Build a PR audience: get them to register.


As a tech start-up, it is always going to be hard to get noticed in your market, and still harder to gain and maintain momentum and traction. Yet by following a simple and consistent path in a number of areas, it is possible to build and maintain a qualified audience to bring you through to the next level of your development, sometimes even before you have launched your first product.

Normally I try to build traction through developing a program across a range of communications activities, and through them, feeding and building a subscribers list of interested parties using access to collateral – including product specs, newsletters, use cases, white papers, application notes, presentations etc. – as a carrot.

My default preference is to always put your important collateral behind a registration/subscription process – and never to give these documents away ‘for free’, ie without getting a name, email address, organisation and web address, even if you consider the material on offer to be marketing collateral.

I recently worked with an Irish tech firm to build an identifiable - and qualified - audience of at first tens, then hundreds, and then thousands of individuals, organisations, educational institutes by sticking to this simple expedient. Used in conjunction with other marcom activities like press announcements etc., which drew our audience to us, pretty soon this start-up was able to boast “500 active subscribers with a declared interest in hearing more about our company/technology” to prospective customers, investors and partners long before it had taped out its first product, helping to create sufficient momentum to carry them through a number of fund raising rounds.

Sure, we got our share of “mickey.mouse@disneyland.com” subscribers, but so what? We just erased those, in the process making sure they would have to re-register when they returned. And as for those who were supposedly ‘put off’ by the subscription process? Tyre kickers, and no loss. By and large, ‘real’ subscribers were happy to sign up and receive updates, newsletters, press releases etc., as we moved forward. All were genuinely interested parties, and many went on to become customers, investors, and partners.

Remember: qualified visitors to your website might well be looking for a simple way to engage, and offering the ‘subscribe’ option is an informal way of opening that relationship. So give it to them.

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