no.1 reason startups fail is a lack of market need. Therefore your first priority is to make sure there is a market that needs your product. And you need to know who that market is.

Often founders think they’ve validated their idea when they really haven’t. You personally have the need. Maybe you’ve talked to a few friends who say they like the idea. That is not validation.

To truly validate your idea, you should be interviewing many people in your target market who you don’t know to gain a deep understanding of their needs and degree of pain before starting to invest in a solution.

This will increase your likelihood of success from the get-go by ensuring that there is a need for your product. Those interviews will also help you develop the intuition you need to make the right product and marketing decisions for your business.

As Andy Rachleff, CEO and co-founder of Wealthfront and co-founder of Benchmark Capital, articulated well, “If you address a market that really wants your product — if the dogs are eating the dog food — then you can screw up almost everything in the company and you will succeed. Conversely, if you’re really good at execution but the dogs don’t want to eat the dog food, you have no chance of winning.”

If you can’t fill two pages with what you know about your target customer, their behaviours and their needs, stop whatever else you’re doing and find some prospects to interview now.

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Clear and simple messages win

Once you understand your customer and their needs, you need to be exceedingly clear about what problem you uniquely solve for them.

Many companies make the mistake of focusing on their features and technology, “AI or Machine learning blah blah blah.” Technology can be complex and the plain truth is: nobody cares about your features. Nobody.

Customers are looking for solutions to their problems and have a short attention span. To have any chance to win their business, you need to be able to quickly communicate your value.

If prospects have to work to figure out what you do and how you can help them, you won’t even have a chance at their business.

Focus your website and marketing content on what problem you are solving and how your solution will make customers’ lives better. Your message should be crisp, clear, and simple, so customers “get it” instantly.

Not sure if you have the right message? Run it by some customers. See if it resonates. Even better, test it against alternatives on your website or social media channels to see what works well. Best choice? Do both!

Be where your customers are

When you know your focus and messaging, you have to reach customers with it. Which channels should you invest in?

There is a multitude of channels. If you try to be present everywhere you’ll waste a lot of money and likely do a poor job.

This is why starting with the market is so important. If you focus on the right market segment and know that customers deeply, then you’ll know which channels are most likely to reach them. Do they go to specific conferences? Do they read certain blogs?

Do they gravitate toward Linkedin or Facebook? The right channels are the ones where your customers already are, the places where they look for information.

Note: If your market really doesn’t have any common channels, you may need to reconsider how you are defining your target market or find a way to create one for them and get them there. But the latter will be a more challenging and costly undertaking.

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Once you have a shortlist of potential channels, test them. Run some low-cost campaigns and messages in these channels and compare the responses.

Consistency and repetition

When you know the message and where to reach your customers, it is all about consistency and repetition.

All marketers know the “Rule of 7.” It states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least seven times before they’ll take the desired action. In fact, that number may be much higher, especially given the number of different messages bombarding consumers today.

You will get bored of saying the same thing over. But, no one is listening to you nearly as much as you are, except possibly your mother. The repetition creates familiarity. It helps the market remember your brand and know what it stands for. If people see different messages associated with your brand, they’ll either be confused or it won’t even register.

So when you are sick and tired of repeating your message, repeat it again. Your audience may not have heard it yet.

Authenticity

Can you really do what you say you can? Making promises that you can’t keep guarantees unhappy customers and bad word-of-mouth. In an age where consumers have a platform to air their grievances, setting expectations you can actually meet is important and helps you avoid bad reviews, Tweets, etc.

More than that, the best marketing ROI comes from happy customers talking to other potential customers. That means you must focus on the problem you can actually solve and the customers you can solve it for.

And don’t be afraid to let your true personality show in how you engage.

Differentiating

Of course, you want to show your uniqueness and stand out from the crowd. The fundamentals won’t prevent you from doing this – they will help.

In a crowded space, clearly and simply articulating what differentiates your offering is how you’ll make it memorable.

Once you have the fundamentals covered, then, by all means, you can build on that and get creative with your tactics. Just don’t lose sight of those fundamentals.

source: e27

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