Creating effective marketing content for technical products or services is sort of like baking a cake: there are ingredients you must use if you want a great end product. If you don’t use these ingredients, you’re going to end up with a cardboard-flavoured pancake that nobody wants to eat!
To create effective technical content, there are four essential ‘ingredients’ for success:
1. Flour, The Cakes’ Base: Clearly Explain Technical Things
Aside from the obvious goal of making more sales, the fundamental goal of technical marketing is to increase your audience’s knowledge.
Why? It’s simple—most people won’t buy something they don’t understand.
Having worked as a technical salesperson in the HVAC industry, I came across many customers with technical misconceptions about our products. This was not a cause for concern—if customers had the same understanding I had about our products, then I’d probably be out of a job!
However, what was a cause for concern was how ill-equipped the company was at addressing these misconceptions. By failing to explain technical points of difference clearly, potential customers would often move on to competitors and buy their products. Sometimes inferior products to what we offered.
Explaining complex products simply may seem difficult to do. But it’s vital for your business success. In fact, the more technical a product you’re trying to sell, the greater the impact a content marketing campaign can have.
A business that educates its customers with relevant knowledge gains through improved brand awareness, loyalty, and trust. The improved awareness comes from making content that customers find useful and are more likely to click on. The improved loyalty results from customers feeling grateful for the knowledge that you share. And the improved trust from letting customers know you are the experts in what you do.
Pulling this off requires clarity across your marketing content. You must focus on your core message and minimise any noise that distracts from the key points you wish to tell your audience. Equally, it is vital to explain the fundamentals of your product before moving on to the more complex technical concepts.
It’s tempting to revert to industry buzzwords and technical jargon to persuade a customer to buy your product. But this only going to bore or confuse them.
Make things simple—that’s the base of this marketing ‘cake’!
2. Baking Soda, To Make The Cake Rise: Make Your Content Customer-Oriented
While flour forms the base of a cake, it also needs baking soda to help it rise when cooking. In the marketing world, customer-oriented content is the ingredient that helps your business expand.
You might think your product is the focus of the story, but it isn’t. As Donald Miller points out in his book Building a StoryBrand, it is the customer that is the hero of any business story. They are the ones who have a problem they wish to address, or a goal they would like to achieve. It’s only when your product or service helps them with this, that they give you their business.
If your product doesn’t meet their needs, then they won’t buy it. It doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is—if it doesn’t help the hero of the story, it’s not relevant to the story at all.
But what if your product does matter to the story? The onus is on the business to show the customer how their offerings can help drive their personal narratives. In other words, the business needs to show why its product or services matter to its customers. To create successful content marketing, you have to work out what really matters to your audience.
Or to put it more plainly: people buy for purpose. These simple but profound words of advice were given to me by a successful serial entrepreneur.
Finding what matters to your audience and their exact purpose of buying from you requires looking at the world from their perspective. Experimentation with your marketing content may help find what content topics they like. If you can do this, then you will see the base of the marketing ‘cake’ begin to grow as you generate more sales and create ongoing relationships with your customer base.
3. Sugar, To Make The Cake Sweet: Create Personable Content
Forming personal relationships is a powerful way to sell things. This is demonstrated by car salesman Joe Girard, who sold 1,425 vehicles in 1973: a Guinness World Record. Girard’s unconventional approach involved writing regular cards to past and potential customers with the message ‘I like you’.
Girard’s story shows the power of being pleasant to your customers. It’s not rocket science either—people like to interact with people they like, and this applies to the world of sales as much as any other situation.
Unlike Girard, there’s no need for your sales team to write personalised messages or birthday cards to win over your customers. All you need to do is add a bit of personality to your marketing content.
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi highlights the importance of personable content through the story of the small business River Pools and Spas. Facing financial collapse in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, the company CEO, Marcus Sheridan, started a regular blog where he set out to answer all the questions he encountered as a pool salesperson. His blog ended up attracting a lot of web traffic and produced more leads.
Ultimately, this saved River Pools and Spas from collapse during a fraught time for many businesses around the world, which shows he must have been doing something right. Part of Marcus’s approach to marketing is to share a lot about himself personally. Many would consider this to be unusual, but Marcus considers it to be essential. According to him, it is important to let the customers know who you are, and that you are a real person they can relate to.
Similarly, your business can create its own content that adds personality and charm to your brand. For example, you can give your sales team some freedom to show their actual personalities when speaking in promo or explainer videos. Or you could post employee profiles that include hobbies on your website.
Of course, just like sugar, there’s a balance to be struck. Too much personality can overpower and seem artificial. Above all, your content must focus on the customer and how you can help them.
There’s no perfect balance with the level of personableness in your content. But it’s undeniable that having some ‘sugar’ will make your marketing ‘cake’ all the more palatable to your customers!
4. The Icing On The Cake: High Production Quality
Finally, we come to the production quality of your marketing content—the icing on the cake!
Production quality is important, as it adds a sense of professionalism and trustworthiness to your work. But like icing, it’s not the most important ingredient. Have you ever found that icing makes up for an otherwise bland and tasteless cake?
We certainly haven’t, and the same rule applies to content marketing. A high production quality might make your product look impressive, but it doesn’t show why your product is impressive. In the end, this will leave you with little more than an expensive marketing bill for little gain in revenue.
For example, many explainer videos focus too much on production quality, rather than the more crucial technical content ‘ingredients’. Often impressive (and expensive) 2D or 3D animation is used. But this isn’t what makes viewers any wiser, nor more compelled to buy something.
In Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi states that the most important aspect of an explainer video is the voiceover. In fact, some of the most successful online marketing videos have relatively low production value. What they almost always have, though, is a clear message.
Some businesses may have tens of thousands of dollars to spend on a high-quality 30 second video. If they want to use the best icing there is, all the best to them. We are not against that. But this would be well beyond the budgets of many small to medium-sized businesses.
In these cases, businesses should not shy away from producing video content, or any other form that is accessible to them. Instead of focussing on the ‘icing’, which can blow-out costs, the focus should be on the more important ingredients of technical content. This will ensure everyone will want a slice!
What Can Techsight Cook Up For You?
Techsight uses these four essential ingredients to ‘bake’ your technical marketing content.
Our experience in engineering and tech means we better understand your technical solutions. From this base, we create marketing content that is easy for all to understand.
We strive to look at things from your customers’ perspective and encourage including genuine personality in content where possible.
Finally, we aim to create content that is not only high quality, but just about meets any budget.
If you are needing technical marketing content, contact us here.