A lot of companies that start out serving a very narrow niche gain their passionate initial traction by zeroing in on the language. They really speak the language of the core audience they’re serving.
Here are two great examples:
They’re initial homepage was very technical and spoke directly to developers:
The current version addresses the overall business needs on a much higher level, and speaks to a very different audience:
This reflects how the business evolved. They have a much larger customer base now. There are more stakeholders involved in the deals, not just their initial developer audience.
But do keep in mind that they still cater to that audience: Developers know that all they need to do is to check out the API documentation, which they can find by clicking on the Developers main navigation link.
Clearbit is another company whose homepage messaging has evolved. Initially, they were displaying source code on their site.
Compare this to their current website:
The messaging here is very different, the way they convey value is much higher level.
Does that mean that their initial websites were worse?
Probably not. When they started, it might have been just the right approach to geek out and speak to the most passionate audience, the kind of persona that they could relate to the most.
But it would definitely been worse if they’d keep it at that as their company, product, market and customers evolved.
Clearbit did this:
In Clearbit’s iterative search for new additions to their collection of data APIs, they find pieces of the puzzle that have standalone value. So they make them available for free to anyone, often without even requiring an email address.
For example, the Logo API is helpful and super lightweight API that lets you pull any company logo using just a domain. It basically makes one of Clearbit’s 85 unique data points available on its own, in one API call, for free.
Why bother? Well it turns out the Logo API is extremely popular. It made the front page of Hacker News, officially won Product Hunt, and guess what – a lot of developers and growth leaders read those sites. It’s amazing lead gen. Not the spammy kind. The good kind that actually provides value to users.
The Logo API wasn’t a one-hit-wonder. Clearbit has had repeat success using free products for lead generation. They aren’t just going back to the same well either. Clearbit Connect isn’t an API for developers, yet it was even more popular.
If you have a product, ask yourself:
Which of it’s features could you easily break out that would create value in itself? Could you turn it into a free standalone product that would be a real hit with the kind of audience you’re trying to reach?
If yes, how could you promote this? How much resources (time, effort, money) would this take? What results would it bring? (Of course, you can only guess…)
I remember the days when a new marketing tool was actually something exciting. A new keyword tool that would help you quickly evaluate the SEO competitiveness of any given keyword. An email marketing tool that would allow you to create automatic follow up emails to subscribers who hadn’t opened your most recent email. A software that would monitor search terms that are driving traffic and surface long tail keyword opportunities.
But those days are long gone.
Nowadays, can anyone really keep up with the neverending stream of new marketing products? (Let alone feature releases for existing products!)
You’ve probably seen the marketing technology landscape graphic that chiefmartec published earlier this year:
And even this isn’t all-encompassing.
There’s also http://marketingstack.io. And http://appmarketingstack.com. And of course http://www.contentmarketingstack.co. And so much more…
And all of this is great for marketers. More choice. More competition. Everyone tries harder to deliver more value.
But it also makes it much harder to break through the noise.
Even the most enthusiastic marketing nerds are now hesitant to try out yet another shiny new tool.
So if you want to build something for marketers, maybe there’s something you can build that can complement whatever other tools are around there. Something that makes using another tool an even better experience.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Hubspot or Mailchimp or keep your leads in a Google spreadsheet… If you run your lead data through Clearbit, you’ll get a lot more context around your leads, which will help you spot valuable leads much better, and help you tune your messaging when reaching out to those leads much better.
If you want to learn more about Account-based marketing (ABM), there’s a great 5-minute video with Andre Yee of Triblio over at the LeadGenius blog.
- ABM works both for inbound & outbound
- future of B2B marketing is not lead gen, but ABM (because it’s more targeted and personalized)
- easy starting point for ABM: apply ABM tactics to your existing demand gen channel
- expand contact pool within particular account (because the average B2B decision-making group includes 5.4 buyers)
- tools like DiscoverOrg & LeadGenius help you identify accounts
- lead quality in ABM: instead of high-volume but low quality leads, but instead very targeted leads for specific accounts.