How to run a marketing campaign for an IT services business as a reseller or an agent


This article covers:

Creating an offer – giving your audience something that they need
Distribution channels – knowing where to reach your target audience
Results – having a good idea of what to expect and how to measure success

1.) Create an enticing offer

Know your audience

In order to create an offer that your customers need it is important to understand the way that your audience currently behaves. This involves analysing quantitative and qualitative information from your audience. You will have behavioural data from your analytics and reporting already. This gives you a good insight into what is currently working and of interest. You will be able to get further insights from Search Console, which will tell you the keywords that your site is currently appearing for along with the search volumes. This is great for analysing what you are currently doing, but often it will not help you to find completely new opportunities to interest your target buyer. To do this you need to engage directly with the market and your current customer base.

Engage with customers and prospects

There are a few ways to do this. The easiest and most cost effective way to do this is through your social media channels. You can post polls on LinkedIn, reach out to people through DMs or post questions into your feed. The quality of the information that you get back will depend on the relationships that you have developed through the platform and the trust that people have for you. If you do not post regularly and you don’t already have an engaged audience; the way to build up your relationships will be through sending direct messages to the customers and prospects that you want to target. Speaking to people through direct messages is also a good way to increase the likelihood that your organic posts get seen by those people.

Another way to gain customer feedback is through surveys. But again like with the performance of social media the response rate that you get will depend heavily on the relationships that you have with the customers that you contact . Along with the creation of your survey it is likely that you will need to do work developing relationships through email communications and social media in order to get responses to your surveys.

The final way is to conduct interviews with your customers. These interviews can offer great insights but it is hard to get a balanced view of the market. Some customers may be using the product and services in very specific ways so the insights should be gained from a broad range of customers and prospects in order to put together a balanced picture.

Construct your offer

One mistake that is common is that people think that their customers will give them the answers. Often this is not the case. It is up to you to understand their problems and concerns; using your knowledge and expertise you should then put together an offer to meet their needs. To quote Henry Ford prior to inventing the car he said “if I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse”. It is about understanding the problem articulated by the audience. Then using your knowledge of the industry, costs/time involved and your past experience; you can deliver an offer that will delight your customers and generate revenues for your organisation.

2.) Make your offer available on your website

I’ve heard some agents and resellers saying “what is the point of having a website when it gets no traffic?” I would argue that your website is important as a point as conversion. The reason that people don’t see such value in a website is that we are moving to a situation where most information about an organisation can be gained using social media. The advantage of social media is that your audience are already spending their time there. You can, however, use your website and social media strategies in a way that is complimentary.

Your website is still an important place to articulate clearly what you do. In relation to a single offer that you are promoting, a good practice would be to use the four key benefits that you have heard mentioned from your audience and create a landing page with four headings. Under each heading there should be a paragraph describing the benefit and the problem that is solved for your end user. This page should also include a conversion form. Ensure that this form is tracked using Google Tag Manager (this means that you will be able to analyse properly where the traffic and conversions came from to the page).

You need to ensure that the people that will in the form are being forwarded to the correct member of your team. The conversions should be tracked in your CRM so that your sales team has visibility. There should also be an automated follow up or calendar booking link to arrange a meeting with a sales representative, so that the prospect is clear about the next step in the process. On this page I would be really concise about the service that you offer with the contact form in an iframe on the right hand side at the top of the page. I would then include your four paragraphs on the benefits of signing up underneath the form and the description of the offering.

3.) Distribute your offer

There are many ways for you to distribute your offer but I will focus on the three areas that I have seen to be most effective working with resellers and agents working in the IT industry specifically. They are:

A.) Google Ads
B.) Email
C.) LinkedIn

Google Ads

Yes I know the channel isn’t as effective as it used to be. I also know that organic content gets more views. But if you are offering a B2B service with a high margin Google Ads can be very profitable for you. It won’t take you six – twelve months of posting consistently to get traction (SEO takes a long time, as does building a following on social media). The key is finding key terms that you can focus on that people search for when they are looking to purchase your solution. Remember Google Ads is a conversion channel so focus on areas that you can convert. Refer back to your customer research to guide you on this. Ensure that your Google Ads account is connected to your Google Analytics so that conversions are tracked and use UTM parameters so that attribution and performance data flows into your Analytics account.

Email

Again a channel that is not as effective as it once was, as so many people are sending marketing emails. If you are smart about the way that you use your emails it can be a very high performing channel for you. The secret to your emails working better is to have the customer recognise you as a sender. This may mean doing some preliminary outreach through social media or via your sales team. Also in my experience IT decision makers are tired of seeing templated corporate newsletter, company announcement/update emails. It stands out more just sending a plain text based email that speaks to them specifically about a problem that the may be experiencing. Again here lean on your customer insights. Use the four paragraphs on the problems highlighted on your landing use and use your emails to show your knowledge and understanding of the issues that they may be facing. Link these emails back to your landing page and use UTM parameters so that performance can be tracked in your Google Analytics.

