If you own a computer shop then you know that it’s crucial for you to stay on your toes. With the technology industry being one of the fastest-moving fields in the world, businesses in the space cannot afford to just sit tight. You need to continuously find ways to stay relevant and offer value to your customers.
To help you accomplish this, Vend caught up with Herman Pool, President of the Association of Computer Repair Business Owners (ACRBO). In addition to his role at the ACRBO, Herman also owns Vertical Axion, a marketing firm for IT Companies.
In this post, Herman shares his thoughts on how computer and tech stores can improve their marketing efforts to gain more customers and sales. He also talks about how merchants can create monthly recurring revenue streams and escape the common “feast or famine” cycles plaguing many businesses today.
Check out what he has to say below:
How computer and tech stores can step up their marketing game
According to Herman, there are five main action steps that businesses should apply to make their marketing work. They are:
- Understanding that marketing is an investment and a commitment
- Finding the right audience
- Figuring out the right message
- Measuring your marketing efforts in order to determine where your leads and customers are coming from
- Following up with leads and current customers
“At the ACRBO, we teach our members these five steps. We’ve found that when businesses employ these into their day-to-day marketing processes, it helps them immensely,” Herman says.
“The biggest problem most IT business owners face is they think marketing is a one time event, or a single thing. They might think it’s just running an ad in a newspaper or running a PPC ad. But marketing is not a single event. To make marketing work you need a combination of tools and processes.”
Create monthly recurring revenue streams
Another key to computer store success is to tap into monthly recurring revenue. Herman says that one of their main focuses at the ACRBO is teach computer shop owners to create these regular revenue streams, as it enables companies to be more competitive.
“We’ve been working hard with our vendors to educate IT business on how to go beyond their normal hourly services, and add services such as managing online backups, remote monitoring and maintenance, and managing their clients’ antivirus.”
Such services allow companies to add more value, says Herman. “It lets them be proactive, by anticipating issues and solving them before they become bigger problems.”
What exactly are the types of managed services that computer and IT businesses can offer? According to a recent blog post on the ACRBO site, the most common ones include: remote monitoring and maintenance, managed anti-virus, remote support, and managed backup.
“Chances are you already do this and are only charging when things break rather than implementing preventative maintenance,” Herman wrote.
“Have you ever said to yourself, ‘If that client would just backup and use antivirus like I ask them, they wouldn’t be having these problems.’ Well, that’s your new job at a monthly rate. It isn’t a big deal. You are [after all] doing these services already.
When you’ve decided on what services to offer, Herman says the next step is to try them out on the customers who trust you the most, and if you encounter any issues, modify your services to improve.
“Once you’ve done that with a few people, and got some monthly recurring revenue rolling in, then you roll it out to people at large.”
Don’t let fear stop you
For his parting advice, Herman says businesses shouldn’t let fear or uncertainty stop them from implementing competitive business strategies.
“A lot of people get scared and are not sure what to do, so they take no steps altogether. And that’s a real shame because nothing is ever going be perfect,” he says.
“The fact is, perfect is the enemy of good enough. And if we focus on deploying something that’s good enough today, we can improve on it tomorrow. If you don’t have a baseline of what’s going wrong, what might go wrong, or what needs to be improved, you have no reference with which to improve your services. You have to start somewhere, and if I were you, I would start today.”
More about Herman Pool
Herman Pool is the President of the Association of Computer Repair Business Owners, and the owner of Vertical Axion, a company that provides complete “done-for-you” Internet marketing services for IT companies.
Herman has had his IT company for 20 years, and has dedicated his life to helping business owners in the tech industry market and grow their companies.
He is also the author of the book One-Hour Marketing, which is published by Morgan James Publishing and is set to hit the shelves in 2016.
About Francesca Nicasio
Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.