If you are running a small tech company, especially if you are still in startup stage, money is probably tight. On the other hand, in order to drive sales to bring in more revenue, you need to implement better marketing strategies. This may feel like a catch-22.
The good news is that for marketing strategies to be effective, they don’t have to cost the earth. There are many low-cost and even no-cost techniques which can build brand awareness, drive leads and grow your customer base.
Take a look at our top ten marketing strategies for tech companies on a budget.
Consumers use search engines as their primary method for finding businesses and services. In fact, figures show that 97% of consumers search online for businesses and services.
Particularly as part of the tech industry, making sure you are ranking highly on SERPs (search engine results pages) is not only essentially, but in most cases inexpensive.
SEO is an extremely involved process however here are some of the key factors to keep in mind:
- Quality citations and references
- Links to your site from reputable websites
- Technical SEO
- Customer Referrals
The age old adage is true: word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to bring in new customers.
You can organically generate great word of mouth for free through simply providing a quality product delivered with exceptional customer service. You can further encourage word of mouth at a minimum cost through setting up customer referral programs.
These programs offer your existing customers a reward in return for referring a friend or contact to your business. A great option for rewards you can offer at a minimal cost to you are freebies or discounts on your products or services.
- Content Marketing
More and more businesses, from SME’s and startups to the world’s biggest brands are now including content marketing as a key part of their marketing strategy. Content marketing involves creating quality content – which can be anything from blogs to social media, video or ebooks – and distributing it in order to engage with new and existing customers.
Content marketing has been shown to be much more cost effective compared to traditional marketing. Figures show that content marketing generates three times more leads than outbound marketing while costing 62% less.
Along with being cost-effective, content marketing has many benefits: it is a great way to reach new audiences and build your brand. If executed well, you can also use content to position yourself as a though leader in your area, which is particularly important in the tech sector.
- Link Building
Link building is a highly effective, and cost-effective strategy to market your business. The process involves generating quality links from reputable sites back to your business. To do this you need to either create great content which is either recognised by these sites, and/or reach out to these sites and pitch guest posts. If you are looking for custom link building services make sure to check out HQ SEO.
Link building has two main benefits for your business:
- It improves your site’s SEO through backlinks from sites recognised by Google
- It drives organic traffic to your site
- Media Appearances
In the midst of high-tech digital marketing strategies, don’t underestimate the power of good old PR. You should, however, implement an effective PR strategy which reflects today’s media landscape.
Send out press releases: this is low-cost approach which can not only raise your brand’s profile, but generate backlinks. Compile a database of contacts from online and offline publications in your niche and reach out to them. Build a network of media contacts.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing reportedly has a ROI of over 400 percent, and is often touted as having the best ROI of any digital marketing strategy. For very little investment, effective email marketing can build relationships with your customers, generate leads, and drive sales.
To effectively execute email marketing you will first need to build a strong email list. Gather contacts at every opportunity: existing and past customers, site visitors and any sales leads. Then create a strong email marketing strategy. This could include a regular newsletter, updates on sales and promotions, essentially anything that you think will be useful and interesting to your customer base. Remember that one of the reasons email marketing works so well is that it allows you to have a one on one conversation with your audience, so keep emails personal. This means not just addressing the emails to the individual’s name (which can be done with Mailchimp or any email marketing tool), but wherever possible tailor product offering and any other email content specifically to that customer.
To be able to do this well, you need to segment your list: that is, save contacts under specific categories or tags. That way you can make sure you only send emails which are appropriate to the receiver in terms of geography, subject matter and more. This will not only mean a higher success rate for your emails but minimises burning your list by annoying your contacts with irrelevant emails.
- Online Networking
Networking is free, and by making new contacts and connections you never know how it may directly or indirectly result in new leads, sales or revenue. Today’s online world offers boundless possibilities for networking. A great place to start with online networking is social media groups and public forums. The key here is to demonstrate your expertise and make connections, rather than directly pushing your business. You can do this by writing comments, giving helpful advice and generally being involved.
Another way to strengthen your network is to make connections with other businesses in your sector but who are not direct competitors. Then, refer potential customers to these businesses. You will not only be helping out your contacts, but also these businesses are then likely to refer business to you. Referrals can extend beyond direct one-on-one recommendations too: you can also recommend or simply mention other companies in your content or on social media.
- Build Your LinkedIn Network
LinkedIn also has great opportunities for online networking. Start by creating a strong LinkedIn profile: for yourself and also your business. Even if you have a LinkedIn business page, your own LinkedIn profile is as important, if not more so. Ultimately, important contacts will want to make a connection with you personally and will judge your business based on your particular experience and abilities. Make sure your personal profile is comprehensive and complete, and don’t forget to update it over time when you have new skills and achievements to add.
Next, make as many connections as possible, but don’t stop there. Join groups on LinkedIn to find new contacts, and share content on your feed to build engagement. Treat your LinkedIn content strategy as you would any other type of digital marketing: set your goals and identify your audience in order to develop a plan to effectively engage them with content which will be interesting and useful to them.
- Set Up Loyalty Programs
It’s important to remember that marketing should be directed at existing customers as well as attracting new customers. Setting up a loyal base of regular customers means repeat business, which can be highly successful in bringing in new revenue.
One proven (and inexpensive) approach to retaining customers is setting up a loyalty program. Figures show that customers who are a member of a loyalty program spend around 18% more than other customers. You can run your program in a variety of ways. Essentially however, a loyalty program is one which rewards a customer for their purchases. You may offer some kind of product as a reward, or a discount on their purchase after a certain amount. Loyalty program rewards are best when they are something exclusive: offer your loyal customers a benefit or product which is not available to anyone else, in order to show them how much you value their business.
- Build a Community
To take customer retention a step further and build incredible loyalty from your customer base, create a real community. Use social media and email marketing to create a community of your existing and potential customers. There are two keys to making this successful:
- Offer something of real value to your customers: this could be latest news, tech support, information or advice.
- Make it interactive: let your customers ask for advice, share stories and so on. In most cases the interactions will be between your users and your role is simply to get things going, and to moderate.
Facebook groups are particularly good for this, with thousands of groups currently on Facebook which are highly active. The most successful are those created by a business in an area which is relevant to their niche and which also meet a need for users. The marketing of the business in these cases is quite subtle – the group is focused on subject matter and promotion of the founding business in minimal but effective.
There are many effective marketing strategies, many at low or no cost, available to tech companies to help them promote and grow their business. In marketing your business, whatever your budget, the most important thing to remember is to have a clear strategy, know your audience, familiarise yourself with the best tools and techniques, and execute them well!