Ask an MSP ExpertQ: As we start the new year, I am hearing about new technologies and strategies that my MSP can utilize in its marketing. Which ones should I add to my MSP’s marketing efforts and how do I balance using these new tactics with the ones that have done well for us in the past?

As the year progresses, many MSPs are asking themselves what new ideas they should add to their marketing efforts to improve their business. Some worry that by implementing new ideas or tools, it will cause some of their other strategies to lose value or effectiveness.

To help MSPs find the right balance between marketing tactics, Smarter MSP spoke with Derek Marin, Founder of Simple Selling. Derek offered his advice on how MSPs can combine new tactics with adjustments to their current strategy, to achieve a higher return on their marketing efforts in 2020.

New tools and technologies to consider

Using artificial intelligence in MSP marketing is a very interesting concept because it has a lot of potential, but right now it can only scratch the surface. While it has grown exponentially, AI — for marketing purposes — is still in its infancy. One way AI can help is with content production, more specifically in streamlining the research process, and SEO purposes. Some vendors, such as HubSpot, are integrating machine learning and other aspects of AI into their software to ‘crunch numbers’ in the background to drive efficiency. MSPs can partner with these vendors to strengthen their marketing and overall business efforts.

Any vendor that can consolidate several marketing tools that deal with specific components, such as digital, social media, and email, onto one platform will be helpful for MSP marketers. This consolidation reduces the effort and resources required to move leads along to an MSP’s sales team, as there is no need to export and move data across multiple platforms.

LinkedIn as an underutilized opportunity

MSPs should leverage LinkedIn more, because it is one of the most effective avenues to take in establishing contact with accounts. With the proper LinkedIn strategy, you can establish connections with multiple contacts within the same account. LinkedIn can also be leveraged to generate content ideas and for backlink and SEO purposes.

Drift is a company that specializes in conversational marketing, which is a very useful area of marketing for anyone dealing with small businesses, that often requires a connection to be made on a personal/individual level before anything can be done. Drift recently released the ability to record and publish personalized videos within LinkedIn and embed them into posts, using Drift’s platform. This will make it easier to ‘break down the wall’ and form that personal connection with an SMB prospect.

Mistakes and misconceptions

I’ve noticed that some MSPs want to abandon blogging, because they feel like it has not generated the results that they hoped to have seen. I would advise to reexamine your MSP blog before deciding to abandon it. Often, the strategy has simply been misapplied, rather than been totally useless. A common theme I see among misapplied blogging strategies is that there isn’t anything that differentiates them from competitors.

For example, an MSP’s blog manager will see a popular post (such as a Tech Tip) and republish it on their own blog without realizing that many others have done the same. The more that particular post gets republished and spread around, the more negatively it effects each blog’s SEO, negatively impacting the return the MSP sees from its own blog. This example illustrates the need for MSPs to come up with a differentiated strategy that will truly set them apart in their marketing.

Another common mistake I see is when MSPs rely solely on their sales reps to grow their business and ignore their digital marketing efforts. To be effective, sales and marketing strategies should be used together to attract clients. Unfortunately, some MSPs put more priority on the sales side, and as a result, their marketing could be described as inconsistent at best. These MSPs need to believe in marketing as a long-term growth strategy that fully integrates with their sales efforts. When they don’t, it is clearly visible to everyone else — in many cases, a quick look at the MSP’s website can reveal their low-priority view of marketing.

MSP marketing efforts often require a watchful eye, and creating a balance of old and new tactics is no different. However, maintaining this balance and making necessary adjustments won’t be a challenge for MSPs who commit to making marketing a priority.

Photo: TP71 / Shutterstock

Bill Petherbridge

Posted by Bill Petherbridge

Bill is a Content Marketing Associate at Barracuda MSP. In this position, Bill is a key contributor to the management of the SmarterMSP.com and Barracuda MSP blogs. He also serves as copyeditor for Barracuda MSP content, in addition to maintaining Barracuda MSP's social media presence.

3 Comments

  1. Derek Marin

    Appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed, Bill! Soon I’ll be running a webinar about LinkedIn Breakthroughs for MSPs. If you’d like to sign up for it, just reach out to me via e-mail.

    Reply

    1. Avatar

      I would love to attend the Webinar on Linked-In.

      Ron Rothstein – SMB Technologies – rrothstein@smbtechnologies.com

      Reply

      1. Derek Marin

        Great! I’ll email you, Ron.

        Reply

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