Capturing your audience’s attention in a technical industry can be hard, especially if your product or service isn’t the type that appears to bring the most excitement or engagement at first glance.
However there are still ways you can attract a targeted audience and gather interest without the fear of missing opportunities with a below par marketing campaign.
Whether you’re a technology company, software company, or have a deep specialism in science or even robotics, marketing doesn’t have to be complex. Instead, with a clear strategy and some key marketing techniques, you can become competitive in your industry and gain a serious return on investment.
In this feature, we aim to enlighten you and provide you with practical marketing ideas which you can begin to implement straight away.
Why Technical Marketing?
Before we deep dive into building a knock-out content strategy, it’s important to understand why as a technical business, a marketing strategy is so vital for your industry.
Unlike many other products or services, the technical industry contains more complexities. For example, as a software company, there may be algorithms or metrics that you need your customers to understand when using the tool. The same can also be said for engineering or even finance, there are just some things your average Joe won’t understand.
With this in mind, a technical marketing strategy focuses on how a product or service works so that your customers feel more educated and understand the benefit to them.
Whereas in other sectors they can get away with being more generalist by just providing a simple overview of a product. Unfortunately in more technical sectors, customers require much more education and information.
Therefore technical marketing is essential to support you in engaging with your ideal customers, attracting them to your product and service, and giving them the confidence to make a purchase.
You may be wondering why we’re focussing on content for the technical industries rather than other parts of marketing.
But in a nutshell, content is a key driver in educating and informing an audience. And that’s exactly what you need to do as a technical business.
Google also favours good quality content, and one of their core algorithm updates in 2019, EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust), provides an insight into what Google and users are looking for when it comes to content.
Since this update, Google has put a spotlight on content that demonstrates Expertise, Authority and Trust.
This update was coined ‘Google’s Medic Update’, as it was found that many websites in the sectors of finance or health were sharing either false information or selling a product or service in exchange for information. These websites were termed as ‘Your Money or Your Life’ – YMYL.
Due to this major update, many technical businesses including those in the medical and finance sector were hit with dramatic ranking drops.
However, by focussing on building content that follows the EAT rules, you can improve your rankings and become a place of trust with your ideal customers.
Keep in mind that people respond to information they find useful, so continue to ask yourself if the content you’re creating is useful to your audience.
Before You Begin
To help your content marketing strategy fly, there are a few areas to optimise before you begin putting ideas onto paper. Without these three core areas, your content may fall flat and not be as effective as your desire.
Conducting an audience insight before creating a content strategy is vital. Otherwise, how do you know if the content you’ve come up with is going to be genuinely helpful to your customers?
Start by building a ‘persona’ of your ideal customer, a fake person who represents your audience.
The more you know about this ‘persona’ the more you can truly tap into the feelings and problem of your customer.
Begin with simple pieces of information such as their job title, and the type of company they work for, then expand it out.
Here are a few questions to answer about your customer to help you build out your persona;
What is their job title?
What type of company do they work for?
Who do they have to report to?
What is their biggest challenge or frustration in their life/work?
What other tools or products do they use?
What social platforms do they spend their time on?
What hobbies or social activities do they perhaps take part in?
Some of these questions may seem more personal than business-related, but the more we can understand the customer and humanise them, the better your content can become.
For example, when you know about what their favourite TV shows are, you can build fun blog titles with a nod to these which will engage with them more.
If you’re struggling with where to start HubSpot has a great free persona tool that asks you a series of questions to help you create this avatar of your ideal customer.
Clear brand voice
Your brand should have a very clear tone of voice. Perhaps you’re very professional and straight-laced, or maybe you’re more casual and fun.
Again, this needs to be pinned down before you begin your content strategy because this brand voice should be consistent through everything you do. From how your customer service team answers the phone, to the writing on your website and the types of adverts you run. The voice should always be consistent.
The best way to think of this is as if your business was a person, how would it sound if it was speaking to you? Or maybe you’ve got a team member in your company who is so aligned with the brand, what is their voice like and how do they come across?
Consistency in tone of voice builds trust and authenticity. If one moment your brand is coming across all professional, and the next it’s coming across all laidback and casual, your customers are going to wonder what’s going on.
Just like brand voice, language will also play a role in how your content is received by your customers. This is where you have to decide on whether you’re going to stick with using highly technical terms or keep it jargon-free.
Having a brand library of words that are used in your company can help to ensure that everyone in the team who runs any marketing or advertising is always aligned with the same style of language.
In our experience, using less jargon can help your customers to understand your product or service, but ultimately this comes down to who your customers are. If they’re rocket scientists then using jargon will probably be fine with them, but if you’re marketing to someone who doesn’t use technical language in their day-to-day you could be alienating or even confusing them, which just turns people away.
Types of Content
There are so many types of content available, which means you can build a creative and engaging strategy that keeps your customers interested and coming back for more.
People often think of a content strategy as just blogs, but in fact, content is anything that helps to educate and inform your customers. From videos, webinars, case studies to eBooks and podcasts.
Again, from your audience insights, you should have a general idea of what type of content your customers prefer. But if you haven’t managed to gain this insight the best thing to do is to add some variety and see what becomes most popular.
