Are Powerful New Marketing Tactics Making Integrators Miss Big Opportunities?
Marketing opportunities? Aren’t they all around us now? To hear many of the “new age” marketers tell it, they may be, but what’s it mean to you if you are a typical custom integration firm? You want to grow sales, but don’t have a huge marketing budget, department, or extra clock cycles.
If you’re like many small, project-oriented businesses, your marketing cycle runs something like this:
• Market your businesses
• Get new work, then some more
• No time for marketing now, gotta get ’er done!
• Whew! We were slammed!
• Oh no! The pipeline’s drying up.
• Back to square one.
It’s a vicious cycle, yet one that’s repeated over and over again by contractors everywhere. Chances are you’re living through it now, have done so in the past, and may in the future. It’s par for the course in the custom integration world.
If there’s one thing custom integrators are used to, it’s change. After all, technological change is the backbone of this business. Remember rear projection TVs, time lapse VCRs, and radio that actually used an antenna? We’re well used to showing customers how the latest gadget, projector or surround technologies can improve their lives.
Technological change has stretched its tentacles into the marketing world as well. Progressive integrators embrace blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram with reckless abandon. They’ve probably put together a Vine or YouTube video or two as well, and see varying success for their efforts.
It’s a fact: Consumers look online for what they’re selling, and increasingly use mobile devices for their searching. Savvy integrators know being at the top of the search engine results is where the action is. Many turn to search engine optimization (SEO) providers to help them climb the Google local search mountain and reach the promised land. Again, they see varying success getting noticed by potential customers.
Yes, social media and SEO can pay big dividends, but integrators would do well to remember some of key points before racing down the online marketing trail like a Pamplona street in July.
It’s not as easy as it looks to succeed there.
It takes abandon, but not of the reckless variety. Perhaps even more so than “traditional” marketing, a solid, well-researched plan is needed for success. What does that entail?
Successful marketing means knowing who your likely customers are, then being there. Teens and 20-somethings don’t drop big bucks on custom A/V and control systems, although there are certainly exceptions. Where on social media are your most likely customers?
Consistent activity is next to Godliness with social media. Do you have the resources or desire to Tweet, post,or Pin regularly and often? Should you? (Hint: Yes—if you want to succeed. Nothing turns off an audience like a social media account that looks untouched since the last presidential inauguration.) It’s such a daunting task that experienced marketers use social media tool suites to help keep their ducks in a row.
Experience and research demonstrates people want high quality
content, and respond well to it. It isn’t like falling off a log, though. Knowing what to produce, sourcing images, creating written content, putting it all together, editing, making it look professional, posting and promoting sucks time like a high-end automation project.
Tracking various metrics and adjusting campaigns accordingly (and quickly) is vital to success in social media. You’ve got to know what to track, why it’s important, and what the heck to do with the info once you’ve got it. Again, there are many tools to help here, but there’s also a learning curve that goes with them.
Playing the SEO game is somewhat akin to rolling the dice in Vegas. Sure, you can drive home in a new Bentley, but you also may be relying on your thumb for a ride home. The fact is, there are some SEO basics that can help get your website to the top of the search engine rankings, and being there will get more people to your website, if you’re ranked for the right keywords.
What are they going to find when they get there? The big question: Will they they contact you once they’ve been to your website? In marketing parlance; does your site convert? If they don’t reach out and call you, sign up for your email list, or send an email, your SEO budget is like flushing money down a toilet. Better to evaluate your site and what pages folks land on when they get there from a search engine listing. Do they convert? How do you know?
Ultimately, it comes down to this with SEO: You’re but a Google algorithm update away from disaster ... and Google updates fairly frequently. Ask the long and distinguished list of website owners who have gone from enjoying high first-page rankings to crying in their soup how it feels. From bitter experience, you’d better hope the soup’s delicious!
All the above being said, some integrators have blazed a trail and found solid success with online marketing, either by accident or design. Unfortunately, others have jumped in the online marketing pool and smacked their heads on the bottom, missing big opportunities in the process. That’s a shame, when there are excellent marketing opportunities right under your nose!
Here are excellent places to find new business for your custom integration firm, and some powerful ways to make it happen.