TMCnet Feature
July 16, 2018

IT Marketing: Tips and Best Practices for Growing Businesses

How to Develop an IT Marketing Strategy That Wins

The IT field is highly competitive. It’s also growing at a faster pace than almost any other industry. While this can be exciting, it also makes it more challenging for your business to stand out. Developing a successful marketing strategy will help set you apart and position you well in the future.

Developing a Marketing Strategy

Growing businesses often think they can take marketing as it comes. They figure they’ll make decisions in the moment and play everything by ear. And while there’s nothing wrong with being flexible, it’s a mistake to proceed much further without a documented marketing strategy that’s aligned with your company’s core business objectives.

In order to create a marketing strategy, you must first develop a value proposition for your company. Your value proposition summarizes the competitive advantage you have in the marketplace and typically provides the key messaging for all of your marketing efforts.

With a value proposition in tote, you can flesh out a plan for sharing this message with the right people at the right time. This takes time and planning – it’s not something you’re going to figure out in a single meeting – but once you establish a strategy, everything else will come together.

5 Ways to Market Your IT Business

Anyone who has taken a business course at the local community college can come up with a pretty good marketing plan. It’s the practical execution that growing IT businesses typically struggle with the most. If you’re looking for some ideas on where to start or how to reach your audience, here are a few ideas. Feel free to take them, leave them, or make them your own.

1. Offer Local Courses

“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,” SEO specialist Jack Saville writes.

While it might seem counterintuitive to teach people how to do something that your business gets paid to do, the reality is that you’re gaining exposure and credibility. You’re empowering people to understand IT so they grasp the importance of working with skilled professionals. It also allows you to build influence and goodwill with other groups in the community. And you never know when one of these connections could give your business a boost down the road.

2. Use Promotional Items

There’s a time and place for abstract marketing, but tangible marketing methods are what really give your business an immediate boost. And what’s more tangible than promotional items?

Promotional IT items – such as flash drives, laser pointers, mouse pads, pens, stickers, and cups – are extremely cost-effective and can be used to garner attention and increase brand awareness. You can use them in a variety of capacities, but they’re especially useful at industry conferences and other gatherings where prospective clients may be.

The key with promotional items is to get something in return. Rather than just handing out flash drives with your logo, ask something of people in return. Whether it’s signing up for an email list or answering some survey questions, use this opportunity to identify and/or nurture leads.

3. Try Quora

Are you familiar with Quora? It’s a question-and-answer website where anyone can ask any question and crowdsource answers from a variety of people. Answers can then be voted up or down by the community, which typically allows the best answers to rise to the top. While the platform doesn’t allow businesses to answer, it does allow business owners and other individuals to answer questions and link their profiles back to their companies.

This is an extremely organic, yet highly effective method – when used correctly. Focus on questions where the ratio of followers to the number of answers is at least 7:1. If you can find questions that have lots of followers, yet bad answers, this gives you a chance to sweep in and serve online users (who are hopefully within your target market).

4. Create Online How-To Videos

DIY content performs really well in service industries – including IT. It’s also known that video content performs well. You can merge these by creating online how-to videos that address pressing topics in your industry. By supplying your audience with some actionable content and advice, you’ll encourage them to come to you when they have even bigger needs.

5. Build a Strong SEO Foundation

Being competitive in today’s digital landscape requires a strong SEO foundation. But it’s not enough to implement a few techniques and then sit back and watch. You have to stay current.

“What works today might not work tomorrow and, in some cases, it can even penalize you,” Modern Marketing Partners explains. “For example, in Google’s (News - Alert) early days, many focused on the quantity of their links, rather than the quality. That doesn’t fly anymore – a low-quality link can, at best, do little to boost your rank. At worst, it can severely damage your SEO rank.”

SEO is an essential component in any forward-thinking marketing strategy, but make sure you stay up to date on the latest trends and rules so that you don’t waste your effort.

What Sets You Apart?

At the end of the day, you need to have a clear idea of what sets your business apart from the competition. Is it a unique service? Superior customer support? Better prices? Industry-leading reliability? A good marketing strategy takes your strengths and builds around them. The more you’re able to focus on these factors, the more effective and influential your approach will be.

It’s also important to be steady. Trying to do too much at once will water down your marketing and limit your strategy’s effectiveness. Start slow and gradually build up. As the results start pouring in, you can continue to scale up your efforts and try new techniques and methods.

When it’s all said and done, your marketing strategy should aid in your brand’s growth – not keep it from moving forward. By taking a thorough and disciplined approach, you can experience profoundly positive results.

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