As a seasoned copywriter for IT services, the single most difficult task is creating an effective marketing campaign about nothing.
Last week a brand-new client seeking my advice about growing his application development business wanted to know the best way to get more new clients. As always, my first question is WHO is your ideal, sweet-spot client? He has no idea. When I ask what he’s actually selling, it’s as big and broad as possible – custom application development. When I ask him why a prospect would hire him over all the other application developers out there, he’s stumped. My response is simple: I can’t help you. At least, not UNTIL you can narrow down who your target customer is, articulate to me the specific problems you solve AND why they should hire you over all the other application development folks out there. ALL successful sales and marketing campaigns to attract new clients must have these elements in place.
The great ad man David Ogilvy said you need NEWS or a BIG IDEA to sell a product. Best-selling author Jack Trout proclaimed we must “DIFFERENTIATE or die.” TV advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves created the concept of “unique selling proposition.” I constantly talk to clients about developing a STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE in the marketplace that is not phony or fake but truly delivers a tangible reason why a prospect should choose to outsource their IT support to YOU versus all the other MSPs out there. So please allow me to explain, once again, why this is so important:
- You have NO BASIS to expect any success in business or in winning a client simply because you show up and do what you do. The marketplace is fair and just. It favors those businesses who go to work on CREATING a service or a product that is truly, honestly and uniquely superior to that of all its competitors, and then advertises that truth consistently and aggressively.
- Nobody NEEDS another IT services company. In fact, there are no shortages of ANY product or service, so it’s important you embrace this hard fact of life. We’re not living in the 1800s with extremely limited, “take it or leave it” options. Every prospect you talk to has dozens of choices and alternative solutions in every category; worse yet, they’re all a 10-second Google search away. If you attempt to enter an already crowded marketplace with nothing unique, newsworthy, special or of greater value than what’s already there, nobody will notice, nobody will care. You’ll be pushing a rope uphill.
- If you promote yourself as a commodity, you’ll forever be shopped on price. Given no other compelling reason on which to base their decision, ALL prospects buying IT services will default to price. If you permit yourself to be a commodity, offering “me too” services with nothing unique or special about them, you will probably starve for the remainder of your existence, or will grow at the speed of continental drift. Or you’ll be forced to compete on price, crushing your margins and erasing your personal wealth.
The only way you can get your marketing campaigns (and sales team) to deliver excellent results is by developing a COMPELLING PROPOSITION. In my program I teach 10 ways to differentiate, although all you truly need is ONE good one. But if you stubbornly, foolishly cling to the idea that there’s “nothing different about what I do,” then you better learn to be at peace with disappointing results, no money, no profits and extremely slow to nonexistent growth. Marketing consultants like me need a superior strategy, a compelling story or an interesting idea to work with. Develop that, and attracting clients will become easy.
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