by Megan Miller
For tech startups venturing into the legal or accounting technology space, precise targeting and strategic planning are imperative for success. Poorly targeted messages and campaigns not only waste time and money but can harm your reputation if seen as tone-deaf or uninformed. In these niche industries, it’s all about having a strong understanding of your audience and hyperfocused messaging that resonates with prospective clients.
Here are five important foundational steps to take as you focus your startup in the legal or accounting tech sectors.
- Identify Your Target Client and Be Specific
Begin by defining your ideal client. For example, if your product or service is designed for law firms or accounting firms, identify other defining characteristics, such as firm size, areas of specialty, geographic location and industry focus. Solo practitioners have very different habits and needs than do big law or the big four accounting firms, for example.
If your offering is intended for corporate teams or in-house professionals, consider company size, geography, vertical industry, regulatory environment. If you have satisfied early clients or beta users who find your product a great fit, they may be representative of your best segment.
Conduct market research to pinpoint specific firms and entities that align with your offering. How many firms fit your target profile? What technologies are common in that group? What are their challenges and pain points? How are technology decisions made in these firms? Industry analysts, statistics platforms and user surveys are good information sources.
- Analyze Your Competitors
In the competitive landscape of technology, it’s essential to gain insights into your rivals. Conduct thorough market research to understand the product features in the most popular competing solutions. Beyond product comparisons, look at each competitor’s strategy. What is its declared strategy? What is its source of funding? What companies does the competitor partner with? Has it made recent acquisitions? Is it visible in the industry and in the media? This information will offer a sense of competitors’ trajectories in the market. Also look at user comments and product reviews on social media, review sites and employment websites.
- Craft a Compelling Value Proposition
By this point you have spent several hours researching your market. Gathered intelligence will enable you to differentiate your startup, highlight your distinctive value propositions and capture the attention of firms and corporate entities seeking innovative solutions.
Synthesize your knowledge of your product strengths, the target customers’ needs and the available alternatives on the market. In the process you are looking to identify the unique strengths of your product that are solving a key problem, addressing a pain point or offering the customer an irresistible improvement on the current situation.
For each segment of interest, ask the following questions:
- Is there a link between the segment members’ profile and the information products they use?
- Is there a pattern around segment characteristics and their information purchasing and usage dynamics?
- What emotional stake do prospects have? Appeal to their need for security, leadership, growth, personal success, etc.
- What sources do they go to for information on technology options?
- How should the solution be positioned in the context of its competitors?
Based on this data, craft a unique value proposition that clearly communicates the benefits of your product or service, highlighting how it solves the identified problem better than available alternatives.* The value proposition should be customer-focused, concise and easy to understand.
*Note that available alternatives typically include the status quo. The client will weigh new solutions against the option of not adopting a new product at all.
Be specific! It’s tempting to make a broad statement that suggests your solution is perfect for everyone. The problem is that type of statement doesn’t speak to anyone in particular.
Weak: Trusty Soft is the leading accounting software for law firms that need trust accounts.
Stronger: Trusty Soft is a cloud-based trust accounting solution that helps midsize law firms securely and confidently handle retainers, litigation settlements and business transaction proceeds.
- Select the Right Marketing Channels
Choosing the most effective marketing channels is crucial in the technology sector. Consider where your target markets typically engage and gather information. For instance, some firms may frequent industry-specific conferences, while corporations might rely heavily on digital platforms and industry publications. Consider the firm profile, specific specialty areas and industry sectors that resonate with your audience.
Resist the urge to jump onto social media or email marketing without first solidifying the message. Then, run A/B testing with variations on your message; the results will reveal which approach has the most appeal.
- Leverage the Power of Influencers
In the technology arena, building trust and credibility is paramount. This is where influencer marketing comes into play. Industry-specific tech influencers, including respected attorneys or accountants, technology or subject matter experts, analysts and high-profile consultants or bloggers, can lend their authority and expertise to endorse your solutions. Their endorsement exposes your startup to a broader audience and validates your offerings within the legal and accounting communities.
Now the Fun Begins
The work invested in research and strategy development is now beginning to pay off. Your value proposition and messaging will serve as a road map for the activities that most think of as marketing. Website design, tactical campaigns, events, public relations and educational content will be higher quality, more consistent and more successful.
Rinse and Repeat
Peter Drucker’s mantra “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” applies here. Despite all the research and analysis invested in understanding your market and crafting the message, accept that markets are dynamic. Measure campaign results and keep lines of communication open with clients using your product. Adapt and change to meet the changing market, and you’ll thrive.
Did you know?
Research from Google found that B2B purchasers are nearly 50% more likely to buy when seeing some personal gain or value in their choice. Also, when they perceive personal value in a product or service, they’re eight times more likely to pay more.
About the Author
Megan Miller is a marketing strategist focused on legal and accounting technology. She works with clients to research markets, establish objectives, and execute programs and campaigns that drive measurable growth. A tech marketer with over 20 years’ experience, Miller has built brands, trained teams and introduced successful products for global companies and startups. She writes on trends and topics in electronic discovery, data privacy, cybersecurity, and AI.