5 Unconventional Marketing Ideas for IT Consultants that Help to Get More and Better Clients
If you're a software developer at heart and decided to go solo like me, then think about this for a moment.
"The world is not going to beat a path to your door unless you pave the way"
For me, that's what marketing is about. For us developers, marketing has often a bad and negative connotation. I have the impression, that we often confuse marketing with advertising, which of course is only a subset of marketing. Since I've set up pinned tweets for my personal and Scaling Curve twitter accounts to position myself as a data visualization expert, I'd like to share with you some unconventional marketing tactics I've collected over the years that can bring you more leads.
#1 Pinned Tweets
If someone visits your Twitter profile, a pinned tweet will always be shown on top of your other tweets. Take the chance and promote your core service to possible prospects. Thanks to Kurt Elster talking about it.
#2 Help Out a Reporter
There are services like Help a Reporter Out where you can register as a source for your areas of expertise. If a journalist writes a story about these topics and is in need of an expert, you'll might get the chance to get visibility in the media. I heard about this one also through Kurt Elster.
#3 Do Public Teardowns
I first came across public teardowns as marketing thanks to Samuel Hulick with UserOnboard. His story is fascinating: when he started to publish user on-boarding tear-downs of popular webapps (e.g. LessAccounting), he thought they would get pretty angry at him. The opposite was true. It actually helped him boost his business, because those webapps started to promote his book on their blogs and so on.
#4 Be an Implementation Partner for Popular API-centerd Services
This was mentioned by Patrick McKenzie in an interview on the Freelance Transformation Podcast. For example: given you're familiar with using the Twilio API service, reach out to Twilio and apply to be on their list of implementation partners for your local area. The core business of these kind of services is their API, not the implementation of custom client projects. Still, they are contacted by clients to do custom projects for them. Therefore it's likely that they have internal lists to whom they can refer such inquiries to.
#5 Observe bug databases of popular webapps
One or two years ago I was preparing a showcase demo with Atlassian Jira. It was a pain in the neck to import test data into their agile project management facility. So I went to the Jira bug database and discovered that there was a huge feature requests / bug report open for ages, literally: for years it was practically impossible to migrate agile projects between two Jira instances, causing enterprise customers to complain about that in the said thread. I don't know if it's still the case, but that was a real window of opportunity to service all those poor clients with a productized consulting offer to migrate their agile project data from instance A to instance B. Think about it for moment, how easy it would have been to promote such a service with laser-focused SEO through content and a tasteful comment in the corresponding bug report.
More unconventional marketing ideas
I'm sure there are many other unconventional marketing tactics out there. If you've applied one to your success and you'd like to pay forward what you know as guys like Patrick McKenzie, Kurt Elster and Sam Hulick do, tell me about it.