Marketing an IT Business – 3 Ways to Improve Your Message
As a network engineer, I love technology tools. You know, the cool stuff that helps you do your job? Virtualization, SAN’s, Remote monitoring and management, new deployment methods, better ways of managing video, voice, and email, etc. You get the point. You love the tools that allow you to do your job better, faster, more efficient at less cost to your bottom line.
Question: Do you share the same passion for marketing tools?
Your marketing tools are what you use to get new clients and it’s more than just a direct mailer or a cold call or even networking (the human kind). It’s about real benefits that matter to the client!
Now – I’m not saying that direct mailers, letters, cold calls, and other marketing methods don’t work – they do for sure – but when it comes to selling benefits, make sure you are selling the right benefits. The ones that truly matter to potential clients.
It’s pretty easy to tell a client that you will help them save money and avoid disasters by being proactive. It’s also pretty easy to tell them they can focus on their core business while you take care of “IT”. And it’s really easy to tell them that “managed IT Services” is far superior to “break/fix”. Generally, these are all true!
What isn’t so easy, however, is to sell real business benefits that are disassociated with the tools you love.
Before continuing on, you might want to grab a cup of coffee or an energy drink – it’s a deep thinking kind of “thing”!
3 Ways To Improve Your Marketing Message
* Your potential clients do not care about the tools you use to do your job. They don’t even care about how cool it is that you can be completely proactive and fix issues before it causes downtime. What they care about is different. I really mean different. It’s different for each business. Each business has different needs, goals, mission statements, and strategic plans. What benefits them is aligning your message with their business needs – and that is a different message each time you encounter a new, potential client. Sure, there are some universal benefits such as risk management or improving the bottom line, etc. But within those universal benefits are unique ones that each business owner will value even more. The key here is to get your benefit message farther away from the tools YOU use and closer to the tools THEY use.
* It’s really easy to talk about ourselves. We all love do tell how our business can do this or that. We love telling people about our successes and our triumphs, our news and awards. As it turns out, That’s not always a great marketing tactic. These days, the ratio of giving to taking should weigh very heavy on the giving side. Talk about them instead. How could you use your vast amount of technology skill to promote them? How could you help THEM bring in more business. I’ve used this example before, but Mike Cooch over at Everon IT has a great story to tell when he approaches a client, shows them how his Internet Marketing services will help them bring in new business, and then discusses managed IT services. Imagine how that conversation turns around when he has already anchored in what is important to that client: increasing their business. This is marketing and it works. Are there ways you could be doing this as well? What is important to your new potential client?
* Marketing is not a department. Marketing is something everyone at your IT business is doing 24/7/365. Every single thing you and everyone else at your company does is marketing. Your invoice is marketing. Your email is marketing. Every word and phrase on your website is marketing. Check your marketing messages – make sure it is consistent. Make sure everyone knows they are marketing. And above all, be who you are. If you are small, then don’t try to talk like you are big. People see right through that – and potential clients are people just like you and me.
Hopefully this is helpful and above and beyond anything it’s intent is to offer something that spawns further thinking. It’s easy to be on auto-pilot in regards to marketing – but it isn’t so easy to dig down a little deeper and challenge the status quo! Now, go crank up the awesome and start thinking of new ways to market that are “client first, technology second”.