Inbound Marketing Strategy for IT Companies
The team here at LeafLeads love inbound; it’s what our company is all about! In this article, we are sharing with you our insights to a good marketing strategy, whether you do it yourself or hire an agency like ours, it’s up to you. This is a non-sales article, if you like it, please help us out and share it with your friends.
Why do we love inbound so much? When inbound marketing is set up correctly, the entire lead generation process is automated. We are living in a time where customers come to you; these customers are educated, often knowing what they want better than you do.
The strategies outlined below will take you through attracting leads, converting them and closing the deal. There is much more that we could cover to automate your lead generation if you want to get more details contact us.
The Inbound Journey for IT Companies
The journey we have set out below is our take on inbound marketing and how you can automate your lead generation. In this article, we’ll focus on Attract, Convert and Nurture.
Attracting Visitors to your Business
Learn how you can attract leads to your business.
Converting Visitors into Leads
Discover how you can convert more visitors into leads.
Get to know your ideal customer
Understanding your ideal customer is pivotal to attracting customers.
When selling IT Services, you’ll most likely be dealing with middle-tier employees like IT managers and solution architects. ITM’s are useful if you’re selling a service/solutions people are actively looking for. However, if you want to earn more revenue, you should be talking to the C-suite.
If you’re targeting the public sector and help set the strategy, you’ll often get the opportunity to deliver the project… Unless you’re dealing with public organisations like healthcare, government or military, they tend to have their own set of rules.
Four key elements you should understand about your ideal customer.
- Who are they? What industry do they serve?
- Are they technical or a business manager? (very important!)
- What are they trying to achieve?
- What is their pains and their gains?
Build a beautiful website that delights your visitors
A website is a just website, right?
Websites have moved a long way from the old brochure sites of the early 2000s. A beautiful website that is built for conversion can increase conversion by more than 470% in many cases.
These days’ websites are complicated, for example, with tools like HubSpot; your content can be customised for the specific customer, their industry and even their past buying decisions.
What always surprises me is the effect a new website can make to lead generation. I have seen some companies increase lead generation by more than 900% with a new layout to their website.
Write content that your ideal customer will give a s*it about
Content is king, and your ideal customer is on google looking for what your advice (or your competitors). Good content can be time-consuming and costly; if you don’t have the budget to hire a content writer, below are a few of my tips for creating content. A few things you should do to get good content.
- Research your competition – See what content they have, and don’t be afraid to use their ideas to create your blogs.
- Check out your partners – Your partners have content you can ‘borrow’. Just remember, never plagiarise, always get it rewritten because you don’t want to get penalised by google.
- User freelancers – Freelancers don’t know your business like you do, internal content writers are always going to get better results.
- A few of my favourite blogs: Citrix, Microsoft, Forrester & Empired.
- Write your content for the right stage of the buyer’s journey.
Optimise your website and get FREE high-quality traffic through search engine optimisation (SEO)
Would you like free traffic to your website that converts into customers? Then SEO is your new best friend.
SEO is more than writing some pages and getting links from other websites. My high-level SEO recommendations for IT Marketing:
- Find your relevant long-tail keywords;
- Run an SEO Audit;
- Update your webpages to be more SEO friendly;
- Get listed on local directories like GMB, Yellow, CloudTango & Yelp.
Want more on setting up your SEO? Check out our blog on SEO for IT.
Set up Google Ads and retargeting
Google Ads is a fantastic tool if you are just getting started. Now you can get visitors to your website quickly and target them well.
If you haven’t got a lot of experience with Google Ads, it can be costly. You should always seek a professional if you’re spending more than $500/mo.
My top tips for google Ads:
- Increase clicks by writing better ad copy;
- Improve your quality score;
- Utilise ad extensions;
- Adjust your target region and the time of day your ads appear;
- Exclude low-value keywords;
- Set up remarketing immediately!
Get more tips for getting the most out of Google Ads.
Turning your visitors into leads
Lead Generation (lead gen) can be an art form and is often a lot trickier than expected.
How can you offer something to visitors turning them into a lead? This is where lead magnets come in.
Build trust first, then make an offer
Generation leads have to be one of the most challenging tasks of marketing your IT company. It’s a lot more complicated than B2C and can take a long time to get right.
There is two major steps to lead generation, #1 Build trust #2 Gate your content with something the user wants.
Unfortunately, many marketers go straight to gating their content, where the user has to fill out a form to get some ‘valuable’ content.
Have you ever read an article that is full of call to actions (CTA’s)? It can be distracting to your users, and it turns them off because you have turned your content into a sales pitch.
Offering your customers valuable content they want is critical. But first, you need to build trust then send them an offer. Building trust is the long game, and this is where content marketing and thought leadership comes into play.
Write compelling thought leadership
Our successful customers all employ content marketing based on thought leadership. Creating trust and educating visitors is what Thought Leadership is all about.
You have a wealth of knowledge in your company, and it’s largely untapped. Your heads of departments or sales leads are talking with customers every day, and they have insights which you could be sharing with everyone.
Use your expert’s – brands that show authentic leadership in their content, generally employ experts from all areas of their business rather than using the same people again and again. Use expertise wherever it may be in your company, but always put a face to a thought.
