IT providers are constantly in a rush to keep up with the changing trends of their industry in an effort to reach their target market. This makes marketing for IT companies as dynamic as it is demanding. We recently reached out to top professionals in the IT and marketing industries for their best IT marketing ideas. We’ll share their awesome insights below.
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Here are the top 27 IT marketing ideas from the pros:
1. Offer an IT careers course at a local school
Jack Saville, SEO Specialist, Bynder
Demand for IT skills is increasing all the time, so why not offer to put on an IT careers course for an hour or two at a local school? It’s a great way to give your IT business some exposure in the local area, and would be of benefit to local school children too. You could talk through the different roles available in the IT sector, and the kinds of education that each role requires. If you have employees, you could also bring them along to talk about their personal experiences in securing a job in IT. For those pupils who are really interested, you could propose a two week work experience placement at your business, and invite the pupils to apply.
Once the talk has taken place, write a press release, and send it to a few local newspapers. If a local paper decides to report on the story, you will receive some great exposure as a local business that cares about the community.
2. Use the power of Quora
Ivan Stepan’kov, Head of Marketing Department, Cleveroad Inc.
Small IT businesses are able to generate quality leads at no cost by answering questions related to IT topics on Quora.
All you need to do is fill in your profile using relevant information and a photo. Find topics related to your IT business. Focus on questions where the ratio of followers to the number of answers provided is over 7:1. Questions with a lot of followers but many bad answers are a great opportunity to showcase your expertise. Write a comprehensive answer, add an image to stand out, and add call to action to your website or blog post (e.g. “If you need more details, you can find them here: [link]).
3. Create videos to explain technical topics
Jeffrey Thomas, Business Development Manager, EZChildTrack
If you’re selling an IT solution to a business that isn’t digitally-focused, video can be a huge selling point. We’ve found that video walkthroughs of our software allow the customer to get a more hands on look at how our software can benefit their business. Create quick video content that gives simple answers to complicated questions. Not only does this provide useful content to your website visitors, but it also puts a face (or a voice) behind your company. Your marketing should seem human, especially if your software isn’t.
4. Establish yourself as a thought leader
Maria Perrin, Principal, Gide LLC
The best spent time and money for a tech company is a thought leadership marketing effort that establishes the company or its CEO as an industry expert. By doing speaking engagements at conferences, participating in industry panels on hot topics, writing and publishing white papers, blogging about industry news and events, and pursuing media interviews and stories about the company, credibility and brand equity will grow exponentially and sales leads will soon follow.
5. Create a unique white paper using your own business data
Meg Hogan, MBA, Founder & Chief Strategist, Stunning Strategy
Because your IT business has access to all your customers’ data, you have the opportunity to aggregate it and draw valuable, insightful conclusions that may help other businesses when choosing the right IT service provider. For example, you may be able to find something like “Businesses that invest in at least one full time IT service provider saw a 50% reduction in security breaches.” Using your own data to create a marketing tactic like a white paper demonstrates that your IT company is data-driven and offers value to your target audience if they’re seeking to learn more about IT services.
6. Build & share new technologies
Rob Mead, Head of Marketing, Gnatta
One of the best things about marketing IT is that buyers are often IT people themselves. They could be in-house developers who are having to make the decision on an outsourcer for a certain project, or a small business owner who has had to learn IT skills to get their business to this point and now has budget to look elsewhere. You know those website ideas, app ideas, coding experiments, tools, and plugins you always hoped to get around to? Well, get around to them. By building something people don’t expect, will find useful, and sticking your logo on it, people will see firsthand your skill set and ability to produce useful things.
In the world of stereotypes, IT guys are remarkably inured to salespeople, but susceptible to things which arouse their interest. By building and sharing cool projects, you’ll drive interest. Make the most of it–most other target markets aren’t this fun!
7. Create blog content around common IT issues
Joe Balestrino, Marketing Expert, Joebalestrino.com
My marketing tip for IT businesses is to create blog content around common IT issues. If you can capture organic traffic around common problems, you can turn those readers into subscribers and then into customers. Many times people research problems that they still can’t solve themselves. They will call you because you offered them a solution for free even if it didn’t completely solve their issue.
8. Think like a buyer
Perryn Olson, CPSM, Marketing Director, My IT
Otherwise they will fight a losing battle against commoditization. Buyers get confused and befuddled trying to compare different IT firms because they all sound alike after visiting 8-10 websites and talking to 3-5 companies. The only thing that differentiates most companies is price, so buyers pick the cheapest option because it is the safest bet. IT firms perpetuate this buyer confusion by posting articles on social media channels that are focused toward IT personnel and go over the heads of buyers, and they have complex brochures and proposals. Instead, focus your marketing on the features and benefits of products that are proprietary to you and explain in simple terms how you are better than the competition.
9. Practice remarketing
Yogesh Jain, Founder, ConceptAllies
Remarketing, i.e. showing your advertisements only to people to have already visited your website, is something that works exceptionally well for IT businesses. With major IT companies moving to content marketing, it is important to nurture the traffic you produce. With remarketing, businesses can experience impeccable ad engagement because the audience is already interested in their content. This increased engagement lowers their cost of advertising. Specific ads can be associated with different blog pages based on their role in the funnel. For instance, you can showcase an ad for a free demo to a visitor clicking on your about us page.
