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When it comes to marketing your MSP, it is important to stay strategic versus trying to have a hand in everything. In other words, try to control your marketing FOMO (fear of missing out).
There are multiple ways to market your offerings, but you must go with what works for your specific business. Networking, social media and print media are three areas of marketing that provide brand awareness and build you an online presence.
But how effective is this trio, and do they actually bring in new customers and revenue?
Throughout the years, I have attended chamber of commerce events, social events and traditional networking groups. I believe you can make a name for yourself if you frequently attend them, but the question I came to ask myself is who is actually at these events?
My answer was almost always: not my target market. You can commit a lot of time to networking events with very little payout. Oftentimes, I was stuck in a corner with someone picking my brain for tips or referrals or being snubbed by local groups that attended events to simply drink together and catch up.
In response to this, I decided to start my own networking lunch group. However, despite having a great turnout each time we met, I was back in that same boat. I was putting in a lot of time and effort but yielding unsatisfactory results. This was because I was the one speaking and running around referring folks and helping them build their businesses.
I value my time, as everyone should, and it's great to try new initiatives. But you also need to know when to throw in the towel and focus efforts elsewhere.
Print or social media
Print or social media advertising for the IT industry can be difficult and can have unfavorable results.
Typically, business owners aren't going to see an ad in a magazine or on Facebook and pick up the phone right away. Although both advertising approaches are great for branding purposes, the results I've seen with print ads, social media boosts and online ads have not proven a great return on investment.
It's important to have a presence on social media and showcase your business on these platforms. However, I recommend not spending too much time or money on them if it isn't yielding new business.
MSP marketing tactics that can work
It is important to think about your target market and the prospective clients you want to acquire. Bear in mind, most prospective leads will likely look for an MSP only when they have an IT problem they need solved, so that means they are going to either Google or ask a friend for a recommendation.
The following are some initiatives that may yield a better return:
- Ask clients for Google reviews. When clients give you praise or compliments, ask them for a review.
- Use Google Ads. Anything to boost your exposure on Google will work. Most of our new leads come from Google searches, so ensure your business listing is always up to date.
- Build SEO. Blogs and original website content help build SEO.
- Have a referral rewards program. This is an easy way to acquire promising leads and a nice way to find out how your clients really feel about you.
- Do creative prospecting. Sales and marketing representatives will typically drop by an office and try to speak with whoever is in charge. This is unoriginal, and no one likes it. Try dropping by with something unique or memorable -- such as some sort of treat -- and leave your card and some information about your company. Think creatively when it comes to sales and marketing material (booklets, for example), which should be unique, easy to understand and not super technical. Then follow up every so often so you and your company stay top of mind. This way, when something does go wrong, the prospect will think of you.
Also, talk to prospects like people, use language that isn't laced with technical jargon and be relatable. This way, you will sell them on the great aspects of your company and your relatability and not leave them feeling confused or talked down to.
Although marketing is somewhat industry-specific, it is also location-specific. Be mindful of both when creating a marketing plan for your MSP business, all the while highlighting what makes your business unique. Experiment with what works for you without spending much time or money on what doesn't work.
Additionally, marketing should produce a business result, so make sure you are tracking and recording those results as you go along. Be patient and strategic while you focus on your long- and short-term MSP marketing goals, ensuring successful marketing strategies and, in turn, a much more successful business.
About the author
Kellie Langan is director of sales and marketing at KML Computer Services, an IT services provider based in Bluffton, S.C. Langan is also a member of The ASCII Group, a North American IT community of more than 1,300 MSPs, solution providers and systems integrators.