How’d I get here? Well, I Googled this problem I’m having, and it brought me here—to your technical marketing blog post.
Which reads like a research paper and brochure.
Anyway. I’m going to go.”
That was awkward. How that reader just came and went. I think you scared them with your complexity. But it’s totally avoidable, with a little bit of empathy and understanding.
Let’s work on it.
An Inbound Marketing Primer
Inbound marketing has become a popular approach for businesses trying to attract leads online. It’s based on using helpful content that supports the buyer’s journey.
HubSpot, the inbound marketing darling, breaks up the buyer’s journey into three parts:
- Awareness: When someone has a symptom, but can’t pinpoint the problem.
- Consideration: When someone has identified the problem, and starts exploring ways to fix it.
- Decision: When they’ve decided on a solution, and they’re shopping for providers.
If this seems technical, just think of inbound methods as those that cater to a Person Who Googles (PWG). Imagine a PWG that wakes up one morning feeling under the weather. That PWG’s buyer’s journey, reflected in search terms, might look like this:
- “chills,” “headache,” “nausea”
- “flu medications,” “flu doctor?,” “home flu treatments”
- “Tamiflu vs. Rapivab,” “Tamiflu Alternatives,” “Vicks Flu Cost”
The problem with a lot of technical marketing is that it doesn’t take the buyer’s journey into consideration, nor the best medium for each stage. So a lot of technical firm blogs—which is an Awareness stage medium—feature a lot of Consideration and Decision stage content.
Which means they’re essentially hawking Tamiflu to a PWG’s research into “nausea.”
And this is a little bit forward, and off-putting.
My Napkin Drawing (Now in JPEG!)
In other words, when you’re writing blogs, you need to be teaching about problems. Here’s how I think you should remember it:
Your free, accessible content should talk to People Who Google. It should inform. It should teach about problems and how to address them. It should speak to symptoms and relate those symptoms to bigger issues. This is the hardest part for technical marketing newbies to understand. It’s also one of the things we spend the most time teaching when we’re marketing for high-growth companies.
Only some of your leads will care to learn about solutions. And that step is a big one. At that point, you can start asking for a little more contact information from those leads. Give an ebook in exchange for their company name and phone number. Talk about your industry and introduce its terminology. Start to position yourself and the benefits of your company’s approach to solving problems.
Only a small percentage of those leads will turn into prospects. And at that point, they should feel comfortable with you and your approach. Start talking to them about your services and pricing. At this point, you can start selling features.
Not clear yet? Then think of technical marketing like dating.
Don’t scare off your date (lead) by talking about your issues (product features).
Take the time to get to know them. Be helpful. Make the benefits of working with you very clear.
Then, who knows? You might actually get somewhere.
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