Ever heard of Bill Gates?
We all know he founded a little technology company called Microsoft, but more importantly, he also said this: “If I had one dollar left, I would spend it on PR.”
I love this quote for two reasons.
- If he spends his last dollar on PR, there’s a chance that that dollar is now my dollar.
- He has figured out what a lot of technology leaders are yet to — that PR plays a bigger part in revenue than you might think.
Because it’s hard to draw a crystal clear line that links PR efforts to revenue, a lot of technology leaders in the startup space underestimate the importance of PR and creating brand awareness for their products and services.
In case you are one of the tech startup leaders that can’t quite bring themselves to commit to spending money on a service that isn’t directly tied to revenue generation, allow me to share a few reasons why PR does in fact play a critical role in your business success.
Your customers need to be educated on your product
Remember when AirBnB first came to the market? You probably don’t — because it wasn’t an instant hit. The masses couldn’t comprehend why they should rent a stranger’s house rather than a trusty hotel. But over time, AirBnB educated both hosts and guests on the benefits of using their platform, essentially helping us identify a problem we didn’t even know we had.
If you are a tech startup, regardless of industry, chances are that like AirBnB, you too are solving a problem that your potential clients wouldn’t immediately identify as a ‘problem’ to begin with. Using PR to help your target audience relate to the problem you are solving and educating them on the benefits of using your solution is crucial to your business success.
Longer sales cycles
We’ve all seen that one brand that follows us around the internet — their spokespeople are on LinkedIn, their interviews are in the news, and their ads are on Instagram. While this might strike us as odd sometimes, creating various touch points across different channels is crucial to getting a brand embedded in our subconscious to a point where we can easily recall it at a later time.
The sales cycle for enterprise technology solutions can typically take anywhere between three to eighteen months. If you can use this time to create sustained brand awareness and multiple touchpoints on various platforms — be it media interviews, social content or on-ground activations — you significantly increase your chances of remaining top-of-mind for your customers.
Bigger investments require more credibility
How much time do you spend pondering which deodorant to buy?
Now compare that to the amount of time you spend deciding which new car to buy. The latter is clearly a much bigger investment, which means you are likely to spent a lot of time researching the cars you are looking at, reading reviews, going for test drives and even calling your friends to make sure you’re making the right decision.
While technology investments don’t come out of your client’s personal pocket, there’s still a lot to consider — and a lot of people for them to answer to when spending possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars on a solution.
Your customer will want all the information they can find on your product — and better yet, public endorsements for it that can be achieved through effective PR.
Creating visibility through thought leadership pieces and highlighting voices from members of the media, partners, customers, investors, and industry analysts all lend strength to a message and give it the power to resonate. These types of endorsements are critical in creating the kind of credibility your clients need to convince decision-makers to invest in your solution.
Still not convinced? Or need help creating a compelling PR plan for your startup? Talk to our public relations and content team at [email protected].