In today’s advertising-saturated market, smart firms are constantly on the lookout for new and novel ways to get their names in front of potential clients. A growing number of IT firms are putting a new spin on the long-standing advice to “leverage your core competencies,” using free training as a way to connect with the community—and possibly to score new customers.
Let’s face it—IT skills are one of the most valuable commodities out there today. But for various reasons, vast swaths of the general population don’t possess even basic computer literacy. Why not put your team’s collective knowledge to work by offering free training sessions and information workshops? Here are just a few of the possible benefits:
You’ll score some free media attention. “Local IT Firm Offers Training to Underprivileged Kids and Senior Citizens”…the human interest story practically writes itself, right? With just a basic press release, you’ll probably be able to generate some media attention for your venture, putting your firm’s name out there in a new and positive context and possibly catching the attention of some new clients in the process. As a wise man once said, all free publicity is good publicity.
You’ll get access to previously-untapped markets. By reaching out to underserved communities, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a whole new part of the public and nonprofit sectors—both of which can be lucrative markets for IT resellers.
You can sow the seeds for a new generation of brand evangelists. Nothing’s a more compelling testament for your firm than truly committed loyalists who spread the word everywhere they go. By getting up close and personal with brand-new users, you’ll have a unique opportunity to cultivate a dedicated following. Even if those you train don’t purchase products themselves, their testimonials may wind up being worth their weight in gold.
You can seek out the next generation of talent. Community training sessions are a great place to identify and nurture up-and-coming IT superstars. Who knows, that exceptionally bright teenager who comes to all of your classes just might be the next open-source guru. Even if you don’t discover the next Linus Torvalds, community training sessions are a great place to scout for future interns or budding sales talents.
Have you ever held free or low-cost community training sessions? If so, what kind of response did you get? Give us your insights in the comments.