Posted at Oct 1, 2019 3:42:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
IT marketing strategies are far more complex than those of most industries. Short-term marketing pushes are not very effective because of the expense of IT services. A business isn't just buying a product or ancillary service. They're choosing to partner with someone who will provide the technological backbone that shapes how their business runs on a day-to-day basis. That makes businesses skittish. They need to be reassured constantly before choosing your services, so an IT services marketing plan requires a long-term approach.
Any long-term marketing approach is founded on the idea that the marketing you invest in doesn't simply disappear. It should build value over time. This is the core of an inbound marketing strategy. This means you need content.
1. Create Content
There's an old notion that has served marketing for a very long time. Businesses in the media are very familiar with it. The idea is that you need your regulars – your repeat visitors and repeat buyers. They'll share your content across social media and help you get more eyes on your brand. They do a lot of the work to expand your brand recognition.
In return, these repeat visitors will want a consistent voice and consistent leadership in the content you're providing. If you develop good content centered on disaster recovery, migration, or security layers, they'll hope to find regular leadership from you on that front. If you regularly review management suite software, they'll look to you to find out the strengths and weaknesses of new releases.
You also need your fast clicks, your impulse buys and new visitors. These may convert into regulars down the road, but they're often following the hot story of that moment. That may mean covering the latest ransomware attacks and data breaches, the topics that get those in-the-moment clicks.
This means developing content that covers broader categories or has regular features that people come to depend on, as well as covering more immediate topics that people will be frantically searching for online. That more immediate content will get visitors in, but it won't hold value in keyword searches as well down the road.
The regular content may not get as many immediate clicks, but it will hold value and still be sought out down the road. Quality content about persistent concerns will always be valuable. Finding the balance between these two elements is how you create an inbound marketing strategy with strong SEO that attracts regular and repeat traffic.
You want to be at the top of searches that are seeking out keywords based on the issue of that week, and you want to be at the top of searches that are seeking out keywords based on consistent IT concerns.
Some of this content will overlap, but because of the expense of IT services, you need potential clients to return to you for answers and become those repeat visitors.
2. Don't Stoke Fear; Provide Answers
There are many alarming subjects when it comes to IT. Many IT marketing strategies make the mistake of simply trading on that fear in their content. They establish the fear and then present themselves as a solution. It can be somewhat effective, but to many it's not trustworthy.
More importantly, businesses who read or view that content will come away without learning anything. They won't have developed any feeling or opinion toward your brand. What use is marketing that fails to evoke a feeling or encourage an opinion?
Businesses are looking for stability and growth. That doesn't just mean someone to stoke their fear and then insist they're the answer. You need to teach and present solutions as well. Help them leave the article or video with more knowledge than they had when they started.
Teach an understanding of how ransomware is targeted and what industries are most susceptible. Help them understand how data thieves probe organizations' cybersecurity, and how stolen data is bundled, sold, and later used. Help them understand layers of security, from identity rights, to device-level, app-level, and file/folder-level.
This doesn't teach them to figure out how to solve these issues on their own, but it helps them feel more knowledgeable and empowered. It helps them understand elements of IT that they may not have before. If you make potential business partners feel more knowledgeable and empowered, they're going to look to you as a leader who can continue to do exactly that for them. They're going to look to you as reliable.
3. Convert Inbound Leads
Your IT services marketing plan also needs a reliable way to convert leads and nurture them. One way of doing this is providing content offers such as longer articles and white papers. Unlike your normal content, these may be gated so that visitors have to fill out a conversion form with their information. Ask them why they're accessing that particular content.
Keep conversion forms concise. Just get the information you need to be able to knowledgeably create a lead. Don't seek information that isn't relevant to nurturing that lead. Too long or inquisitive a form will simply make that visitor seek out information elsewhere.
Build those leads gradually. A phone call may seem violative and it relies on value that you haven't built with them yet. Instead, build your value to them through e-mails and retargeting ads. Using the data you collected in conversion forms, you can segment your audience and direct relevant content for each segment. This helps them know you're paying particular attention to their needs and, frankly, is the only thing that's going to create a realistic chance of their clicking on your email. This work can be automated easily.
4. Close with Trust & Communication
Sales teams should have access to the marketing information you've gathered. When you close the lead, they should already know what content the prospective client read and viewed. What did they visit multiple times? What did they mark on their conversion forms? This helps your sales team skip a number of repeat questions that might distance the prospect.
A familiarity with the prospective client's needs helps them feel comfortable. It also helps them know your entire business operates cohesively, and in a way that focuses on the client. Most importantly, it tells them you communicate well. If you can't communicate their needs from one department to another within your business, how can they ever expect you to communicate well with their business?
5. Keep This in Mind
More than almost any other industry, IT marketing strategies have to rely on building relationships. This is a question of expense, yes. IT services involve a lot of time, work, and value, so they do come with a substantial cost. Expense isn't the only factor, though.
It's also a question of how a prospective client's business operates. They're entrusting you with matters that decide their security, their customers' privacy, their ability to recover from unexpected events, and how their business operates and treats data on a day-to-day basis. They're trusting you with helping to change the shape of the business they may have built and that their own future depends upon. That means they need to know they can learn from your brand, rely on it, and trust it. That demands a more long-term and nurturing strategy than almost any other industry's marketing requires.
The good news is that you don't have to do it alone! Contact THAT Agency today for help creating and executing an effective marketing strategy for your IT business.