Q: I’ve started offering more security solutions to my MSP customers to help them be more proactive about cyber security. I know I need to start marketing these new services, but I’m not sure how to approach it. Should I educate my customers about how to avoid attacks, or should I focus more on the products I have to offer? Is there a way I could use National Cyber Security Awareness Month to launch a successful campaign?
Congratulations on expanding your MSP portfolio! As threats continue to rise, it’s smart to have not only a reactive plan in place to protect your customers in case something were to happen, but also a proactive approach to stopping threats in the first place. While having the right security in place helps, the most effective thing you can do to stop an attack is educate your customers. Creating a marketing campaign is a great way to teach them about different threats and show them you’re there to help.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month just got underway, and to start your campaign off on the right foot we consulted with Courtney Steinkrauss, the senior partner marketing specialist at Intronis MSP Solutions. Courtney works closely with partners, creating enablement tools that help them create their own events and campaigns. Courtney believes that it is never too late or too early to start planning for your next campaign, so if you miss launching a cyber security campaign this month—it’s not too late to launch one next month.
We also spoke to a few of your MSP peers to get their take on cyber security campaigns, what they’ve done, what challenges they face, and what tactics they think their customers would be most responsive to.
Here is our collected advice from Courtney and your MSP peers to help launch your next cyber security campaign:
What to highlight
We asked your MSP peers what type of campaign they think their customers would be more responsive to: a direct campaign about how your services can help defeat cyber-attacks or an awareness campaign on how to avoid threats. While many saw the value in how their services can protect customers, most thought an educational awareness campaign was more valuable for their prospects and customers.
Your customers might not be as aware of cyber security as you may think. Take a step back. You know all about the cybersecurity landscape—they don’t. Use cyber security month as a way to not only strengthen your messaging and your brand, but help your customers fend off the latest attacks. Instead of scaring them, share cyber security best practices such as how to properly manage passwords or ways to better protect their networks.
Who to include
An awareness campaign is something all your prospects and customers can benefit from. It can also be a great way to highlight your new security offerings. If you don’t have the time or resources to create a campaign for all of your customers, a targeted campaign can be very effective. Start with customers who are on the lowest managed service tier. They might see the value of backing up business-critical information, such as tax forms, financial information, etc. An educational campaign can help them understand why security is important, and it also opens the door for you to ask them what they’re currently doing to address cyber security.
Types of campaigns to run
While the list of possibilities is endless on what you can do for your security campaign, it can be difficult to decide where to start. To help get your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas of what medium you should use to launch your campaign:
Newsletter – If you have a monthly or a quarterly email newsletter, take the opportunity to highlight Cyber Security Awareness Month. This can include a blog post you’ve written about cyber security best practices, discussing the most recent malware threat, or a relevant article from a publication you respect.
Email campaign – Launch an email campaign around security best practices, promote an e-book, or share an article on security measures they can implement in-house. This is more targeted than a newsletter and should focus on a single piece of content and include a strong call to action.
Social media – Don’t forget about using your social networks to get the word out. Share resources you’ve created or resources and tools from your partners. This year hashtag for Cyber Security Month is #CyberAware. When posting content or tips, use the hashtag to get noticed by a larger audience.
Webinar or event – This could be a webinar or an in-person lunch-and-learn where you can teach customers how to mitigate the effects of ransomware or phishing. Share examples with your customers to show what an infected email looks like and what they should watch out for. This kind of face-to-face interaction helps make the information more impactful, and it can help you build stronger relationships.
Sales check-in – Have your sales team check in with current customers. Are they aware that you offer security services? This is a good way to upgrade customers to the next tiered package of your managed services or show them how you’re invested in the safety of their business data. Whether it is an onsite visit or a check-in over the phone, use cyber security as a reason to touch base with your current customers.
The opportunities are endless on what you can do to build a marketing campaign around National Cyber Security Awareness Month. By running a cyber security campaign, you’re showing customers that you’re more than just IT support, you’re a trusted resource when it comes to cyber security.
Also, if you’re an Intronis partner, be sure to leverage the materials available in the Partner Toolkit, whether it is pre-crafted social media posts, the SMB cyber security e-book, rebrandable datasheets, the Data Loss Gremlins campaign-in-a-box, or the new cyber security event-in-a-box, there are plenty of tools you can use to teach your customers about the value of cyber security.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.