Q: My IT services business has always relied on referrals and word of mouth to bring in new customers, and it’s worked well for us. Now it’s time for us to expand our reach to the small to medium-sized businesses in the surrounding metro area. I know we’ll face competition from other service providers in the market, so we need to be strategic about how we approach these new prospects. How can we elevate our marketing efforts to get the attention of these new businesses, and ultimately, beat out the competition?
It’s great to hear that your business is growing and that you’re ready to move into a new territory full of new prospective clients and, at the end of the day, even more business! At Intronis, we’re focused on helping our partners succeed—it’s even one of our core values—so you’ve come to the right place for advice on how to make this transition.
Lindsay Faria, the senior partner marketing manager at Intronis MSP Solutions, shared her useful advice on how to expand your msp marketing efforts. Here are Lindsay’s three tips for taking your marketing strategy to the next level.
1. Beef up your online presence
Making your website the best it can be is one of the most important things you can do to market your business. It’s the first place prospects go to learn about you when they hear your name referenced or see you in Google’s search results.
I’m not just talking about the design of your site, though. The actual content on your site is even more important.
If you already have an up-to-date website that provides relevant content to your prospects, take it a step further by developing an SEO strategy. Updating your site to include the keywords your customers are searching on will help you get their attention faster. This is one of the easiest things you can do to get noticed in a new marketplace.
If you don’t already have useful content on your site, devote the resources needed to create it. When your prospects aren’t able to find something of value quickly and easily, they’re likely to leave your site and never return. Having a blog as a part of your website is a great way to share relevant news and information with prospects. Write about what they’re interested in, discuss any news items or developing trends related to their industry, and talk about the topics they’re interested in learning about.
If you’re able to, add Calls to Actions to your website. These are buttons or links that point your prospects to a desired page or piece of content on your site that opens up the door for follow up from you. For example, Calls to Action could be “Contact us” or “Request a consultation” buttons that lead prospects to a form they can fill out expressing interest and sharing their contact information so your sales team can follow up with them.
2. Find (and engage) new prospects
Be resourceful and creative when it comes to identifying new leads. The good news is that SMBs are everywhere—you just need to go after them. Get started by joining LinkedIn Groups, using online directories, and posting on social media. Take it a step further and sync up with the local Chamber of Commerce or business bureau to see if list purchases are available or if you can partner with them on an event targeting local businesses.
Once you’ve built up a list of prospects in the region, begin reaching out and letting them know who you are and how you’re going to help them. Email marketing is an effective way to reach these prospects. Repeat what works by adapting the campaigns that receive positive engagement.
Bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletters are another good way to reach prospects, provide them with valuable content, and remind them who you are. A newsletter should include a mix of content related to the small business and general industry news that is also relevant. This is an effective way to establish regular communication with your prospects.
3. Leverage current customers
When I’m talking with our MSP partners, I often remind them that they have an existing customer base that they can use to help market and sell their services. While lead generation if a piece of the puzzle, leveraging the happy customers you already have is also important.
Don’t wait for word-of-mouth recommendations to happen; make an effort to turn customers into advocates. Follow them on social media, offer check-in calls with your technicians, and send them those monthly newsletters. Better yet, get your customers to advocate on your behalf through online behaviors. Ask them to publish an online review for your service or share your blog posts with their networks. There’s no shame in asking for their feedback. Worst case, you’ll find out what you could improve upon and how to keep them happy.
As I’ve experienced, face-to-face interaction is the best way to keep in touch with your customers. If you’re looking for an opportunity to meet in person, host your own event and invite your current customers and prospects to attend. Without realizing it, they will act as members of your sales team, endorsing your services, and representing the valuable relationship you have with your customers.
Whether you’re just starting to develop a marketing plan or you’re expanding your target market, use Lindsay’s tips to improve your strategy. Are there other marketing tips that worked well for your IT services business? Leave us a comment with your experience or advice!
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.