10. Forge relationships with channel partners
Shameel Abdulla, Co Founder & CEO, Cloohawk
One strategy which works marvelously well for IT businesses is forging relationships with bigger companies as channel partners. These channel partners may have a foot in the door in a geography or with a set of clients you do not have access to. However, they may not have the skill set your business has, or they may have higher costs of execution.
To find these companies, look up the job boards of all the channel partners you are aiming to forge partnerships with. Find the one advertising the most jobs in your skill area . Find out who the hiring manager is for this role. Then, pitch your services with your portfolio to this manager and his or her boss.
11. Convert your prospect’s questions into online content
Abhinav Sahai, Co Founder, Irayo
Small IT companies always have a bandwidth problem when it comes to content creation and can’t always afford to pay someone to write. The solution I suggest is that every time the founder/sales head interacts with a prospect, document what they spoke about and then translate the prospects’ questions into content on the website. So when another prospect lands on the IT company’s website, they already see answers to their questions and make up their mind whether they want to work with this vendor or not. All this content not only answers the prospect, but it also creates SEO value and engagement on the website.
12. Apply humor as a way to break through the clutter
Michelle Brammer, Director of Marketing, eZanga
As a small business in tech, culture is huge and can be implemented into your marketing campaigns as well. For eZanga, we enjoy a good laugh and being that humor into our marketing, too. We’re not afraid to make light of a common industry issue by bringing light or levity to the matter. For example, our recent website redesign for our ad fraud product, Anura.io, references getting in bed with bad traffic. The innuendo is there, and it’s relatable to anyone trying to avoid bad traffic buys. It gets people buzzing!
13. Segment & personalize to accelerate sales cycles
Joshua Feinberg, Vice President & Co-Founder, SP Home Run Inc.
When you understand the buyer’s journey for your main buyer personas, be sure that you segment and personalize your follow-ups to their anticipated questions/concerns based on their buyer persona and buyer’s journey stage.
Take, for example, an MSP that has Construction Chris as its primary buyer persona. Construction Chris is the CEO of a 55-person commercial construction company in the Greater New York City area. To attract and convert Construction Chris into an Awareness-stage lead, the MSP publishes an eBook: “10 Ways NYC Construction CEOs Land Bigger Projects and Recruit Better Talent.” So the MSP has aggressively segmented — to extremely relevant levels — and personalized the content to be ridiculously relevant to Construction Chris, its primary buyer persona at the Consideration-stage of the buyer’s journey.
14. Get to the “zero” position in online searches
Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing, SEMrush
2018 is all about user experience, user intent, and authority building. Up to now, SEO was all about ranking at that sweet #1 position in SERPs, but 2018 is all about trying to get to position zero. Featured Snippets are the “it”-thing of search engine optimization. To get a featured snippet, you can compare web hosting platforms, answer a question on the most searched person in 2017, or offer an answer to “innovative tech entrepreneurs like Richard Branson”. You never know what the next Featured Snippet will be about, so just try to offer value, and value in the digital space has to do with addressing people’s questions, challenges, and pains.
15. Clearly define your buyer personas
Lynne McNamee, President, Lone Armadillo Marketing Agency
Before starting any marketing campaign, take the time to clearly define your buyer personas. This means digging into motivations, challenges, desires, and goals. It means learning to see the world through the eyes of the people who will use, or help decide if the company will use, your product or service. Start with the pain point someone is trying to solve, rather than waxing eloquently about your great features. As an IT services provider, you need to figure out why someone is looking for information. Have they acquired a company and need to figure out how to merge systems and/or data? Has the company just landed a new client and needs to scale?
Writing around these sorts of topics is very different than screaming about how the IT company has the best, the fastest, the latest, and greatest. That’s not what people are looking for, nor is it answering the questions the potential clients have when choosing a provider.
16. Educate your customer
Domenick Cilea, Springboard Public Relations
Companies often get hung up on giving too much away, thinking if they do, there is no need for the prospect to ever be a customer. However, if a prospect gets value from a how-to ebook or video, they are one step closer to being a customer and will be more comfortable selecting you when the time is right for them. I fixed a set of speakers based on instructions from a YouTube video. And where did I buy the parts? From the company associated with the content.
17. Create & promote an Infographic to explain technical concepts
Douglas Karr, CEO, DK New Media
Overwhelmingly, the strategy that we’ve executed with IT companies that’s always exceeded expectations are the production and promotion of Infographics. Here’s an example. IT companies are typically trying to explain highly technical subjects to groups that may not be as technical. Infographics provide an excellent opportunity to explain, to position, to brand, to convince, and to convert prospective clients. As well, they’re easily shareable and often shared by influential people via social.
18. Use case studies to demonstrate your track record
Steve Hatmaker, Jr., Digital Marketing Strategist
People want valuable content in the form of a story. One of the best marketing methods for an IT company is to use case studies. Showcasing a company, or an industry, and how they used your service to get results is a great way to to tell an engaging story that provides value. If potential customers can see that your product or services delivers results for others in their industry, they will be excited with your company.
