Marketing is one of the biggest challenges many small IT business owners face. It makes sense – just because you’re aces at bringing a motherboard back to life doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also top-notch at promoting your business online.
After all, IT and marketing are two completely different skill sets. But the more self-promotion tips and tricks you learn – including mastering the art of the buzzword – the more clients and projects you’re likely to land.
Use Industry Buzzwords in Your Customers’ Language
Every industry has its own insider jargon, and IT is no different. However, some of the phrases that make perfect sense to you might sound like Dothraki or Klingon to a customer. So when writing content for your site, make sure it…
- Makes sense to potential customers.
- Contains the words and phrases they are searching for.
First, make sure whatever you write makes sense. If potential clients don’t understand what you’re telling them, they aren’t likely to hire you.
“One thing I notice often on IT resumes and profiles are acronyms,” says
Marissa Letendre (@therightrecruit), an accomplished
recruiter, resume writer, and Certified People Sourcing Professional (CPSP).
“If the acronyms aren’t widely known, they should be spelled out with the acronym in parentheses.”
Next, think about the terms these potential clients might type into a search engine to find a business like yours.
“If you’re not optimizing your website for the search terms that your prospective customers use, it will be close to impossible to rank and be seen by your target audience,” says
Jessica Elle (@jessicaelle),
(@Localturf), a no-code website builder for small businesses.
Pro tip: Here's an easy way to put these strategies into practice: “Keep your ears open to the way customers speak,” says
chief strategist at
Clariant Creative Agency
(@ClarCreative), an inbound marketing firm.
Carter says she sometimes records interviews with clients to identify certain buzzwords and phrases that stand out. Again, just be sure these words are the ones people are actually seeking out online.
Know that Too Many Buzzwords Can Be a Real Buzzkill
Integrating the right buzzwords on your website shows your clients that you have the skills and expertise they want. But don’t go overboard.
For example, let’s say an IT business posted this on its website: “At ABC IT, we are a results-oriented, growth-hacking business that thrives on synergy and ideation, ready to pivot at a moment’s notice to ensure we have the bandwidth to meet your company’s needs.”
Laying it on a bit thick, wouldn’t you say? Also, that is SO MANY buzzwords in one tortured sentence. Potential customers don't have time to bust out a dictionary and look all those up.
“If you talk over their heads and use buzzwords they’re not familiar with, they won’t understand you,” says Carter.
But Carter cautions that dumbing things down too much can also backfire: “If you talk below their level and use buzzwords that are cliché, they won’t see you as an expert,” she says.
Pro tip: Strike the balance between buzzwords your clients may search for and information they want.
“Visitors are looking to learn some type of information by visiting your site,” says
Elizabeth Becker (@LizzyTheWriter),
client partner and marketing manager for the tech staffing firm
(@protechceo). “If it’s too packed with buzzwords and is no longer informative, visitors will leave feeling disappointed. Buzzwords are fine in moderation, but they should be paired with real information and data, not just fluff.”
Don’t Forget to Be Social
In addition to your website, prospective candidates may also check out your social media accounts, so be sure the language on all of them matches up with your website. Your business’ LinkedIn account in particular should serve as an online resume for your business. Highlight the technical services you offer.
“They should absolutely make sure they include a technology snapshot on their LinkedIn profile,” says Letendre.
Pro tip: Letendre says that some of the common skills currently in demand in the world of IT are:
- UI / UX design.
- Network engineering.
- Cyber security.
- Cloud expertise.
Highlight any technical skills you or your employees have on your business LinkedIn account so customers can easily figure out if you fit their needs.
Use Online Tools to Help You Think Like Your Customers
Web tools can help you uncover the words people use when looking for an IT business.
“First, ask yourself the question: are people actually searching for these buzzwords?” says Becker. “The best way to find out is to use a keyword traffic tool, like the Google Keyword Tool, that tells you exactly how many people are searching for a specific word.”
Becker also warns that clients might not know exactly what to search for.
“For example, a marketing firm that wants to sell search engine optimization services might think ‘SEO’ would be a good keyword,” says Becker. “In reality, a company looking for this type of service might be searching for something like ‘how to make my website come up in a Google search’. It’s important to write your website with your customers’ limited industry knowledge in mind.”
Bonus tip: For more client communication pointers, check out “Do You Speak Client? 3 Tips to Close the Communication Gap & Close the Sale” and “How to Name Your IT Services So Clients Know What They Want.”
About the Contributors
Elizabeth Becker is the client partner and marketing manager for the tech staffing firm PROTECH. In her free time, she writes kids’ and travel books – because she enjoys both. Learn more about her published books and other fun stuff on her website LizzyTheWriter.com.
Beth Carter is the chief strategist at Clariant Creative Agency, an inbound marketing firm that specializes in creating content that customers can’t live without.
Jessica Elle is the digital marketer for technology company Forest Giant and co-founder of Localturf, a no-code website builder for small businesses. She has more than eight years of digital marketing experience and loves helping other companies launch and succeed online.
Marissa Letendre is an accomplished recruiter and Certified People Sourcing Professional. She has worked as a recruiter and resume writer, giving her an understanding of the industry from both the candidate and employer perspective.