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Top 5 IT Marketing Ideas for Drawing in New B2B Clients (Video)

Top 5 IT Marketing Ideas for Drawing in New B2B ClientsIf you’re looking for some simple, cost-effective IT marketing ideas that can draw in new B2B clients, you’ve come to the right place.

In this video tutorial, you’ll learn about some of the best ways to draw in new business to your technology provider firm…regardless of whether you consider it a computer consulting business, VAR, network integrator, IT solution provider, MSP, system builder, or computer repair business.

(A lightly edited text transcript follows below.)

Now, what are some of the best ways to draw in new business? Take a multi-pronged approach.

Make Local Organizations a Major Priority

First and foremost, as part of your core IT marketing ideas, look to join and get active in four or five different business-related organizations right in your own local area. This could include organizations as basic as a chamber of commerce.

  • Chamber of Commerce Organizations: If you are in a major metro area or densely populated suburban area, you’ll likely find more than one chamber of commerce organization in your target market radius. For most technology providers, the target market radius is usually those prospective clients that can be reached by car within a 30- to 60-minute drive. Depending on population density, there could be a half-dozen different chamber of commerce or similar organizations to choose from. Sometimes there are local, city-related or town-related chamber of commerce organizations. Often times, there are also regionally-based chamber of commerce organizations. If you are not familiar with all of the different chambers of commerce type of organizations in your area, definitely do some homework. Search on Google, check your local business journal, check your local business newspaper, and talk to a local reference librarian.

  • Lead Sharing Organizations: Another type of organization that many technology providers overlook is lead sharing groups like LeTip International, BNI, or independent-related groups. These lead sharing groups usually get together once a week to, as the name implies, share leads. The big differentiator between a lead sharing organization and a more traditional chamber of commerce organization is that lead sharing organizations only allow one business per category. If you are “the” exclusive computer consulting business for that local chapter, no other computer consulting businesses, VARs, network integrators, IT solution providers, MSPs, system builders, or computer repair businesses can join that particular local chapter. Lead sharing groups just simply do not allow conflicts of interest. And while that sounds great on the surface, it’s important to educate your fellow chapter members about who your target prospect is. Often, the most important issue comes down to focusing primarily on business-to-business leads (B2B), as opposed to business-to-consumer leads (B2C). In other words, many small business owners who participate in lead sharing groups may be thinking that all computer support needs are created equal. It’s kind of like when someone who doesn’t know much about computers confuses Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows, or something like that. So it’s very important to educate your fellow chapter members about how your company focuses primarily on B2B clients and small business clients in particular.

  • IT User Groups: So you’ve got chamber of commerce organizations and similar, related groups. You’ve got lead sharing groups. Also, look into various IT user groups. These groups usually concentrate on one particular platform or set of technologies and provide a good way to network with subject-matter experts who do similar things to what you do. So user groups can be a great way to find non-competing technology providers that you want to partner with or subcontract various project needs to at times.

  • IT Channel-Related Groups: If there are IT channel-related associations, IT consultant-related groups, or IT reseller-related groups in your area, by all means check those out.

  • Alumni Associations: If your college or university that you went to has alumni associations, by all means, check that out.

  • Ethnic-/Religious-Based Business Owner Groups: If you are active in a religious organization that has a group of business users that get together, look into that. If you are in some kind of special interest, ethnic, or minority-related group that has a business association, join it.

  • Civic Groups: If you a particularly fond of community service, there are more civic related groups like Rotary International and Kiwanis International.

So if you are looking for some IT marketing ideas that attract and draw in new B2B clients to your company, join and get active in four or five local business-related organizations.

Actively Participate in Local B2B Trade Shows

I'm also a big believer in trade shows, but specifically focus on B2B-related tradeshows in your local community that attract small business owners and managers, the decision-makers that you are trying to reach.

For example, if you are focusing on a particular niche, such as property and casualty insurance agencies, find out what association these agents belong to and where their annual big event is, because you’ll definitely want to have a presence at that event.

Maybe it’s more than a booth, maybe it’s figuring out a way to host a breakout session, or be on some kind of panel, or do some kind of talk on the hour or demos or something like that at your booth.

Or, be on a planning committee or write an article for the newsletter or advertising program.

There are lots of different IT marketing ideas that you can use to make a splash in a big time way, to be a big fish in a little pond at a local B2B expo. And again, these B2B trade shows should be local and regional in nature because more than likely, that’s where your client base is focused.

So, second when it comes to drawing in new sources of business, attend and participate in a meaningful way at local B2B trade shows.

Share Your Knowledge with Others through Speeches and Seminars

Third, give some talks, speeches, and seminars that perhaps you may even want to sponsor yourself.