19. Partner with non-competing companies
Ely Delaney, Automated Marketing Architect, Your Marketing University
The best thing that someone in IT can do to market their business is find 3-5 other (non-competing) companies they can partner up with to cross promote. I’d partner with IT guys, print shops, and even CPAs. One great hit is doing workshops for their customers. As an IT person, a workshop on something around “Simple tricks to keep your computer running in top shape” or “Best practices to keep your PC virus & malware free” would be great short workshops that you can do to educate and introduce yourself to a new group of people. Find 5 companies that would be willing to let you come in to do something like this once a quarter, and you’ll open up the doors to a ton of new prospects in no time.
20. Use social media to target your audience without breaking the bank
Derek M. Gleason, Workshop Digital
As far as social media campaigns for small IT companies, social media platforms continue to elevate paid content instead of “organic” content. This can make it difficult to earn visibility on LinkedIn or Facebook without a four-figure monthly ad budget. To limit ad costs, choose a narrow target audience that aligns with structural advantages of your company, such as physical proximity and industry-specific experience. A tightly focused campaign is less likely to waste ad dollars on clicks that represent aspirational rather than probable clients.
Additionally, choose content topics and ad copy that weed out viewers who are unlikely to become customers. If your ad pitches a PDF on the IT trends in 2018, it will yield clicks from ad viewers who may not need an outside IT vendor or may be happy with their current vendor. However, if your content and ad copy covers a topic like, “How to Know When It’s Time to Switch IT Vendors,” you’re more likely to attract clicks only from those who already have an IT vendor—and are in the market for a new one.
21. Go vertical with your marketing
Ayesha Prakash, Marketing Manager, Invincea, Inc
Hands down, vertical marketing! This means tailoring your marketing strategy for a specific industry or demographic. Best way to get in front of your audience is by creating marketing campaigns focused on a specific vertical. The CIO, for example, in the finserv or the healthcare industry will have a different pain point than a CIO of a retail corporation. Create compelling customer stories in each vertical that establish a strong emotional connection with your brand. Use RTP (real time personalization) to attract your audience and create thought leadership!*
22. Build trust with your customers
Mike Mahanay, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, CTL
Building a ‘trusted advisor’ relationship with customers is one of the most important things that an IT company can do. One of the best ways to do this is by regularly posting content to a company blog and letting customers know about it with an email newsletter and through social media. A small IT company can create a variety of content that will help build a trusted relationship with customers. The content should be both timely and relevant, so it’s best if it’s related to current events or the current IT environment. Most importantly though, is to make the information valuable to the customer. The content might be about your products and services, but it has to be valuable and interesting to engage the customer and get their attention.
Kody Kinzie, Fashion Gorilla
My tip would be investing in a qualitative understanding of your clientele. Any time you’re selling a service, expect that reality may have little to do with a business owner’s perception. Understanding how the businesses we work with perceive themselves and the market they are in has proven much more effective at letting us understand the market and our customers than all of our previous research combined.
24. Create a contest!
Robert Barrows, R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising & Public Relations
Depending on what your IT company does, you could think about doing some kind of contest promotion to explain your products and services and reach a lot of new potential customers who would be interested in those products and services. For example, if you charge for your services by the month or the year, you can give away a FREE starting trial of your services for a certain period of time. That way, you will get customers who are interested in using your services but are wondering if it’s the right fit for them.
25. Build an interactive online tool
Rosemary Brisco, Managing Partner, ToTheWeb
Online tools offer a terrific way to drive a continuing stream of high-quality visitors at no additional cost: year after year. Building a tool that can move a website visitor into action mode will shorten your sales cycle. In one year, we have seen triple-digit growth in organic free traffic to our tools pages. Some examples of online interactive tools that we included on our own case study include Campaign Tracking URL Tool (used to create tracking URLs for marketing campaigns) and search engine spider simulator (lets you see the text content that GoogleBot indexes on your web page).
26. Try to focus on one client industry
Manny Nowak, Coach, Speaker, & Author
When someone asks you who you target – say, we work with printers, or we work with lawyers.
If you focus on one type of business, you can dominate that industry, and people will remember what you did and tell others about it.
27. Create blog content for different stages of the purchasing funnel
Geoff Hoesch, Principal, Dragonfly Digital Marketing
Blogging is particularly powerful with IT firms because they are often dealing with technologies that lay people, and even CEOs and CTOs, don’t really understand, allowing for great educational content that can earn links over time. The best blogging strategy, however, incorporates not only content that answers top level educational queries (such as How Does a VM work), but also mid-level and bottom-level content that can be very technical and targeted at people who are in the final stages of the buying journey (content such as The Benefits of VM Hosting for Corporations). If you can reach potential customers and clients at multiple stages of the purchase funnel, you can strengthen your brand, attract links, and increase leads.
Over to You
As their clients’ needs and interest evolve, IT companies are faced with the challenging task of keeping up with the ever changing demand for IT services. These IT marketing ideas should help your company stay on top of your marketing game and remain relevant in your clients’ minds.
Do you have other unique IT marketing ideas worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below.