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IT Service Firms - Lead Generation Ideas You Might Not Have Thought Of

You’ve got the team of experts in place, you’ve printed your stationary, and you are ready and willing to solve the world’s pressing IT problems. But what your IT company needs are customers, and plenty of them. Perhaps you’re just starting out and haven’t put lead-nurturing policies and steps in place, or perhaps you’re simply not seeing the results you once did from your current marketing tactics.

We’ve put together a few ideas for improving lead generation for your IT company. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more of these ideas will help you find and help more customers and grow your business.

Generate More Customer Referrals

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Lovely old Mrs. Jones calls you to fix her computer, which is freezing on startup. It’s a pretty easy fix, and you get it done in 35mins, while she brings you cup after cup for herbal tea and tells you ad nauseum about her cats. Mrs. Jones tells everyone at her bingo club about the nice man who fixed her computer and gave Fluffy a tummy rub. The next week, you get two more callouts from Mrs. Jones’ bingo friends. You keep a container of cat treats in the car.

One of the best lead generation techniques is to inspire your customers to refer their friends and family. By empowering customers to talk about your company to other people in their network, you will be tapping into a huge potential customer base. You never know who people know. One of Mrs. Jones’ friends moves into a rest home, and puts you in touch with the director to get all the residents’ computers set up. Sweet!

Here are some ideas for inspiring customer referrals.

  • Do a fantastic job. Go above and beyond to offer quality service and a great price. Be worthy of referrals.

  • Incentivise referrals. Offer your customers 10% off your next service if they refer another client.

  • Add a note to the bottom of your invoice asking customers to refer you on to friends and family. Ask, and ye shall receive!

  • Add a shareable link to the bottom of your email signature encouraging recipients to refer you on.

  • Use social media pages like Facebook to encourage referrals through social sharing. You could even run a competition to encourage sharing (read the FB rules for competitions first, though).

  • When you attend a callout, always offer the client a few extra business cards, that way they can pass your details on to their friends.

  • Just ask! When your clients express how happy they are with your services, let them know you'd love them to tell their family and friends about your company.

Co-Marketing / Cross Promotion

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Your company create an informal partnership with a mobile services firm with offices in the same building. The companies have a lot of synergies. You’re both able to refer clients, but also take active roles in advertising each other’s services through your email newsletters, in-store signs, and notes on your website. As both companies profiles grow, so do both your businesses.

You’ve already explored how powerful client referrals can be, but if you double the size of the customer base giving those referrals, and add some powerful business referrals on top of that, you are on to a winner.

Here are some cross-promotional opportunities for IT service firms:

  • Team up with other IT companies providing services that compliment yours. Say your firm provides support for Mac, and there’s another company in town providing PC support. Chances are high many of your customers will have both PC and Mac issues, so you’ll be covering the full width of the market.

  • Join a networking group where referrals are given, such as Venus Group or Business Network International. You’ll give referrals to other business (from mortgage brokers and florists to graphic designers and fund managers) and in return receive referrals from their networks.

  • Team up with a business offering complimentary services, such as mobile services, business IT (if you’re consumer), app development, web design, or hardware and software sales. Create a referral funnel between your companies to help both of you grow your customer base.

Power-Ups!

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Not so much a way to generate new business, but definitely a great way to offer value to customers, create a talking point, and generate repeat business.

Power-Ups are the computer geek terminology for upgrades, freebies, special offers, discounted packages and other pricing structures and strategies for creating incentive to purchase. What you can offer will depend on the services you provide, but here are a few ideas for power-ups for IT companies:

  • First Half Hour Free - for a limited time. This will encourage customers hesitating making a call-out jump on the chance for a discount.

  • Secret Word Discount. If the customer says the magic word to your on the phone, they will get a significant discount. This rewards your loyal and active customers, and is a cool “secret” you can share with them.

  • Free or Discounted Upgrades. Offer free or discounted upgrades to new or better services or software, to encourage customers to sign up for more.

  • Book hours in advance / offer retainers. A huge trend right now is to offer packages providing a certain amount of hours each month for a fixed rate. This is a great way to grow, as customers often won’t use the full amount each month, so even with a discounted hourly rate you’ll still be making serious bank.

