Since graduating back in 2006, I’ve carved out a career working with small IT and tech businesses.
During this time, I’ve clocked up a lot of experience trying and testing different marketing techniques, content and strategies to see what works well – and the things that should outright be avoided at all costs.
The following 3 things are areas where I see small tech companies falling down most often. By highlighting their errors, my hope is that your blog won’t fall foul of these mistakes.
Who is your audience?
This is genuinely marketing 101 and yet I’ve worked with so many companies that fail to get it right. The conversation usually goes like this:
Me: “So who is your target audience?”
Client: “Well, everyone can use our product. It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small, what sector they work in, or what their roles is, anyone can benefit.”
Let’s assume for a second that this is right – that doesn’t mean that the whole world is your target audience.
Your target audience comprises the people you’re actively going to invest time and effort going after, perhaps because they’re the most profitable, have a more pressing need, or it’s easier to engage the right person.
For example, a sole trader may have use for your product, but if it means spending the same level of effort to secure them as a 200-person organisation, which are you better actively targeting?
The most insightful thing you can do is to profile your existing and past customers. Spend time analysing the following things about the company:
- job role of the person you engaged
- length of its sales cycle
- cost of sales
- number and roles of ‘influencers’ involved in the sales process
- deal size in terms of revenue and profitability
Once you look at this data set, you’ll start to identify your ‘sweet spot’. Usually, this is your target audience.
It may be that you still attract ‘everyone and anyone’, but when you’re actively promoting your business, you need to write content that speaks to your sweetspot.
When you’re speaking to the pain points, challenges and opportunities this audience is facing, you’re far more likely to hook them in and engage them, rather than have your blog passed over as another piece of generic copy.
Using jargon safely
I’ve talked before about how industry jargon means nothing unless you’re on the inside.
But even if you are on the inside, there are certain words, phrases and acronyms that have several meanings.
Taken the wrong way, your copy is going to cause confusion and force your audience to go elsewhere to find the information they crave.
Jargon can be a good way to demonstrate to your audience that you’re speaking their language.
When I talk to clients, I’m often asked about my experience in the IT and tech space, and being able to reel off terms like ‘cloud’, ‘data’, ‘SaaS’ and ‘cybersecurity’ is usually enough to provide the reassurance they need.
I still spell out what I mean by ‘SaaS’. While it’s common enough that my clients would know it means ‘software-as-a-service’, the scope of SaaS is so broad that I provide examples of the types of companies I’ve worked within in this space:
For example, my SaaS clients past and present offer products within data protection, business processes, and governance risk and compliance.
I’d always advocate spelling things out the first time, just to be sure.
The curse of knowledge
There’s a wonderful book called “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath, which details ‘the curse of knowledge’ – the idea that once we know something it’s hard to imagine what it’s like not to know it.
I’ve fallen in love with this phrase because if perfectly encapsulates the issue a lot of small businesses face, particularly in the IT and tech space.
In the process of creating these innovative, game-changing platforms, they get too close to the detail and suddenly it becomes virtually impossible to imagine how the user might experience their platform.
They don’t realise that users won’t instinctively know where to click, how to perform certain actions or know how to change settings.
They also talk about their technology in certain ways or develop cute soundbites that don’t mean a lot unless you understand the technology that sits behind it.
To overcome the curse of knowledge, the authors advocate transforming your ideas and using some of the principles of storytelling technique to tell the story in a new or different way to create interest and intrigue.
By sprinkling storytelling elements into your blogs, they’re going to hit the emotional cues that compel your target audience to take action.
Need some help?
If you’re thinking seriously about using blogging as a key tactic to fuel your marketing strategy, send me a message.
When used correctly, blogging has the power to achieve wonderful things for your business, raising awareness of your brand, products/services, and generating a steady drip-feed of leads for your sales pipeline.