In other cases, it may be just easier to get started by going to where the audiences already are by lobbying to be the guest speaker at a breakfast event or luncheon with a local chamber of commerce.

Maybe you want to talk about the “Seven Ways to Protect Your Company Against Spam and Malware,” or “The Eight Key Questions that Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know When Shopping for a New Computer Network,” or upgrading their phone system, or whatever IT issue is top-of-mind with members. Go with whatever you think would be most useful for that particular group, that particular demographic. But get in the habit of speaking in front of groups and if you need practice, check out your local Toastmasters International chapter, a great way to get some practice and get more comfortable with your public speaking.

So as part of your primary IT marketing ideas that you use in your business, think about giving talks to, or sponsoring seminars for, local groups of small business owners and managers right in your own local community.

Be sure to emphasize “local” because most small business owners and managers really need that hand-holding. They need that one-on-one relationship. They need you to come in and take charge of anything and everything having to do with their company’s small business IT needs.

Use Direct Mail to Stay In Touch with Your In-House Mailing List

Fourth, use direct mail on a fairly regular basis to stay in touch with your in-house mailing list, your in-house database. What! You don’t have one yet?

Well, every time you go out to one of these organizational meetings, networking events, trade shows or give a talk, you absolutely, positively should be collecting names either through some sort of drawing, or some kind of special offer, trading their information in return for a white paper or audio CD or DVD.

Certainly, you are collecting business cards. All of those should be going into a database that you utilize on a regular basis to send value-added information:

  • Newsletter

  • Tips sheet

  • Special offer for a discounted needs assessment

  • Invitation to an upcoming talk you’ll be giving to a specific organization

  • Guest pass to a trade show you’ll be exhibiting at

  • New office announcement (Even better, an open house invitation)

  • New staff announcement

All of these IT marketing ideas are value-added ways of staying in touch, without being a pest. (Editor's Note: For more related tips, see 5 Excuses for Marketing Computer Services to Prospective Clients.)

Figure out ways to have a genuine reason-why to stay in touch.

Use direct mail as a way of nurturing your leads and staying in touch, because especially when it comes to substantial small business IT needs, there definitely can be a sales cycle that is usually measured at least in the neighborhood of several weeks or a few months, sometimes as long as six months to a year or longer.

Generally, those computer consulting businesses, VARs, network integrators, IT solution providers, MSPs, system builders, and computer repair businesses that stay in front of small business decision-makers are the ones that are going to become top of mind when the need to make a switch actually arises.

Let’s face it. The most promising small business IT leads in your area are genuinely going to be in situations where your firm is replacing an incumbent that leads have fallen out of love with because the honeymoon is now over.

Become Best Buds with Other Trusted Business Advisors

Finally, invest in relationships with local trusted business advisors in your local community, as well as non-competing technology providers. This is really all about getting to know local CPAs, local chartered accountants, management consultants, attorneys, ad agencies, SEO consultants, PHP developers, MySQL developers—generally anyone in your local community who has pre-existing relationships with local small businesses where you want to get a foot in the door.

How do you meet these people? All the same ways you are doing with everything else.

When you go out to the chamber meetings, the lead sharing meetings, the user groups, the reseller groups, and the industry niche trade associations, keep your antennas up because while it is really great to connect up with future prospective clients, it’s even cooler to connect up with those that can introduce you to lots of potential clients.

Bear in mind these influencers should play a very prominent role in your marketing. And the cool part: you really don’t have to invest very much financially.

A lot of owners of small technology providers say, “Gee, I don’t have much of a marketing budget.”

That’s not surprising. Most small technology providers don’t have big marketing budgets.

But the one thing you absolutely, positively can and should do, as part of your front-burner IT marketing ideas, is give yourself the goal of adding at least one new trusted advisor every single month to your contact list. This person should be in a position to send you new potential B2B clients on a fairly regular basis.

Again, great contacts to make are local accountants, attorneys, management consultants, people that work in advertising agencies, SEO consultants, and deeply niched technology providers, who are much more tightly niched than you are. The key thing when networking with other technology providers is to make sure that you don’t directly compete with each other.

Summing Up the 5 IT Marketing Ideas for Drawing in New B2B Clients

So, we have been talking about five IT marketing ideas that you can use to add to your client portfolio, to draw in new B2B clients

To recap:

  1. Make Local Organizations a Major Priority

  2. Actively Participate in Local B2B Trade Shows

  3. Share Your Knowledge with Others through Speeches and Seminars

  4. Use Direct Mail to Stay In Touch with Your In-House Mailing List

  5. Become Best Buds with Other Trusted Business Advisors

Which IT marketing ideas have worked best for you in your business? Which IT marketing ideas have you tried that haven’t worked as well? Please share your tips, hints, and war stories in the COMMENTS area below.

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