Speaking at Conferences and Events

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Now, this might seem like a weird way to market an IT company, but hear me out.

At events, people are looking at the newest technology, techniques or services that will solve their problems and make their lives happier. They are interested in how you can do this. They can afford the ticket to the event, so they have probably got money for investing in IT, and they will happily become a client if a compelling talk convinces them they should be.

So be that compelling talker.

Marketing your services through events will be particularly effective for business clients, because they will largely be the ones attending conferences and the ones willing to spend the amount of money required to make your attendance pay off.

  • Use fun games and jokes at the beginning of your talk to break through the awkwardness.

  • Create 1-2 standard talks and adapt them to each industry you talk to.

  • Don’t just talk about what you do, explain how your company will IMPROVE THE PROSPECT’S BUSINESS.

  • Give them stats, give them examples, give them success stories. Show examples of apps and software you have available. Get them EXCITED about IT.

  • Consider sponsoring charity events with themes that support your industry, for example, a charity auction to raise money to get computers in schools. You’ll get your name in front of lots of the people.

  • Consumer events that you might be able to attend include robot competitions, other “geeky’ events like conventions, and science fairs.

  • Ask your most outgoing, most dilligent public speaker to do your talks at conferences and events. Just becuase you're the director, doesn't mean you need to be onstage. Put the person who is most comfortable and skilled in front of an audience in a position to have the most impact. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you don't have anyone on your team confident enough to stand-up, then perhaps it's time you invested in some speaker training!
  • Types of conferences you could speak at: Industry specific (eg. interior design, insurance industry, etc), Tech conferences, product roadshows. Business performance, tech roadshows, etc.

Content Marketing

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When your computer breaks down or you receive an unusual error message, what’s the first thing you do? Well, you google the problem, of course! This is what most of your customers will do before they call you, as they’ll hope the internet may be able to solve their problem for them.

Imagine if a fraction of the people googling their computer problems landed on your website? Imagine if they read a useful article about their issue. Imagine if they learned something valuable about protecting their computer from viruses, or could download a cool little “computer health checklist”? If you offered these things for free, when they need to call a specialist, you’ll be top of the list.

Here’s how an IT company can use content marketing to their advantage:

  • Create a company blog. Each week, give 1-2 of your staff the job of writing some quick, simple tips and tutorials about the types of problems customers often face. Share this content on a Facebook page. The more content you generate, the more traffic you’ll get from search engines.

  • Create some short PDF guides. Perhaps troubleshooting guides for common problems, or a “Computer Fitness Test” for customers to keep their machines healthy. Create a landing page for these info-products were customers sign up to a mailing list to receive them.

  • Now you’re collecting email addresses. Once every month or so, email out a newsletter to your newly formed list. Let them know what’s new on your blog, if you’re having any specials this month, and perhaps add another great tip for computer noobs.

  • Alternatively, create a cool app or free program which customers can download in exchange for their email address.

Live Chat

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Have you ever logged on to a website, only to notice a little chat box popping up with a friendly greeting and a helpful question, such as “How can I help you, today?” Live chat makes customers feel as if they’ve actually walked into a retail store. That human connection is instantly established. It creates a point-of-difference for your firm and offers an immediate link with prospects that can quickly provide real-time leads.

Here are some tips for successful implementation of a Live Chat service:

  • Train a great team. Online Chat services will fall flat if the team isn’t up to the challenge. Train your team to own the conversation and move the customer toward a sale.

  • Have clear guidelines. Make sure your team understands what will be done over live chat and when you need to move the client to another service.

  • Use the right language. So much can be misconstrued over chat, where tone and facial expression can’t be read. Make sure your team understand how to use professional, descriptive language to get to the heart of a problem.

Hopefully, from this article you’ll be able to gleam a few ideas for improving lead generation at your IT company. Growing your firm will come naturally as a result of increased demand for your services. So deliver the best quality services for the best price, and make sure people know about you, and you should have customers flocking to your door. Or hobbling, in the case of dear old Mrs. Jones.

Cartoons courtesy of: Geek & Poke