Q: Things are always changing, especially in technology. Looking back, the internet has changed almost everything we do. What are the most significant roles the internet has played in marketing goods and services today?
For managed service providers, protecting and staying up with technology is the bread and butter of your business. And, as the internet has evolved, the need for managed IT services has only grown. Thankfully, the internet has driven growth in many other areas as well, including how businesses market products and services to customers.
To give you a glance back on how the internet has revolutionized marketing campaigns and functions—and to celebrate International Internet Day, on October 29 — we spoke to Richard Rimmer, the EMEA marketing manager at Barracuda MSP. He shared pros and cons on how the internet can help you take your MSP marketing to the next level.
How the internet has revolutionized how we market
The internet has helped marketers and sales teams to cost-effectively reach an audience, at scale and in real-time. Thanks to continuous innovation of internet-based technologies, today’s businesses can engage in personalized interactions, even when they have never met face-to-face.
Today’s marketers regularly use internet-based technology to deliver capture the attention of more people at once, and to gain valuable insights to help fuel their future conversations with them. For example, it’s now possible to very quickly and easily segment your marketing or sales efforts based on what your prospects have told you about them via internet activity with your brand.
An individual’s previous behaviors or details they’ve provided about themselves can be used to help drive effectiveness in your marketing. For example, if they downloaded one of your e-books on how to integrate better cybersecurity best practices, this would indicate an interest in that topic, which you may want to initiate a conversation about. Or, they may have previously requested information from you and shared information about their role at their company. If the person is a VP of Sales, the material and messaging you might want to market to them with would be different than to the CIO or the Systems Admin.
In a world of communication overload, there is a limited window of opportunity to grab your prospect’s attention.
Marketing and sales functions rely heavily on e-mail as a vital tool in their everyday lives, and fortunately, e-mail personalization has come a long way. In the early days, sending out a “sophisticated” email meant including a token that would greet the recipient using their first name according to your CRM system. Nowadays, marketers can be more granular. By integrating a marketing automation tool, for example, Marketo, you have the ability to capture deeper insights on the people you engage with, to ultimately send more relevant messages. Equally as important, using such a tool allows you to more effectively track results and tweak messages to improve future campaigns. For example, if you realize you’re getting a higher “open” rate on one version of an email campaign than another per your marketing automation tool, you will be able to see than and double-down on the version that works.
While this is a great way to interact with current and prospective customers in high volume and regardless of geography, it also presents a few challenges.
The most prevalent challenge is that you’re not the only cook in the kitchen. In a world of communication overload, there is a limited window of opportunity to grab your prospect’s attention. For example, in the U.K., GDPR is a challenge that most companies face on a daily basis, and accordingly, this important topic is being communicated to SMB customers. However, more email isn’t always better. It’s possible that communication overload becomes an issue, and that your customers and prospects will simply begin to tune everything out, rather than trying to discern the important info among all the other noise. This begs the question, how can providers stand out?
How to make your marketing stand out—in a good way
First, focus on quality of your content. Sending one email that performs well is better than sending 15 that don’t. Being able to measure the success of your initiatives is critical.
Another effective way to engage your audience is to launch a multi-touch campaign. It can include a variety of different mediums such as email, social media outreach, advertising, webinars, and more. This helps spread your message and reach prospects you might not have a chance to reach in the past. It also lets you engage people that pay more attention to one medium than the other, and it allows for you to reinforce your value proposition with those who engage with multiple formats. For example, as an IT service provider you might want to advertise your business in the local papers, set up a booth at local events, engage with your audience on social media, and more. The more you can get your business out there, the better luck you will have with finding the right customers to work with.
Creating an effective marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight. However, with the help of the internet, it is easier to execute and deliver more effective marketing campaigns, whether you’re just getting started out or you’ve been in a business for some time.
Photo: lOvE lOvE /Shutterstock.