What do your customers want from your IT security services?
We know what we’d want. Security (obviously), but also assurances that we were putting our trust into a vigilant and reputable company, plenty of advice, and, of course, simplicity.
Undoubtedly, your IT security business provides all of these things in abundance – but how do potential customers like us know that?
The answer is quite simple – we would head online to find out.
And what would we find when consulting Google for an IT security company that ticks all our boxes?
Well, first off, we’d certainly notice that we were faced with a mountainous range of options to choose from. The IT security industry is huge, as we probably don’t need to tell you. Gartner reveals that the global market is worth (USD) $122.45 billion in 2016 and is forecast to rise to $202.36 billion by 2020.
(Image source: statista.com)
The figures, of course, cover all IT security segments the world over. But, even so, with a market this size, you must be thinking to yourself – how big a slice would it be possible for my business to take if I had the right strategy to take it?
There are two more related questions that naturally form in response to this. First – what segment of this tantalisingly large pie is my business uniquely qualified to service? Second – how will I be able to reach business owners and decision makers within that target market?
Answer: inbound marketing.
Yes, inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is a strategy that plays into the hands of people like us (i.e. your potential customers) who want to know more about a solution like yours.
In the past, your marketing plan may have been built upon traditional or outbound marketing techniques – cold calls, advertising, trade shows, seminars, email blasts, direct junk mail.
Whilst it’s true that some of those channels can still prove, to varying degrees, useful, the way your potential clients go about making purchase decisions these days has changed dramatically.
Outbound marketing was all about interrupting the target with unsolicited messaging. Thankfully, the heyday of outbound has well and truly passed.
Today, inbound marketing reigns supreme. When someone is looking to buy something – be they a private consumer or acting on behalf of a larger organisation – they want to do it on their terms. This means that they will head online, search for information on IT security, educate themselves as to what they think they might need, what factors they should consider when partnering with an IT security business, compare pricing, and read reviews and recommendations from various channels including social.
And this is where inbound marketing comes in.
Inbound marketing is about creating and promoting the educational material that your potential customers will need when they head out in search for it on the web. It’s about making your business discoverable to all those empowered consumers out there who have yet to hear about you and what you can do for them. In short, inbound marketing is about bringing new customers to your door, rather than you going out and knocking on theirs.
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The Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Your IT Security Business
As we stated above, what we’d want from an IT security company is security (naturally), advice, credibility and simplicity.
An inbound marketing strategy therefore can be constructed to meet all of those expectations from your potential customers.
From blog posts to eBooks to white papers – written content is one of the key tools in the inbound marketing treasure chest.
A white paper can be crafted to explain in no uncertain terms exactly what IT security services you provide, why you provide them, who needs them, why they need them, how your solution addresses businesses’ most pressing IT security needs, and how your prospects will benefit.
Following the whitepaper, a blog strategy can then be utilised to support it, pulling out the key insights into easily digestible articles.
And from the blogs, infographics that visually represent the key benefits or challenges or trends or whatever it is that your potential customers need to know about IT security and their business.
Inbound marketing materials are there to educate audiences – and IT security is most certainly an industry about which audiences need to be educated. Businesses are threatened from all angles through everything from phishing scams to BYOD. You know this, but what matters is that your potential customers do. Inbound marketing serves to furnish these people with everything they need to know.
Building Trust, Authority and Credibility
Trust, authority and credibility.
Three cornerstones of any company that wants to build lasting business partnerships with clients.
Inbound marketing can be used to build trust through, for example, building an actively engaged following across social media. This would be achieved through strategic content distribution that invites questions that you are only too happy to answer.
Establishing authority will again come down to content production and distribution. Conducting and publishing vital research into the IT security industry will once again educate your audience, and position your brand as a leader in the field.
Credibility will come through testimonial and influencer marketing. We mentioned that we would look for simplicity in an IT security solution. If that’s what you can provide, then your existing clients will pay testimony to that. And, if you can encourage them to provide you with a few words about how they were able to simply sit back, safe in the knowledge that your service was working quietly yet thoroughly behind the scenes protecting all their digital assets, then you have some great pieces of inbound marketing material from which any potential customers can take reassurance.
What’s more, with all the highly educational, well-researched content that you are producing, it won’t take much to slide into the radars of some key industry influencers who will share this content amongst their devoted audiences, at once increasing your reach and building your credibility through their trusted endorsement.
Building Long-lasting Customer Relationships
Providing IT security means more than making a quick sale. Rather, it means building up a strong and loyal client base and doing everything you can to ensure that each partnership lasts as long as possible.
Inbound marketing techniques can be used most effectively for your customer retention efforts.
One of the key tactics here is to keep reminding your client base of the core value you offer their businesses on a regular basis. For IT security this will mean things like peace of mind that your solution is running effectively, that you are successfully blocking all threats that come onto the radar, that you are saving the business potentially thousands on in-house IT security teams, let alone on all the potential devastation that could be caused if you weren’t there doing your job as effectively as you are.
In addition, you can use inbound marketing to reach out to your existing clients and ask them if things are going well, if they are happy with anything, if there are any areas of your service that could be improved, etc. You may well find that they have questions about the IT security you provide that have so far gone unanswered. In which case, you can start creating content that will fill these knowledge gaps, with the added benefit of knowing that any potential customers who might have had the same questions can now find out the answers for themselves.
Over to You
Education, trust-building and loyalty are just three of the many benefits that an inbound marketing strategy will bring to your IT security business. This is the most valuable type of information that your prospective clients will be searching for when deciding in whom they want to invest – and your inbound marketing strategy aims to serve this information when they go out in search for it.