Marketing AI software seems like it should be relatively simple. Artificial intelligence is an interesting field, and has the potential to make worldwide changes. In Hollywood films, AI is presented as groundbreaking but threatening new tech.
Unfortunately, the term has become a buzzword as a result. Therefore, it’s easy to get attention with unfounded claims like “AI will take everyone’s jobs”. However, sensationalist claims and exaggerated statements don’t help you to generate qualified leads. If anything, leads that understand AI are less likely to interact with you.
In fact, if you use the wrong marketing approach with AI, you will find yourself inundated with AI tourists. There are people that have no plan to purchase, they just want to hear about your innovative tech.
Or, you will be stuck in a POC trap, where companies don’t see the value of your tool. They ask for free or low-cost trials to try your solution, without the intention to make a purchase.
Neither of these scenarios are positive for your company revenue, and marketing ROI. Here’s how to market your startup successfully.
AI Marketing Strategy: Know your Market
A strong AI marketing strategy begins with the fundamentals. Consider who your target buyer is, what problems you solve, and how your solution meets their needs.
This stage takes a little time if you don’t already know the answers, but be patient. Take the time to research your market. Identify competitors, and their specific messaging. Try to identify the areas where they’re underperforming, and how you can fill that gap.
It’s just as important to know the people in your market. Build a buyers persona, identifying the demographics, interests and motivations of those you’re targeting. This will help you to effectively match your solution to your client needs. It also ensures that content stays on track and relevant, with your target buyer in mind.
Generally, you need to come up with some educated guesses and then run small test campaigns to test your hypotheses. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can move forward.
Content is King of AI Marketing
As mentioned above, it is fairly easy to generate a lot of AI tourists, people who just want to learn but won’t or can’t buy.
Understanding your target buyer is the first step to shrinking the number of tourists. However, it’s important to delve deeper. Many AI products solve problems that their target buyers have, but their target buyers don’t know there is a solution. Therefore, it’s vital to generate demand too.
The answer to both of these challenges is content marketing. A good content marketing strategy works on content for the “top of the funnel”. These are leads that are new, and unqualified. However, it also works on content for those at the “mid-funnel” stage. These are leads that are aware of their problem, and are searching for relevant solutions.
The best way to think of content is like the bait that you’d use when you’re fishing. You use different bait to catch different fish. To elaborate, you need different content to generate different types of leads.
Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your AI Marketing strategy arsenal, both for inbound lead generation and outbound. However, you need to take the time to craft the right strategy for you.
In 1996, Bill Gates famously said “Content is King”. This is especially true for AI companies that need to ground their solution, and draw attention to its benefits.
Hone your Messaging
Many marketers fall when attempting to market AI. As mentioned, it’s easy to focus on the extremes of AI, and use this to grab attention. However, no matter how brilliant your solution is, ultimately this isn’t lucrative.
The benefit to this is that your competitors are likely falling into a similar trap. Therefore, differentiating yourself from the competition is key to successful AI marketing.
Avoid overselling AI. Your content carries your message, so try to discuss its’ realistic benefits.
Begin by analyzing your target buyers. Consider what messaging would be beneficial to them. Ask yourself, what are they actually searching for? You might also want to conduct research into your competitors’ content message.
Chances are, more realistic promises will gain more traction, and genuinely interested leads. Focus on answering your persona’s questions, and being the leader in their search terms. Good messaging is more useful than outlandish claims.
Disqualify Leads Fast
This may sound counterintuitive but it’s critical. As an AI startup, you have limited time, people and resources.
You cannot afford to waste time speaking to every single lead, regardless of their interest or relevance. It’s not possible to convince everyone to make a purchase, nor should you try.
It’s important to plan how to disqualify leads as early as possible. This might seem like a negative approach. However, the benefit is that you can identify a positive lead, with a high chance of conversion, much quicker. This is effective time management, and demonstrates positive engagement to your lead.
Start by comparing the lead to your target buyer persona. If they don’t match, remove them from your list. You have the ability to decide whether your solution can actually help your lead.
Perhaps consider the type of content that they are engaging with. If their interest is in generic AI content, then they may not be qualified for a meeting just yet. Let them engage at their own pace. However, if they’re looking for more specific details, it’s worth a meeting.
Finally, you can come up with a series of questions. Ask an assistant, or a sales representative, call them first. Ideally, they will discern whether they are the right fit for a purchase. At this point, they could place them into a nurturing campaign, or arrange a meeting.
It’s important to take the time to find the right AI Marketing Strategy for your AI startups. At Nituno, we work with tech and AI startups to optimize your marketing strategy. Get in touch today.