Nine out of ten startups fail - and a staggering 86 percent of businesses do so because of cash flow problems.
When you set up your IT company, it's important to keep in mind how you're going to attract customers to keep that cash flow turning over and avoid business closure.
Don't worry, however: IT marketing is simple and doesn't have to cost a lot to bring customers in.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you're marketing your IT services to bring in regular money - without spending a ton of capital up front.
Four Steps to Effective IT Marketing
Marketing your IT business can be easily done in just a few steps. Follow these tips to make sure you're capturing the perfect audience with a low-maintenance - yet highly effective - marketing strategy.
1. Market Offline
You read that correctly! Over half of all new businesses are started by entrepreneurs aged over 50. Many of these people have developed a career in an offline world and won't necessarily be looking for your services on the internet.
To find the customers who really need your service, combine your digital marketing strategies with some more old-school offline ones.
Step up your offline marketing by attending local networking meetings, handing out business cards, and doing a bit of targeted cold-calling to make sure you're catching potential customers.
Companies that don't have a good website - or none at all - are actually ideal customers. It often means they need a company to provide IT support to deliver this service for them - so make sure offline marketing strategies are part of your regular approach.
2. Get Your Website Up to Scratch
Even if your company offers back-end IT support services, not web development or management, it's imperative that your website looks the part.
You need potential customers to see that you're walking the walk. Make sure your website loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and has plenty of contact opportunities across the site.
Make sure your content works for you by using SEO keywords as naturally as possible. Use a keyword planner to find typical search terms that customers would use to find your site on Google. Incorporate some of these keywords into your content as well as your online adverts.
3. Make the Most of Testimonials
Unlike a product-based company, potential customers have no way of knowing whether you are as good at what you do as you say you are. There is no physical product to hold, no actual quality to determine: it's just your word that your service is the best.
Use the power of referral to start convincing potential customers that you're the best IT services provider in your field. Word-of-mouth is the strongest marketing tactic available, and you can leverage it with ease using third-party review sites.
It's important to use an external review site, like TrustPilot, as this reassures potential customers that the reviews are genuine.
4. Offer Free Trials of Your Service
Where practical, consider letting customers try your service on a free trial. This lends weight to the idea that you believe in your service so much that you'll put your own money - and time - behind proving its worth to new customers.
Free trials are an ideal way to hook new customers in and can help you to develop your service further. For example, you can ask for feedback at the end of a trial if customers choose not to continue with the paid service. This will help you to hone your offering - or your target market.
Hire a Digital Marketing Expert
Running your own business means wearing a lot of hats: owner, accountant, fundraiser, marketer, HR, strategist... the list goes on. Do you really have time to regularly invest in all of the marketing techniques above?
To truly grow your IT business, consider hiring an IT marketing expert whose sole responsibility is to generate continuous revenue for that all-important cash flow. Take off your marketing hat and pass it on to somebody who really knows their stuff - so you can focus on other parts of the company, like business development.
To make sure you're looking at the right candidates for your marketing position, here's our guide on how to recruit into an IT role.