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Everything you’re doing wrong: a marketing checklist for IT service providers

Yikes, where to start… 

I’ve been at Articulate coming on a good three years now, and in my time here, I’ve seen my fair share of ‘marketing done right’. That’s not a brag, but, well… we know about digital marketing for IT service providers; it’s our job, just like you understand IT support and cloud services. It’s what you’re good at.

But, knowing how to do marketing right often means seeing other people do marketing wrong. And boy, do some of them get it wrong.

Here are a few things that I’ve seen IT service providers get wrong, time and time again.

1.     You’re trying to rank for the word ‘technology’ on Google

Yes, we’ve seen this one, too. Clients come to us wanting to reach the top spot on Google for buzzwords like ‘technology’, the 'cloud’, or even worse, just ‘IT’. 

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Search engine optimisation and keyword research doesn’t work like that. Unless you’re a big technology company – like Apple, Google, Tesla or Microsoft – don’t bother. And even they have to compete with things like Google’s ‘freshness’ factor. 

SEO-keyword research is about finding your niche, honing your niche and then writing content that targets your niche. That way, you can own what HubSpot call a ‘sphere of influence’ on Google, rather than sit on page 12 for competitively generalised terms.

2.   You’re using staple stock imagery

The days of crappy stock images are over, so stop using them.

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For many IT service providers looking to get a leg-up on their digital marketing, bespoke illustrations are the way to go.

When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later, according to HubSpot

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If 51 percent of B2B marketers are prioritising visual assets as part of their content marketing strategy, why aren’t you?

3.   You spend all your PPC budget on AdWords

For B2B IT service providers, Google AdWords should not be your PPC platform of choice. You’re spending money on awareness, not leads. In fact, you might as well walk into Google HQ and leave your cash with the receptionist at the front desk.

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For lead conversions, look to social media advertising instead. We recommend LinkedIn as the platform of choice. 66 percent of marketers believe LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for B2B.

And it’s simple to see why. Every CIO, CDO and CEO (i.e. technology decision makers) will have a LinkedIn profile. And their profile will say who they work for, how big their company is and what industry they work in.

Throw your money at these people, and you’ll likely be rewarded with higher conversions, not just more website visits.

4.   Sh*t websites

A website is never a ‘finished product’. It’s a constant battle to update, optimise and fine-tune every page so that your user experience (UX) is as smooth as possible.

But, for some reason, companies fail to understand this. Perhaps it’s a lack of resources, time or knowledge, but many IT service providers will launch a website, and then leave it to do its thing for the rest of eternity.

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Oh, the irony. It’s like a doctor who smokes.

If you do one thing to help your marketing efforts, sort your website out, or hire someone like us to sort it out for you.

5.    Your website isn’t optimised for mobile

Almost half of all search volume results are from smart phones, according to Google mobile search statistics. Time and time again, we see IT service providers with well-oiled desktop websites, but truly terrible mobile ones.

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Whether you like it or not, the future of websites will be mobile first, and as a result, your website needs to fit on the head of a pin. According to Google, there are 27.8 billion more queries performed on mobile than desktop. 

Not only is mobile site optimisation important for your users (who, let’s face it, are probably reading your blogs on the toilet), but it’s important for ranking higher on Google, too.

Even as far back as 2015, Google announced it was rolling out their mobile-friendly algorithm update. If you haven’t yet considered a mobile-first website, you might want to get on that train, and fast.

Slow and steady wins the race

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s about testing what works and what doesn’t. It’s about iterating and optimising. Ultimately, it’s about building something over the long term.

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Avoid the mistakes above, and you’ll stand a good chance of sustaining business growth, and isn’t that the entire point?

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Callum Sharp

Marketing Copywriter and the go-to SEO guy at Articulate. Lover of Jack Kerouac, strong coffee and travelling. I can't afford a house because I like avocados too much.