Insource your content – many brands outsource their thought leadership, and this creates a disconnect that creates inauthentic content which does not resonate with the audience. We always recommend hiring someone inside your business to do the writing; you’ll get the best results if they are part of the glue inside your company.
Don’t have any thought leaders? You can find though leaders on other blogs or even twitter.
Create something people want
Converting visitors to leads can be easy when you have something they want. For IT companies, there are a few quick wins you can create relatively easy.
- White Papers – Create whitepapers that customers want to read. One of our partners recently spent more than four weeks developing their Digital Transformation white paper. In a partnership with Gartner, they have now closed more than 500K worth of business thanks to this fantastic article.
- Self-Assessments/Price Calculators – You don’t need to publish your prices, but with an online assessment you can give you visitor what they want. There are many survey tools you can use to build TCO or Rightsizing calculators that customers can complete on their own.
- Offers/Trial periods – Give them what they want, set up a free trial for a BR/BC solution. It’s easy, and there are many partners out there who will help you create a free trial.
- Contact forms – Make your contact forms less about selling and more about speaking to a consultant. Try replacing “Talk to sales” with “Speak to a consultant.”
- Subscribe popups – We all love to have popups; the best time to place them on your website is after 30 seconds or when the user is about to leave your website.
Create a thank you page
The thank-you page is one of the most valuable and overlooked pages on your website. On this page, you can offer upgrades, further reading and additional offers.
Your thank you page should build trust and give your user something else they may need. A few ideas for your thank you page:
- Testimonials/case studies;
- More content from your blog;
- Content upgrade;
- Viral loops – check out the next section on this topic.
Make your lead gen go viral
Who shares content these days? People who want something that’s who!
A viral loop is when you create a loop of social activity that promotes your content by itself. This is achieved by incentivising your visitors to share your content, often in the form of an upgrade. For example, dropbox gives users an upgraded amount of storage if the user refers their friends.
We find that viral loops can increase campaign reach by more than 945%. For example, you send an offer to 1000 contacts in your database, and one of them share the promotion on LinkedIn. With the average user having more than 1000 connections, you have potentially doubled your reach!
Viral loop Example
- Step 1: User accepts a 1TB DR offer;
- Step 2: Thank you page offer “Share this with your friends to get 2TB free”;
- Step 3: If the user doesn’t share the offer, they get a follow-up email congratulating them on their free 1TB, and an offer to extend the promotion.
Need help creating a viral loop? Contact us, and we’ll help on your next campaign.
Nurturing your leads is all about engaging and building trust with your audience along their journey.
Your focus is to help educate your leads and build trust, so they get to the point of being a paying customer. As you develop your lead generation strategies, the importance of lead nurturing becomes clearer.
Did you know? On average, your sales team doesn’t follow up with over 28% of their leads!
In most cases, your leads are not likely to become a customer immediately. With traditional marketing and sales tactics, over 90% of your leads are not going to turn into customers; it should be your goal to increase the likelihood of a sale.
The decision process can take from three months to three years. If you’re actively engaging your leads through the decision process, you’re helping to build trust and hopefully a sale.
An IT deal size can range from $30K-$5M+ per annum; this makes sense for you to engage your leads throughout their journey actively.
A few tactics to help your lead nurturing:
- Targeted content – Send quality content, relevant and engaging content results in > 20% uplift in sales conversion.
- Multi-channel nurturing – Nurturing your leads through multiple channels is critical, think: Remarketing, Email, Social and even Push notifications.
- Various touchpoints – On average it takes more than 15 touch points till an IT lead is converted
- Remarketing is gold – Make sure your visitors see relevant ads that target the services or solutions they are interested in.
- Automate your lead management – Wouldn’t it be nice to know when a customer is looking at your content, or what content they are reading? With tools like HubSpot, you can actively see the exact person who is returning and what content they are reading.
- Align Marketing and Sales – Sales don’t always ‘get marketing,’ but when they see the power of automated lead generation, they will embrace the change (as long as they get quality leads.)
Helping your leads move forward in the journey takes time and patience. Informative and educational content is the best way to help leads understand the advantages of your service or solution that solves their problems. Your guides should change according to their journey.
- Blog articles
- Research reports
- Comparison charts
- How-to articles
- Case studies
- White papers
- Pricing guides
- Feature lists
Send your best content at their best time
At each stage of the buyer’s journey, your leads require different types of content. Check out our article that’ll help you build content for your next marketing campaign.
Automation platforms you can see when a customer is visiting your pricing page or a specific solution.
Imagine knowing with a visitor is on your pricing page, or they have opened your proposal for the 3rd time this week? If you knew this information, you could call them or send a follow-up email.
Use a CRM for sales AND Marketing
Keeping track of your leads and contacts is critical, but if your sales and marketing teams are not working from the same page, you’ll be missing out on a lot of insight.
Many smaller IT companies rely on “ConnectWise Sell” to manage their sales pipeline. While ConnectWise Sell is a decent tool, it’s not designed to work across the marketing boarder. We’ve had a lot of success with Pipedrive, HubSpot and Marketo for IT Companies.
One of the flaws of ConnectWise Sell is that you don’t get access to quality analytics of your leads. You also miss out on quality analytics in your proposals – try out Proposify and tell me that ConnectWise Sell is better!
Need help growing your pipeline? Contact us and we’ll take care of your digital marketing.