A solid PR strategy is the foundation of a successful startup launch. As a new company and an innovative product enter the market, they need to do so with a proverbial bang – without decent promotion, there’s a high likelihood that the product will get lost in the continuous influx of new solutions.
Even in a predictable, stable environment, the tech sector is particularly PR-sensitive. Now, as global markets struggle to find a balance during the COVID-19 crisis, promotional activities are more important than ever for tech startups determined to grow.
SaaS and virtual services – more opportunities, more competition
In a way, tech startups providing Software-as-a-service solutions and other virtual services may see the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity. As more of us are confined to our homes and increasingly reliant on virtual and remote solutions, the potential customer base for SaaS tech startups is perhaps broader than ever.
That being said, however, the mere existence of expanded opportunities doesn’t guarantee success. To turn an opportunity into growth and profit, a well-planned strategy must be put into place. This is particularly true if we take into account that an increase in opportunities and growth potential within a sector also means an increase in competition.
PR is crucial for SaaS tech startups during this health crisis for two key reasons, then: taking advantage of a potentially expanding customer base and getting ahead of the competition, all of whom will be trying to do exactly the same. For tech startups whose services can be used as a solution to a pandemic-related issue (such as aiding remote work and communication, for instance), their services need extra promotion to make sure the target audience is reached as quickly as possible.
Conversely, SaaS startup with products unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis need additional promotion to prove their usefulness at a time such as this, as well as to be well-positioned for success in the post-coronavirus market. This time can be used to the startup’s advantage, establishing an online presence and building a customer base and a set of leads ahead of time.
Physical tech products – non-essential items in need of additional marketing
PR is equally important for tech startups selling physical products rather than virtual services, albeit for different reasons. At a time of an economic downturn and an uncertain financial future, the public tends to focus its spending on the essentials – and the vast majority of newly introduced tech products will fall in the non-essential category of purchase. This means that the potential customer base for new tech is shrinking in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, with so many people limiting their spending during this uncertain time.
Many tech startups won’t make it through this crisis, but working with a professional PR company can help to improve the chances of surviving. A great PR strategy can ensure the product’s marketing reaches as broad and targeted an audience as possible, maximizing the profits from each campaign. Alternatively, with the help of experts and a creative approach, the product – or its line of marketing – can be altered to render it more useful and closer to the ‘essentials’ list in potential customers’ minds.
Lastly, as with SaaS tech startups, for physical tech products this time can also be used productively, even if few sales are made. Expanding the startup’s and the product’s online presence during this downtime will ensure it is well-positioned when markets begin to stabilize. Generating leads for partnerships, investments, and sales will also guarantee that there are plenty of opportunities for growth and innovation once the pandemic has passed.
Making a good impression
For all kinds of companies, from big corporations to early-stage startups, crisis situations are something of an opportunity to make a good impression. We’ve all heard of companies donating money, equipment, and other solutions such as free software access to local healthcare providers, for instance – and we remember these stories, because these acts of kindness make a good (and lasting) impression.
These don’t necessarily need to be costly undertakings – consider, for instance, SaaS companies providing their services for free to schools or hospitals. This not only makes for good press, but also creates sales opportunities – these institutions are more likely to keep using the service even after the free trial ends. PR experts can assist tech startups in ensuring that campaigns such as these become publicised, contributing positively to the overall public image of the startup.