Ask the expert: your questions on growing the business answered
In this fortnightly column, Ask The Expert, we aim to provide readers with practical advice on how to grow their businesses.
Greg Watts is our resident expert. He is the founder of Demand Creation Partners, a London-based growth consultancy that helps fintechs and paytechs to scale. A visiting lecturer at the American University in Paris and regular industry speaker, he was previously head of market acceleration at Visa Europe.
QUESTION 15: How can I generate awareness and interest in my fintech with limited resources?
It’s an age-old challenge: you’ve created a killer proposition, identified your target audience and have a clear go-to-market plan. However, you’re missing one thing – interest from potential clients. So, what’s the best way to get in front of decision makers to convince them to buy your offering?
It’s a common misunderstanding that generating awareness of your business will cost a lot of money and take a lot of time, particularly in the fintech industry. Many businesses I’ve worked with have seen a surge in interest as a result of small yet focussed activities – with little financial investment, if any.
Here are some tips to raise awareness of your business without spending a fortune.
- Go deep to understand your target audience.
In previous columns, I’ve stressed the need to define and understand your target audience. However, it’s often the case that fintechs don’t go deep enough.
Once you’ve identified your target prospects – the companies you want to sell to – review each one to identify functional areas and specific people to engage with. For example:
- Which departments are key to your efforts? It’s likely there will be multiple – finance, procurement, marketing, customer experience, etc. – so your outreach will need to incorporate targeted messages for each.
- Once you’ve generated this list, identify key titles – for example, do you want to target C-level, VP level or start at a more junior level? Going to the wrong person too early may have a damaging impact later on.
Once you’ve built a detailed picture of your target audience, you can identify cost-effective channels though which to connect with them.
For example, active participation on LinkedIn, speaking at targeted events, getting involved in forums and writing about your area of expertise are all great ways to identify, reach and engage with potential prospects.
- Become a LinkedIn expert.
In my opinion, LinkedIn is the most important communications channel for fintechs. This is because:
- It costs nothing to connect with people on LinkedIn (albeit you may have a monthly limit based on your package). Start with a free account. As you build momentum, it may make sense for you to buy a premium package that will provide you with more insights and ways to connect.
- Most businesspeople are active LinkedIn users. This means you can reach prospective investors and potential partners simultaneously with relatively low effort.
- LinkedIn provides an opportunity to participate in relevant discussions and share your point of view. Add questions to your LinkedIn posts to increase engagement and comment on wider conversations by responding to relevant posts or themes.
- You can create targeted, low-cost demand generation campaigns to attract and engage with target audiences. Advanced analytics will allow you to see click-through rates, engagement rates and other insights that can help you hone and sharpen your approach.
- Finally, if you haven’t done so already, start a LinkedIn company page and post content regularly – two to three times per week is about right. However, make sure the content is relevant to the people you want to target.
- Start speaking and writing.
Industry publications, events and forums are always on the lookout for interesting and engaging speakers or contributors. With a little effort and a well-considered presentation, article or quote, you can quickly raise your profile amongst target audiences for zero cost. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Consider joining networking groups or clubs focussed on helping fintech entrepreneurs and business owners pitch their ideas and connect with potential prospects and investors. Home Grown in London is one example of a club that fosters and cultivates British businesses.
- Identify journalists who write about your area and approach them on LinkedIn. Pitch yourself as an industry expert who can provide insights for relevant articles.
- Research industry events and approach the organisers to offer yourself as a speaker or panellist.
As an added bonus, the content you produce from your speaking and writing can be used throughout your marketing channels to amplify your messages. All of a sudden, you’ll have an engaged group of followers who consider you a thought leader in your space.
Bringing it all together
Raising awareness of your business doesn’t need to cost the earth. In fact, with careful planning and the use of the right tools and channels, it can cost virtually nothing.
The key is to deeply understand your target audience, ensure you have a presence where they engage, and create content that resonates. You’ll see a correlation between the time you put in researching and gathering insights, and the number of qualified leads you produce.