Q: I feel like I’m stuck in a rut with my MSP marketing, relying on traditional marketing tactics like telemarketing and referrals to find new business prospects. I want more of an impact. What are some simple, easy-to-execute campaigns that I can use to engage potential customers? What campaigns can I execute with limited time and resources?
While traditional marketing tactics will continue to provide some leads for your sales efforts and there is value in cold calling, marketing has evolved, and there are newer, very effective strategies available to increase engagement and drive interest in your MSP business.
In a recent survey we conducted of IT service providers, only 19 percent stated that they were highly confident that the marketing activities they are currently using or planning to use this year will actually help them reach their business goals. With 46 percent of respondent’s state that they’re somewhat or not confident, we think your question is one that many MSPs have. The good news is you don’t need to be a marketer to understand the fundamentals and build a strong campaign.
So, how can you create a marketing strategy that funnels hot leads to your sales team? There are a number of strategies you can employ to drive interest in your managed services offering and prompt small business owners to raise raising their hands to talk with you. To determine which marketing tactics would make the most sense for an MSP business model, we asked Lindsay Faria, the senior partner marketing manager at Intronis MSP Solutions, for her advice.
Here are the tactics Lindsay has seen other MSPs use effectively to enhance their marketing efforts:
Send email newsletters
Email marketing is an extremely valuable tactic used by most successful businesses. Being able to directly reach out and connect with leads, without having to spend hours on the phone, saves your business time. There are also powerful email automation tools on the market that can help you simplify the process.
When you begin sending emails to your prospective customers, be sure each message provides them with immediate value and delivers interesting content. If you only include your sales pitch in the email, the likelihood of the recipient actually reading your message decreases drastically.
As part of your email marketing efforts, you should begin sending monthly email newsletters. We suggest sending these on a consistent basis because it helps make sure that you don’t have major gaps in your communication with customers. Plus, they’ll grow to expect and look forward to the useful content you provide in the newsletter.
These newsletters should include interesting articles and other content that’s relevant to the small business you’re targeting. For example, if you’re sending the newsletter to mostly healthcare businesses, be sure to include news of the latest cyber threats affecting other healthcare organizations. You can include details or resources about your business, but the majority of what’s included should be informational and useful to the reader.
Host local events
Another marketing strategy that our Partners find works particularly well is executing company-hosted events. Our Partners comment on how they’re able to more easily build a relationship with prospective customers and grow their relationship with existing customers in these environments.
Hosting events is hugely impactful because of the face-to-face interaction between your business representatives and the attendees. Additionally, events provide an opportunity for you to uncover new leads, speed up the sales cycle, and capture feedback about your customers’ needs and interests. Make sure you set yourself up for success by identifying your goals and budget before you start planning.
Lunch and learns are an easy way to begin hosting your own events. Invite the business prospects in your area, reserve a restaurant, prepare a presentation, and deliver your pitch in person. This will allow you to gauge the reaction of the prospects, answer questions, and better showcase the value in your offering.
In the marketing survey we conducted, 40 percent of IT service providers surveyed said they plan to use company-hosted events in their marketing strategy. This also points out that a full 60 percent of MSPs might be missing out.
Intronis Partners can replay our recent webinar, Tips for Incorporating Events Into Your Marketing Plan, via the webinar recordings in Intronis Essentials.
Taking the next step
To make it even easier, MSP Partners have access to “campaigns-in-a-box,” which include the email templates, graphics, case studies, and presentations necessary to execute effective email and events campaigns. Located within the Partner Toolkit, you’ll find the Data Loss Gremlins-in-a-box, Data at Risk-in-a-box, and a number of different Events-in-a-box that can be used to quickly and easily launch a campaign.
If you don’t have access to the resources needed to deliver an email newsletter or lunch and learn event, there are other types of campaigns that can quickly improve your marketing efforts. For example, you can optimize your website with SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Another option is to start a blog where you regularly post articles discussing topics of interest to your customers. Perhaps the simplest tactic is to create business accounts on social media and begin engaging with prospects through Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.
Keep in mind that throughout your marketing campaigns you should always be providing value to your prospective customers. Doing this will keep them engaged throughout the sales and marketing process and more likely to sign on for your services. It’s important to apply this principle to your interactions with current customers too, as they often can influence new business through referrals, online reviews, and other acts of advocacy.
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.
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net