With a highly technical product or service, videos are becoming increasingly popular to help businesses reveal more about how the product works, and what users should be aware of.
A great example of this is Zoom. We all went mad for Zoom during 2020 as we needed to do online video calls, webinars and meetings. But many people had never used Zoom before, meaning there was a lot to learn.
Thankfully Zoom created video tutorials on how to do everything from how to start a meeting, how to do breakout rooms, to how to share screens and even record a meeting.
These videos are accessible both on their website and on YouTube meaning people can gain access to this knowledge very easily and instantly become better educated on why Zoom is useful, and how it can be best used for several scenarios. From teaching children to hosting a live conference.
Videos allow you to do the classic show and tell, which makes it easy for your customers to understand, and get the knowledge they need in an instant.
Think about your product or service, which technical features could you show in a video to help your audience understand more?
When it comes to a technical product or service, it can be hard for a customer to see it in a real-life scenario. Therefore case studies are your way of showing your offering in a real situation where it is being used.
Case studies also help your audience relate better to the product or service because they are seeing others like themselves who may have had the same problems they are currently facing.
As a species we are also big advocates of a recommendation, so seeing strong case studies from your existing clients will help your audience feel that your product has more validation.
Even if your product or service is not human-centred, for example, if it’s a super technical AI that automates data in CRM systems; still have people talking about how this has impacted the business or operations as we relate better when other people are talking.
Too often technical businesses try to video their case studies or products with animations or 2D explainer videos, but these do not help us as humans as we do not connect with these animations in the same way as if it was a person explaining things to us.
As we mentioned earlier, showing your authority within your industry can help to show Google that you are trustworthy and that you have expertise in the area. The same goes for your customers, when they see your knowledge they trust what you are saying.
An ideal way to continue to show expertise, and get in front of your customers is with regular webinars on your product or service. These can even be multi-level webinars, for example, if you have a product that comes with some different levels of technical ability, you can begin with an introduction, or beginners guide, to a more experienced users manual.
Webinars enable you to educate and inform your customers and guide them towards making a buying decision.
Whitepapers, Reports, Ebooks
With whitepapers, reports, and eBooks you can truly build a strong content library that presents you as a thought-leader in your industry. Again showing trust, expertise, and authority.
In most technical industries there is a wealth of data and insight that you can draw upon to build resources that may be vital to your customers. For example, HubSpot does this well, and despite being a CRM system and sales tools, they regularly provide free guides on Customer Metrics, Email Templates, and Reports on big industry trends.
Once you’ve built your resources ensure to gate them on your website and request for people to provide their email address in exchange. This helps you to build your email subscribers which are a vital asset to your re-marketing strategy. After all, these are now people who have taken a genuine interest in what you’re offering.
As a technical product or service, demos are a powerful way to support your customers in gaining an education on exactly how your product works, and what they can use it for.
Most technical brands will now provide a demo registration on their homepage, encouraging potential clients to book in a free private demo or join a local live group demo.
It’s also proven that product demonstrations can dramatically improve sales conversion rates, as they play a key role in the decision-making process.
We all do it, even when we buy a new car, or a new house, we want to see what it looks like first, understand what it’s about before we commit. And the same goes for technical products or services. Only in truth, it’s more important, because the likelihood is, there needs to be more educating and informing about the product before people understand and then want to buy.
As the tech writer Geoffrey James says, “There is almost nothing more powerful than a great product demonstration. When done correctly, a demo allows the customer to see and feel how things will be better if they buy.”
Content That Has Power
As we know by now, well-created content has power. Yes, great content will help you improve SEO and SERP’s and get you noticed on Google, but most importantly it will get you noticed by your ideal customers.
Customers are less inclined to respond to adverts, but they do respond to information they find useful or interesting.
When we create great content with the customer in mind, we build useful resources that they come back to time and time again, even after a purchase.
Use the following content creation tips to ensure you’re taking your content to the next level and making it as powerful as it can be.
Show Research Data
When writing a blog post or eBook, ensure to back up your ideas with research data. The numbers don’t lie, and data can be highly influential in helping you to make a point about the importance of your product or service.
People love numbers, and if you even have your research to add to the piece, that’s even better.
Link to External Data
If you don’t have your own data to use in your features or blog posts, by all means, you can mention other research or studies, just make sure you link to it from your content so that people can verify it.
Again, the more research you have done into a piece, the more likely you will come across as a thought-leader in your area, and become the known expert to go to.
Thought Leadership Features
As well as writing on your own company’s blog, what about writing for industry-leading magazines or websites that are well-known in your field?
No matter the technical industry you are in there is without a doubt magazines, websites, or journals that are well-established and provide the latest insights and trends.
By contributing to a feature on another leading industry website or journal, you build a strong reputation and therefore increase your authority. You build the reputation of your company, your expertise, and can get in front of potential customers.
Utilise these tools and techniques to support your technical product and connect better with your customers. Apply the lessons we’ve shared and you will not only build brand awareness but create a sustainable marketing strategy that supports you in gaining new customers, and keeping loyal ones.