Public Relations Tips for Small Tech Companies
Buyers that are in the market for the types of complex products and services tech companies sell want to know two things before they buy:
1. Is this the most cost-effective solution?
In most cases, they already know what they need to get done; they just need to know the most cost-effective way to do it. So they aren’t primarily price-shopping, they are primarily solution-shopping and secondarily price-shopping. So assuming they are sold on what you are offering, what’s next?
2. Are you accountable?
They need to know that you are accountable. Before they commit to a big ticket purchase, prospects need concrete assurance that you’ll back up your promises. For a small tech company, this means that you need to follow the lead of larger companies. Two of the biggest differences between a small company and a large one are visibility and consistency.
Visibility sends the message that you are a player in the market.
Consistency sends the message that your company has a strong foundation. This is an area where many smaller companies struggle and PR can help.
If you are confident in your product and have been stuck in a sales slump for a few months or years, chances are you have a visibility problem. It’s easy to determine if this is the case—just Google a few terms that buyers would use to find your products and see if your business comes up in the first page of search results. This is usually an eye opening experience—especially if your competitors are there and you aren’t.
So, assuming that you are not where you want to be, how do you get there quickly? There are 3 ways:
1. Pay-Per-Click Ads: you probably know how this works, so we won’t go into it. Pay-per-click is great for low ticket commodity-type products, but not so great for the relatively expensive B2B products and services most tech companies sell.
2. Organic Search (creating and optimizing content): This is the vehicle of choice for visibility and credibility. The prevailing wisdom is that this is a Herculean task that takes months, if not years to deliver results; this is not true—results can be immediate. It does require expertise and a well thought-out strategy, though.
3. Earned Media (being featured in major publications): For reasons that we don’t understand, Google rarely features articles in search results anymore. Add to that, Google usually only considers the headline and graphics. So if your company is only a contributor to a story, your company name will not be in the headline (a way around this is to submit an executive photo along with your contribution).
In addition to increasing your overall visibility and consistency, public relations can also:
Level the playing field with larger competitors
Uncover new prospects
Support a product launch or marketing effort
Reposition a mature product
Strengthen/reposition your brand
Position your company as an industry leader
Creating and maintaining a big company presence in the marketplace is the most valuable aspect of public relations. Everything listed above plays into that. Smart strategy and consistent implementation will take even the slowest growing tech company to the next level.