Economic conditions are improving as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and regional economies begin to reopen fully, which is only adding to the already busy summer anticipated by many integration firms.
However, simply banking on your word-of-mouth references and demand for audiovisual solutions as a tool to help your customers pivot to a hybrid work model isn’t quite enough as this summer could prove quite competitive for pro AV integrators pitching themselves as solutions providers for this new normal.
For many smaller integration firms that had either never had a solid marketing strategy or had to downsize the marketing department as a result of business conditions during the pandemic, drumming up new business and pitching your firm as an answer to hybrid work starts with simple marketing.
Update your website
According to Kelly Perkins, an AV integration marketing consultant and former , this means – at the very least – having an up-to-date website.
“A lot of integrators tend to not really focus on their website, but it’s so important because it’s the first thing that people see about you,” Perkins say. “Your website is probably the most important piece of marketing material that you have.”
Even if a particular integrator gets a lot of business through recommendations and word of mouth, prospective customers will still likely Google search your company and come across your website.
If you’re pitching your company has a modern technology solutions provider, your website should look cutting edge and boast some kind of audio or video, since that is what you provide to your customers.
There has been a massive movement to the cloud and companies are doubling down on their technology investments, which means customers are doing their due diligence and are researching what to purchase.
To position yourselves as thought leaders, add blogs, case studies and other content to your website to give those potential a customers an idea of what you can provide to them.
“At the very least, just get it looking like it’s not 1985,” Perkins says.
Utilize social media
Another area where many integration firms fall short is social media, another digital marketing tool that can help show others that you’re up to date on trends and understand new technology.
However, outlining the exact return-on-investment of social media can be difficult. Aside from paid ads and promotions, most social media platforms that your integration firm can utilize are free.
“All it costs is your time,” Perkins says.
At one client where Perkins helps run the social media, the overwhelming majority of new users visiting the client’s website came from social media.
One good strategy on social media is to follow your customers on social media and engage with them, which can turn into more exposure if your customers engage back and share your company’s story.
Having a presence on social media also provides a more public-facing medium to communicate with potential customers, and it humanizes the people that work at your integration firm.
All integrators should be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – in that order.
“It just brings business – it raises awareness where you might not be able to get in front of somebody,” Perkins says.
Pitch yourself as a 21st century, hybrid work solutions provider
The pandemic taught the world that working remotely worked thanks to the widespread use of videoconferencing and collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and companies have no intention of slowing down investments in that area.
Now, organizations are adding videoconferencing solutions to every meeting room to accommodate employees working at home and create a hybrid work environment that features the ability to connect and collaboration regardless of where anyone is.
Particularly for smaller integrators, this represents a big advantage over larger integrators that were forced to downsize and lay off employees amid the pandemic. Smaller integrators that are able to pivot to providing hybrid work solutions have an incredible opportunity to market themselves as the answer to those problems.
“it’s giving us a huge opportunity – at least in our industry – to do some really cool stuff and make some money while doing it,” Perkins says