Conquering MSP Problems (Part 4): Communication that Leads to Conversion
Communication is at the heart of marketing. If you want to successfully sell your services, you need to be able to effectively communicate their value to your audience.
Communication that Leads to Conversion
To successfully move members of your target audience through your sales funnel, it’s going to involve a lot of communication. How successful you are in your communication efforts, wherever those efforts come from, will determine how good you are in turning your suspects, leads, and prospects into paying customers.
Through our business relationships with managed service providers located all over the world and through our own experience as an MSP, we have determined a few common issues that MSPs tend to face, and have worked out ways to solve them.
Minding the (Communication) Gap
Explaining a technical concept during a conversation with a user can be a struggle - for both parties. As someone who works with business technology day-in and day-out, It’s easy to forget that your users might not have the slightest idea about topics you are very familiar with.
The same thing is true when it comes to marketing content. If you’re including too much “techy” language in your marketing materials, a lot of your audience isn’t going to know what you’re talking about.
Conquer this Problem: Remember: most of your audience isn’t going to understand a lot of the nitty-gritty stuff when it comes to IT. They may not know what the different types of RAID arrays in servers are and what theirs should look like; if they do, then they probably are already very knowledgeable about business technology, and may be able to handle most - if not all - of their business technology problems on their own.
A LOT of your audience will be on the opposite end of the spectrum; they might not have any idea what things like VoIP or “the Cloud” are. Some will fall somewhere in the middle: they know OF VoIP and the Cloud and of some of the features available through them, but not specifically how they could benefit their business.
You need to make sure that you are producing content free of jargon that simplifies what your services do. Use relatable, easy-to-understand examples when you can to explain difficult concepts.
For perspective, consider having a non-tech savvy associate read over what you’ve written so they can let you know if there are things you need to clarify.
The “As a Service” Model
The world of managed services very heavily relies on monthly recurring revenue that come from “as a service” pricing structures. One-off projects can of course be a great source of revenue, but you don’t always know when you’re going to get them, and how many you’re going to get. Your services that you bill for on a monthly basis help keep your business’ lights on even in the slow months.
Unfortunately, many small businesses are wary about buying into this model. They think, “Why should I be paying when things are working properly?” Because of this, you have to work quite a bit harder to communicate the benefits that the businesses who purchase these services from you receive.
Conquer this Problem: To get prospects to buy into the “as a service” model, you need to get them away from the break-fix mindset. Sure, they COULD take the gamble and not take any extra precautions when it comes to their technology...but why would they want to do that if it leads to downtime, network vulnerability, and a risk of data loss?
There are a lot of benefits that come with utilizing technology as a service - whether it’s hardware as a service or software as a service - and fortunately for your MSP, this model is where the technology world seems to be going.
To drive the point home in your marketing, focus on educating your audience about this model by highlighting the benefits of it, as well as the downsides to not using it.
Convincing Users that It’s Time to Upgrade their Old Technology
How many times have you or your team encountered a business who is reluctant to upgrade outdated technology because “it still works fine”?
Your marketing and your sales team have their hands full when it comes to explaining the value and importance of an upgrade. It can be very hard to convince these people that the ever-so-scary “what-if” scenarios become much more likely the longer they wait to update their outdated business tech.
Conquer this Problem: You should already know that outdated technology can pose a pretty big threat to a business - one that continues to grow as this technology reaches its End of Life. Does your target audience know this? If so, why are they so reluctant to do anything about it?
You may think that they aren’t aware of the risks themselves; sometimes, this is the case.
You will also have some small businesses who are aware of the risks, and choose to ignore them. So many will wait...and wait...and wait… because they think that upgrading is going to be (1) a huge hassle that interrupts their operations, and (2) too expensive for them to afford.
Make sure you have content on your website focused on educating your audience about the risks, as well as content that showcases your company’s dedication to making the upgrade process as simple and affordable as possible.
General Marketing vs. Personalized Targeting
Unless you’re an MSP that is entirely focused on serving a particular industry and/or very narrow niche, it’s likely that you work with small businesses who are in many different industries including (but not limited to) healthcare, manufacturing, education, law, accounting, engineering, non-profits...we could go on!
Successful marketing is usually pretty closely tied to personalized marketing. However, if you’re working with so many different industries that all have different technology requirements and pain points, how are you supposed to personalize your marketing communications?
Conquer this Problem: Keep in mind that you don’t have to make EVERY marketing communication that you do super personalized. However, running targeted campaigns that are focused on particular industry pain points can definitely work in your favor.
At minimum, we suggest making sure that you have some industry-specific content for the industries that you tend to work with more frequently than others. This can include service pages, blogs, case studies, and other deliverables.
Picking the Right Communication Medium
Thanks to technology, you have so many different ways that you can communicate with your audience. You can use digital mediums such as pay-per-click ads, email, and social media. Or, you could stick to communicating using more traditional methods such as direct mail, newspaper advertisements, and cold calls. You could even use a combination of mediums to target a business or subset of businesses about a particular service that you offer.
Because there are so many options out there now, we will often hear the question from our clients, “which is best?”
Conquer this Problem: Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal “best” or “right” communication medium to choose; it’s going to depend on a number of different factors, including the message itself, who you are targeting, and where they are in your sales funnel.
For help picking a communication medium, check out our blog How to Turn Your Leads into Clients.
Need More Help Communicating Effectively?
If you need additional help communicating better through your marketing efforts, you’ve come to the right place. We have a multitude of different MSP marketing services, created with companies like yours in mind. Check them out.
If you need help conquering any of your other problems, check out the other blogs in this series, and reach out to us at 888-546-4384 if you would like any additional help.