Each new year represents an opportunity to reflect on the past and find opportunities for improvement. This is no different for MSPs and their branding. 2020 offers a chance for MSPs to refresh their brand development.

To find out the best ways for MSPs to grow their brands in the new year, we sat down with Angela Leavitt, Founder and CEO of Mojo Marketing. Angela offered several tips on where MSPs can find opportunities for brand growth in the future.

Q & A with Angela Leavitt

How can MSPs identify areas for improvement based on the past year’s results?

MSPs can find areas for improvement by examining their data. To do this, MSPs must be able to track the data from when it was first created, ideally through a tracking mechanism that they put in place. This could include tools like Google Analytics or software applications like Marketo and Hubspot.

By tracking business data, MSPs can have visibility into what activities are driving engagement and growth for an MSP business and where there might be gaps are in their marketing efforts. This examination allows for MSPs to “view the whole story” of the previous month, quarter, or year.

What tactics should MSPs be using as part of their brand development, if they are not already?

One of the most important pieces of branding is consistency. By maintaining a brand that is consistent in its messaging, look, and feel, clients will know what to expect from an MSP business. Also, if an MSP doesn’t have a significant level of name recognition, “borrowing” credibility can help. By highlighting positive testimonials, reviews, awards, and other key wins, an MSP can lean on the name recognition of partners and clients to build their own.

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Any ‘new’ strategies that MSPs should be utilizing as part of their brand development in 2020?

MSPs should begin creating customized experiences for clients and prospective clients alike. Think Netflix; they customize the content you see based on your behaviors and preferences. MSPs can do the same thing to build better relationships with customers and get a lot more out of their marketing activities. A well-segmented list and automation software can help put this strategy into place properly.

Gaining a better understanding of today’s B2B buying process, from a consumer’s perspective, can also reveal ‘new’ branding strategies for you to consider. One major takeaway is that the B2B buying process is no longer linear (idea, discovery, proposal, close), it’s now much more complex. Nowadays, there are large groups of buyers in the organization who are part of the decision-making process.

What popular branding tactics should MSPs leave behind in 2019?

“One size fits all messaging” has lost its effectiveness and runs the risk of upsetting people and damaging a brand. Another tactic is producing mass volumes of content. Content is still important, but the focus should be on quality over quantity, especially as people have limited amounts of time. Instead, create content that they are searching for and that will capture and hold their attention.

What are some best practices for MSPs to use when building a brand strategy?

MSPs should first identify and choose the ideal target market/buyer for their business. Next, MSPs should take note of the target’s behaviors and pain points and use their brand messaging to speak directly to the target market or buyer.

What are some common mistakes you see MSPs make when building a brand development strategy?

Some MSPs skip the foundational stage: tracking and reviewing prior data, establishing brand pillars, messaging points, tone, and voice, and creating buyer persona profiles. Instead, they go straight to the tactical stage of specific plans of action. I often hear, “I want to do social” or “What should I say in my PR?” When I ask them what they hope to gain from it, these MSPs often struggle to come up with an answer. Taking the time to lay a solid brand foundation can give MSPs a clear focus when setting their strategy.

Another common mistake is not giving a specific strategy enough time to become effective. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If a strategy does not produce a massive result within a quick turnaround, MSPs should look within that strategy to see what can be adjusted to produce better results, rather than just moving on to something completely different.

Some MSPs resist spending too much time on brand development strategies, as they feel their time is better spent on things like lead generation. However, many of these MSPs don’t realize that developing a brand is one of the most accessible forms of lead generation there is. When a prospect recognizes a brand, they will immediately consider that business as a potential solution to their problem. In other words, they become a lead. It may seem a bit cliché to make changes at the start of a new year, but doing so makes the effects easier to track as mentioned before. Also, prospective clients will be evaluating their current situations and may be more open to switching to an MSP than they were earlier in the year.

Photo: Andrew Neel / 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.

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