A large percentage of new B2B technology startups fail when it comes to marketing. Here's how to avoid common pitfalls and rise to the top of your niche.
Technology startups are great at creating useful innovations. What they aren't so great at is marketing those innovations to customers. Study after study shows that between 50 percent and 60 percent of all ventures will fail because of reasons that have nothing to do with putting out an inferior product. These ventures will close their doors because of non-targeted and poorly planned marketing efforts. The reality is that only 37 percent of IT startups will master marketing in ways that allow them to stay in business for longer than four years. The common reason why B2B technology startups fail is because they lack one or all of these three resources:
Know Your Target AudiencePutting forth a marketing initiative without identifying your marketing base ahead of time is like shooting very expensive darts into an abyss. You'll have no way of knowing where your efforts land or if they're picked up by others. In fact, many companies are able to spend less money on marketing if they put a little bit of time and money into creating a targeted base. The reality is that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to marketing for B2B technology companies. You don't actually have to get millions of eyes on your product to be successful. In fact, getting the eyes of just a few hundred decision makers in the tech world is far more beneficial than reaching millions of people in the general population. The process of marketing a tech product should follow this pattern:
- Get the attention of relevant people
- Convert views to leads
- Convert leads to customers
- Stretch your resources
Execution MattersNot having a marketing plan isn't the only way to ensure that a startup will fail. Many startups fail to get off the ground because they don't properly and fully execute the marketing plans they do have. It's important to have a very detailed marketing plan that leaves room for changing course because the odds that you'll get outsmarted by competitors is very high. You can't be competitive if you aren't up to speed on the latest marketing trends. This is why it's important for startups to consult marketing firms even if they don't have the budgetary means to employ an official marketing person.
The Perfect PlanHow can the average startup company with a limited budget create a marketing plan that actually works? There are some essential steps that can help you stay competitive. The three basic principles that need to be at the core of your marketing efforts include:
- Knowing your current position in the market
- Identifying and answering the needs of your target audience
- Pricing your product to be competitive in the market while emphasizing its unique value
Think About the FutureThe one constant in the tech world is that something bigger and better is always just a few months away from full development. This is why tech startups can't just remain focused on what they're doing today. There must always be a futuristic plan on the back burner to ensure that a path is being paved for success in the coming months and years. It's important for a startup company to establish a sense of value in its product that will be recognized for the foreseeable future. The key to longevity is to make sure you have a differentiator built into your product that makes it stand apart from competitors without veering too far away from your target audience.
Readjustments Are NecessaryStubbornness is a liability in the technology sector. A startup company needs to be willing and able to change course and make adjustments at the drop of a hat. One thing that will become clear once you develop buyer personas is that customer behaviors shift over time. It's important to constantly revisit your company's core beliefs and products as you grow. You may be out of touch with what the tech world needs if you can't clearly answer the following questions:
- What am I selling?
- Who am I selling to?
- Why am I different than my competitors?
- How can I gain a lasting competitive advantage?
Content Can Bridge Many GapsContent is proving to be the great equalizer in the marketing world. Crafting and delivering relevant, easy-to-read content can do the following:
- Establish your startup's authority as an expert in your niche
- Inform and inspire
- Prompt audiences to take action
- Reinforce relevancy
Much of what makes content successful rests on the proper use of keywords. Even the most amazing and persuasive content in the world won't be seen unless proper SEO has been implemented to get eyes on your brand. In the B2B world, the content you put out will be used by decision makers to judge whether or not your startup is relevant and influential. The reality is that anyone researching products and solutions has probably already decided that they will be making a purchase at some point. What they land on when they conduct an Internet search will determine whether or not they close a deal with you or one of your competitors. The average close rate from an SEO lead is over 14 percent. This is why it's essential to cautiously pick keywords that will connect your target audience with your message. Your SEO strategy should constantly be revisited and revised. Don't be afraid to adjust your keywords as industry needs change or when Google reworks its algorithms.
Use Technology to Sell TechnologyOne of the biggest mistakes startup companies in the tech sector make is to not embrace automation as part of the marketing process. Attempting to constantly update and monitor all of your online marketing initiatives will quickly drain all of your time and energy. The good news is that the large-scale marketing automation that all the major enterprises are using is also available to small businesses. Be sure to search for automation marketing tools that cover everything from email blasts to posts on social media. In addition to providing you with easy platforms for deploying marketing materials, these tools typically provide reports and feedback regarding user engagement and post effectiveness.
A Final Word on Making a B2B Startup Succeed
While it can be daunting to know that between 50 percent and 60 percent of all startups will fail, you should also use this information as motivation. Proper marketing should be the most important topic on a startup leader's mind after developing a viable and marketable product.