You Must Know How to Promote Your Business
You want success for your tech company, don’t you? That means knowing how to promote your business.
There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way.
– Christopher Morley
You want that for yourself and your business.
One major reason tech founders and entrepreneurs can’t succeed is because their companies can’t break through. They can’t break through the noise of the marketplace. Knowing how to promote your business will allow you to break through that noise.
Most don’t. They just blend in. Blend in with thousands of other companies just like yours solving similar problems.
And even when you’re solving something differently, unless you communicate that difference, you’re just like everybody else.
But You’re Not Like Everybody Else
There’s a fear when you start a tech company that you have to engineer yourself out of it. If you were going to get acquired or IPO, the market had to see that the organization was bigger than you, the founder.
That idea is starting to change, and what one writer calls the “paradox of personal branding” has been busted wide open.
In fact, in order to stand out, you have to stand up – and be you.
Become the one who is setting the standard in whatever line of work you do – be it in the office, at home, in school or everywhere in between.
So, to truly be successful – to know how to promote your business, you need one big strategy you probably aren’t doing today.
Your #1 Success Strategy: Brand Yourself
So how do you brand yourself?
It turns out, just like your company. Very much like your company, you need to find your unique selling proposition.
Ask yourself, what do you have to offer the world that’s unique?
In addition, you should be contrarian or controversial. Not for the sake of starting a fight. Be controversial for the sake of starting a conversation.
The irony is that branding yourself is one huge key to knowing how to promote your business.
Obscurity Is Your Enemy
Seth Godin once said, “The enemy of an author is not piracy, but obscurity.”
I’ll restate, “The enemy of a tech founder is not an angry market, but obscurity.”
If you can’t spark a conversation in your market, you’re dead in the water. You have to start a conversation, even if you throw a few rocks to do it.
Be ready to back up what you say, but don’t be afraid to take a stand in your market. It’s that stand that will attract the customers you’re meant to serve. And for whom your product is the one thing they’ve been waiting for.
Market Yourself to Market Your Company
Go through the same exercise you would with your product. Where is your brand’s market? Who will be motivated by what you have to say on how you are changing the world through your company.
Stay on message with social media. Be present in the marketplace with your ideas. Engage.
There are 3 major things you need to brand yourself:
1. Be active on social media
A lot of tech founders have complained lately, “there’s nothing on social media for my company.”
That may be true, but there’s tons on social media for you – you, as a product.
Share what you know. You don’t have to blog in order to share. Share your knowledge in a tweet. Sure, it’s tough to reduce it down to 140 characters, but you’re not trying to train people, just attract attention.
You need to dedicate some time to whichever social media platform that makes sense for your target market, whether Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, etc. However, you need to follow “Barrett’s Law”, named after Daniel Barrett, owner of Two Friendly Nerds.
Ye shall pick no more than 3 social networks to focus on.
So pick no more than 3. Then contribute. Be present. Don’t sell. Just help.
If you were your company’s marketing department, I’d suggest an 80/20 split of sharing helpful information and promoting your company. But to brand yourself, just share. Feel free to point people to your company’s content, but be there for others first. Don’t think about how to promote your business. Just be authentically you. The promotion will come.
Experts share. They don’t sell.
2. Contribute to the conversation
Find the places online where your customers hang out. Contribute to the conversation through guest posting. Post content on LinkedIn (if it fits your target market). Find blogs that are popular with your market. Use search engine keywords to find who is popular and getting traffic.
One data source I like to use is Alexa. Find authorities in your market and check their blogs on Alexa to see what kind of traffic they get, where it comes from, and how engaged users are. You can learn about the demographics of those sites and then leverage that to create meaningful and relevant content for them.
If you can contribute to the conversation via speeches, even better. Don’t hold out for payment – just go speak. The more places you speak, the more authority you derive. Don’t sell at these speeches – just contribute.
Don’t make the mistake that so many speakers do: don’t make the speech all about how to promote your business. Give of yourself and the audience will appreciate it. And, when the time is right and the trust is there, they’ll buy from you.
3. Teach What You Know
Authorities teach the world.
You need to be seen as the authority in your space. The fastest way to do that is to teach.
How and where do you teach?
Here are a few ideas:
- Produce video training for your or your company’s website
- Start a podcast
- Do webinars
- Hold teleseminar Q&A sessions
In any of these cases, you want your name, face, and voice to be seen and heard as often as possible. And it should be associated with people learning things. Be as visible as possible. Don’t hide behind a faceless or nameless blog post. Step out in front.
As far as the content you provide: give away the farm. Give until it feels like you’re giving too much – then give some more. You will be rewarded for it.
Want to Get Noticed? Get Branded
The secret to publicity for your tech startup is the personal branding of the founder. Sure, later it won’t matter so much anymore, but in the early stages, it’s almost the most important thing.
Build your brand by these 3 ideas:
- Be active on social media
- Contribute to the conversation
- Teach what you know
If you do these things, your personal brand will increase in value and visibility. Along with it, your tech company will reap the rewards with more attention and authority.
Want to know how to promote your business? Promote yourself first.