Gartner predicts that global IT spending is down nearly eight percent in 2020 versus 2019. IT service companies must prioritize customer experience and consistent messaging to gain an edge over competitors. These companies will fare better than those applying a more scattered approach to marketing for IT.
Before you make decisions about digital marketing for your IT services business, think ahead. It’s crucial to build a solid foundation to support your future marketing efforts so that you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you’re ready to scale.
Focus first on establishing five key elements:
- A mobile-responsive website
- An email marketing tool
- A primary social channel
- Up-to-date business listings
- A simple content creation plan
This overview, along with our technology services marketing guide, will help you develop a flexible, easy-to-understand digital marketing plan based on these factors.
Tools and advice to help you find clients for your web development, IT, or computer systems design business.
1. Creating a mobile-responsive website
Around 50 percent of all web traffic flows through smartphones and other mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-responsive, there’s a good chance potential customers will move to another option — and that’s if they even find your site at all. The Google search ranking algorithm penalizes sites that are not optimized for mobile viewing.
What does mobile-responsive mean?
The goal of a mobile-responsive website is to enable visitors to read and navigate your site regardless of how they access it. Smartphone users should be able to find what they’re looking for as quickly as those using a laptop.
While it’s possible to pull up websites that aren’t optimized on a smartphone, the experience can be frustrating for users. Compare the examples in the graphic below:
On the right, the website has not been optimized for mobile-responsiveness. The browser assumes the user is viewing the page on a desktop browser and scales it accordingly. The content is challenging to read.
On the left, the same page has been optimized so that the website automatically matches the device width. Because the mobile browser rescales the page, the content is much more readable, and the page is easier to navigate.
Learn how to build a mobile-responsive website.
2. Selecting the best email marketing tool
Email may not be the first channel that comes to mind when you think about digital IT marketing. After all, it’s been around for decades at this point. Isn’t digital marketing focused on newer technology and communication channels?
Indeed, the advent of social media and mobile web access has dramatically impacted the way consumers find information and make purchases. However, email still ranks as one of the most effective marketing channels. In its 2019 email usage study, Adobe revealed that Americans check their work email three or more hours per day and their personal email two hours per day.
Email marketing is unique because the content you create becomes an asset that you own as a business. Your email contacts are yours alone. If you’re using an effective email marketing tool, those contacts are the ones you should be marketing to.
As you create an email marketing plan, keep it simple. We recommend starting with these three essential steps:
- Set up a simple, automated email welcome series.
- Plan to send an email at least once a month
- Think about other emails you may want to automate
Look for an email marketing tool that utilizes smart automation to segment your contact list into different target groups. The tool you pick should also make it exceptionally straightforward to create your email messages.
Constant Contact’s email marketing tools are effective, easy-to-use, and help you keep your business goals front and center.
3. Identifying a primary social channel
Social media marketing is one of those topics that strike fear in the hearts of many small business owners. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you search for information on getting started because there’s just so much out there.
Much like email marketing, however, the best place to start is with a simple, common-sense approach. Instead of focusing on several social channels all at once, identify a primary channel, and go from there.
For technology service businesses, we strongly recommend starting with LinkedIn. The format of this social channel is better suited for the B2B IT services sales over channels like Twitter, where it’s more challenging to establish good back-and-forth communication. You can also make better use of marketing graphics and create different content types, like blog posts.
As you expand beyond LinkedIn, remember that each social channel has a unique personality. The content you create for LinkedIn should have a different feel than Instagram or Facebook content.
4. The importance of up-to-date business listings
When today’s web users need to find information, they turn to various apps and websites. As a business owner, it’s important to know what they see when they look for you.
These kinds of listings can be found all over the web, from your social media “about” sections to Google to Yelp and the Better Business Bureau.
Some listing sources allow customers to create listings. You’ll likely want to go through the process of taking control of these user-created listings. Typically, this is a simple process — you’ll need to provide proof that establishes you as the business owner.
Make it a habit to check your listings from time-to-time, especially your Facebook business page and your Google My Business listing. Customers who can’t find information — or worse, find incorrect information — will wind up with a negative impression of your business, fair or not.
5. Establishing a simple content creation process
On the internet, content is king.
Companies that create relevant, authentic content regularly will have much more success with their digital marketing attempts. That’s because search engines like Google vastly prefer active, genuine businesses over keyword-stuffing and other gimmicky SEO (search engine optimization) tactics.
In short, the algorithm Google uses to rank pages has become quite proficient at identifying the content that matches what people are really seeking.
This isn’t to say SEO isn’t necessary. In fact, carefully applied SEO is a must for your business website. It’s worth your time to research keywords related to your business, for example. You should also learn what kind of content to create to please the Google algorithm while providing your customers with valuable insights based on your expertise.
Blogs are a popular choice in marketing for information technology services. Compared to your website at large, blogs give you more room for creativity and the chance to showcase your business in new ways.
A blog allows you to post articles about your company and its work in the community and write posts about industry information your customers will enjoy. You can also add your own personality to your writing to further engage your customers.
Follow these steps to establish a content creation process for your business:
- Choose a publishing frequency and stick with it (once a week or once per month are common choices).
- Use this content on your social channels and as part of your email marketing approach.
- Incorporate researched keywords into titles and headings and across your content sources, but don’t overdo it.
When you keep these steps up for a while, you’ll start to notice your website rising up through the search rankings.
Are you ready to launch your digital marketing strategy?
Your IT marketing strategy can make the difference between a thriving business and an unsuccessful one. Paying close attention to how and where you’re marketing yourself, what customers see when they look for you, and what content you’re presenting them will go a long way towards building a marketing plan you can rely on.
Check out our technology services marketing guide, The Download, for more information on how you can promote your business to the right audiences.