By: Bill Lodes, SVP, Business Development & Strategy, First American Payment Systems
Success for a VAR and ISV depends primarily on the amount of customers they gain and keep. Like many other industries, one of the biggest challenges VARs and ISVs face is finding the most effective way to market their business to drive customer acquisition. Past marketing tactics included advertisements within industry related magazines, websites, events, and direct mail campaigns.
However, today’s methods of marketing have shifted towards a more digitally influenced world, where social media and digital marketing have provided VARs and ISVs with new marketing and customer acquisition opportunities. Let’s talk in more detail about social media and digital marketing strategies.
Social media has exploded over the past five years, expanding the way we do business with one another. Whether through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, many organizations are utilizing social media for marketing and promotional efforts to boost their revenue.
With the help of social media, VARs and ISVs are able to successfully promote their hardware/software solutions and reach potential new customers beyond their websites. This transition from traditional marketing to social media allows for an improved and heightened experience compared with older methods. It is also cheap, quick, and effective.
In today’s world, customers are looking for affirmation or recommendations from peers. Social media is one of the most used resources to gain these recommendations and consider purchases. Satisfied customers now have the ability to share their user experiences of the POS or software solution they purchased, which in turn helps influence buying decisions. With social media, a potential end-user now has the ability to learn more through testimonials, consumer reviews, and product information.
Most marketers will tell you that repetition is key. Good content and product information should be posted regularly — several times a week — to have any kind of impact. VARs and ISVs should be prepared to engage with prospects and customers as they comment on the content posted. A simple thank you or a message that you will follow up with more information is easy to do and goes a long way toward prospect and customer engagement on social media.
Other Digital Marketing Tactics
As a complement to social media marketing, VARs and ISVs should evaluate other digital marketing methods to gain new customers. Effective digital marketing tactics include:
• Paid Media Campaigns: purchasing ads on search engines, commonly known as PPC or paid media campaigns. In this method, VARs and ISVs will bid on keywords typed in by prospects and display their digital ad with a link to their website or landing page when that keyword is typed in.
• Email marketing: this type of marketing is great for follow up on leads, nurturing prospects through conversion to a customer and ensuring your customers are loyal. Consider sending regular emails each month to these groups of people with special offers, product information, and event information or industry news.
• Video marketing: prospects like seeing videos of products, testimonials or other helpful information presented in an engaging way. Video marketing is becoming more and more popular and has been known to increase conversion of prospects more effectively than regular social media marketing. Invest in a few new videos and post them on YouTube, your website, on social media and any other websites that your prospect might visit.
• Search Engine Marketing (SEM): VARs and ISVs need to make sure they are visible within search results. Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a vital way a potential customer can find VARs and ISVs online when searching for their service and help expand their overall customer potential. By utilizing key phrases and buzzwords throughout their content, VARs and ISVs will be able to increase their search optimization online and gain recognition.
The content that is posted and used in the above mentioned channels should be positioning you as an expert in the market. While VARs and ISVs may be tempted to focus their content around self-promotion, it is important to note that they should instead create content that appeals directly to their customers. Providing a plethora of online content that includes articles, videos, and infographics, helps further support that a VAR and ISV are leading experts on industry related topics and understand the wants and needs of their audiences.
The time is now for VARs and ISVs to apply digital marketing strategies. Taking advantage of social media and other digital marketing activities will ensure they have success by bringing in new customers and help further differentiate them in a very competitive market. By incorporating a social media and digital marketing plan, the efforts of VARs and ISVs will become more effective and profitable, benefiting their businesses in the long haul.