Have you heard the booms lately? No, not the sonic booms of Space X rockets returning to land at Kennedy Space Center, though they’re a great sound and signal incredible advances in spaceflight. I’m talking about the booms of hi-tech businesses landing in Central Florida, the loud sounds of growth in industries that are turning our area into a dominant player in the tech sector and a desirable location to start and grow a business.
Our area is well known for tourism and retirement villages, but now we’re getting the reputation for building tech villages, clusters of entrepreneurial startups and established businesses bringing their research, development and products, along with skilled workers, to the 23-county region known as Florida’s High Tech Corridor.
To be successful, these businesses need public relations and integrated marketing strategies that are as advanced as they are but still able to make personal connections necessary for building strong customer relationships. So how do you blend hi-tech with “hi-touch?”
Content, content, content!
In the digital world, building and maintaining a strong brand and getting the attention of your target markets require being able to rise above the noise of the millions of posts, tweets and online ads that fly through the Internet every day. That’s where your content comes into play.
Compelling content tells your story — who you are, what you do, and the benefits you provide in ways that gets someone’s attention and keeps it. It comes in the forms of articles, case studies, blogs, infographics, photos and videos. One of the fastest-growing segments is interactive content, which requires the participant’s active engagement; more than simply reading or watching.
While you only have seconds to capture a reader’s attention, you can keep it by providing content they value. Articles and blogs, especially long-form blogs — over 1,000 words — are gaining in popularity, as they provide more education and in-depth information than can be captured in a short-form of 250-500 words.
Buyers want your business’ content. According to Stratabeat (stratabeat.com), 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. In a 2016 survey by Demand Gen (demandgenreport.com), 95% of buyers are open to considering vendor-related content as trustworthy, and 73% reviewed a case study during their research.
Tech matches tech
It’s not only the content you develop and share but how you track and measure its effectiveness that provides your ROI. While Google Analytics provides great data about your website’s performance, having a sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) platform to track your marketing, lead generation and sales efforts is a must. A good CRM system will help you leverage efficiency in creating a customer experience that builds brand loyalists and keeps customers buying through automation and analytics. CRMs also ensure you’re reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time and through the right communication channels.
Journalists, bloggers and influencers
Gone are the days of sending the standard text-only press release to the media. Today, those press releases need eye-catching headlines and content, accompanied by photos, video and website links if they’re to get the attention of a reporter or editor. Journalists need to produce content that gets read and viewed, and most are now required to include photos and video, especially for the stories that get posted to their online news sites. Make their job easy and you’ll be rewarded with more earned “free” media coverage.
Building relationships with bloggers and industry influencers can also have great value. They can count just as much as traditional media in spreading the word about your business and products. The authority and trust factor many have cultivated among their followers can validate and leverage what you’re putting out to that same audience.
That personal touch
I say this any time I can: Nothing beats cards and letters, preferably hand-written and sent through the U.S. mail. Yes, snail mail still rules. Automated greetings are fine for email campaigns and responses to website inquiries, but there isn’t one person who doesn’t appreciate getting a letter saying that you value their business or were thankful for the opportunity to meet, or receiving a note of congratulations for getting an award or being recognized for their accomplishments.
Technology is taking us places and giving us things we’ve only imagined, but it’s still people who are creating that technology and people who decide what they’ll buy. Don’t forget the human touch.