When it comes to marketing your IT business, I’m sure you often struggle with balancing between what you want to do and what you can actually afford.
You’d like to try promoting your services with paid ads, but Adwords and other advertising platforms are just too expensive.
You want to run a sales outreach campaign, but you haven’t got the money to buy a relevant list either.
So what’s left for you to do?
As a matter of fact, a lot.
And in this post, I’ll show you 6 marketing strategies that will help you promote your IT business, even if you’re on a shoestring budget.
Intrigued? Then let’s get started.
#1. Launch a Local SEO Strategy
Time investment: High during setup, then Minimal
When you think about, only a handful of other marketing channels are as powerful as local SEO.
And there’s plenty of data to confirm it. For example:
- The Google’s Local Pack, a selection of local results that include a contact info, reviews, and additional data, appears in 93% of searches that have a local intent.
- 50% of local searchers look for business information or other contact address. (source)
- And 78% of local-mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
So, make sure that your business information appears in Google Local and Google Maps.
Create a Google My Business listing for your company, and solicit more customer reviews to make it stand out from other IT companies.
(Note: we actually published a full guide to optimizing your MSPs local search presence. If you’ve missed it, you can check it out here.)
Then, once you get your business on Google Local, create additional listings on online business directories like Yelp, Yahoo Local or YP.com.
Many clients review business listings and review sites looking for vendors. And so, setting your MSP up on those sites is well worth the effort (plus, it’s free).
#2. Develop a Customer Referral Program
Time investment: Medium to High
We often associate marketing with channels like content, advertising, etc.
But your current customers can be a great source of new leads too. What’s more, word-of-mouth referrals typically convert at much higher rate, and faster than other promotional strategies.
Don’t believe me? Then check out these stats (via Wordstream):
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising.
- And 20% to 50% of purchases are the result of a word-of-mouth recommendation.
So, create a program to incentivize referrals from your customers.
If you’re looking for ideas to get started, check out this guide by ReferralSasquatch.
#3. Create and Promote Great Content
Cost: Free (if you’re writing the content yourself)
Time investment: High and ongoing.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the benefits of using content to promote a business already.
You know that publishing helpful advice allows you to attract the right audience to your site. And then, by providing information that helps your potential clients solve their IT-related problems, position your company as an IT authority.
And so, it comes as no surprise, then, that according to the most recent Content Marketing Institute’s Benchmarks report, 89% of businesses use content as a marketing channel.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with content marketing, check out this fantastic guide by Moz.
#4. Contribute to Your Target Audience’s Top Publications or Blogs
Time investment: High
Fact: Content marketing allows you to attract a relevant audience to your site.
Guest blogging, however, will help you gain exposure, introduce your business to the target audience, and get new leads.
Guest blogging works similarly to publishing content on your own site. The only difference is that your article appears on another, typically a high-authority site that your audience reads.
So, launch a guest posting campaign to introduce your business to existing and relevant audiences. Many of these people might already be experiencing various IT-related problems; some might even already be looking to hire an IT company to help.
Want to learn more? Kissmetrics published a massive guide to guest blogging.
(Another variation of guest blogging you could consider is guest podcasting. In this strategy, instead of writing content for someone’s site, you suggest yourself as a guest on their podcast.
To learn how to find, pitch, and appear on podcasts, check out this episode of the Early Stage Founder Podcast – Becoming an Authority by Podcasting)
#5. Improve Your Site’s SEO
Cost: Free (unless you’re hiring an SEO consultant)
Time involvement: High at first, moderate to low on an ongoing basis.
A couple of weeks ago I read a fantastic quote by Nat Eliasson (note: the emphasis in bold is mine):
“There are 5 Traffic Sources, and SEO is the Best.”
He’s so right!
Of course, other channels like direct traffic, social media or email do send visitors too. But the disadvantage of focusing on them is that you have to continuously work to keep their traffic levels high.
However, once you optimize your site for SEO, Google will just keep sending you web visits for months on end, and with no (or at most, very little) work required.
The downside? SEO is a complex and lengthy process. To get started, take a look at our guide to 3 SEO tasks any MSP should have done long ago. It will show you what you need to do to get started.
#6. Use Linkedin to Find and Connect with Relevant Prospects
Cost: Free (unless you want to use advanced search filters to find more qualified leads)
Time investment: High
Linkedin is a real goldmine of business opportunities.
With its sophisticated search tool and incredibly large user base, Linkedin offers an unparalleled opportunity to identify and connect with people you would want to do business with.
#7. Answer Questions on Quora
Time investment: Moderate to High
Finally, embrace Q&A sites like Quora to reach your audience.
Every day, people scout Quora looking for answers and advice. And needless to say, many of these people could become clients in the future.
And to connect with them, you just need to find relevant questions you can answer, and provide insightful answers.
Just take a look at the boost of traffic this marketer received once he started engaging with Quora on a daily basis:
Promoting an IT business often involves having to balance between the strategies you’d like to use, and what you can actually afford.
However, even if your budget doesn’t permit you to utilize the most popular marketing channels like pay-per-click ads, nothing’s lost.
In this post, I’ve shown you 6 strategies that will help you market your IT business for free.