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Top Five Marketing Tactics for Your MSP

Top Five Marketing Tactics for Your MSP

Ever put a good amount of time into a marketing campaign for your MSP only to have it fizzle out? It can be demoralizing to spend time and money trying to get more sales only to get nothing back. Marketing is a beast, and most of the time, trying to run a successful MSP business while trying to usher in growth and spread the word is very challenging. Let’s discuss how you can market your MSP.

What MSP Marketing Isn’t

Before we examine what MSP marketing is, let’s take a moment to discuss what it isn’t. Having a website isn’t marketing, at least not on its own. While a website can be part of your MSP marketing plan, a website in and of itself, isn’t marketing. Neither is a billboard on the highway or random posts on social media. Unless tied to a cohesive marketing plan, at best we could consider these individual steps as marketing tactics. To successfully market your MSP requires a strategy. The biggest misunderstanding most MSPs have when they try to promote their business is confusing tactics for strategy and sales activities for marketing goals.

What is MSP Marketing

Like all marketing, the goal of marketing your MSP is to inform the public of your services and how you can help them solve their problems. Your audience needs to think about you and find you when they have an issue you can solve. For your marketing to be effective, you must combine individual promotional tactics (website, social media, and yes, even billboards on the highway) into one coherent strategy. The ultimate objective of your marketing strategy is to generate qualified leads for your MSP.  

Note: Marketing your MSP isn’t the same as retail marketing, which often relies on impulse buying. Selling managed IT services is by--its nature--a long term sales pitch. In fact, a significant part of an MSP’s sales process requires that you educate potential customers about their technical needs. So as an MSP, you need to be able to translate technical terms and concepts into a language your customers can understand. The final component of your sales process is helping potential clients recognize that you can solve their issues, and this is where your marketing plan needs to shine. You can’t sell to customers if they don’t know you exist and how you can help them. 

Top Five MSP Marketing Tactics Defined

1. Build an MSP-centric Website

A MSP-centric website is a website built from the ground up to focus on the services and solutions you provide as an MSP. This includes content, graphics and SEO specifically created for your industry. When designing your MSP website, less is more. Stick to the best practices and keep things very clear for your audience. Remember, you are the technical one, and most of your audience doesn’t care about flashy tech or website features. It’s also critical you actually explain what you do. So many IT companies try to “simplify” their homepage by removing content. Trust us, there isn’t anything we haven’t seen or been asked to do before, and it’s always best to stick with tradition.

Otherwise, your website won’t be authentic, nor will it provide visitors with the user experience they are expecting. A poor user experience is the main contributor to a high bounce rate, which is bad, as you need to keep your visitors long enough to convert.

2. Develop an SEO Plan Focused Around Your MSP Services and Solutions

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is part of a long term marketing strategy. Be wary of any marketing agency which promises page one on Google in 30 days or less, the chances are they are using Black Hat SEO. While initially successful, Google will enact a high penalty once they (quickly) figure out what’s going on and you will find yourself pushed down to the depths of search. 

Modern SEO works in tandem with your content creation, and goes beyond plugging keywords into your metadata. SEO analysis allows you to adjust your content and even your website itself to provide searchers the information they are interested in. For example, if your SEO research shows there is an interest in cybersecurity and you don’t have content about cybersecurity, what do you do? Add content about cybersecurity of course! However, without your SEO analysis, you wouldn’t have known about the trending topic.

3. Cultivate a Library of MSP Content

To market your MSP online you need to give potential customers a reason to visit your website, and that means content. Content is the main driver of traffic to your website, and the bitter truth is, without content you will not be able to break through the noise of your competitors. Content marketing is the engine to drive traffic to your site and give potential customers the confidence in your expertise to convert. Always remember, content is king.

Keep in mind, content doesn’t just mean adding dozens and dozens of service pages about your vendors and granular services. You need to build content that doesn’t read like a sales brochure to draw in inbound traffic.

There are a couple of ways to develop ideas for content, one is by sharing real-world experiences from your team or your customers and writing (blogging) about them. Providing solutions to ‘pain points’ is Marketing 101, and if one customer had an issue, you can be sure potential customers are looking for solutions to the same issue. By showing you have experience finding solutions, you increase your image as an expert. Next, you can use your SEO tools (for example, Google Analytics and Search Console) to discover which topics are trending and write content to fulfill the interest. Finally, can you take advantage of syndicated content or hire a marketing agency (like us) to create custom content for you.

4. Engage Your Audience with Social Media

Social media isn’t just about Facebook, social media encompasses the whole range of online engagement tools, including blogging, vlogging, email blasts and any form of online communication which allows you to directly engage with your audience or your audience to engage with you.

Unfortunately there are still some MSPs who make excuses not to use social media, despite it being proven as a successful tactic to market your MSP services. If you don’t use social media, you are effectively telling potential customers you don’t want their attention and therefore, their business. If you don’t have a social media marketing campaign, you are ignoring a substantial lead generation tool for your MSP.

5. Add That Personal Touch

While online marketing, (also called inbound marketing) has become the dominant form of marketing today, there is still something to be said about traditional ‘word of mouth’ and ‘face-to-face’ interactions. Invest time in your community and provide your expertise, (yes, you may have to do it pro bono), join your local chamber of commerce and give presentations on cybersecurity or data backup. One thing to consider is that while the internet offers you access to a worldwide audience, the reality is most of your business may be within an hour from your office. So get out there and meet your neighbors!

MSP Marketing Strategy

Once you have your tactics in place and operating, your marketing strategy should begin to show results. One way to think about online marketing is to view it as a ‘marketing’ loop, in which all the tactics are designed to interact, support and push your message forward. Here’s how it would operate:

The website generates interest > SEO research provides insight as to what potential clients are interested in> These insights drive content creation> this content is then shared on social media (blogs, email, social media)> which in turn drives traffic back to your site> your SEO data research tells you which topics are of interest> allowing you to further provide the content your audience is interested in> this content is then shared on social media (blogs, email, social media)> which in turn drives traffic back to your site> the cycle repeats...

The final step of your marketing plan is to make it easy for your leads to hop off the marketing loop and convert into customers. Have dynamic call-to-actions (CTA), ensure your contact information is easy to find and create simple to complete forms. Go one step further by sweetening the pot with deliverables such as white papers, valuable printables, or even gifts. Your audience knows the value of their contact information and if you want it, you’re going to have to work for it.

Marketing Your MSP Online Will Take Time 

One of the constant refrains MSPs seem to have when it comes to online marketing, is that it takes too long to see results. The Rule of Seven notes that seven times is the minimum number a potential customer needs to be exposed to your marketing materials before it registers. The reality is more often than not, an MSP has only spent a couple of months trying to market, usually half-heartedly, and then they quit. The worst case scenario is when the only time an MSP considers marketing is when they are 3 months aways from having the lights turned off and are in a panic. 

The one take-away you should have is that online marketing (all marketing really) takes time to see results. You need to start marketing now, not when you realize you don’t have any projects signed up to make next month’s rent; it’s too late by then. Moreover, anyone promising you marketing success in 30 days or less, is setting your business up to fail. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to take advantage of the benefits marketing can bring to your bottom line. If you’re worried about your expenses, you can promote your MSP on a budget and still receive great leads from your marketing efforts. If you find you just don’t have the time or feel comfortable developing a marketing plan, we can help.

We utilize a wide variety of marketing and promotional tools to drive traffic to your website. As an MSP ourselves, we understand the importance of having the phone ring and have the experience to provide you with the best practices to increase opportunities for growth. Call us today at 888-546-4384 or contact us on our website to learn more about how we can help you.

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