Every month we talk to thousands of small businesses that have virtually no in-house marketing. They have no dedicated staff to handle marketing, largely because if you’re a small or midsize IT reseller, marketing isn’t what drove you to get into this business. You’re focused mostly on making sales and providing top-notch technical expertise to your customers.
Engaging in effective marketing, as alien as it may seem to the world of IT services, is essential to growing your business and thriving in a competitive market. That makes it all the more important that you maximize the impact of the limited marketing resources that you have.
The key is to extract the greatest value from your marketing efforts, regardless of your marketing budget. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
The more you stay in touch with your existing clients, the more likely they are to remain loyal customers. It’s critical that they view you not just as a business that they’ve purchased a product or service from in the past, but a dedicated partner that is keeping them Ideally they should receive a monthly update from you that includes interesting, well-written industry thought leadership content as well as valuable information about products that IT buyers will find useful.
Those monthly updates help further cement your company’s brand identity into the consciousness of buyers. In a competitive IT landscape, it is critical that your brand remain top-of-mind for existing customers, lest they be lured away by competitors who are also targeting them with interesting content.
The added benefit of engagement, however, comes from the trust your content can help you forge with leads. Buyers who are currently in the market for new products or services are most likely to choose a company that is engaging with them directly and can prove its value. Presenting them with useful information on a regular basis is the best way to do that. Offering them content that truly enriches their understanding of technology distinguishes you from many of your competitors, many of whom are merely bombarding buyers with product promotions.
Maintaining a regular marketing routine allows you to get a better sense of what your customers and prospects seek from you. For instance, you can see who unsubscribes from your email newsletter and which email addresses bounce back. This may indicate that the employee has left the company, alerting you to the opportunity to connect with them at their new employer and potentially acquire a new customer. A bounced email may also simply show that the recipient isn’t interested in the content you’re providing, in which case you may reach out to them to find out how you could provide them information more in line with their needs.
The positive feedback you receive from those who find your content useful and interesting is also extraordinarily helpful. It shows you what you’re doing right and what you need to keep doing to keep customers satisfied.
The response to your content helps you tailor your outreach to individual buyers. You can reach out to those who have unsubscribed to find out what type of information you could provide that they would find helpful.
Advanced marketing tactics, such as Search Engine Marketing, can be extremely expensive and difficult to optimize without committing a significant amount of time and manpower. At the end of the day, word-of-mouth remains the number one way that partners land customers. You need to fully invest in this very low-cost marketing tactic by asking and encouraging your customers to refer you to others. If your customers are satisfied, they’re more than happy to place a phone call on your behalf –– you just have to ask.
The greater bond you establish with your customers, the better position you will be in to ask for and receive referrals. While you shouldn’t be shy to request leads from existing clients, it’s essential that you don’t treat those you are referred to as done deals. Instead, follow up with them in a timely and professional manner with the goal of earning their business, just like any other prospect.
To maximize your chances of closing referral business, you have to stay in touch with them. Ask them to follow your company on LinkedIn, subscribe to your newsletter or participate in an industry survey and keep you in mind for future business. This sets up the opportunity for future engagement and ensures that your brand will stay on their radar.