One of the biggest challenges IT solution providers face is communicating their value to customers and prospects. At the Fall 2016 Ingram Micro ONE event, Laura Posey, owner of Simple Success Plans, had some good advice to share with attendees about this important topic.
Many people think marketing is mostly art and just a little bit of science, but the opposite is true, says Posey. Here are some highlights of the seven strategies she shared to help your channel company improve at marketing.
Strategy #1: Know Your Expected Outcome
“Never spend a dollar or a minute of time on marketing until you know exactly what you’re going to get out of it,” Posey said.
One of the first principles to understand is the marketing spectrum. On one end is branding, which entails building awareness of who you are and what you stand for, and at the other end is direct response marketing, which entails making something happen in a short window.
Strategy #2: Segment Your Audience.
You have two audiences: prospects and clients. Never neglect clients; they’ve already given you money and are 10 times more likely to do it again, said Posey. Segmenting your audience enables you to deliver targeted offers, which translates to cheaper ads and a higher conversion rate. The more precisely you segment your audience, the clearer your message will be. Ideally, you want every recipient to feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Some ways you might consider segmenting your audience are:
- Industry (education, healthcare, manufacturing)
- Psychographics (security-focus vs. connectivity focus)
- Company Size (revenue or number of employees)
- Buyer (CTO vs. owner)
Strategy #3: Plan Your Paths
Consider your ideal buyer within each segment and then map out the buyer’s journey. What is the ideal path? Consider how you’ll handle a yes or no at each decision point. This is very trackable and can be automated using software such as Infusionsoft, Active Campaign, or HubSpot. The key is to develop a flow chart that includes different options for each decision point, Posey said. And track your conversions at each step and identify the bottlenecks so you can fix them.
Strategy #4: Follow Up with Contacts
Posey’s motto is that you need a minimum of eight follow-up contacts for each action until the purchase is made. You can use a variety of techniques for emails to avoid redundancy, such as sending an education link one time, a FAQ message another time, a customer testimonial, etc.
If you’re calling prospects you can take different approaches, too, such as an appointment request one time, an educational offer the next, and an event offer after that.
Strategy #5: Test Your Marketing Activities
Whatever you put out there may or may not work. If you can improve your conversion 10 percent, it can have a dramatic impact on your results. Testing is the key to making your marketing better:
- Landing Page. Test your headline, image, offer and call to action.
- Email. Test your subject, p.s. message, offer and call to action.
- Calls. Test your intro, script, call to action, offer and timing.
Test one thing at a time. Don’t test body text or button colors, just big stuff.
Strategy #6: Set a Budget and Spend It
Use your own money, Posey recommended; you’re more likely to make better decisions than if you rely on co-op funds. Know your CPL (cost per lead), CPA (cost per acquisition), and ROI (return on investment). Don’t spend a penny to advertise on LinkedIn direct response marketing, she says.
Strategy #7: Find a Marketing Strategist
Posey advised against hiring a full-time marketing person, copywriter, web designer, email marketer, SEO manager or graphic designer. Instead, outsource your marketing to a strategist that understands marketing metrics and can give you a dashboard to help you keep an eye on what your marketing is doing. A good strategist will hire additional talent as needed, so you won’t have to worry about it.