LinkedIn

Via LinkedIn a really good strategy is to position yourself as an expert in the problem areas that are faced by your customers. Use multiple formats (text, image, video, carousel/document post, articles) to show your expertise. Clearly define your target audience and engage as much as you can with them. If there are others having interesting conversations on your area of expertise (even if they are competitors) engage with their content and add your unique perspective to their posts. The more that you engage, the more likely your content is to get shown to your audience.

Most of your content should be focussed on the topics that you feel will resonate, build affinity or educate and entertain your target audience. However it is fine to talk about your offer and how you can specifically help your target audience. These sorts of posts I would refer to as being conversion focussed. There are no rules via social media but I would say that 15-20% of your posts should be speaking about your offer specifically. This way it is clear what you can do for your audience. So using the three content types of 1.) Build resonance 2.) Educate or entertain, and 3.) Conversion; and coupling your posting strategy with a messaging/outreach program can be very effective for your audience.

An important part of your LinkedIn strategy is the paid aspect. The mistake that I have seen with paid ads on LinkedIn is that companies focus their ads on conversion. This is not the correct way to use ads. It is estimated that around 3% of your total addressable market will be looking for your solution. It is unlikely that, even if they are looking for a solution, that they would want to buy from you when seeing your offer for the first time. Paid advertising on LinkedIn will guarantee the delivery of your content to your target audience. A good strategy would be to use the content that gets the most interactions/attention from your organic posts and use that content. You may want to add a follow button as a call to action. Your paid content just guarantees the distribution to your target audience, you want to pique this audience’s interest. A conversion is to get them to follow you so that they are exposed to other content from you in the future.

4.) Reporting

The most important thing to track through this campaign are the conversions from your conversion form. It is vital that these are fed directly through to the sales team. Other metrics such as clicks on: Google Ads, emails, LinkedIn CTAs etc. are useful for marketing to measure the performance of the individual channel and content but should not be confused with the overall goal of the campaign: to achieve conversions.

As the conversions are the most important metric we really want to look at where to attribute these conversions. I have mentioned tracking – analytics, Tag Manager, UTM parameters etc.; throughout this article. These measures are mainly looking at attribution. I think that there are three attribution models that are important for tracking your campaigns. Here I will go into some detail about each of the models:
A.) Software based last touch attribution
B.) Self-reported attribution (a “how did you hear about us?” field on your conversion form)
C.) Campaign influence (measured touch points from forms and emails recorded in your CRM)

Software based last touch attribution

This is all about tracking activities on your website using conversion tracking in GA4 and Tag Manager. To do this means setting up Events using Google Tag Manager and setting goals against each of the events and then tracking the channels that drove the conversion to happen. This is really useful for finding out which channel people come from in order to complete the conversion form. As the name suggests “last touch” just tells you about the last thing that people did before coming to you.

Self-reported attribution

This is adding a “how did you hear about us?” field on your form. This is likely to tell you which part of your marketing activity had the greatest influence on their decision to buy from you. I have heard conflicting arguments on the format that should be used to collect this information. The “best practice” is to have a free, multi-line, text field so people are encouraged to input some useful insights here. Others have argued that you should have this field as a multi-select text option in order to get better organised data. A compromise could be to use a free text field and use automation to determine the option that is selected from the free text (this is a little more advanced though).

Campaign influence

This can be measured in your CRM system as long as it is connected to your marketing automation/forms/email tool. This is the process of tracking every interaction where you are aware of the end users email address and recording it in your CRM along with the action that took place. Some CRM have a campaigns part in the product so you are able to connect activities that happened with the contact that took part in the activity.

You can then see if there is correlation between activities that you have saved in your CRM and the conversions that you are tracking. This form of tracking becomes really interesting when you want to compare tasks against revenue. If you are exporting revenue data to a data warehouse and you export the campaign members. You can use a field (in Salesforce it is called the “related record ID” but will be different for other systems) that allows you to relate contact information (saved as a campaign) to account information (in this case the revenue data, for each account, exported to the data warehouse). This then gives you an “Campaign influence” report related to revenue for your campaigns.

There is an end to end process from offer construction to reporting and attribution. If you would like help with any part of this process you can contact us here.

Photo by Melanie Deziel on Unsplash

John is a data driven marketing specialist and website manager who lives in South East London. When he isn't blogging for us he manages Revenue and Marketing Operations for corporate clients.

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