According to Gartner forecasts, worldwide revenue for cloud service providers topped $260 billion last year and shows no signs of slowing down. However, it’s likely the services that associate themselves with manufacturers or big-brand distributors will have the easiest time gaining a large share of this growing business just because of name recognition and marketing resources.
As a smaller CSP, you may have great technical depth but less experience with marketing your services to the right customers. Still, you can master the fundamentals without having access to a large marketing department if you employ some tested strategies and a bit of common sense.
The Basics of Generating Tech Leads for CSPs
As a small, local, or startup CSP, your company can generate productive leads, attract new customers, and earn your share of this booming industry. You should take the time to learn a few things about effective lead-generation methods and to consider what you hope to achieve through your marketing efforts.
Start by Describing Your Best Customers
Peter Drucker, one of the most influential business speakers of the 20th Century, defined marketing as having such a deep understanding of customers that tailored offers will practically sell themselves. You should not begin marketing by creating ads, websites, marketing funnels, or email campaigns. You should first sit down to create buyer personas that describe your most likely kinds of customers and the representatives of those organizations you want to talk to.
Besides just describing the kinds of businesses or positions you hope to target, also consider these other factors for your description:
- What kinds of issues are likely to encourage customers to spend money with a company like yours?
- What competitive advantage can your company claim that sets you apart from competitors that may be larger and better known than your company?
Only after you clearly define your target market, their pain points, and why they should seek your business instead of a rival, can you figure out how you want to market to them and even what you hope to market. On the other hand, good definitions of your target market will help you succeed at any kind of marketing that you decide to employ.
Inbound Marketing Campaigns
One of the best ways to capture warm leads for your business is through a well-planned inbound marketing campaign. Basically, you want to let people know that your company exists and then engage the right prospects. By the time you actually speak with prospects, they should already have some familiarity with your company and how you can help them.
Assuming you understand a buying organization’s pain points, you can get their attention with this kind of campaign:
- Create valuable information that you can post online in exchange for contact information. You could record a webinar, craft a white paper, or even develop a free app that offers some answers to pressing questions about the prospect’s computer problems. You could generate topic ideas based on the reasons your current customers decided to sign a contract, industry research, or information from a survey you conduct.
- Post that valuable resource behind a lead generation form, so you can capture email addresses, phone numbers, names, company data, the requester’s position, and other information that will help you gauge and contact the prospect. You have a better chance to collect leads if you don’t make the form too long, so you’ll have to balance the amount of information you require with how impatient your prospects might be.
- Instead of using all of your advertising budget to promote your services, divert some resources into making sure your market knows about your free offer. Your customers should have an interest in free information about reducing repair costs, preventing security issues, or cutting storage costs. They’ll certainly be willing to exchange an email address and maybe a phone number to learn about solutions.
Using Social Media to Your Advantage
When you first create a social media page, you’ll have to attract an audience of engaged fans and followers. In order to navigate that first obstacle toward social media success, consider these steps:
- Decide which social media sites to focus on at first. For example, you might use LinkedIn to connect with other businesses. Facebook may help you attract your local community. Techies like to hit up Twitter for the latest industry trends and product updates. Try to learn where good prospects tend to communicate and socialize online.
- Make sure that you invest in professional profile pages with attractive graphics and easy-to-find contact information and offers. Many potential customers will have their first experience with your company on your social page. Don’t forget that you can leverage this page as a sales page as well as a place to grow your community.
- Get your employees to connect with your social page and to do their part to promote your company. To gain attention for your own pages, you might spend some time engaging influencers in their own conversations too. You can encourage your employees to do the same.
- Test out different social advertising campaigns that might be geared toward promoting one of your free offers or other helpful information that you plan to post directly on your pages. While you might add short articles to your social sites, you could also consider using informative graphics and even short videos.
- Construct content for your social sites with an end goal in mind. You’ll want your audience to take an action, like visiting your lead page or picking up the phone, so be sure to include a call to action.
How Do You Know When Your Marketing Works?
In the beginning, when you set out to describe your ideal prospects, you should also consider your business goals. With those goals in mind, come up with measures that can help you understand how much you gained from your marketing efforts. For instance, you could create measures of engagement that will show you how many new connections you made or new leads you brought in. Even better, you should translate some of those metrics into a reflection of additional revenues or profits.
While you might be satisfied by just building brand awareness at first, you’ll also need to translate your efforts into revenue. Still, even if you know that you’ve increased your leads without helping your bottom line much, at least you have the information to start figuring out where the problem lies.
Then you can start tuning your marketing with improvements that might include better definitions of your target market, more attractive offers, or simply by learning how to close sales more effectively. You can learn the fundamentals of effective marketing, but getting the best results from your investment usually takes some persistence.