Let’s face it. There is never enough money in the marketing budget. Whether you have a large budget to work with or you’re trying to make limited funds stretch—you’ll always have more ideas for how to spend the money than you’ll have money to spend. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you’re marketing your IT services to the right audience.
Finding the right audience can help you save marketing funds and narrow your message to highlight benefits that speak to your target market. If you’re vertical focused, narrowing your message can be easy, but it can be more challenging for generalists. To help you hone in on your unique messaging and stretch your MSP marketing budget, we recently read Tom Patty’s Marketing Without Money. Through the book, we picked up some actionable advice that can help you leverage the right audience to grow your MSP business.
Finding the right target audience
Think about your current customers; what do they all have in common? Yes, they’re using you for IT services, but the real question is why. For example, if you focus on regulated industries such as healthcare, they might value your knowledge of industry standards and the regulations you follow. To get to the bottom of what your current customers value, ask them about it. Tom Patty suggests that the single most important thing you need to know when developing your marketing strategy is not what you’re selling to your customers, but what value they perceive in what they’re buying.
After you’ve gathered input from current customers, look for any common themes in the data. While every customer will have a slightly different take on what benefit they enjoy the most, what comes up most often? Tom Patty strongly suggests that when running any type of campaign, businesses should focus on the one benefit that is most relevant to your target audience. Don’t promote more than one!
In an information age with multiple products and services that can fill a customer’s needs, it’s important for marketers to cut through the chaos and deliver a simple and consistent message to potential customers, the book suggests. This is especially true for your MSP business. With increased competition, there are multiple IT businesses for SMBs to choose from, so focusing on one dynamic benefit that speaks to potential SMB clients is important.
Tom Patty explains another reason why you only want to promote one benefit: “You want to be something specific for a very targeted audience. You want to solve isolated problems or needs for a select group of people.” Focus in on one benefit can eliminate competition, hone your message, and position your IT business for success—you just need to know what your customers value the most.
Growing your MSP
Every business wants to experience steady growth. According to the book, the most efficient way to grow your business is by generating more revenue from your current customer base. As an MSP, an easy way to do this is to introduce new services, such as training programs, or add new products to your portfolio.
Tom Patty says the secret to getting more business from existing customers is exceeding their expectations. Clients won’t just hand you more money; you have to earn it. “Good enough, is definitely not enough,” Tom explains. Show customers the value your services can offer them. As an IT provider, one way you can highlight this value is by sending clients monthly reports of the services you’re preforming for them. Plus, happy customers are your best advocates—encourage current customers to recommend your IT business to others.
Finding the right audience can be difficult, especially if you don’t focus on a particular vertical. However, if you focus on the benefit that clients value the most, you can effectively market your IT business to them. Any IT business can offer managed services to their clients, but not everyone can offer “strong, trusted, and simple” services. Let your marketing soar, and highlight why clients choose you!
Tom Patty’s Marketing Without Money
By Tom Patty and Donna Jost
Endless Dreams Publishing. $14.15.
Have suggestions about what we should read next? Leave a comment and let us know what we should add to our MSP’s bookshelf.