6 Cost-effective ways a Tech Start Up can use to find Customers

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Sang Nkhwazi

Sang is a Patent & Trade Marks Representative & Director of Franks & Co Mancunium Ltd, a firm of European Patent & Trade Marks Attorneys based in Cheadle, Stockport. The firm advises on the protection and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights and assists with the procedures involved in obtaining protection for inventions, trade marks, designs and artistic works. You can contact him on 0161 820 2891 or email sang.nkhwazi@franksco.com
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For many entrepreneurs, budgeting is a vital part of their businesses. Looking after the pennies so the pounds look after themselves. For most start-ups money can often be tight so finding cost-effective and creative ways to connect with customers is a must.
Below are six tips tech start-ups can use to eke out their meagre marketing budgets and still reach a wide audience.

#1 Get Social

The social media revolution has been raging for several years. It’s little wonder as it’s one of the most wallet-friendly ways to engage customers. In many cases it’s free! However, just because you send out the occasional tweet or have a Facebook profile, it doesn’t mean you’re a social media guru. Like any marketing campaign, social media needs to have clear objectives and goals and be carefully planned. It’s one thing posting a couple of tweets on the fly, or uploading pictures of your attendance to an event onto Instagram, it’s an entirely different thing having professionally created media content posted out at certain times for high impact.

You need to harmonise carefully curated content across different platforms to be relevant to the target audience. Your output needs to be well-written and coherent, but most of all, it needs to be consistent and tell your story. Apps like Buffer can help you manage your social media campaigns, automating your posts and helping you understand their impact, although social media management platforms alone are not the solution.

#2 Find A Digital Marketer

Just because you’re in ‘tech’ doesn’t make you a social media master. Similarly, you may understand the geeky details of how Google’s algorithm works, and the latest changes, however, that doesn’t mean that you understand the  proven aspects of consumer psychology, which key words to use for maximum impact, or the purchasing trends in your industry? Sure, you can learn the basics and have a credible go, but if you have a budget, then it’s time to find an expert who knows what they are doing to help you manage your Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and other digital marketing channels. A proven Digital Marketer, who knows your industry and your clients and has the experience to develop your strategy, can be an invaluable asset to your start-up.

Do some research and find likely providers. Set clear objectives and ensure you understand their ideas and agree they’re worth pursuing. And remember, a digital strategy is much more than vainly throwing cash at PPC keywords. You can expect to pay a monthly retainer but in return you need to see a proven ROI after a reasonable period. If this isn’t available, or they are not delivering, try elsewhere.

#3 Get Really Social!

People like free stuff. Its in most of us to want to try before we buy. “Buy one, get one free” sounds familiar? We love it. That’s why staging events, like city centre pop-ups can be such an effective marketing strategy.  In Manchester, a lively pop up in places like St Ann’s square, Albert Square, St Peter’s Square, Tony Wilson Place or St Petersgate in Stockport, will connect with potential clients and help to build your audience.

It gives potential customers the opportunity to try your product. So give them a freebie. They’ll appreciate the effort. And make sure you do some sound PR in advance. Issue a press release and try to engage a local radio station to offer a competition prize for them.  It’s all good stuff and will aid in building brand awareness for your brand.

#4 Get ‘Appy’

Apps are everywhere these days. Handy packets of software that can do virtually anything. As the saying goes; ‘there’s an app for that’. For younger clients who ‘live’ on their smartphones, apps are almost compulsory. If your product can be served in this format, then research getting an app built. But even if the business concept cannot be delivered through an App, having an app is a great way to sell, communicate with and understand your client base. You can get valuable data on how you can help them further with your products and services, or even where your products are most popular.  Ensure your approach is GDPR complaint and don’t annoy your clients with never-ending messaging or pointless alerts. But done well, an app makes a lot of sense.

#5 MeetUp

Arguably, the best way to engage your target audience is to meet them. Most people are sociable by nature and many will respond to an activity that interests them. If your product is designed for younger people, you can use the experience-oriented nature of most younger people to your advantage. That’s why a fun and informative meetup may be a great way to sell your brand and reach your potential customers / clients.

Try to hire an interesting venue like a bar, coffee shop or a conference room with decor that gives it an informal feel. Maybe partner with related companies (or a company with a complimentary offering) to offer content that’s packed with useful info, at each end of a food and drinks break in between the sessions.  Don’t forget to advertise widely and get feedback afterwards to see if your event met the attendees’ expectations.

Similarly,  you could  sponsor one or more meetup of groups which are passionate about an interest that relates to your product or service in some way.  For example, if your company will be creating software and / or hardware for children’s safety, then you could consider sponsoring a Parents / Mums of Teens meetup (see this link for further ideas)

#6 Crowdfund

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way for businesses to raise funds and promote their brand. It is a highly interactive, some might even say fun way for a tech start up to get their product out there. It can involve meetups, video, social media, local advertising and product giveaways.

Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seedrs and Crowdcube reach an international audience and can attract some game changing investment in a tech business.  But be in no doubt, a crowdfunding campaign needs to be planned and implemented just as diligently as any other business activity. Slacking will not bring results! Indeed many “DIY” crowdfunding campaigns done on the cheap fail to reach their targets. If possible, find a specialist in the field to give you the right advice or assistance.

Be Brand Aware

No matter how you proceed, before you start make sure you have checked the Intellectual Property (IP) issues that may affect your business with your lawyer or Patent and Trade Marks Attorney. Whether it’s design rights, trademarks or patents, Franks & Co Mancunium can work with you to ensure you get the maximum value from your tech start-up business and your intellectual property.

For more information, please speak to a member of our team on or 0161 820 2891 or email enquiries@mancunium-ip.co.uk.