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Dealer Discussion: How can indies maximise their exposure?

What’s the best way for independent retailers and service providers to get their name out there? Industry community Tech For Techs asks its members what works for them.

PETER WHITEHOUSE, SCANSTATION COMPUTERS

“For our consumer customers we still do print advertising in the small directory magazines. We had great success with our Windows XP “tombstone” campaign and may run with that for Windows 7.

For SMB clients you can’t beat getting out there and talking to them in their own environment. Discuss the business risks involved with running non-supported software and options for migrating to cloud solutions.”

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MACAULEY STEPHENSON, STEPHENSONS IT SUPPORT SOLUTIONS

“I have had great success with focused pages on my website with highly optimised content of that subject for my local area, for instance, for IT

Support Barnsley we now rank on the first page of Google. I am also working on creating content each month for our blog which will tie in with those pages, giving my initial page more relevance.”

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STE HAMES, SJH COMPUTING

“Most of my work comes from word of mouth or my website. For anyone starting in this business, I would put a lot of effort into your website. I’ve also started to attend business networking events and it’s paying off big time.”

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IAN HARDEN, IPC SOLUTIONS

“I have had great success with word of mouth advertising and always struggled with my website and getting recognised locally in searches, but all of a sudden I kept getting new business.

I then asked and everyone said they Googled “local computer repair in Maldon” and we came up on page one, third from the top. I gained advice early on from Tech For Techs and they all said to work on content and keep it relevant. I did this and got to page one in the top two searches without spending a penny on SEO. I feel it’s more beneficial than local advertising in business guides.”

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SUNDERLAND COMPUTER REPAIRS

“More than 70% of my new customers come from Google Adwords. Around half of all customers are repeat. So 70% of 50% are as a result of Adwords- which cost me £350 a month. I switched them off as an experiment for a month last year and my takings plummeted.

The rest of customers are repeat, Facebook and word of mouth with a few ‘passing in the car’.For all of them reviews are king- mostly Google but also Facebook. Google are absolute swines to deal with and impervious to the needs of small businesses so a friend helps with Adwords fine- tuning. My website is purely a ‘shop front’ with no sales but puts over our approach and attitude which customers seem to like.”

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CORMIE CORMISON, CROSSHAVEN COMPUTERS

“Crosshaven Computers built a big customers base when starting out by going a different route with Facebook advertising. Instead of focusing on our products in our Facebook and Instagram ads ,we decided to do engaging video ads, which did not have to be about tech.
It was all about building brand recognition. This different approach lead to social media awards and our ads got our business very well know. It’s all about thinking outside the box of ‘follow us on Facebook and Instagram’.”

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DANIEL REEVES, THE COMPUTER CLINIC BICESTER

“We have been members of BNI Spires for five years and find that it is one of the best ways to help market our business, as we are in a world that is expanding its tech capabilities very fast.

We find having the support of local business helping us to find new leads and grow makes joining our BNI chapter one of the best marketing decisions we ever made.”

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ILIAS SAKR, PCLAB.TECH

“Since 2017, PCLAB.TECH has been active in the broader IT sector by expanding its range
of services and products in the light of technological developments and market needs. We provide our services with responsibility and guaranteed efficiency.

The accumulated years of experience in the field of information technology, combined with the high scientific level of our associates, are the key elements of our dynamic presence. Our mission is the integrated solutions, in the field of high technology, for businesses, institutions, and individuals through trust relationships and aiming at a high result.

We contribute to growth with creative cooperation, responsibly based on established values of professional ethics. Our object is the modern thinking and strategy for the integrated approach to the needs of a dynamic and flexible business. We feel creatively mood for results in favour of our customers. Their own development is our own success. Our goal is to contribute dynamically to the growth, recognition, and profitability of our customers, through trust relationships and aiming at a high result.”

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PHILIP AND JENNI GRIFFITHS, TECH FOR
TECHS / CHIPS COMPUTERS

“It can be tough for small independents, especially ones just starting out. This can partly be due to not budgeting for marketing or even not having the funds to budget with. When you start a new business, it is not uncommon for money to be tight. Banks don’t always loan to new businesses, so you can’t count on that.

One thing most independent stores (including non-tech) don’t do is put themselves in place of the customers. For example, it’s nice to have a website that tells you about the history of the universe, but most people just want to know simple things about you and your business. They want to know your location, how to contact you (phone number), and your hours of operation.

Most stores who rely on getting trade through the door don’t have this basic information easily available and if a potential customer goes on their website and does not find this information in a few seconds, they hit the back button and click on the next store on the list on Google. Believe it or not, if people visit your website for only a few seconds and leave, it affects your search engine results negatively.

A lot of people think sticking adverts everywhere is a good thing. But in most cases people ignore it of it is not well thought out. Your website is the biggest advert you can get! You can control what and how much content is put into it. Even though it is a business page with things like contact details, you also want to make it a bit personal. You can do this by adding pictures of yourself and staff on it. People interact more with pictures and video where you can clearly see the person who they may be visiting.

Focusing the pages of your website is a great way of expanding your visibility with little cost involved. Make sure you have a page for each of the services you offer, as well as the types of products you sell (i.e. a webpage aimed at virus removal and another at gaming keyboards). When people search for these things in Google, you have a lot higher of a chance to be found. Some people, like Tech For Techs member Macauley Stephenson (stephensons-consultants.co.uk), have great success with focusing webpages at different areas which helps widen their customer base.

There are literally hundreds of ways of marketing a company or brand without spending a lot of money and in some cases, you can market your company without a budget at all. If you are a local independent business, you may want to get involved with the local community. While throwing money at local events won’t hurt, you will get more response if you are seen helping.

It shows you are willing to spend your valuable time helping others. Help local schools with events, your local religious organisations, and local farmer markets. This all helps make sure you have some form of company logo so people will know who you are, or even more so what company that is helping.

But, no matter how many of these things you do to market your business, you need to be able to sell to these customers once they come into your business. Selling is not a bad word, and once you understand its true meaning it will help you increase your sales. Selling is about helping the customer reach the point that they are happy to buy. It’s about talking to them and advising them, and in the end the customer will leave you knowing they bought the right thing.”

For more business advice, check out Tech For Techs business help, advice articles, and videos at https://www.techfortechs.co.uk/businiess-help-advice

TECH FOR TECHS

Launched in January 2018, Tech for Techs (TFT) is a new community for technicians of all kinds, including on-site call out services, retailers, resellers, managed service providers, vendors and distributors.

Free to join, TFT is run by the team behind retailer Chips Computers and offers up insight and information on the industry, as well as product reviews, price comparisons, free directory listings and more. Visit www.techfortechs.co.uk for more information.

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