The Small IT Firm's Online Marketing Cheat Sheet

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Introduction

Spend your time running your business, not your marketing.

Most online IT marketing firms today know that "content is king," but not all know where to begin when it comes time to creating and sharing content online. By leveraging this marketing guide, you can build your target market, boost customer confidence and create a more informed consumer public.

Types of Content

Content marketing is the creation and sharing of useful, valuable content that helps your audience with a purchase decision, solves a specific problem or offers practical advice.

Identify the types of content your audience would be interested in receiving.

  • Email newsletters
  • Blogs
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Podcasts
  • Video Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Case studies
  • Tutorials
  • Press Releases
  • Educational resources
  • Webinars & Presentations
  • Reviews & Testimonials

4 Reasons IT Firms Need Content Marketing

  1. Provides valuable, useful content that customers want and need
  2. Builds credibility among customers and prospects
  3. Increases lead generation and customer acquisition
  4. Positions your firm as a trusted source and thought leader

Editorial Marketing Calendar

An Email Marketing Calendar will keep you and your team organized and it will allow you to pre-plan all outgoing communications.

Formulate a strategic creation and distribution plan for all of your IT Firm's emails, blogs and social media interactions to higher level content including the distribution of white papers and e-books as well as planning webinars, podcasts and anything your client might benefit from.

IT Marketing Manager's Checklist to Creating a Marketing Calendar

  1. Form a Plan. Pre-plan up to three months in advance
  2. Identify the Right Content. Determine the types of content to produce
  3. Establish Deadlines. Make reasonable deadlines for each piece of content
  4. Plan Accordingly. Be sure to plan around the holidays

Content Distribution Strategy

  1. News Media. News organizations and blog networks are always on the lookout for relevant articles.
  2. Social Media. Facebook and LinkedIn are an excellent source of content distribution.
  3. Mobile. Mobile apps are a growing trend among consumers today.
  4. Multichannel Marketing. Content distributed in this fashion should be clearly branded so that readers can identify the information with your company right away.
  5. Offer Downloads. White papers and eBooks offer a whole new dimension to content distribution in your IT marketing.
  6. Blog Posts. Distributing valuable content through blog posts is a powerful and effective way to reach your audience and position your IT Firm as a thought leader in the industry.
  7. Additional Mediums. Video and podcasts can also be used in your online IT marketing through websites like YouTube, iTunes or on your own company website.

10 Tips for Writing Useful Content

  1. Solve a problem. People subscribe to emails because they're looking for solutions and practical advice to help them drive more business and reach their goals.
  2. Provide resources. Educate customers and prospects with informative, valuable resources that help them make educated decisions.
  3. Make it about your audience. Produce and share content that your audience wants to read about; things that matter to them, updates that may affect the way they do business.
  4. Get creative. Use unique marketing platforms, such as videos, podcasts, etc. to get your audience's attention.
  5. Check out your competitors. Be aware of what your competitors are up to, just don't steal their content.
  6. Take a poll. Find out what your customers want and deliver it.
  7. Utilize cross channel-marketing. Combine online marketing strategies with offline efforts.
  8. Lose the jargon. Avoid the sales pitch and simply have a conversation with your customers.
  9. Get your fans talking. Let your satisfied customers market your products and services for you through testimonials, refer-a-friend programs and customer reviews.
  10. Do a demo. Create a brief, instructional video and distribute it via email to drive more online traffic.

Social Media Strategy

The practice of social media or social sharing allows you to gather new leads and followers that you may have never had the opportunity to get in front of any other way.

The important piece is to ensure you are interacting with the right people on these various social platforms.

Identify where your primary audience spends most of its social media time — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter? And begin reaching out and engaging with them on these platforms.

4 Steps to Building Social Media Relationships

  1. Find and Target Your Audience. Follow like-minded people on Twitter and browse Facebook groups for people interested in your industry, products or services.
  2. Start the Communication. By engaging in a conversation, rather than just talking at them, you are building a relationship.
  3. Respond. When your fans and followers do start getting involved in the conversation acknowledge their comments, respond to them, answer their questions and thank them for their loyalty.
  4. Don't Stop Building. Keep fans and followers engaged by consistently offering unique and interesting insights, provide valuable information that they can actually use in order to keep them around for as long as possible.

Create 10 Blogs & Podcasts in 30 Minutes

  1. Collect the last 10 questions that you have received from your customers regarding your product, services or web site.
  2. Take one question at a time and use your computer's microphone to create a podcast - take 1 to 3 minutes to answer the question in your own words.
  3. Have the audio podcast transcribed and converted into a blog post.
  4. Upload your podcast to your website and post your new blog. Don't forget to Tweet about it, mention it on your Facebook page and add a link from your LinkedIn profile.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until you have answered 10 questions!

Search Engine Optimization

  • Keywords. Use relevant, commonly searched keywords: Write your content using phrases that people are likely to search on in order to increase your chances of getting high-ranked natural listings.
  • Incoming Links. Get other sites to link to yours: To increase your number of inbound links, publish articles with links back to your site or ask other sites with related content to link to your site.
  • Design & Structure. Examine site design and structure: Every page on your site should be accessible from your home page without two to three clicks.
  • HTML Tagging. Use HTML tags effectively: HTML title tags, meta descriptions and header tags help search engines like Google and Yahoo! To identify your content and increase your page rankings.