Marketing Checklist for IT Services Companies
Great marketing is always a moving target. Since that’s the challenge, we have developed a concise marketing checklist designed expressly for IT Services Companies. This checklist assumes that your IT services company has been in business for several years and is not just starting out. This means you have many happy clients, you are making money, you have a website. We are also assuming that you are either looking to expand the business and make more money or you have some new competitors in your market that are making life a little more difficult than it was in the past. Either way, you are looking for a little turbo juice to add to your marketing engine to rev up your sales and bottom line.
If that’s the case, this Marketing Checklist for IT Services Companies is for you. We’ll walk you through a basic process to reexamine some key elements of your marketing, and help you uncover some important spots where your marketing may benefit from some new approaches and ideas.
1. Define (or redefine) Your Target Market
Whether you’re entering a market, or have been in business for decades, knowing exactly who your target market is, and making a plan to go after that market, will have a big impact on the success of your business. Many business owners assume their customers will find them, or think they can serve anyone, and overlook this very important step of intentionally choosing who they want to go after as their target market. There’s a saying in marketing that goes “If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing.”
If things are stale or sales are sluggish, one thing you can do is to look at where you may have had success in the past. Also, don’t hesitate to target a new audience or industry. As widespread as the information technology industry is, there are people and companies out there with a need for your services; take the time to figure out who that is and where they are located, and then focus hard on capturing that particular market.
Things you’ll want to consider when defining your target market:
Size of Industry
Number of users at typical target company in that industry
Geographic Location that you will serve
Specialized Software Needs
Create a Target Market Profile identifying the key characteristics and needs of your chosen market. Your Target Market Profile will provide clarity to how you use social media and other marketing efforts to reach your existing or new audience.
2. Establish/Update your Website
So now that you have your target market clearly defined, set up or revamp your website to match that audience. Your website is the backbone of your business. It is where consumers and other businesses will learn about who you are and what you offer. It is important to have a professional looking website, with accurate, current information, and even more important to pack it with engaging content that is directed at your target audience.
Your website should reflect your brand, and can showcase your company culture. Remember that many (if not most) people will be viewing your website on a phone or tablet, so make it mobile-responsive.
Perform a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit/review to ensure that your website is appropriately set-up to be found by the important search engines (primarily Google and, to a lesser extent, Bing).
Install Google Analytics on your website. This powerful, free tool will provide a level of insight into your website visitors and will help guide your future marketing initiatives. You can generate reports Google Analytics provides or create custom reports showing exactly who is visiting your website, how long they are staying, how many pages they are visiting, which pages they are reading and where they are leaving from. This is valuable information.
3. Leverage Your Digital Marketing
There’s no question people are turning to the Internet for information and insight before making many purchasing decisions. Nowadays, making sure your company has a presence online isn’t much of an option, it’s necessary for survival.
A. Social Media – With social media, select social platforms to participate on that will offer the most value for your business. For IT companies, we would typically recommend building a presence on the following platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It’s important to note that each platform differs as to what type of content works best and when it’s best to post your content. It pays off to research when your target market (which you developed in step one) is most likely to be in front of a computer or phone and plan your posting accordingly.
Consider using a social dashboard like Hootsuite to aggregate your social media profiles giving you many advantages including scheduling posts in advance.
B. Email – Studies still repeatedly show email to be one of the most effective marketing tools. Keep in mind that many professionals receive dozens and sometimes hundreds of emails daily, so it is important to provide concise and noteworthy content. Engaging content sent to the right people, at the right time, will not only keep loyal readers coming back, but attracts new viewers. Consider email automation strategies, too. While there are many benefits of using email marketing, one statistic to remember is that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38. That’s a great ROI!
C. Video – The use of video continues to grow in importance in marketing. As digital marketing continues to evolve, more and more trends favor video, even for fields like IT services. Don’t miss the boat, incorporate video into your marketing strategy immediately! Whether it’s a professionally-produced video, quick videos shot with a cellphone or a slideshow with voice-over, you are sure to see an uptick in your content’s visibility (and growth in website traffic). Want a powerful stat? Organizations that use video in their marketing grow revenue 49% faster than those that do not use video. Does that hit home? Video can consist of professional video, live-stream video, or Content-Driven Video.
D. Content – Content is king, and that includes social posts, blog articles, website content, ebooks, brochures, videos and more. When you’re in the IT industry you want research that digs deeper. It was found that 71 percent (report from Octopus Group) of marketers fail to produce what CIOs are looking for – content backed by research and data. Make sure the content you are producing is relevant, newsworthy and informative to your particular audience. Lastly, make sure your written content is also easy to read by using graphics, bulleted and numbered lists and short, concise language. Your audience is busy and appreciates brevity.
4. Get Involved in Your Business Community
Business owners like to support each other. They may have connections that can assist you (or your sales team) as your business continues to grow, or they may want to be your customer. We recommend looking into business associations. Your local chamber of commerce, professional association or business group sponsored by your city can be great for networking, and building connections for your business.
Say you’re already involved in professional groups. Think about your business playing its part in the community. Not only will it improve your brand’s image, but employees typically like to work for companies that support their local communities.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
You’ve heard it before: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Everything we have discussed thus far; you need to plan for, including the financial budgeting part. Building a successful marketing strategy does not happen overnight. Those who take time to create a disciplined written plan, do research, and regularly analyze data and performance metrics are more likely to reach their goals.
There is a lot that goes into a new marketing strategy, but these five key areas should help you narrow your focus as you look to reenergize the marketing for your IT Services Company.