Would you like to boost your IT business’s online visibility and reach at least twice as many people as you currently do?
An increased brand reach means higher traffic, which in turn translates to more leads and sales.
But to consistently reach newer and relevant audiences, your marketing plan needs specific strategies that work toward these goals.
And luckily for you, in this post, I’ll show you 3 such strategies to add to your marketing mix right now.
Intrigued? Let’s get started.
#1: Partner With Other Businesses
Partnering with other companies (also called co-marketing) is a strategy where you tie up with a complementary business, and both you and your partner get to access each other’s audiences.
For example, if your IT service is to handle all the technology needs of local small businesses, with a focus on say printers, then you could easily partner with other IT service providers that offer networking solutions to small businesses in the same region.
This way, your company will get exposure before the companies your partner services, and vice-versa.
Once you’ve figured the type of service providers you want to partner with, you can use local business directories to find the actual co-marketing candidates.
Your next step is to determine what campaign you should run.
Planning a cross-promotional campaign
You can organize most co-marketing campaigns into two types:
Content-based: In a content-driven campaign, co-marketing companies use content like eBooks, blog posts, videos, newsletters and more to market or spread awareness about each other’s products.
Event-based: An event-based campaign can be either online or offline. A webinar, for example, is an online event.
In our example, we could easily plan a content-based co-marketing campaign where we could create a small report or whitepaper on “Saving IT costs on printer maintenance and networking”, and both the partners could distribute it to their existing client-bases.
You get the idea, right?
Finding the right contact person and reaching out
Once you’ve decided upon the co-marketing campaign, use LinkedIn to find the right person from your potential business partner’s marketing team.
Here’s a simple co-marketing outreach template you could use:
#2. Run PR Campaigns
PR campaigns — no matter how many people call them dead — can get any business a lot of exposure. PR campaigns help businesses get in front of their customers while building quality backlinks to their websites.
Planning newsworthy campaigns
One of the biggest challenges of featuring in popular media outlets for a lot of IT businesses is that coming up with interesting, newsworthy stories in a somewhat (seemingly) non-happening niche is difficult.
But if you just take a deeper look into your business, you should see some great newsworthy bits. Kenny Goodman from Find the Edge gives some excellent pointers for brainstorming PR story ideas:
- Are you offering a new product or service?
- Are you approaching an anniversary, such as five years trading?
- Can you identify a problem your customers are facing, and then conduct research or a survey highlighting this issue?
- Can you offer a perspective on a relevant news story?
- Has one of your customers or clients done something newsworthy?
- Do you have a strong opinion on a development in your sector?
Find the right outlets
Once you identify the best story to release to the press, it’s time to choose from among the different press outlets. Obviously, you only want your press release to feature in magazines that your target audience reads.
There are many free and paid tools/services that let you filter publications based on their niches and help you choose the relevant ones. Here are 3 good options:
- Muck Rack: Muck Rack helps you find journalists in the relevant publications, contact them, and track your PR campaigns to closure.
- JustReachOut.io: JustReachOut.io offers a huge database of journalists you can contact right through the platform.
- ANewsTip: ANewsTip uses Twitter to show you journalists who have recently posted a tweet about your niche. You also get access to their phone number, email and Twitter profile.
Another hack you could use to connect with the right writers is to go to Google News and type in your keyword:
As you can see in the above screenshot, there are lots of relevant stories around our example service and target audience. We could reach out to all the journalists who wrote these stories and pitch our story.
Crafting persuasive pitches
Once you’ve decided upon the story to promote and the outlets to reach out to, your next step is to contact the editorial team or some journalist at the outlet.
Crafting a persuasive pitch takes practice because unlike most outreach emails, you can’t use a template and expect great results.
The best way to write response generating pitch copy is to study successful PR pitches.
Kendall Baker gives some great pitching examples and guidelines in this article. And here, you have a complete walkthrough on how to write a PR pitch. If you look at the example of the initial (cold) pitch, you’ll realize that you can easily repurpose it for any example.
Now, to be honest, getting press coverage takes time.
Also, getting noticed and published is a lot tougher when you don’t have any connections in the media.
Because of these factors, you might consider hiring a PR agency or at least a freelance PR consultant.
#3. Do Local SEO
Local SEO is indispensable to any IT business. To win more local visibility, you need to do thorough local SEO. Here’s how.
Register for Google My Business
Your first local SEO step is to register for Google’s own business listing. So visit Google My Business and register your business with Google. Once you submit your listing, Google will verify your business’s physical address and you’re set.
(For step-by-step instructions on how to create a great Google My Business listing, read this interactive guide.)
Likewise, you should also register for Bing Places for Business. Also, claim your business name and create full profiles on all the relevant business directories.
Do local on-page SEO
In local on-page SEO, you basically need to add a local term like the name your city or region to your main keyword.
For example, if you offer IT staffing consulting services to businesses in San Francisco, your keyword will become “it staffing consulting san francisco.”
Here’s an example of a website that’s optimized for such localized searches: (Notice that the localized keywords are present in the page title, URL, and the meta-description.)
Once you’ve “localized” your main keywords, use these localized versions in your website’s page titles, URLs, meta-description, H2 tags, and content.
Do local off-page SEO (Build local backlinks and get reviews)
Just like backlinks boost a website’s search engine ranking, local backlinks make business websites more visible in the local search results.
To build local backlinks, sign up for all the relevant local business directories.
In addition to this, generate local backlinks by participating in local events, meetups, and conferences. Usually, at all such places, you get an attendee’s profile. Link back to your website from all these profiles.
Local PR (which is nothing but generating mentions and backlinks from local magazines) is also an effective local link building tactic. For doing local PR, use the same steps from the above section.
Another key element of off-site SEO is getting local reviews. It’s believed that local reviews affect a website’s local ranking factor. To get Google reviews, sign up for Google My Business, and create a link for customers to write reviews. Next, email this link to your existing clients. You can also use third-party review websites.
There you have them – 3 best strategies that will help you boost online visibility, and bring more leads to your IT business.
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