1) Establish Thought Leadership
First, you have to ensure that your audience perceives you as an expert in the field of advertising and marketing. Your technology serves to optimize their marketing, and if they don’t believe you know more about marketing than them, they’ll turn to another option they perceive as more of an expert. That’s why strategically establishing thought leadership in digital marketing is absolutely crucial—even more so than it would be for content marketers in other fields.
Strategically building thought leadership is not possible when taking shortcuts—your audience will see right through you. Instead, your content needs to contribute value at all times, and the more in-depth it gets, the more likely your audience will be to submit their information and become leads. Webinars on the digital marketing industry, as well as in-depth how-to guides in the form of blog posts or whitepapers, can all be successful in building thought leadership.
2) Highlight Social Proof
Social proof should be a feature of your digital marketing efforts, regardless of what industry you represent. After all, your customers trust reviews from their peers far more than your own product descriptions, referrals from thought leaders lead to up to 200% higher conversion rates, and testimonials are quickly taking the place of traditional word of mouth. In today’s digital environment, social proof is a crucial marketing tool.
But similar to thought leadership, the importance of social proof rises even further in ad tech marketing. As it turns out, marketers know about the potential of empty promises and will be hesitant to believe your claims if they’re not backed up by evidence. Proven success stories from customers in similar situations as your target audience can go a long way toward convincing new users to become customers.
3) Offer a Free Trial
Of course, especially if your business is not yet established, social proof can be difficult to come by. Fortunately, in many cases, you will have a good alternative: free stuff.
Allowing your audience to use your ad tech solution lets you showcase the benefits of your product on a real-time basis. By the time the trial is over, your users will hopefully have incorporated it into their marketing so much that they can’t do without it.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You’ve just run across the case study of another marketer in your field, who used a content aggregation tool to more easily keep himself informed about your shared industry. You’re intrigued, but not quite enough to pay a monthly fee. But the tool has a free option, that allows you to test it for 30 days to see how you can integrate it into your marketing efforts. By the time the month is over, you’ve successfully integrated the tool, and can’t do without it anymore. Naturally, you sign up for the real deal and become a success story in your own right.
Free trials are well-established in the SaaS industry, where they have long become a major success factor in marketing subscription software. But even if your business model does not rely on a recurring subscription, you can use the same technique in your favor. By offering your product free for either a limited time and/or with limited functionality, you gain both goodwill and free trial users who can experience the benefits of your solution first-hand.
4) Nurture, Nurture, Nurture
The final aspect of inbound marketing that rises in importance for ad tech companies is the time after an initial lead conversion. Inbound marketing in all industries requires lead nurturing, the process of guiding leads through the sales funnel and slowly nudging them toward a sale with consistent, relevant content. But when reaching marketing professionals, that process becomes perhaps the single most important part of your entire strategy.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. You just learned about a tool that allows you to create quick goal-value reports for Google Analytics, simplifying the complicated internal solution and allowing you to better gauge your ROI. You’re interested enough to sign up, perhaps even for a free trial. But after doing so, you only receive an occasional, generic email trying to sell the software to you. Not convinced about its value, you decide to go with the Google Analytics internal reporting system instead.
That scenario exemplifies the dilemma many ad tech marketers face. Their solutions often enhance existing marketing efforts, but in a way that’s subtle enough to only seem necessary if the messaging is just right. If you’re not convincing enough, or your messages seem too ‘sales-y’, you may gain leads—but your conversion rates will be disappointingly low. What you need instead is a nurturing strategy that keeps your product in your leads’ minds, all while continuously convincing them about its value.
Inbound marketing your ad tech solution is a difficult proposition. Because you’re advertising to marketing professionals, you have to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row—and that your thought leadership building, social proof, and lead nurturing strategy are set up just right.
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