When it comes to marketing, is your business reactive or proactive?
Reactive businesses sit back and wait for new clients to just turn up. That was fine 10 years ago, but not today. And certainly not in 2017. The marketplace for IT support companies is too aggressive to take such a passive approach.
Proactive businesses are seeking and developing new clients all of the time. There’s nothing wrong with that. The most successful businesses are those that prioritise marketing and selling.
You’re great at what you do, right? More decision makers in your local area should be clients so they can experience that.
A proactive business has these 5 things in place
- Permission and education-based direct response marketing: Get people’s permission to market to them, then educate them about how to choose a new IT support company
- Sequence to nurture and follow-up new leads: People only buy when they’re ready to buy. Find out who the prospects are and then get permission to market to them
- Strategy to turn new leads into initial IT reviews: Aka selling meetings
- Strategy to get them onto a recurring revenue service scheme: So they never lapse or fall out of the habit of using your business. To leave they must make a conscious choice to move on
- Strategy to ask clients for referrals: A formal system to use on your happiest clients: “Who else do you know that would benefit from our service?”
There are lots of ways to get new clients. But in 2017 you should really be prioritising 80% or more of your new client marketing spend on Google, and the other 20% on Facebook.
Why? Because of the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It’s an amazing part of your brain that has many jobs; one of which is to filter the information your senses pour into the brain.
Here’s an example. Your eye sees a sign for a solicitor; and your RAS decides that it’s not relevant to you right now. So your RAS doesn’t bother flagging it up to your conscious mind.
But when you see another IT support business… your RAS is screaming at you… “IT support… look, it’s IT support… IT support… LOOK”.
This is why traditional advertising in newspapers, magazines and radio doesn’t work so well any more. People see your adverts. But they don’t perceive them.
You do, but you’re not normal, because you are very IT support-aware.
You can assume that there are only 10 people looking for a new IT support company in your area today. Tomorrow there will be a different 10 people. And a further 10 people the day after that.
Most of them will just go to Google. And out of laziness, most will click on the websites that are the highest on the page.
So you need to do whatever is within your power to occupy the top positions within Google. Sometimes that means investing in PPC (pay per click; the adverts at the top).
Especially since Google removed the orange box behind the adverts; effectively hiding them from the average Google user. Before that, fewer than 1 in 10 people admitted clicking on the adverts. These days more people will click… because they don’t realise they are clicking on adverts. Naughty Google.
And it’s likely you will need to invest some resource into SEO too (search engine optimisation). It’s believed that these days, there are more than 500 factors that affect where your site sits within Google. When you start talking figures like that, you need experts who know what they’re talking about.
You use Google to reach people who are nearly ready to buy and are researching. Then you use Facebook as an effective way to reach decision makers during their downtime, or for remarketing (displaying a message to someone who has already been on your website).
It’s a powerful combination.
Your website is the centre of your marketing
The only reason to be better at Google and Facebook is to drive high quality traffic to your website. Then you need to work hard to turn that traffic into enquiries, and clients.
Put data capture on every page of your website (side note – I have a new lead generation service (based around data capture) coming in January).
Then, because ‘sign up for our newsletter’ no longer works, offer something in return for their data. This is called an ethical bribe. Some form of IT support buyers guide works well.
Data capture has a simple purpose, to get the contact details of someone who might eventually go on to buy from an IT support company, somewhere.
The idea is to remove ‘hope’ from your marketing. Instead of hoping they will remember your business from their first brief visit to your website a few days ago (they won’t); you flip around the marketing relationship.
When you have a database of local decision makers who are looking for a new IT support company; you have taken control of the marketing. Now, you can market to them.
You see, you want to capture three pieces of information: Their name, their email address, and their phone number. Nothing more; nothing less.
This gives you enough info to market to them with personalised follow-up emails; and also to qualify them. Someone who gives you their real phone number is a higher quality prospect than someone who enters ‘999” into the phone number box.
You can set up stand alone data capture pages for specific marketing promotions. When you do any kind of marketing, make the call to action to a specific data capture page.
An effective follow-up sequence should be the next step and ensure you keep going back until they’re ready to book an IT review.
Because people only buy when they’re ready to buy. Someone who is on your website today, isn’t necessarily ready to buy from your business today. The trick is being in front of them on the day they are ready to take action.
The business that wins the new client will not be the one that is most polite. It will be the one that builds the biggest list of prospects, and markets it the most aggressively.
I make no apology for wanting that to be your business. This is not about being the best IT support company in town. It’s about having the greater marketing ability.
Providing a high quality service is critical, of course. Marketing it well so you get plenty of clients is just as important.
The real results come from the follow-up
For every 100 people who have gone through your data capture, at any one time, 95% of them are not yet ready, willing and able to buy from you.
Picking an IT support company is what’s known as a considered purchase. Unless an emergency forces swift action, people operate at their own pace. For some, that’s rapid. For most it’s slow.
So long as your business is in front of them at the exact moment they are ready to take action, you are dramatically more likely to get the client.
If there’s one area of this that you will get wrong, it’s the follow-up. There are stats from professional selling which show you how persistence pays off.
48% of sales people never follow-up with a prospect. 25% make a second contact and stop there. Only 12% of sales people make more than three contacts.
Yet only 2% of sales are made on the first contact. 3% are made on the second; 5% on the third, 10% of the fourth… and a stunning 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
Put in a context for your business, that means you keep emailing potential clients until one of three things happen… they either buy, die, or say “bye bye” (as in they unsubscribe from your emails).
You have nothing to fear in continually emailing people who have given you their email address, and permission to email them!
The worst thing they can do is unsubscribe and possibly even report you for spam… few will actually do this. Far more will become great long-term clients of yours.
Also strongly consider phoning prospects. If they’ve given you their phone number, then use it.
This isn’t about hard sell. It’s about asking open questions to understand the prospect, their needs and wants, and move your relationship on.
Follow-up emails work. But nothing beats speaking to someone on the phone.