28 November 2012

Website To Promote Offshore IT Services

It is interesting to see that the quality of web sites of offshore IT service providers is often quite low. When talking about web site quality: concept, visual design, navigation, contents and suitability for SEO come to mind. But why is that?


By working together with a large number of offshore IT service providers (and looking at their web sites) in the past years it turned out that one of the most important reason for low quality web representation is that most software developers feel (and absolutely convinced of) that they are also superb web developers/designers (by definition). However, many of them use a DIY approach to implement their websites and web strategies. (Unfortunately the same applies, to a certain extent, to designing other marketing material such as brochures, company profiles, media kits, etc). A long story...

Do you need a shortcut?

Let us leave alone, for the time being, such concepts like User eXperience (UX) design, content strategy, Information Architecture (IA), social media strategies, to mention a few, and focus on the following;

  1. You build a business NOT a website.
  2. Your website is your primary marketing collateral and promotion platform
  3. Preparation is key. Do not forget the 5P:  Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Step-by-step:

  1. Goals of your website: 
    • Why do you need a website?
    • What are the goals with your website and how are you going to measure them?
  2. Online strategy
  3. Keyword research
  4. Concept and design
  5. Site development
  6. Site test
  7. Online marketing and analytics

First things first - why do you have/need a website?

When this question is asked the answer is often: well .... hmmm .... everybody have one.

The short answer is: because your website is your primary marketing collateral and reference point to your business. As an offshore IT service provider you can also use your website for marketing communication and promotion.

Let's have a look at your digital-, and offline marketing channels;

Source: SmartInsights.com

One of the first lessons one must learn is that none of the above channels live alone. None of them will help alone considerably to build up a sustainable offshore IT outsourcing business line (regardless which geographies, segments, horizontal-, vertical markets and technologies we focus on).

An interesting statistics;

Source: SmartInsights.com

There we go. My own practice and experience completely overlaps with the above. Or rather taking one step further many if not most small-, and medium sized offshore IT service providers do not have a marketing strategy which they rigorously carry out.

Therefore before we even start or consider to re-design our website, get into social networking and do all types of time-, and resource consuming activities, we need to craft a digital marketing strategy. In another word;

You need a plan

You need an online marketing strategy which - in an ideal world - is integrated into the corporate marketing plan. Continuing this line of thinking would take use very far into areas of business planning, strategy formulation, export marketing planning, USP, value proposition, positioning statement ... and many others.

What's in it for you to have a (digital) marketing strategy?
  1. Designate direction. Many companies do not set clear goals (digital or otherwise). You need that BHAG. Remember, you do not only need this for your digital marketing strategy.
  2. You do not know your digital market segment. Part of your (digital) marketing plan is market research. Without that you won't be able to segment - and target - the right market.
  3. You do not know your competitors. Closely related to the previous point.
  4. What is your VALUE PROPOSITION? If you can not tell your value proposition please read the following article.
  5. Continuity. One of the most important thing in marketing yourself as an offshore IT service provider is to create continuity in marketing and promotion. By creating and most importantly carying out your plan you can ensure continuity.
  6. Result driven. You have limited time, knowledge and resources, You do not want to waste those resources. Therefore you want to know how you stand compared to your baseline - your plan.

The components of your online strategy: