You have an IT business that needs IT marketing. You know how to deliver good customer service, but you need marketing to keep it healthy. The only problem is; what's the best tool? For many owners of small IT service businesses, deciding on how to market your business can be bewildering. But all you really want to do is keep your business top of mind when it comes to your customers and potential clients. Social media helps with this, as does a regular blog on your website. But even with all the changes on the web, the most effective way to stay on top of your client's call list remains email marketing. A weekly or monthly newsletter with a service such as MailChimp can be easy to do and the most cost effective method of direct business to business marketing.
MailChimp's IT Marketing Basics
If you have a list of 2,000 or less subscribers, you can use Mailchimp for your IT marketing for free. This basic service will allow you to send out 12,000 emails a month, although this version does not include any autoresponders. If you have ever used these as part of an email marketing campaign, you will know that they are a valuable add-on. But for anyone just getting into the idea of doing a monthly or weekly email marketing campaign, this free service is a great way to test the waters and learn by doing.
Luckily it is easy to get started with this type of IT marketing. All you need to do is go to their website and set up an account with a login and password, like you would on any other account. Because of anti-spam laws you must provide a user name and a physical address that will appear on all material that MailChimp sends out. Since a mailing address MUST appear on the bottom of each mailing piece, you may want to consider getting a post office box address if you don't have one already.
Building Your Mail Lists
Of course, all of this depends on your company already having accumulated a mailing list that has been culled carefully. I do not recommend using paid mailing lists as they often have old or unusable email address. They also frequently have a large percentage of names that will "opt out" when you first send them your mailing. The important thing for effective IT marketing is to make sure that the names on your email lists are of people who want this mailing from you. Since building that email list is the first step, it is important to be sure that your list is complete. The first time you use it, MailChimp will require that they respond with a request to receive your mailings, so be sure that list is of good prospects who want your information. As you move forward, you will add to this list by letting people know they can sign up for your newsletter. MailChimp will provide a way to do this in three ways:
- They will create your own URL that can be inserted in Facebook or Twitter posts, or added to the pages.
- If you want to insert a link to a signup page, they can provide HTML code for this link.
- If you want to let readers know on your website or blog in the sidebar that they can subscribe, MailChimp can also provide HTML code for this.
Building Your Newsletter
Now that you have setup your mailing list and created the places where people can sign-up, you are ready to create your first marketing piece. On MailChimp you will see a central dashboard that allows you to do easy designs using templates, based on what you are sending out. Everything from simple postcards that are reminders to get their system updated to monthly newsletters that tell your customers the latest software offerings can be designed here. One of the best features in MailChimp is that they always have a way for you to ask how to do a step. You begin by naming a "campaign".
Once that is done, you choose the template you want to use. When you look through them you will see plenty of options. If you have never done this before, you might want to start with a simple two column layout. I always write up my text in Word and then paste it into the format. You can preview at any time to see how it looks and even send yourself a test email. Once you have created one you are happy with, you simply add it to the mailing queue. You can even set up several campaigns that will be sent out at different times.
Getting Your Reports
Of course, one of the reasons to use MailChimp instead of simply sending out an email is the reports. It will tell you how many have been opened and how many clicks the piece of mail received. This is all great IT marketing information to tell you if your attention line is effective or if the information you sent was of interest to your readers. You will get "bounce rates" (how many emails were returned for wrong addresses), who has unsubscribed and even if someone has filed a complaint about getting the mailing. You don't want too many of the last type, as it can get you booted out of MailChimp if they happen too often. But these reports will give you plenty of information to fine tune that mailing list until you are finally sending out newsletters and information to people who enjoy and look forward to your emails. As you can see, getting your own IT email marketing started up is easy when you use template driven software like MailChimp. Even something as simple as a monthly update to your clients or a postcard reminder if you haven't heard from them in a while can be useful. Now you are ready to start your own email marketing campaign and get those customers and potential clients loving you and the emails you send!