The technology industry, on the cutting edge in so many areas, has been surprisingly slow to embrace the concept of inbound marketing. While inbound marketing is better suited to some markets than others, government contractor technology companies are in a unique position to take advantage of blogging, social media, white papers, video and other inbound strategies.
Inbound marketing for technology companies is effective for many reasons. For example, well-executed inbound marketing tactics generate lower-cost leads than traditional marketing. But one key reason inbound marketing is effective specifically for the technology industry is the disconnect that often exists between a tech company and its prospective customers. In short, your prospects don't always entirely understand what you do. That means they may not be aware of all of the benefits you offer. They may also have concerns about security, reliability and other issues that are based more in their own lack of exposure than in reality.
Inbound marketing helps you close that gap by providing information to prospects and the public in a way that is easily digestible for them. You can set them at ease, establish your expertise and clarify the value of the type of services you offer, all without making a direct sales pitch. Of course, the primary goal will be to generate leads, and inbound marketing does so. But these campaigns will do more for you: they'll soften up the market by making potential customers more comfortable with the use of your technology and will introduce your company as a trusted source of information--and, thus, products and services.
Inbound marketing options are limited only by your own creativity--and we know that the technology industry is populated by innovators. But if you're new to the idea of inbound marketing, here are a few ways you can get started:
- Blogging: The concept of blogging as a marketing tool is hardly new, but using your blog as a successful element in your inbound marketing campaigns requires more than just adding a blog to your site and posting occasionally. Far too many corporate blogs are ineffective because they're too heavily focused on direct sales or don't speak the language of their client bases. Your blog shouldn't just be a forum for sales pitches, and it shouldn't be written in the language of your programmers. It's your opportunity to let the market get to know you, your company and the general value of the type of products or services you offer.
- White Papers and eBooks: While the average consumer doesn't dig into a white paper before making technology decisions, corporate decision-makers do. While your blog introduces concepts in easily digestible bites and helps people understand the value of taking the next step, a white paper offers the next level of information to those inclined to look for it. In addition to a subtle opportunity to pitch the value of the type of products and services you offer, well-formulated white papers also help decision-makers feel confident in your expertise.
- Video: Not every prospect is a reader. Online video is becoming increasingly popular, and the new generation of decision-makers includes many who prefer video to the written word when it comes to gathering information and understanding new concepts. Adding video to your efforts not only makes your message more inviting to a certain sector of the market, but allows you the opportunity to show your personality and your company's culture more vividly. That makes it easier for prospects to identify with and trust you.
- Social Media: If you're working in the technology industry, chances are that on a personal level you're hooked in to a wide range of online communities--it's an industry heavily weighted toward early adopters. But are you taking full advantage of social media to build your brand? If you're not, you're not just missing an opportunity: you're putting your brand at risk. Your employees, customers, former customers and prospects are using social media, and someone is talking about those experiences. If you're not managing your brand in social media, someone else is.
- SEO: If you're paying for search placement on Google and you're not optimizing your website(s) for natural search, you're cheating yourself. Not only is that traffic available at a lower cost through SEO, but web users overwhelmingly choose to click on natural results over paid listings.
The benefits of well-planned inbound marketing for technology companies are significant: your company can build its brand, increase the comfort level of the market, connect with prospective customers and save money. And, the opportunities for creative campaigns are nearly endless. Don't hold your company back: apply the same innovation to growing your company that you do to growing your products and services.