When it comes to marketing IT consulting services, the key is convincing the customer that you have the proper solution to the information technology problem they face.
Easier said than done? Agreed, but that’s the fundamental rule you should adhere to.
A main hurdle comes by way of the complexity of IT. You probably won’t be dealing with an expert in the field. In some circumstances, you may be trying to sell someone on a solution they didn’t even know existed for a problem they weren’t aware they had.
Marketing IT consulting services means you have to have sales-oriented copy about a very technical sector.
Let’s compare this to roofing, where people typically understand the roofing industry more easily; reading ‘cloud-computing migration and automation’ is liable to make the average person’s eyes glaze over.
There are a few specific secrets you can apply to marketing IT consulting services that will make your life easier and your business stronger. These also apply to marketing for managed services firms.
Build a Marketing Plan for your IT Consulting Company
First things first: design a marketing plan for your IT consulting company. The search ‘build a marketing plan for IT consulting company’ will net lots of results – but only a handful of useful ones.
The simple fact is that your marketing goals are unachievable without a plan that details strategies, tactics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the effectiveness of your tactics.
It’s common sense, but you’d be surprised how uncommon it can be.
Many companies want to jump straight into tactics without building an overarching plan that coordinates all these efforts to work towards a cohesive goal. This is a recipe for disaster and diminished ROI.
Your plan should revolve around a marketing strategy – designed to reach prospective customers, generate leads, and ultimately convert them into sales.
This is made up of tactics: discrete actions your company undertakes like content marketing, email campaigns, content syndication, etc., which are all meant to achieve the strategic goal: obtaining leads, converting to sales.
The final key element of a marketing plan is having proper B2B marketing KPIs.
Your KPIs can measure how effective your inbound and outbound marketing tactics are. This in turn will help you discern which tactics are worthy of more investment, which are in need of retooling, and which ones to scrap.
In other words, KPIs are absolutely essential to generating a higher ROI.
Target Your Audience Properly
People who are in need of IT solutions are looking for you . . . and you’re looking for them.
The best way to complete a sale, then, is to find out how best make that connection.
That involves comprehensive market research, as you’d expect, but it also involves appearing in the places these people are most likely to look.
For instance, a Think with Google study states that 50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones – this figure is expected to grow to 70% in 2020. Have you optimized your website and content for mobile?
Things like that are easy to overlook and can wreak havoc on your marketing goals.
Having a strong web presence, being optimized for mobile, and being able to dominate SEO rankings are just some of the ways your business can start getting more leads today.
One of the key ways to hone in on your target audience is through B2B buyer personas.
These fictionalized sketches represent your ideal customer. In IT marketing, for example, you’re probably looking for executives with expanding businesses. While that is an exceedingly broad label, it actually tells us a lot about how we should craft our marketing materials.
How do business executives like to be spoken to? What attracts them? What turns them off? What are their main desires? Their primary obstacles and pain points?
All of this can be deduced from a well-designed and well-researched buyer persona.
With a buyer persona in hand, you can create a messaging framework that will then inform your entire marketing team how best to communicate with your customers. ‘Best’, in this case, alludes to the creation of leads and sales.
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Expose and Engage Your Audience
One of the key differences between marketing IT consulting services and marketing for simple products is that you need to go above and beyond to demonstrate expertise and keep your audience engaged. This should in turn build trust and credibility with them.
Business owners are wary – they don’t want to hand over their entire IT infrastructure to people who don’t know what they’re doing. As such, you have to assuage their fears by proving to them that your business isn’t just right for the job but will deliver results with a high degree of excellence.
The premise here is that you must have multiple types and topics of content with which to engage your prospect and build that trust. The more content they are exposed to and which they engage with, the higher likelihood they will move forward in your direction to become a customer.
Here are a few useful recommendations for creating content:
- Have enough content with lots of blogs, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, eBooks, and other materials that prove competency
- Understand the media & buying habits of your specific target segment of IT (paint points, persona, buying habits)
- Build credibility through your reputation and leverage it to gain new business (testimonials, reviews, surveys)
And never forget the wealth of marketing tactics at your disposal:
- Display retargeting
- SEO optimization
- Keyword based PPC
- Email marketing automation
And these tools, when used correctly, will complement each other.
For instance, boosting your SEO will help you get noticed by more customers and bring them to, say, a blog you’ve posted.
That blog (an example of inbound marketing) is, ideally, well written and demonstrates expertise. In other words, it gets your audience engaged.
PPC (pay-per-click ads) can help drive even more traffic to your highest-performing blogs (performing in this sense meaning the blogs that are best at converting leads and sales).
Guest post and content syndication can also help expose you to a wider audience while bolstering your SEO through backlinks.
When done right, this isn’t just a win-win. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-win . . . on and on in a self-perpetuating positive feedback loop, virtually guaranteeing a higher marketing ROI.
An example of a more technical tactic is interlinking to push your targeted persona further down the buyer journey. Interlinking simply means attaching links in your content that will lead the reader to other relevant parts of your website to further engage them.
We’ve done it here: you’ll see interlinks on this blog to IT marketing plans, IT marketing strategies, IT marketing KPIs, to name a few.
That’s because if you’re looking at this blog, you’re also likely to be interested in the other sections as well.
This not only helps keep your customer on your site longer (as well as help demonstrate your expertise by allowing the prospective customer to interact with more useful and helpful content) but it also helps with SEO.
Google’s algorithm will explore your interlinks when it decides how to rank pages. The more useful the interlinks, the better the SERP (search engine result page) ranking your page is likely to get.
The takeaway: don’t limit yourself to a single channel; multi channel marketing is key to maximize the number of instances of engagement and hence build trust with your prospect.
Selling IT Consulting Services : The Next Step
Remember that so long as you keep to the general principles outlined above, you should be able to see a noticeable positive impact on your IT marketing efforts, which could result in a noticeable uptick in business.
You’ll notice i said could — why ?
Because marketing is only one piece of the puzzle; you need to be able to also sell IT consulting and managed services effectively once you have the leads.
This means that your job is only half done. Getting leads is just the start of the battle. The winning strike won’t come until the new client has inked a deal with you and you’re actually seeing a return on your marketing investment.
If you’re not seeing the results you want from either lead generation or sales, Jumpfactor is an MSP/ IT marketing agency with years of experience working in this specific field getting companies 5x more leads than the competition and boosting marketing ROI by upwards of 300%. Reach out now and get started on maximizing your marketing success.