Marketing strategies for tech and AI startups. Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing

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Introduction.

Through our work with different tech companies, from AI in healthcare startups to AI events and summits, we’ve become truly passionate about helping the world adopt emerging technology and AI safely for the benefit of humanity.

Our work with AI businesses has taught us a few things worth sharing. If you are looking to scale your tech company or grow your AI startup through clever marketing strategies, here are 7 ways you can get started organically.

1. Content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy is a strategic plan which focuses on pulling leads to your website by providing valuable, educational resources which help your prospects find solutions to their problems. Your content marketing strategy should draw traffic to your site and stimulate interest in your product or service. Content marketing achieves this when you create articles which rank highly on search engines, like Google, for common queries like: “AI in medicine startups”. It also helps to focus on content distribution.

The common rule is to spend 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time distributing it. I’m not sure I agree with that ratio because you should focus on creating quality content, which takes time, but you should definitely spend a good chunk of time getting your content out there. Start by distributing them on social media, Medium, forums, via industry influencers and through associations.

Content marketing is centred around your audience so before you start creating blogs for the sake of blogging, you need to properly define your audience segments and understand the challenges each of them faces. That’s where buyer personas come in. Buyer personas are fictional characters representing your ideal customer profiles. They help all teams involved with customer acquisition and retention. They should be used to inform shape your entire marketing strategy. Read more about buyer personas here

Simply speaking there are 3 stages of the buyer’s journey that you need to create content for. Awareness content (to attract leads), Consideration content (to engage and persuade), Decision (to convert leads to customers). 

Use the following checklist to start filling out a content calendar for the next 3, 6 or 12 months. Make sure you’re producing at least 2 pieces of quality content per month. But that’s what everyone is told, so try to create 3 pieces.

One final thing on content marketing for tech and AI businesses. Before you create anything, consider these 5 things: 

– Purpose: why are you creating this content?
– Goals: what do I want this content to achieve?
– Audience: whom is this content for?
– Call to action: what action do you want the audience to take?
– Distribution: which channels will I use to promote this content?

2. Interactive tools and experiences.

If you’re an AI startup, you’re at the forefront of the tech revolution so you need a site to reflect that. Go a step further when it comes to creating engaging experiences online. For ideas on how to stand out from other tech companies, take a look at these examples of cool web design experiences:

Top left: https://theunitldn.com/, top right: https://iad-lab.ch/, bottom left: https://www.arche68.com/, bottom right: https://wearemarble.org/

From interactive demos to alternative reality (AR) solutions and webinars to budget calculators, the possibilities to improve user experience are seemingly endless, it’s just a matter of choosing the right agency to partner with. 

3. Marketing automation software.

Marketing automation is a set of strategic software that streamlines, automates and analyses marketing tasks and workflows for businesses. It aims to improve operational efficiency and increase the amount of revenue generated online.

Marketing automation isn’t just about saving time. It also makes communications more personalised for your prospects and existing customers. Things like customer segmentation and campaign management become far more effective and a lot easier. Today’s consumer is far more likely to engage with a business who nurtures them with highly relevant and valuable content while guiding them through the sales journey.

Marketing automation software like Hubspot can help you grow your AI business in many ways:

  • Save time
  • Improve your ROI on staff costs
  • Scale and repeat processes and tasks
  • Improve the sales process
  • You can measure your success in a centralised hub
  • Develop a deeper understanding of your audience and shape their behaviour
  • Improve testing & marketing optimisation
  • Enhance your customer experience
  • Reclaim lost revenue
  • Automate manual processes such as follow-ups from web activity

If you would like to discuss your options with marketing automation software and make sure you get the right price, the best implementation and a full breakdown of what’s included, drop us a note and we’ll send you some more information. No sales, just helpful advice. 

4. Original video.

Video is by far the greatest content investment of any marketing team who doesn’t already have one. In terms of connecting with your audience, it beats written content every time. People would rather watch an interesting, snappy explainer video about your company and the product than they would read about it for 10 minutes. It’s also easy to share across your social channels, via email and across your website.

It gives your audience what they want and increases your chances of converting website traffic into leads. 

Some video marketing statistics: 

  • Utilising video marketing can increase a tech business’ organic search traffic by 157%.
  • Introducing your AI solution with an explainer video can increase email inquiries by 127% and click-through rates by 138%.

When creating your video, it’s best to use a video agency to ensure market-leading quality and a professional feel. You should also consider the following points

  • Choose how the video fits in with your SEO strategy: Assign to a core topic, and choose your keywords (yes, you still need them for video)
  • Choose your video tags for viewers and search engines: e.g. #SolutionX #CompanyY #AIinMedicine #AIinHealthcare
  • Plan your call to action/lead magnet offer: Be clear what action you want your viewers to take
  • Plan your other media: What existing/stock video & imagery can be used in the video?
  • Be clear who this video is for: Assign the video to buyer personas to create a highly targeted and effective video.

5. Brand equity & thought leadership.

I have separated this from the content marketing strategy (section 1) because people often start blogging and, well, keep blogging. They don’t always incorporate the higher-value content that really helps them to stand out. 

To start building brand equity with your potential customers you must focus on producing and distributing genuinely valuable content. As above, define your target audience by creating buyer personas. Then work out their biggest challenges. Start with the top 3 challenges you solve, write them down and create educational content to help them overcome these problems.

The idea of spending more time creating costly content (time and often money) is that you position yourself as a thought leader in the market. If you’re giving away the most useful resources for free, in the long-term, people will think of you first when they think of their problem, until they become a customer. By this point, why would they go elsewhere? You’re already helping them solve challenges, so it becomes a no-brainer and your brand becomes the go-to. 

Here are a few content ideas to help demonstrate your expertise, position your tech or AI company as a thought leader, and compel your leads into action:

 

6. Influencer marketing.

In any industry, there are many people with lots of connections and influence on your potential clients. You need to find them and start a conversation with the aim of building a longer-term relationship. ‘Influencers’ can be: 

  • Relevant blogs with lots of traffic 
  • Social accounts with engaged followers
  • YouTube creators who post content related to your industry or solution
  • Event organisers in your space
  • Associations
  • Publications
  • And more… think outside the box

You will probably have to pay for features and guest posts, but not always because some people will prefer mutually beneficial relationships. Have a think about what you could offer them in exchange for them telling their audience about you. A free-trial, discounts, an introduction to someone of interest, etc. Again, think outside the box and start building those relationships. 

7. Live event integration.

Technology companies are always attending or hosting great events. Instead of simply being there in person, why not share the experience with your audience? There are many ways to integrate video when it comes to marketing your event or your shouting about your presence at an event. After all, tickets are usually expensive.

Showcase the event for those who either didn’t know about it or couldn’t go. You can use this strategy to bring people together online and expand the reach of your event or talk.

Video integration offers more value to your audience than a blog post when you attend an event. You can start a live feed to stream talks, or interview speakers after they’ve finished. If you’re speaking, capturing it on video or live streaming it is a no-brainer and will build credibility and trust with your audience for years to come. 

Matthew Johnson - Head of Marketing by Matthew Johnson, Head of Marketing
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